2018. A new year, a new start, a new chapter in life. I could not have thougth of a better place to do this than in Kathmandu, Nepal. While being far away from my family and friends, I had the honor of doing what I love most; playing music I love to take people on a journey in sound and let them escape reality for a moment. And for a special occasion: Wonderland New Year Concert 2018.
I have not done this alone.
The other artists, Nepali hero DJ Punit, master of love songs Rohit John Chettri, true rock stars Abhaya & The Steam Engines, the super nice guys from The Axe who already perform over 25 years, Nepali legend Adrian Pradhan, cool folks Sabin Rai & The Pharaoh, and Nepal’s biggest rapper Laure each gave a great performance that I personally really enjoyed watching. I truly want you to check them and their performances out. They have definitely shown why they are Nepal’s finest artists. Backstage I also got to hang with the wonderful Supriya Tuladhar and broski Sanjay Gupta. During my performance I was accompanied by Aura, who really helped me with making the audience go crazy!
How big is the honor
to share the stage with these legends? I for sure felt some pressure the past weeks; what if the audience doesn’t like the music that I play? What if the organization isn’t happy? What if the other artists think I’m out of place? Too many what ifs that every artist definitely recognizes. These thoughts surely crossed my mind whilst preparing for Wonderland. It doesn’t happen often that you get to travel to a country you haven’t visited before, and simultaneously are the headliner of an event with that nation’s best artists performing before you. Yes, you want to be ready for a show like this, so I had a lot to think about.
In the music industry, there’s often not talked about the process leading up to a performance. The majority of what you see from artists you follow is focussed on “them being awesome”, and sharing only that perfect frame on Instagram. Here in #BehindTheContent I want to tell you what’s really there on the background. Below are a few notes of what happened in the ramp-up to Wonderland that could’ve been a recipe for disaster.
During the soundcheck in the afternoon, Punit and I found out that one of the CDJs wasn’t working well so an alternative was needed. It just happened that the drummer in Adrian Pradhan’s band was expecting a new set of CDJs and DJM mixer that day. The catch: the gear had yet to arrive at Kathmandu airport, straight from Singapore! The brand new DJ equipment was ready to be picked up and installed on stage a few hours later. Can’t get ‘em better than that! So fellow artists, SOUNDCHECK when you can!
The program ran out, causing the set of Aura and myself to shift and overlap with New Year’s midnight. So what to do? Around 9PM we had a good chat about how we were going to make sure we wouldn’t miss a good start of the new year. Aura then set 3 alarms on her phone and kept checking in with me to make sure we were ready to take your hand and guide you in to the next year. Here, the timing was essential to include everyone in the final seconds of 2017 and have the right track ready to define the vibe of 2018.
Despite the awesome new DJ gear, there still were some minor technical issues when starting my performance. In the end I’ve started my opening track 4 times before everything worked. During an event you work with a lot of equipment and a lot of people are involved – more variables, more that can go wrong. When starting my opening track for the 4th time and everything was stable, I completely forgot about the technical problems. And come on – what’s in a goood performance without a little challenge on the road? Tune in to my set below and see for yourself! (As a bonus you can see the a part of Laure’s performance as well!)
I don’t know where to start
on expressing how grateful I am. All the super nice Nepali folks I got to meet these days, I hope I gave you a worthy start of 2018. Dear fellow artists, you’re all SO GOOD and so SUPER nice – it was an honor to meet you all!
This would not have happened without Toon Keijzer and my father, who connected me to the guys from Wonderland.
Below are a few snapshots with all the artists. Next in #BehindTheContent I’ll tell you about the adventures in Pokhara. Closing my computer now, but before I forget this very important detail: Happy New Year!