Asvajit Boyle used to be one of a kind –Sri Lankan DJ who created original Electronic Dance Music (EDM), he was only rarely heard in Colombo’s nightclubs. You could still find him though, spinning his tracks for friends at more intimate venues. That’s begun to change - accumulating new fans with each event, he’s discovered new allies, DJs such as Twiggy and Geve, who all have their own take on what we should be dancing to. This month, they’re getting together to offer us a glimpse into what amounts to an underground scene – a rich, new body of dance music that wouldn’t be caught dead in Justin Bieber’s company.
Of late, Asvajit has been reconsidering his aversion to going mainstream – in part because he sees it as inevitable. He believes EDM is the sound of this generation and like the genres of rock and punk, it will gain more ground and legitimacy with every year. Its appeal is obvious: “there’s no language barrier, it’s a real primal thing,” says Asvajit of the music. “That’s the beat of your heart, that’s the beat of war drum, it’s just built into you.”
The Fat Albert EP and The Hard Boiled EP (www.soundcloud.com/asvajit) helped cement Asvajit’s reputation as one of finest producers and performers of EDM on the island. His debut was picked up for international release by the UK based Lifted Recordings this year – a first for a Sri Lankan DJ and producer. It was successful enough to be chosen for a minimal compilation album, Minimal Essentials Vol. 4, from LW Recordings. His successes have cast him in the role of a mentor to other aspiring DJs. He teaches on an informal basis and has collaborated with the Goethe Institute and international artists on EDM workshops. He’s also seen friends like Geve (www.soundcloud.com/g-v) and Twiggy (www.soundcloud.com/twig-2) get behind the DJ console and own it.
Asvajit eventually hopes all this will eventually lead to Sri Lankans generating their own distinctive sound. It’s an exciting time for him. “For the first time it’s becoming viable,” he says, outlining his plans to create a record label for EDM in Sri Lanka and to bring more international DJs into the country. With their newest event - Freshly Squeezed - Asvajit says they’re offering “a taste for the public, of what’s been happening on the underground scene.” A second event, Oh My Goat, will follow on August 12 at the Beach House in Mt. Lavinia and promises to be even more spectacular, with a UV light installation and 3D video mapping. The philosophy behind both events is about serving up “the freshest most up-to date music, mixed by the best DJs on high-quality sound systems in unique locations, with much attention to detail in décor and ambience.” Asvajit promises there’ll be more of the same throughout the year.
Their successes have only been possible because it’s been a team effort throughout, emphasises Asvajit, explaining that people from all sorts of backgrounds, not just music but photography, design and dance, have come together in appreciation of their shows in Sri Lanka and their non-commercial, non-mainstream ethos. “This is the beginning of a movement, and we really want to push that,” he says.
‘Freshly Squeezed,’ is on at the Warehouse Project in Maradana on August 5. Tickets, are on sale at Barefoot, Vibrations, ODEL, Commons, The Bay Leaf, The Goethe Institute, the DJ Academy and tickets.lk.