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Interviews |  29 Mar 2016 17:18 |  By RnMTeam

It's not easy to perform with Rahman: Pixadoo founder & director VJ Kaycee

MUMBAI: He may have been a college dropout and a failed DJ, but today he is one of the most established names in the visual arts and stage designing sector. We are talking about Pixadoo founder and director VJ Kaycee.

The road to success hasn’t been an easy one for this successful man who started as a young boy with lots of love for music. Luck did not favour him at first, but his hard work and perseverance brought him where he is today.

In conversation with, VJ Kaycee talks about his journey and more. Excerpts.

Tell us a bit about your journey? 

It started with me dropping out of college. I was studying mechanical engineering at that time. After college, I got busy doing events and promotions to make some money. During this time, I fell in love with DJing. After doing DJing and events simultaneously, I took a leap of faith and became a full-time DJ.  

That's where things got tough?

Yes, my timing of foraying into DJing was wrong. I jumped into DJing around a time when the government decided on banning dance in places where alcohol was served, in Bengaluru. So, every DJ was out of work. Things got very difficult for me as I did not belong to a well to do family.  This is also when I started thinking about other options for survival. So, I started playing Bollywood songs. Started taking up corporate events. This went on for a long time as the music-alcohol ban continued for a good two and a half, three years.

Why didn’t you move to another city?

I was finding it hard to survive in my own city. So, there was no question of moving out. I did not have any money. There were days when I did not have money for food and water.

When did the change from DJing to VJing happen?

I had learnt graphic designing during my engineering days. So, I started designing posters for people and started making some money during my struggle. That helped me survive. This is when I stumbled upon VJing. I got to know about people making graphics for singers. During this time, I also happened to attend one of the biggest music festivals of my life back then – Big Chill, Goa. At this music festival, I came across VJs. They were doing something on the screen that went with the music. This is what hit me. I felt like giving it a shot. Moreover, I was struggling as a DJ. So, I did not mind jumping into a profession with no competition. There was hardly anybody into VJing back then.

So, I invested in a couple of things. First of all, I begged my dad to buy me equipment that cost Rs 38,000. After three weeks of convincing, he bought me the equipment. And I started working towards VJing.

When and how did you bag your first gig?

My first gig was in this club in Bengaluru called ‘Spin’ with DJ Chetas. He gave me an opportunity to do visuals for him.  They told me that I would either get a projector or a plasma TV for the visuals. I did not mind either or anything for that matter for I just wanted a platform. So, we did our first gig and it went great. After two days we were to have our final gig. It was a big deal for me but that very morning I got a call from Chetas saying that the club had shut down. I couldn’t believe it. After that, it took me one and a half months to get my next gig. I was struggling.

When did things get better?

A friend from Dubai knew Nikhil Chinapa well. He used to help Nikhil with his gigs in Dubai. So, when he got to know about me trying VJing, he decided on introducing me to Nikhil.

Nikhil used to do something called as 'Submerge Sundays' in Bangalore. Thus, he offered me to showcase my visual talent there. I reached the venue to only learn about DJ Pearl playing there. I am a huge Pearl fan.  So, the news made me too nervous but Nikhil asked me to be myself. I did what I knew. After the gig , Pearl came up to me and said ‘great work.’

I did not hear anything from Nikhil post that gig. However, after a month, he called me to inform that they were doing some more 'Submerge Sundays and they wanted me to be a part of it. So, I did a few gigs for ‘Submerge Sundays’ and then Nikhil asked me to be a part of a music festival in Goa. I did not know much about this festival but, then I got there and that was my first Sunburn.

How did Supersonic happen?

I worked on Sunburn till Nikhil was a part of it. When he started Supersonic, I tagged along. Nikhil has been a great mentor and friend. He inspires and pushes me to limits. At times, he is ridiculous in his demands. He is ridiculous because he wants the best and he wants you to be the best. It’s been a great time and relationship with him. There have been times when things have not worked out but overall it’s just been an amazing journey.

You also do visuals for AR Rahman. How did it all begin?

My friend does AR Rahman gigs. When he started getting those gigs, he roped me in. It’s not easy to perform with Rahman. He is very demanding. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the back end. We get a scratch of the songs and the stage map. We recreate it in a 3D environment. Then we have to make note of things like the colour scheme of the stage, storyboard, background dancers, etc.  After putting all of it together,  we create something.

There are times when we do not even get the tracks in time. The man is super busy. On such occasions, we work day in and day night. We make close to 40 tracks and it’s not a joke. There are times when we have to rework on the visuals because certain tracks are changed overnight. That is how challenging and demanding it is to work for Rahman.