Pathaan is one of the very few UK based DJ’s to have truly crossed the dance/world divide. Whereas many other world music DJ’s lean nearer to the roots market, Pathaan’s history is steeped in dance culture - a stance that is reflected in his popular ‘left-field’ reviews for DJ Magazine, and his numerous appearances in London, Ibiza, Italy, Madrid, Barcelona, Brazil, Istanbul, New York and many far away spots.
Most interesting to lovers of the Asian Underground sound has been his unique and highly absorbing Stoned Asia Music series of compilations, which reflect a personal passion for global chill-out with a sitar twist. Also a growing musical diversity had led to the release of ‘Pathaan’s Small World’; a moniker showcasing the open-minded attitude of his club nights combined with an obsession for seeking out the very latest global platters.
Pathaan’s obsession with music started when he was studying Software Engineering at University in Leeds. At the time it was house music that pressed his buttons, and most notably the acclaimed house DJ Danny Rampling that gained his admiration. After returning to London, Pathaan worked at Heathrow Airport for United Airlines. The hours suited his extra curricular activities, as a 5am – 1pm work shift gave him enough time to go record hunting in the afternoons and plan his bid for DJ stardom in the evenings.
After the obsession with house music ended a brief dalliance with trance began before being replaced by more ambient forms of electronica. “I became disillusioned with the whole club scene because I felt that club-land was full of pretentious, drugged up people,” he states.Before going on a trip to India in December of 1996, Pathaan had given Talvin Singh a tape of his DJ’ing, and after he returned Singh offered him a residency in the now legendary Blue Note café. The club night known as Anokha, and alongside Pathaan’s chilled café sets would be resident DJ’s State of Bengal and Talvin Singh on the main dancefloor.
“At the time I was mixing anything from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, to Aphex Twin, to the Rolling Stones,” Pathaan states. “I played right across the board – which is a formula that I have stuck to over the years. One thing that stuck with me since my house days was the ‘Balearic’ sound, where musically anything goes. So as long as there is progression and food for thought in why I’m mixing the sounds that I do, then I’ll do it.”
Nowadays Pathaan incorporates a variety of sounds from throughout the world, but likes to maintain his strong Asian/World slant. “My aim has always been to share the hunt,” he confides. “Because I write for DJ magazine I get sent a lot of great music, and that combined with my passion for travel, and an inability to go past a record shop without diving in and buying loads of records, means that I’ve always wanted to share my passion. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the stage where I think I can’t buy records because you can always find something in the bargain buckets.”
A three-week trip to Brazil enlivened a continuing passion for Brazilian bossa nova, and Pathaan is at pains to point out that he’s always been a fan of this type of sound even if it hasn’t always been apparent in his DJ selections. “Stoned Asia Music was a tag that I gave to my music back then, but now I find that if I just play Asian beats all night long, it’s boring. Even if I played a three-hour set of Asian beats ranging from ambient to the dancefloor, then I would still think it’s the same sound. That’s why I released ‘Small World’ for Stoned Asia Music, to reap the benefits of my live sound as it stands today."With this said, it is another project that Pathaan thinks will really take him to the place he wants to be. Having reached an agreement with ‘Music For Dreams’ - to release a compilation entitled ‘Pathaan’s Global Rotation’. The name stems from his residency in New York up until September 11th, and the plan is to tour the album with a view to taking up a new residency in New York on a monthly basis. Watch this space...