Ankit Kochar is excited. Excited for the future of dance music in India and excited to be striking out into European waters with his events brand Ankytrixx and Friends Entertainment (AFE). Decoded Magazine has decided to team up with AFE during the Amsterdam Dance Event, supporting not only Ankit’s brand but also two nights of incredible music which bridge the gap between the Netherlands and India. “The underground scene in India has taken off on a rocket! World class gigs, globally acclaimed artists, electrifying clubs, and futuristic clubbers,” He tells me via Skype. Decoded met Ankit (aka Ankytrixx) in person during the summer in Amsterdam when he visited his good friend and business partner Jayzo. “I met Jayzo a couple of years back in Amsterdam, outside SugarFactory manning the gate as it was his night – Excess: The Movement. He greeted me with the biggest smile on his face, and at that very moment, I realised this guy is like us: open, free and overtly caring about people around him.” It’s that mentality that’s taken Ankit from his native India to the epicentre of global dance music – ADE.
Ankit is no stranger to the scene. Having already built up a very rewarding career as a DJ, he’s chosen to move forward with a clubbing brand as large as his vision for the Indian dance scene! “Promotions in India are based on your relationship with people. You may the world no 1, but if you don’t have the basic morals correct, it can totally go haywire. At least that’s what I’ve learnt in my tenure in this industry here in this incredible country.” He says, “Let me give an example here of our Festival in Goa in December – Ctrl Alt Dance – A 3 days open air all underground, pure home-grown Indian talent powered festival. you will not believe it but it took me 12 days in the first edition in 2014, from the inception of the thought to getting the stage ready! The power of people and their love towards the artist made this possible. It turned out to be a huge success.”
Ankit, Vinay Khilnani – head of programming and Natasha Amir, a communications expert (whom Ankit tells me are his “closest friends and champions of the trade”) have revolutionised the Indian music scene, and their series of branded nights: Deep in Dance, Pure, CTRL ROOM & Sleepless which showcase an impeccable vision and sense of creativity have quickly brought AFE into the upper echelons of global promotion. Their flagship CTRL ALT DANCE festival has continued to break boundaries and has invited some of the best local talent to make their presence felt amongst a lively audience. Here in the Netherlands, Ankit is joined by Jayzo, whose night Excess: The Movement is also making a good name for itself. Jayzo is similarly elated for the potential of their partnership:
“I’m beyond excited about our Excess After Hours party at Air Amsterdam! With Guy Mantzur, Chicola, ME & her and Stephan Barnem, we have a line up I’m very happy about. Ravers in Amsterdam are constantly looking for after parties, it just doesn’t stop. We will provide them a quality one on Saturday morning at one of the best clubs in Amsterdam.
Besides that, there is also the Sleepless party at Cinema Club on Thursday night. The idea of the concept was born last year during ADE. We had to fill in on Sunday night at Cinema, because a label cancelled their showcase. We thought; on the Sunday night of ADE people will be exhausted and only the sleepless will continue, so let’s call it Sleepless! Ankytrixx took the concept to India and it became huge there, becoming one of the leading concepts of AFE.” – Jayzo
Though born in disparate parts of the world, it’s interesting to see how similar the two promoters actually are. “I don’t notice a big cultural difference.” Jayzo explains over coffee, “We have the same mindset and I think that is what got us to working together in the first place. I was born in Suriname, from Indian roots.” Jay continues, “Through my childhood, I was influenced by a lot of different kinds of music; Caribbean, Indian, Dutch, Hip-hop, you name it. But from the moment I heard electronic music (Trance and Progressive back then) I stuck to it and I’m glad I did.” I ask him about the challenges of working together and with typically Dutch coolness, he waves me off saying, “I don’t see many challenges. We are in contact all the time, despite the time difference.”
Leaning forward, pensive for just a moment, “One thing I’ve learned about promoters in India is that they don’t need much time to announce and then promote a party. In Amsterdam it’s different. You will need at least a month of promotion. So the planning is something we are working more intensively on.” Yet nothing seems to phase these plucky young entrepreneurs and challenges become merely a lump in the road. Bonded by the love of the music and a mutual respect much more matured than you first realise, Ankit believes Jayzo is something of a soulmate; a brother in arms:
“The happiest accident or rather surprise is the fact that I found someone on the other side of the planet who believes in compassion & kindness. We both ride on the power of people, our friends and underground music families who have backed us up unconditionally over a period of time. There is an immense show of love on both sides from the friends we met on the dance floor! I always used to think maybe we Indians are overtly emotional but then, I found a crazy crew in Amsterdam courtesy of Jayzo, who are as connected and pure to each other, as we are here.” – Ankit Kochar
The future is indeed very bright for these two brands, who very clearly show that the sum of their parts adds up to a much richer musical whole. Talking about his vision for AFE, Ankit is buoyant, “We would want to bring together as many people as possible – the bigger the family, the bigger the love. And love take you everywhere!” My advice is very simple, if you want to hear some great music with great production and a positive attitude, you can do far worse than head to an AFE event this ADE. You never know who you’ll meet and where that friendship will take you, and if Ankit and Jayzo are anything to go by, an open heart can lead to many happy memories.