| 11 Dec 2023
We want to give local talent a platform through CTRL ALT DANCE: Ankit Kochar

MUMBAI: Over the last few years, the Indian audience has leaned toward many music festivals, increasing the number of genres fans are being exposed to. More artists have been coming into the country to perform. From classical to western, the music audience is growing, and exploring different tastes of music in India. While a number of music festivals are trying to bring onboard more international artists, Ankit Kochar is changing that equation.

With CTRL ALT DANCE, a four-day dance and art music festival that will be held from 1st to 4th January, 2016 at Marbela Beach Resort, he plans on giving a platform to the next gen local talent in the country. spoke to Ankit Kochar about the second edition of CTRL ALT DANCE, which is set to happen early next January, his plans and his journey.  


How will this year’s CTRL ALT DANCE be different from the last year?

It will not be any different. We keep it simple. The primary focus is on music, all the attention to home-grown acts, and some personalised elements in terms of theme and visuals. However, this year, the artist lineup is perhaps the biggest homegrown line up you have ever seen anywhere in the world. And yes, it takes place on the 1st of January 2016. What better occasion to come and get hypnotised and dance to your own pure Indian bred artists, on the first day of the year.

You are curating the festival. How are you handling this big responsibility?

Honestly, until a while ago, my inner voice had the same question. It is the love and affection showered by friends, clubbers, big and new artists, promoters, clubs etc that has given me the confidence that this one movement can be hosted, together. It is for the people, by the people. So, there are hundred things on my team’s to-do list, but it is amazing how everyone is coming ahead on their own and lending us a helping hand. To see, a movement that brings people together is my only vision. And it is happening beautifully, making it not-so-difficult anymore.

Ctrl Alt Dance says it offers an 'advanced festival experience'? What is that supposed to mean?

Ctrl Alt Dance is a pure music experience. Our sheer aim has been to un-earth talent from all across India; put them on a stage, together with the new and the old. Last year's edition saw innumerable group of people from north, south, east and west of India, who came to support artists from their respective cities. It was for the very first time, that an artist from extreme northeast was hanging with another artist from the extreme south.

It was the first ever platform where 15 states in India had their presence felt. Eventually it all results in one big friend circle, which consists of artists, clubbers, supporters and fans. They ate, danced and smiled together, under one sky and on one dance floor. Now, is that not what festivals are supposed to do? Celebrate the idea of togetherness, and one love is the most simplest and primary agenda here.

Over the last few years, the dance music audience in India has exploded. Which sub-genres do you see becoming more popular? What are the trends?

Every five years, a new genre rises. That is the trend the music industry has been following for ages. Underground house music has always been connected to sounds from yesteryears, the classic era of the 80s and 90s, more musical, more soulful. Hence, I believe, it is always going to remain classic. However, my sources tell me hard techno is next big thing.

The lineup consists of some big names in the industry. Which are artists to look out for this year?

Watch out for each and every one of them! This is one platform where everyone brings their best to the table.  

What are your expectations considering the response you got last year?

Ctrl Alt Dance, as a project, is already a winner. The line ups will boast of the biggest gathering of Indian underground artists, a staggering number of over 55 acts. These hometown acts make sure the attendees are dancing and smiling, getting that much needed exit on the weekend. Automatically, the people who have danced are thankful and look forward to paying their bit of gratitude. Hence, it is at Ctrl Alt Dance, where they make that extra effort, to fly down from wherever they are, to show their love for their own artists. I only expect to see more love flowing all over.

Have the pre-gig parties started?  Will you be playing in any of the parties?

Yes, we just launched our pre-parties in Bangalore on 27 November at blue FROG and at China 1 in Mumbai to packed houses. There are about three or four properties planned all over India, and I will be playing at some of them.

What do you look for when curating a list of artists for this kind of a festival?

Primary - musical aspect. There is no room for average at Ctrl Alt Dance. And this is not me saying it; it is what all of us gathered after hearing the sets of each n every one of the artists who played for the first edition. Secondary - the attitude - a musician and his music is the mirror of his inner self. It is so important for us to drop our egos, our judgment, and come out clean, ready to accept. Because that is what the people are here for, to give you cheers and claps, whistles and love. Hence, we like to connect with like-minded artists who understand how crucial it is to be kind, loving and pure.

What do you conclude about organising a festival in India? Is it right time or right place or both?  

Right people! I have had the idea of hosting a festival forever. But only after I had my friends from all across backing me up, I had the confidence of bringing Ctrl Alt Dance to life.

You are also playing at #ADayOfSlick, what are the other music festivals you will be playing in future?

I have been knee-deep with the Ctrl Alt Dance pre parties. I am still working on a lot of offers. Stay tuned.

How has your experience of playing underground been so far?

It has been a very educational and inspirational one. Somehow, it has been more than just music. It has been a meeting point for music fanatics who believe in an evolved thought-process. Underground music or lifestyle is not just about belting one beat port hit after another. It is more about the mind. The sounds are richer and way more musical. The sets are like stories, an adventure. It is more for the mind than the body. And seeing the current state of affairs globally, I think underground is the way to go. It not just makes you dance, but also cleanses and services your mind.

Over the last couple of years, we have had a gigantic influx of clubbers into the underground scene. The artists have put forth nothing but the best, the music and the releases have marked the arrivals of Indian talent on the global front. And hence, clubbers have graduated also. Now an average evolved clubber in metro cities seeks a get-away from the ordinary electronic music. Hence, the underground scene is where they find themselves. The underground is also one place where most musicians have dropped their veil of ego, and are reverberating the sound of love, togetherness and oneness. It is an elevating process.