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INTERVIEW: Stoked



Already a don in the Indian music scene, Stoked now follows the path of many of the world’s greats, combining production, DJing and curation to inject his flavour into the global Techno movement. Headlining Sea You Festival this summer alongside Adam Beyer & Pan-Pot, having already played the festival in past years. Notably, Stoked is the first Indian artist to headline Sonne Monde Sterne & Grune Sonne in Germany, as well as the iconic Rave the Planet (ex Love Parade).

 

Beyond his DJ performances, Stoked is the driving force behind Bitonal, a record label and touring agency that features artists such as Pan-Pot, Gheist, Teenage Mutants, Balthazar & Jackrock, and Rafael Cerato. He is also responsible for programming at super clubs Salud and Diaz in Goa.

His debut UK performance in June for the Kenja Records showcase (Ronnie Spiteri’s imprint) comes ahead of his release for the label (featuring a remix by Alan Fitzpatrick) later this year. His collaboration ‘’Climax’’ with Teenage Mutants has been lifting dance floors all over the world for months & dominated the Beatport Techno Top 10 chart for 3 weeks straight. 

With several projects set for the fall, Stoked is poised to strengthen his reputation as India’s premier Techno export into 2025 and beyond.


We have had the pleasure of interviewing him and this has been the result.


Thank you for speaking to us! Can you tell us who you are and where you are from in more detail for our readers?

I'm Stoked, an electronic music artist, DJ, and the founder of the touring agency and record label BITONAL. Originally from Goa in India. My music blends techno, house, and various electronica styles, all infused with an ethnic and international vibe.

My journey in the music industry began as a DJ/producer and has since evolved into event curation and the touring business. I've travelled the world, performing at festivals like Sonne Monde Sterne, Sea You, and Grunne Sonne, and collaborating with artists from diverse backgrounds.

I'm passionate about pushing boundaries and exploring new sounds, constantly striving to evolve as an artist and entrepreneur. My goal is to create immersive experiences for my audience, whether through my music, events, or brand, leaving a lasting impact on the electronic music scene in India and beyond.


Has it been hard to build a career when you are based in India?

Building a music career comes with its unique challenges no matter where you are based. In India, the music scene is growing steadily, especially with a vibrant electronic music community emerging in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and many Tier 2 cities. However, compared to other countries, the infrastructure and opportunities for electronic music artists might not be as developed.

One challenge is accessing a larger audience and established music industry networks. It often requires more effort to connect with international audiences, labels, and industry professionals. Fortunately, the internet and social media have made it easier to bridge some of these gaps.

Another consideration is the size and resources of the local music scene. While India boasts a rich musical heritage and a growing interest in electronic music, the scene might be smaller or less commercially focused compared to places like Europe or the United States. This can result in fewer venues, festivals, or local support networks.

Overall, building a music career often requires a blend of talent, hard work, networking, and a bit of luck, regardless of your location. With determination and the right strategy, succeeding as an electronic music artist based in India is definitely possible.







BITONAL is a well-known touring agency in India, can you tell us some of the guests you have bought to the region and who is next to play for some of your parties?

We’ve hosted a lineup of renowned artists for its events in India, including Pan-Pot, Gheist, Egbert, Teenage Mutants, Oscar L, Rafael Cerato, Will Clarke, Matt Sassari, Affkt, Balthazar & Jackrock and Timmo, among many other notable names.

We are gearing up for our inaugural Arena Concept show in November 2024, named Dual-Tone. This event promises an immersive audio-visual experience with stage design inspired by Indian elements. The lineup for Dual-Tone will be kept confidential for now.


You are about to release your first EP on the agencies label, with ‘SIRENS’ – can you tell us a little about this release and what makes you proud about it?

‘Sirens’ the title track, holds a special place in my heart. It’s more than just a collaboration; it’s a blend of cultures and sounds that aims to offer a unique and original experience for listeners. Chitralekha Sen's haunting ethnic vocals add a depth and emotion that truly elevate the track.

What makes me proud of this release is its seamless fusion of traditional Indian vocals with modern techno, creating a sound that is both familiar and innovative. It stands as a testament to the beauty of collaboration and the power of music to transcend boundaries.

The second track, "909," features a vintage vocal hook, robust drum patterns, heavy percussion, and hypnotic top-line synths, complemented by dark drones. This track is set to be a powerful summer anthem.


How do you work on your social media and marketing as a DJ? Do you feel this is becoming more important than ever to stay current?

As a DJ and artist, I recognize the essential role that social media and marketing play in connecting with fans, promoting my music, and maintaining relevance in a fast-paced industry. I utilize platforms like Instagram and YouTube to share updates about my music, upcoming gigs, and behind-the-scenes content. 

In today's digital age, where music is constantly released and trends shift rapidly, staying active on social media and keeping your audience engaged is more crucial than ever. Your social media presence should genuinely reflect who you are, as authenticity is key. For example, I create memes and humorous or satirical content that resonates with my audience because it genuinely represents my personality. My social media channels are an extension of myself, providing an excellent way to showcase my character, connect with fans on a more personal level, and ultimately advance my career as an artist.


Has your sound evolved since you started your career?

Definitely! When I first started, my music was heavily influenced by classic techno and minimal sounds. Over the years, I've experimented more and brought in more modern elements to create a blend of something fresh and unique. This change has come from exploring multiple electronic genres working with different artists, and wanting to push the boundaries of ‘’techno’’. My latest release, "Predator," really showcases this evolution with its Peak time techno vibe and innovative sound design, giving listeners something fresh to hear.



Who have been the most influential artists to your career and why?

Pan-Pot has had a significant impact on me. Their ability to seamlessly blend different techno sub-genres inspires me to experiment more with my own sound. Their innovative production techniques and performances are consistently inspiring.

Balthazar & JackRock are incredible for their powerful and energetic tracks. Their music is a staple in my sets because it always gets the crowd moving. Their consistency and talent for creating high-energy tracks have greatly influenced how I approach my music. Plus, they are probably the only ones I take feedback from on my tracks.

Rafael Cerato stands out for his unique style, blending melodic elements with house influences. His tracks have a distinct style that I find truly inspiring. He has encouraged me to explore more melodic and tech-house aspects in my productions.


Finally, what is next for you?

Coming up next, I will be releasing my EP 'SIRENS' on BITONAL's label on the 5th July. I'm also preparing for my soon-to-be-announced Australia tour and the Dual-Tone Arena show in November. Additionally, I'm dedicated to growing my brand and expanding my reach as both a DJ and the founder of BITONAL. The future looks bright, and I'm excited about the opportunities ahead as both an artist and an entrepreneur.

I'm also thrilled to share that I'll be headlining Stage 2 of the Sea You festival in July, and I have the honour of being the first Indian invited to play at the prestigious Rave the Planet festival (formerly Love Parade) for the OSTFUNK ✕ GOANAUTIKA brand in Berlin. This summer, I'll also be performing at iconic clubs like OST, Kit-Kat for Symbiotikka, and Silodom.


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