In conversation with: Nikhil Chinappa

Chennai Metblogs catches up with the feisty MTV Veejay for an exclusive interview. What many people don’t remember is that Nikhil began his career hosting shows on Madras FM before moving on to MTV after winning the MTV Veejay hunt!


DA: Nikhil, you are actively involved in promoting house music at clubs in the major metros across India. How does Chennai compare with other metros?

NC: Most people associate Chennai with traditional forms of music which are deep rooted in its culture. So they get a shock when I tell them that the best electronic dance music or house music that I get to hear in India is in Chennai! Thats because the clubs in Chennai really do their home work and know their music. The audience too really knows music, and are open to new artists, giving their music a fair chance before deciding whether they like it or not. So their tastes are evolving and based on a mature appreciation of music, unlike some cities where what goes is the ‘latest’.

DA: That’s good to hear, and in sync with my experience as well. Years ago when Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull played in Chennai, many of us were just a few feet away from him, just below the stage. He was particularly pleased that we really knew his music and songs, and delighted in singing a few lines of the lyrics and holding the mike out to us. And we would continue the song without missing a beat! Later in an interview, when asked which city he really enjoyed playing in, his spontaneous answer was “Chennai! They really knew my music!”

NC: Yes, Chennai has always had a good appreciation of music of all kinds, as has Bangalore and Calcutta.

DA: How did you get into a career in music?

NC: Well, I believe the music finds you, not that you find the music! I grew up in a home where we listened to a fair amount of Western music. The bands I remember while growing up were the likes of Abba and Boney M. Then I heard Judas Priest and found my interest in rock and heavy metal all the way up to Guns ‘n Roses. But I opted out after Nirvana and the grunge movement. In the meantime I started to work in radio where I was exposed to a lot more and came to appreciate all forms of music. Rock, for example, isn’t really suited for radio, but the music of a band like the Backstreet Boys is particularly suited for it and is pretty good stuff for the genre. Then I joined MTV and my tryst with music continues. There are still forms of music that I need to be exposed to, such as Jazz, which I still haven’t really learned to appreciate. But, as I said, the music finds you, so all in good time!

DA: What do you like about Chennai?

NC: I don’t really know the city, but what I really like about Chennai is its people. They’re warm, welcoming and very friendly and hospitable. As a Bangalore boy coming into the city, that’s the first impression that I had, and that’s what makes Chennai what it is. After all, ultimately it’s the people that make the city what it is.

DA: Do you have a message for the people of Chennai?

NC: Yes, try and be friendly to the environment in whatever way you can. For example, use CFC bulbs instead of the yellow incandescent bulbs. They may cost more, but last longer and don’t contribute to global warming and depletion of natural resources. Did you know that we use up 230 tonnes of coal to light up every incandescent bulb we use? For more information of how you can make a difference, check out the Green Peace site!

1 Comment so far

  1. Ponnarasi.K (unregistered) on December 18th, 2006 @ 12:19 am

    1st time here.. Gud 2 c a nice blog..Very well maintained.. Keep writing :)

    Conversation was really intrstng :) and the message conveyed was difrnt but good…

    Have a nice day,

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