You can do the math, it all adds up. In less than three years, Sartek has added 130,000 Facebook fans. He DJs over 100 shows to packed, sweaty crowds. And he’s opened for global superstars like Armin Van Buuren, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso.
None of this happens if Sartek hadn’t spotted a funky flyer for Dutch DJ Ferry Corsten’s gig in 2007. He had finished his exams... And when Sartek chose to attend the event, his life changed. The melodic patterns, the heavy bass, and the happy vibes converted the Commerce graduate into an EDM fan boy. He returned home that night and downloaded all the music he could find online. He dug deeper to know more. Two years later, he enrolled into a music production course.
Meanwhile, Sartek still finds differences in balance sheets, juggling it with his production career. “I hail from a family of chartered accountants,” he says. “So it was my father’s choice to add one more mango in the basket. He believed that DJing will always be a part-time job for private gatherings and occasions.” It’s only when Sartek clears his stage two CA exams in 2009 that he thinks there are better things in life than getting creative with numbers. He says: “I wanted to work on something that challenges me to be a better version of myself.”
Sartek takes four years to hone his craft. He records and discards countless drafts and demos. And then, his fortune turns. Legendary Dutch DJ Tiesto picks up one of Sartek’s tracks for Magik Muzik imprint in 2013. His gigging career also goes off. He DJs at Hyderabad’s Park Hotel, plays a stellar set for trance stalwart First State. There’s no looking back. A year after, French EDM pioneer David Guetta plays Sartek’s ‘Dopamine’ track on three different episodes of his radio shows in December.
The music touches fans across India, it also reaches Sartek’s father. “He saw me DJ at Talkatora stadium in Delhi for Sunburn Campus in March 2014,” Sartek recounts. “He had tears in his eyes when fans gathered around the car to click pictures with me.” Tragically, Sartek’s father passes away in an accident a day before his son performs his first international gig. Sartek cancels that show but he’s been on a roll ever since.
His tours take him from small towns to stadiums in Mumbai. He now has no time to finish his chartered accountancy. He’s convinced there’s no need to either. He’s the only Indian to have a track signed to EDM don Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings label. He’s slated to perform internationally in Amsterdam and Bali this year. He’s also collaborating on new tracks with upcoming Indian producers who find it tough to release tunes. “I hope the scene grows through this and motivates others to get into the dance music industry,” he says.
Sartek isn’t content with being on top the game. He wants others to join him there. He’s planned a radio show, Back to the Future where he’ll pick one track each month from Indian producers. They’ll be featured on the podcast and benefit from the exposure. “When I started, I had a hard time getting my music across to people,” he says. He’s going to change that for the next generations. It’s a decision in line with his life’s mission statement, ‘If talent is the vehicle, then passion is the fuel’. “My journey’s involved patience, hard work and struggle,” he says. “What keeps me going is the passion and the belief in myself.”
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