Dakta Dub Interview – Radio Monkey launch
Bala Subramaniyam S.V. a.k.a Dakta Dub talks to us about his journey as an RJ from Tilos Radio in Budapest to his recently launched online Radio venture, Monkey Radio, his influences and passion, and the impact that a community radio station has on its listeners.
1. A big Hello from IndiEarth! Please share a brief lowdown on yourself and your work as Dakta Dub with our readers.
Big Hello to IndiEarth. My name is Bala Subramanyam S.V. and I’m from Hyderabad, India. It’s quite a funny story, the change from Bala Subaramanyam to Dakta Dub. I went for my higher education to Budapest, Hungary in early 2004 and ended up at Tilos Radio (www.tilos.hu) a community radio station, where I approached the station manager, to learn DJing, mixing, producing radio shows. The manager of the radio put me under training with Toth Szabi, a renowned Sitar player. In summer, when all the DJ’s at Tilos radio went away for festivals, the editors at the radio asked me to fill the gap and play music, while speaking in Telugu and Hindi. And that’s it, I never looked back and the journey from Bala Subramanyam to Dakta Dub began.
2. Tell us about your music, set influences and performances. Do you produce as well? Please list your releases till date.
I used to like alternative music as a child. All my friends used to collect mainstream film cassettes, but I found this boring. I used to crave for different vibes, like Indian classical music by M.Bala Murali Krishna, Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj and in modern music, getting Apache Indian cassettes changed the child in me forever. At Tilos Radio, I had an opportunity of listening to different styles of music from different DJs and one style of music called DUB influenced me so much, that I decided to promote it in India. So, my important influences in music are Indian Classical and Jamaican Dub music.
I have my hands laid on production tools and working and experimenting with Ableton and the APC 40. My partner Shivacult has Carnatic vocals background and has a good knowledge of Fruity loops and Abelton. Together we mix Hyderabadi local folk sound called Dappu with global sounds. Will let you guys at IndiEarth know about our official releases very soon!
3. Monkey Radio – Tell us how it all started
When I returned to India, I missed live and direct radio shows. I approached all the radio station in Hyderabad, from AIR to private FM stations. AIR gave me opportunity to come in as a guest presenter, quite a few times, but getting permission from AIR to do a unique show wasn’t easy. So, the ultimate solution was to start up a radio, rather than criticizing the present situation.
I then started research on the Indian radio industry, community radio, pirate radio and everything involved in radio. In 2011, I finally laid down the master plan, on making an NGO called Monkey Foundation. Having done online radio for 3 years, I then approached the Indian Broadcasting Ministry, with all my experience, content and programming, to apply for the frequency for Monkey Radio. Today, we have a small but very passionate team, few friends from Budapest and few in India, working on the development of various aspects of Monkey Radio.
4. What are the challenges in setting up community radio stations in India?
Challenges? I think that the biggest challenge related to Radio, is that, nothing is clear. The rules, regulations are always confusing, they sound expensive and seem impossible. My guru Toth Szabi, gives us constant guidance as he managed Tilos Radio for many years and he visits India very often. We’ve made a master plan focusing on an NGO and will work towards making an FM one day.
5. What are your plans for Monkey Radio in terms of programming mix and artistes?
Monkey Radio is a community radio and the plan is to build a community in itself with local (Hyderabad), National and International contribution. Monkey Radio will support/promote Arts, Literature, Music of all forms, of non-commercial expressions. This is just the beginning and Monkey has about 10 program-makers who have various musical tastes and every one contributing for free. Monkey Radio operates with voluntary contribution by all the members. Monkey Radio also looking for talk shows, which can help and uplift the society in general.
6. What kind of growth do you see for Monkey Radio in the future in terms of expansion – venues, live acts, shows, etc. ?
The basic motto of Monkey Radio India is “Think global – Act local”. So, Monkey Radio India will expand in terms of its program makers, and with support and contribution of program makers, will have good amount of listeners. Our program makers, also do a bi-monthly club nights promoting alternative music styles like Dub, Reggae, Globalized Indian music (like Business Class Refugees) and expose the Hyderabad community to tastes of non-mainstream music.
Also, DJ’s from monkey radio participate as volunteers at various social activities like the Hyderabad Theater Festival, setting up Sound Systems on August 15 and January 26 at the near-by community hall while playing classical music from Gramophone records!
7. Massive congratulations on the launch! A message for IndiEarth and our readers.
Thank you so much for the wishes. Just to get here from the idea of making a radio station few years back, was quite a journey and we have experienced so many good, bad and ugly things. But this is just the beginning and we have a long way to go, until Monkey Radio India has a local FM one day.. until then, Monkey will keep going!
IndiEarth is a great initiative by EarthSync, I have been following all the documentary movies, music albums and I love the projects. Big ups to everyone at IndiEarth for doing amazing things and giving us, readers, entertainment with education about Music, Arts and Film.