Bisaria was this year's winner of CAB's annual DJ Competition, a competition where some of the talented DJs at the school gather in UC 1st for a chance of a lifetime, the opportunity to open up for Donaroo's big headliners! Bisaria was this year's winner (and he also won two years ago when we had Cold War Kids and Alunageorge). Find out all about him below from juggling a 4+1 program in Developmental Economics, performing in different venues around the city, playing the saxophone, his passion for theater and teaching it, and his rituals before a show like CVS and tacos.
Name, Year in School, Major?
Aniruddh 'Ani' Bisaria, Senior, Developmental Economics (4+1)
How did you choose your DJ name? (I know it's your last name, is there a reason you chose that?)
I actually came into USF with a different DJ name before I went by BISARIA. Back in high school when I started making mashups, I went by the name of Elektrisk, it means electric in Swedish. My first small fanbase were like 20 kids at a high school in Gavle, Sweden. They found me on Soundcloud. So when I was deciding on a name, my friends and I entered random words related to EDM into the Swedish category on Google Translate. Silly, I know - but hey, we were 15. I made the switch over to my last name, BISARIA, last year once I started making original music I was more proud of, and when those specific tracks led to bigger bookings.
How long have you been DJing?
7 years of DJ'ing. 4 years of producing.
What genres do you play?
Depends on the type of gig. If its a house party or if I’m hired for a frat/srat social, then it'll just be a mix of some popular hip-hop and mainstream electronic music. If I'm playing a ticketed show or opening for someone, I stick to the genre which I produce, Future Bass & Trap.
What is it like juggling school, DJing, and other activities and leisure?
It gets pretty tiring sometimes. I’ve had a hefty course load these past few semesters since I started taking grad classes, and I also teach theatre to elementary school kids a few times a week. Gigs usually require doing events late into the night, and often times they happen during the week.
Where are you originally from?
Boca Raton, Florida. Ariana Grande was my neighbor.
How has San Francisco impacted your music?
It’s been incredible for making connections. Luckily, there aren’t too many other DJ’s in the Bay Area who stick solely to the genre of Future Bass. This has allowed me to stand out and get bookings as an opening act when big artists from that scene come to town.
What got you into DJing?
The first time I heard “In For the Kill (Skrillex Remix)” circa 2010 - I swiped it off LimeWire and had it on repeat for days. I was fascinated and decided I wanted to be a part of how it was made. Started by making mashups using pop song vocals and electronic music. Then I began to try and make the tracks myself (this was a slow and painful process).
What kind of places have you played sets in before?
I've been lucky enough to play at a few of the major venues here in SF - The Independent, 1015 Folsom, The Warfield, etc. I've also performed at festivals like NoisePop and Northern Nights Music Festival. It's important to stress that those venues and festivals arrived for me only after years of playing house-gigs and shady bars where you get paid in drink tickets.
Do you have any musicians that have inspired you?
Mr. Carmack, DjembaDjemba, Flume, Ekali, Baauer. They all pioneered their own sub-genres within electronic music.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve received about your music career?
Have a backup plan. Try not to be an asshole. Figured out the first one, working on the second.
How do you prepare yourself to perform when going into a venue? (Rituals, warm ups, get out nerves, etc)
Usually my prep for a big show starts with a google search for what time CVS closes because I always lose my silicone earplugs and need to get more. I get to soundcheck about an hour before the venue opens, then try to make friends with the bouncers so I can get more friends in for free. Then I usually go grab a bite to eat, usually tacos. Head back to the venue about 45 mins before my set and review my tracklist a few times.
You mentioned tacos before shows, any particular place where you like to get them?
How have your friends been along this journey?
My friends are very supportive. Always have been.
Where do you hope DJing will take you after you graduate?
I have one more year of grad school, but after that I want to get picked up as a support artist on a tour. I haven’t decided on this being my full-time career, I’m just having fun with it right now and things are looking up.
Is there any particular artists you would like to go on tour with?
Quix or Ekali would be awesome!
You were also a winner two years ago, what was it like performing at Donaroo?
It was kind of crazy. It was the first time a lot my friends saw me perform, and I went really heavy with the track selection. I had a great time and so did the crowd, but the indie-rock band that followed me was not happy with how much I had hyped the crowd on EDM bangers.
What do you look forward to most about performing at Donaroo 2018?
I’m excited but also nervous, it’s the first time my friends will see me play saxophone over a DJ set. I’ve also got some musician friends of mine who will be making guest performances during my set.
The Saxophone was great in your set during the DJ Competition, how did that element become a part of your sets?
I've been playing alto-saxophone since I was 12. I knew I needed to do something different as a DJ to get noticed by bookers - so I started merging sax into my sets.
Besides music, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
I’m on an improv team on campus called Awkward Silence. Quick shameless plug, our first show of the semester is Friday, Feb 23rd in Cowell 107 at 9pm - its free!
Do you have any words of wisdom for other student DJs?
Obviously everyone is worried about how they are perceived socially, its part of human nature and it becomes more important when you're trying to sell something, in this case it's your original music or DJ service. Often when you tell people that you’re a DJ, they’ll mock you, and sometimes you’ll scream dumb shit into the mic to deserve it. It took me a while to figure out how to be taken seriously, and sometimes I still struggle with that; but if you make the choice to put on a show for people, the way you're perceived outside that performance couldn't matter less. Basically, just believe in your product above everything else and commit entirely to it. It’s important to listen to criticism, study your market, and learn from other artists - but again, commit fully to what you're doing.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Highly recommend the new Netflix show Mindhunter. It's about two FBI officers who coined the term 'serial killer' and the interviews with criminals that got them there.
Find him on social media, soundcloud, and more!
Spotify (just posted a new playlist a few days ago):
Catch BISARIA (along with Tinashe, Aminé, and VarCity at Donaroo March 3rd in the Sobrato Center in War Memorial Gym! Show 7pm to 10pm and doors open at 6:30! Tickets are on sale on our site for just $10 right now!)