GIGX Exclusive : Interview with DJ & Doctor - The Spindoctor
Sanjay Meriya, also known as The Spindoctor is one of the few turntablists you will find in our city. The "Spindoctor" is also a practicing physician who got his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) from Nair College Mumbai in 2013. He began disc jockeying back in college while studying for his medical degree. While he is not donning his scrubs you will see him play at various college festivals, corporate parties, prominent clubs and leading music festivals.
Photo Source : LostFilms
A turntablist by nature Sanjay has mastered various skillsets involved in turntablism such as beat mixing, scratching, beat juggling, drumming, sampling etc, which allowed him to impart his knowledge and teach the art of turntablism at Audioqube, The True School of music and Party Map DJ Academy.
Sanjay is a natural talent when he is in the booth. His sets are packed with intensity and he is known to set the dance floor on fire with his music. GIGX had a chat with The SpinDoctor about his work life, music and being a doctor in real life and behind the decks.
1. Tell us about your decision of becoming a pro dj and a turntablist whilst you were in college, and how did you manage to do both back then
Back in 2007, when I was in my first year of MBBS I always wanted to do something in music and I used to watch a lot of music channels. With no musical background whatsoever I was a nerd back then. Hip Hop music was on the rise at that time and I really started digging it. I knew I wanted to do something in Hip Hop, I actually wanted to be a rapper but I was really bad at it.
2. When was your first time on a turntable, where did you learn the art of turntablism
I used to watch videos of DJ's scratching which was very fascinating to me. Everyday I would go to cyber cafes for 3-4 hours researching music and my music digging became strong. After that I took formal training from DJ Reji for 2-3 sessions. When I had money I learned Turntables under DJ Uri. I used to practice everyday, improvise my skill and then I started battling. 2009-2010 was the time when nobody could beat me. I have won all competitions, War of DJs across all colleges. In 2011 and 2013 I won the prestigious Palm DJ championship. That is how I got my recognition and after that I could enter the market.It has been a long journey from back then to where I am today. What started as a hobby in college, I have turned it into my profession.
Photo Source : SpinDoctor FB Page
3. You are a practising physician, DJ, Teacher of turntablism shed some light on how you plan your schedule now.
I was head of the Turntablism department at True School of Music and Audioqube Academy. But now I have stopped it because it is very difficult for me to balance my clinic and DJing. Monday to Thursday I get up and go to the Gym then head over to my clinic, work there till night. After clinic I work on my music. Friday to Sunday I am traveling doing gigs.
4. How was the entire Gully Gang experience, going on tour and performing with Divine ?
Gully Gang started around two years back when Divine was newly signed to Sony Music. I met Divine through a friend, we interacted on social media. After that he invited to Saavn headquarters to jam over two tracks. He was newly signed and had no budget so I agreed. I am always looking to experiment and want to do things which are out of my context.We jammed on two tracks it was unreal, everyone went mad including Saavn CEO.
I had many offers from big rappers but I turned them down. It is my loyalty to Divine. As he grew I grew up with him Gully Gang is a family. Every musician in Gully Gang has put their heart and soul and blood and sweat in it. The whole band is badass and musically we are unbeatable in India.Gully Gang is set to go on tour at the end of September. More details will be announced by the management soon.
Photo Source : SpinDoctor FB Page
5. What does the future hold for Spin Doctor, would you still be a practicing physician in the near future?
Yes! I have my own clinic. My family always wanted me to be a doctor. I am more inclined towards DJing as I get to do new things everyday. I have an audio-visual show called "Street Therapy" where I VDJ and perform alongside two BBoy dancers - Flying Machine ( India's #1 Bboy, 3 years in a row) and Tee J. Performing will never stop, its in my blood. Right now I am caught up with so many things that I really need to settle myself down first. Once the touring season is over, I will set up studio and within 3-4 months I will hopefully come up with some good tracks. I have just signed up with Shark&Ink and all track releases will be under them. I like to come up with new concepts everyday. I am the only DJ in India who has been putting up videos on Youtube in which a DJ is actually performing. I have also made videos with freestyle footballers, skateboarders, BMX stunt crew and more.My focus is also on content creation as all DJs are running behind gigs and I am running behind content.
Photo Source : HolyDistrict Festival
6. Who have been the biggest influences in your life
I really look up to DJ Kan-i. I like his approach, he has done a lot for DJing in India and I am carrying forward his legacy. DJ SA is my favorite DJ and I also love DJ Uri.
Internationally DJ Premier and Jazzy Jeff are my favorites. If I could go back in time, I would like to go for DJ Premier's gig at NH7 Weekender Pune. It was the best day of my life.
7. What do you think of the future of Turntablism in India and how do you plan to take that ahead?
I have many students who have opened their own academies in places like Nagpur. I am always in touch with the new generation of Turntablists who always call me for guidance and advice. I am always available for troubleshooting.Every 3 months I keep workshops which are free of charge. Its is very difficult for me to manage and give time for students on a one on one basis. There is no point opening an academy right now. I need to settle down myself and once everything is in pronto mode I will open up an academy.