A Chicago DJ, Producer, and remixer who first came to people’s attention with hip-hop and Bollywood remixes has become an exciting addition to the dance music scene. Now, SAI (aboywithabag) has excited his fans with news of a new summer dance mix featuring his new single called ‘Dance With Me’.
We sat down with SAI (aboywithabag) to talk about his music journey. Please note, this interview is free to re-produce
- SAI, you have been described as one of the most exciting musical influencers of recent times, can I ask how that makes you feel?
I’m still starting out and following my passion, so it feels amazing that I’m able to have such an influence right now. I also think that it’s more important to look at how the music makes you feel rather than how big an artist is or how much influence/followers they have. If you connect to my music and it helps you feel better or dance your heart our, that it.
- At what age did you start to become interested in music?
I started playing with a small Casio keyboard I got as a birthday gift when I was younger, probably around 1st grade or so. I was just trying to sound like the pros, but was very far from good. In school, I played the flute and by the time I finished high school, I had learned how to play the flute, piano and drums and it was soon after my sophomore year of college that I started taking electronic music production seriously after I got my sisters old macbook with garageband on it. The rest was free online tutorials, 1000s of hours of practice and I’m here. And I still have a long way to go! Very excited for the future.
- You have done lots of remixes, but what was the first remix that you did, what equipment did you use, and what age were you?
One of the first remixes I made was probably a drake a Bollywood remix. My first EP that I released in college was actually a whole album of drake and Bollywood remixes and I called it views from the 60610, a play on “the 6ix” and the zipcode I lived in at that time. It was actually partly on my laptop, but I had my sisters old laptop at that point so I used to use my college’s media lab’s computers to work on music in the library on my headphones. I finally got a better laptop.
- You are known for your Bollywood remixes, what is it about Bollywood music that gained your attention?
Well, as you now my family is originally from India and was exposed to a lot of Bollywood songs and music growing up. BTW, when I say Bollywood, I actually mean all of India, even though Bollywood just refers to the hindi language industry, yeah India has a ton of languages. Anyway, I appreciated the music and was always intrigued on how I can blend my American and Indian side in my art and that’s what first inspired my remixes. Over time, I wanted to create my own original music, and to still keep the Bollywood influence, I occasionally bring in ideas and melodies from that side of the world and blend it with modern dance music. I have a few tracks coming up that are influenced by A. R. Rahman and Anirudh Ravichander classics mixed in with a underground house vibe like FISHER or Chris Lake. Look out for those!
- Who has been your influence in the music world and why?
I have many and they change all the time. I would say that it ranges from Claude VonStroke to Pritam. People are surprised, but sometimes I get inspired by a lot of the songs I used to hear when I was at the temple when my parents growing up and Shazam is my best friend along with voicenotes app on my phone. I record a song I hear or hum a tune and later use them during a studio session to make something new.
- If you could join forces with any producer from around the world who would it be and why?
One day, I hope to make music with Idris Elba and Shreya Ghoshal. I really think there’s something about her voice that can be used as an amazing sample for some great global dance music.
- Your new track Dance With Me has gained a huge amount of attention, can you tell me more about the track?
I was at Coachella with a few friends this year and I missed Chris Lake’s set at the Yuma tent but was able to catch some great artists at the Sahara stage. The crowd, the vibe, it was all just so happy, and everyone was dancing like no one was watching. Kinda thought of the song name then, and later had a bassline, and after a few months, it evolved into Dance With Me. It’s simple, and the catchy bassline is what I really love about that track.
- What has been your biggest achievement since you blasted on to the music scene?
Playing at some amazing rooftops in Chicago with a greet view and my fans. It’s really a blessing and one of my friends Courtney reminded me the other day, It’s not about your numbers o social media or streaming services. It’s about the fans that enjoy my music and love my live sets. So, that’s what I’m on right now and my next achievement is hopefully another set where everyone has a great time and comes back for another great set.
- What advice would you give to young people wishing to crave a career in the music world?
Don’t wait. Go find tutorials. There’s stuff on YouTube, reddit groups, your friends who know a little here and there. Ask around. Use the software you have for free on your computer. Or go to your school’s library if they have a media lab. A lot of folks try to sell you stuff you don’t need when you’re starting out. Skip all that and learn on your own. If you want gigs, go to that bar, go to that club, get to know the manager and ask them how you can play. Give more than you get. Always. Be personable, and genuine, I’ve seen that go a long way. Most of all, do it for the music, the rest will probably come later, but if you focus on the rest, you won’t make it far.
- Do you have any news to share with your fans?
Check out my Instagram at @aboywithabag or website aboywithabag.com for tour tickets and free rsvp to my next shows.