Dialling in from India, DJ Fragment is quick to tell us why the global dance music fans should not sleep on India’s rapidly growing scene. Behind the decks, Fragment has been distributing his own dose of drum & bass beats across dancefloors since 2021.
His passion for his craft doesn’t stop there.
An active music journalist, Fragment has contributed to holy grail bass network UKF, kicking off with an in-depth profile on India’s Rave scene which you can check out here. Always open to new genres and digging the archives of dance music, Fragment is a senior writer for Ticket Fairy’s editorial outlet TFWord where he has spoken to many of our URPR roster and is hot on the release of the freshest dance music news.
Over to Fragment to answer UR 10 questions.
1.Tell us about your Fragment DJ alias, what inspired you to start DJing?
I was an avid listener of drum & bass since 2010, but the moment that inspired me to take up DJing came in 2013 when I witnessed Skream & Benga destroy the dancefloor to pieces when they performed in Mumbai back in 2013. I was fairly new to bass music as a whole, so I decided to bide my time in and understood the genres better before learning how to DJ in 2018. During the long isolation periods of the pandemic, I heard tons of DJ sets, narrowed down the ones that I felt suited my style, and spent months just applying different techniques whenever I would practice. I would then gather my friends, go live and play music to them, which, even though virtually, gave me the confidence of playing to a bunch of people. My first show came in February 2021, and since then, the journey has been absolutely incredible.
2.How would you describe your sound/energy behind the decks?
If this question was asked in 2018, my answer would have been the deep and dark basslines of drum & bass, because there was a very specific crowd that would turn up from drum & bass gigs in India. After the pandemic, we’ve seen a fresh influx of people who are new to drum & bass and are keen to explore further. So, when I play, my aim is to keep it groovy while incorporating as many styles of drum & bass that I can, and ensure the crowd takes something back home to dig into. I like going from the tech-fuelled side of drum & bass to some vocal-led numbers, bit of ragga, jungle and then close it with some edits to make it a power-packed sixty odd minutes.
3.What drew you to the drum & bass scene, and who are some of your biggest influences in this genre?
Sonically, what drew me to drum & bass was its energy. Once you are hooked to the pace and energy of drum & bass, there is absolutely no going back. Another reason why I am proud to be a part of the drum & bass scene is collective/community feeling. It feels like there is a unified bond that is shared by the heads across the world and the bond translates to standing up as a scene during the most challenging times. Natural calamities, warms, or any adversity we face as humans, the drum & bass community ALWAYS unites to contribute to the cause and that’s what I love about the scene.
Speaking of my influences, there will always be one – Marcus Intalex. The scene lost him and his pioneering undertakings in 2016. But his legacy will live on as long as music exists in the world. The way him and his label changed the way the world perceived the genre, can never be quantified. Innovation, and eye for the future without compromising on his ethos was what made him one of the greatest ever to do it.
4.Which festivals and/or venues are on your bucket list to DJ at? And what makes them so special to you?
I have always enjoyed the intimate setting of a club over a festival and right from the time I started listening to drum & bass, playing at Fabric in London is an absolute pipe dream. Fabric was hugely influential in providing the scene with a platform to showcase their art during its foundational years, and continues to do. This fact about the venue fascinates me a lot and it would be a dream come true if I get to play there in my lifetime.
5.What is the best DJ/artist set you’ve seen this year and why was it so memorable?
I had the pleasure of catching Sully live in Mumbai, who is regarded as one of the finest innovators of modern jungle music. Watching him work his magic was a surreal experience and it inspired me in so many ways.
6.You’re also a music journalist, who would be a dream artist or DJ to interview that you haven’t already spoken to?
I remember Calibre speaking with Resident Advisor about his experience of making in isolation and away from the city life. Based on that interview alone, I would love to continue the conversation with the man who I personally consider as the holy prophet of drum & bass.
7.Do you have any tips for someone who would like to become a music journalist?
The four tips I would have for someone who would like to become a music journalist is, read, be curious, build and maintain your network and keep your ears open. The best story you will write will sometimes be one that you will stumble upon. All I needed to dig into the deepest depths of Arabic music was a bootleg of a Tunisian folk song, and it took me to places with my journalistic explorations.
8.Can you share some upcoming DJ/producers from India’s electronic scene that you think we should be checking out?
In the last ten years alone, India has emerged to be a conveyer belt for producing artists of the highest calibre across all forms of electronic music. The ones I have personally enjoyed and the ones you should check out as well are Watashi, Prismer, Noizbleed, Gandhar, Smokey, Rakuuth, UKato, Norbu, Bavlow, Zealontantrik,…I can go on. All I’d like to say is, don’t sleep on India, there is a serious talent that is coming through from the country.
9.Outside of music, what other passions do you have/ how do you enjoy spending your time?
I’m a bit of a history nerd, and whenever I find time, I spend it reading about world/human history and funnily, a lot my readings circle back to music.
10.Finally, what are you most looking forward to in 2024?
I’ve mentioned this in one of my articles before that India is steadily re-establishing its love for drum & bass after a decade of being on the sidelines. The last twelve months have been fascinating to witness the drum & bass scene come and work together as a thriving community once again. I hope that we can collectively take this momentum in 2024 and build on what has been a prolific year for the scene.
Follow Fragment on Instagram at @curlmuha
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