Party rocker with classical roots


They say looks are often deceptive, and if you meet this 24-year-old DJ that’s the first thing that is bound to hit you.

Ayesha Vasdev, who likes to be known by her professional moniker DJ Tokumei (which means anonymous in Japanese), might come across as any other city girl in the daytime, although by night she turns into a party starter and controls the crowd on the craziest dance floors across the capital.
The young, bespectacled artiste loves her unique profession, and speaking about her love for music, she says, “As a DJ I make people dance and forget about their worries. For the time that they are on the floor they have a blast and that is what I enjoy. My influences range from Indian classical to world music. I love experiencing new genres. As a DJ, I play Bollywood because, well, we all love it.”
Ayesha, who was trained in classical music as a child, mentions about her renowned lineage and says, “I grew up in a family where music plays a vital role. My great grandfather was the founder of the Maihar Gharana of music. Classical music has been a part of my upbringing and I was five when I learnt Sufi music. At home, I grew up listening to Billy Joel and Cat Stevens in one room and Allaudin Khan Sahab in the other. It was in college that I started training to become a DJ under DJ Sunny Sarid and started playing at private parties and clubs.”
In her music, Ayesha likes to incorporate the elements of folk music which leads her to fusion of two or more kinds of genres combined with upbeat electronic music. Speaking about her inspirations, she says, “A track by the Midival Punditz called Kesariya was an eye-opener. I spent days listening to it only to find myself mesmerised by this fusion of our folk tradition and electronic instrumentation. DJ-ing started as a way of bringing these tracks to the public. When I went to KM Music conservatory in Chennai, I learned about elements of Western classical music. While I was there, I learnt to create music on the software Logic 9, which helps musicians compose, remix, edit and produce music on a digital platform.”
“After my course, I trained under Holger Jetter, who is a product of the Mozarteum and a trained Jazz violinist with a very strong Indian classical background. He brought forth Jazz music and taught me to not only listen and feel but also be able to see and taste music. That is where my music comes from,” she adds with pride.
Ayesha believes that being a female DJ is a liberating feeling for her in an industry which is traditionally considered to be male-dominated. She says, “Female DJs have a lot of scope to create their own niche. Over the years I have noticed that female DJs really help the ladies shed their inhibitions. When women see a female behind the console, they feel more open to hitting the dance floor. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female — your art will speak for itself. As far as safety is concerned, depending on the area and the party, I get a bouncer to accompany me.”

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