therewe & mand
Turhan James is a Pakistani electronic music producer who creates a variety of EDM music aimed at capturing listeners through catchy vocal chops and emotional melodies. He started his DJ career in Karachi, at the age of 16 and since then he has played a host of events ranging from house parties to club shows to massive music festivals such as “ELE” , “Solis Festival” and “Ultra Music Festival”. in Abu Dhabi. Turhan has released music under labels such as Artist Intelligence Agency and NoFace Records and has also released a few songs independently. Some of Turhan’s previous hit tracks include “LA”, “Normal Life”, “Feel Alive”, “Wicked Ways”, and “Amsterdam”. His music has been featured on some of the biggest editorial playlists available on Spotify and Apple Music including: ‘New Music Friday Cratediggers’, ‘Fresh Electronic’ and ‘Chill Tracks’.
Recently, Turhan released his first music video production ‘Saaye’ (ft. Maanu). Composed entirely by Turhan with lyrics and vocals by Maanu, the track draws inspiration from a mix of pop and electronic elements. Turhan’s music catalog has been played on radio stations around the world and continues to gain listeners. This week, this talented boy is sharing his likes and dislikes with our readers…
When did you start DJing?
I started DJing at the age of 14 while in high school.
Who was your inspiration?
My inspirations were Martin Garrix and 3lau. At the moment it’s more of a hustle and bustle while I work my day job. But the end goal of course is to have this as something that I can do full time, for the rest of my life.
What are some common myths about DJing?
That the whole process involves drugs and alcohol, which is not true at all.
Is DJing already a mainstream and financially stable career?
Not for the moment. The Pakistani market does not seem to support electronic dance music festivals happening on a large enough scale to have an impact and showcase the genre.
Have you had any formal training to become a DJ/producer?
I learned the basics on my own from an early age, but ended up going to Pioneer Music School in Amsterdam and learned first hand from my amazing teacher AWIIN.
What kind of music do you usually play?
It depends on the crowd and the type of show I’m playing. My music will always be filled with good vibes, but the energy of the set will depend on the size of the event.
What are the advantages of being a DJ/producer?
Two amazing benefits are definitely the fact that I can consume so much music as well as work and share concepts with like-minded artists.
What is your most memorable concert to date?
Opening for Martin Garrix at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, for sure!
What is the role of a DJ in the success of a concert or an evening?
Have the ability to read the crowd and make sure the crowd is having the best time ever.
Do you also make your own compositions?
I produce all my tracks myself while the singers I work with write the lyrics and sing the songs.
Why are there very few professional DJs in Pakistan?
As I mentioned earlier, the market is not supporting our industry as much as we would like and this is mainly due to the negative stigma that our gender has associated with it. So doing a full-scale show is incredibly difficult to pull off.
Can you tell us a bit more about your first music video production ‘Saaye’?
It was a process I will never forget. I’ve worked with magicians – Maanu writing, singing and co-producing ‘Saaye’; Zain Peerzada and Luke Azariah under Flux Media capturing the entire clip; while Mustafa Khan was on guitars. Legit flew to Lahore for 26 hours, shot the music video at SA Gardens and flew to Karachi. I was a bit at a loss as to what I was supposed to do on camera but man… Maanu, Zain and Luke walked me through the process and made me feel incredibly comfortable.
What is your claim to fame as a DJ?
I wouldn’t say there’s fame, but if I had to say the specific thing that made my name famous was my song “LA” with Kelsey Hayes.
Who is your favorite international DJ?
My favorites are Nitti Gritti and Swedish House Mafia.
Your favorite local DJs:
Sidd and Talal Qureshi.
Your favorite music composers:
Swedish House Mafia, Odesza, Talal Qureshi and Abdullah Kasumbi.
Who do you like working with the most?
Everyone I’ve worked with!
Who is your icon in the music industry?
3lau and Shalizi for their intelligence in musical affairs.
Who was your favorite rock/jazz star when you were a teenager?
I didn’t listen to much rock or jazz when I was young, so I couldn’t take names.
One thing you love the most about yourself?
My ability to connect with people through my music
Your most irritating habit…
Not releasing my music because it has to be perfect…
You don’t like people who are…
Not nice. I understand being closed to people you don’t know but always be nice.
You are afraid of…
Your most valuable asset:
What are the most popular songs you have played?
A modification I made of ‘Bella-Ciao’ for sure.
Your all-time favorite music:
Swedish mafia house music.
Song that always takes you to the dance floor:
Any Swedish House Mafia song.
What annoys you the most?
Staying inactive, not doing something productive.
Are you crazy about…
How do you like to spend your Sundays?
Eating my cheat meals and watching shows with my girlfriend all day and night.
What’s your favorite song these days?
“The Last Farewell” from Odesza.
What’s the last thing you bought?
Flowers for my girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.
What books are on your bedside table?
My Ableton Suite Manual.
You are super uncomfortable when…
When I’m not doing something productive.
The biggest misconception about you…
I’m not sure I haven’t heard anything yet. (haha)
Your favorite meeting place:
Oh, it definitely has to be sitting in a room with a bunch of producers and singers making music… It’s an unreal experience.
Something that very few people know about you as a person…
I’m not sure I’m an open book.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Produce and collaborate with the greatest artists in the world. Own my own label. Play shows worldwide.