Interview with Jalebee Cartel

November 1, 2011
Shreta Arora: Who is Jalebee Cartel? What is Jalebee Cartel?
Arjun: Jalabee Cartel is an institution of 4 independent DJs who wanted to try, experiment and create something moving and different. Ashwin, G-Force, Ash and I came together in 2001 to play live electronic music and to produce music. Someone we once met asked us to call our act by a name. I spontaneously yelled, "Jalebee, that's what we are". "Cartel came later with our brainstorm sessions". "Oh, by the way I hate Jalebees, can you believe that?". (Grins and laughs)

SR: How has 2009 been music wise?
Arjun: 2009 has just flown by. It has gone in the blink of an eye. We can't keep a count. "To think of it we should. I'll tell the guys when I get back" (laughs naughtily). But yes, it's been one hell of a year. We have already done 87 gigs and are booked till the year end. We are completely sold out and as hectic it may be we love it. We love doing what we do and want to keep doing it.

SR: Your latest EP -Heat Wave is a sensational hit...tell us something about it.
Ajun: Yes! We can see it happening and it's amazing to see so many people appreciate what you create. "Heat Wave" is a single track released by a German label called Elektro Tribe. It has been released only in Europe so far. We release roughly around eight to ten singles a year and this is one of them. The exciting bit is that we intend on playing it at Sunburn 2009.

SR: Yes yes...let's talk about the sunburn experience.
Arjun: Sunburn is an amazing platform for electronic music in India. First of its kind in India sunburn is fun, educative and informative. We played last year and it was packed with energy. We could feel the adrenaline. Our album ‘Regathering‘ which is a compilation of some of our old tracks was sold in an instant. We basically did the album to see the response and to our amazement all the 5000 copies were gone, finished. This year we will be headlining one of the days which is an honor cause we will be the only Indian act to headline for the festival. We are very very excited and look forward to it.

SR: ‘One Point Nothing'... we definitely want to know about it.
Arjun: ‘One Point Nothing‘ released on March 25th this year. It was a risk, an adventure. The album is not only released on CDs but also on pen drives. We wanted to experiment you know.

Prior to this we have just released our singles here and all the other albums have been released abroad. We are shocked and thrilled at the same time. The response has motivated us to do more and more stuff here.

My favorite track from the album is "Apartment 88". It was my first apartment that I moved to. (gets nostalgic)

SR: What would you say about talent in India? How do you think India is reacting and responding to the various genres of music?
Arjun: Almost 97 percent of music in India is Bollywood. That amount of population listens to Bollywood music without a doubt. Thus, the sales and production for the other genres are slow. However, in the past few years the scenario has been changing. A sound becomes main stream and people take it to the next level.

Electronic music for instance has become more and more popular. More and more people are travelling and music simply spreads. This is how other genres besides electronic music are gaining a stage for themselves. "It's a motivation to see electronic music rise in India"

SR: Who is a DJ? What according to you does this term signify? What does it mean to Jalebee Cartel?
Arjun: It's all about music, music and more music. It is 50 percent education for the crowd and 50 percent to make them enjoy. To us... "We love the music we play" (biiiig smile)

SR: In your journey of music and doing gigs here there and everywhere any crazy incidents that you can remember? Something to share and remember?
Arjun: Ha-ha! (Sips the beer, looks around and thinks). This one time we did a massive tour for the album in Pune. There were these kids who are our huge fans. One of them wanted my autograph and neither of us could find a pen. So he tells me to burn his t-shirt with his cigarette. Well... I did.

Oh! Another funny one is in Hyderabad. This woman (girl rather) comes up to me and asks for an autograph on her passport. I refused asking her why would she want it on her passport. Her answer "I want it forever". Her boyfriend insisted I sign it on her passport saying she's mad about us. Well...I did (laughs sheepishly).

SR: Your advice to the rising musicians...
Arjun: Be passionate about what you do. It's not all glamour and parties but much much more.

You have to keep outdoing yourself in order to succeed. There are millions of musicians out there and if you want to stand out, "you have to create a new sound everyday".

Watch out for these guys at Sunburn 2009!

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