Restaurateur By Day And DJ By Night: Exploring DJ Nanok’s Dual Life

He will play at Glocal Junction this weekend as part of Baleno Wicked Weekends


Jai Vaswani aka DJ Nanok has been living a dual life for the past few years. He started out as a DJ at the age of 15 but over the last four and a half years, he has also managed to build a small empire of sorts with his chain The J that sells French fries and milkshakes. Here’s getting to know the man behind the food franchise and the musician behind the hot new single Lay You Down featuring Anushka Manchanda and Monica Dogra in what is likely the most provocatively gay music video to ever be shot in India.

How did The J come about?

It was just an idea initially. I started working on the concept about four and a half years ago. The menu kept changing for a while before I decided to go with French fries and milkshakes for The J. We’ve seen great success with the chain so far and are expanding our reach quite aggressively by opening more outlets in Mumbai and expanding to Pune.

What do you eat when you play at different venues?

Usually, my policy is to get in, play my set and get out whenever I play. I don’t sit down and eat when I’m playing. The only exception is if the venue has a great selection of sushi. Then I sit down and enjoy the dish. Apart from that, I also like the menu at Escobar and the Social chain of restaurants.

How did your DJ name Nanok come about?

The real reason is that Nanok was the first password I always used when I first got access to Internet during the days when we connected via dial-up. I was also into fitness and WWE and I liked a character called Konan from that time so I just inversed his name and started using it. When I had to exchange a piece of music on a website later, I didn’t think twice before using Nanok as my username and the name has stuck ever since.

wicked weekends baleno dj nanok

How was the experience of working on Lay You Down?

Lay You Down was a strategic decision for me to get into the style of music production that I am most comfortable with. Going forward, I want to create English and Hindi songs with my brand of R’n’B and pop music. Besides, I know Anushka Manchanda and Monica Dogra very well so it was a great experience shooting the video with them. With Lay You Down, I have successfully laid down the groundwork for my future music.

What are your thoughts on the clubbing scene today?

There has been a sea change in listening attitudes from the time I started playing as a DJ. The biggest change has been in the indie music space. An entire new leg of performing artistes and producers have come into the picture, giving exposure to more musicians from across the country. The rise of musical festivals, especially NH 7, and companies like OML, with whom I signed up and have grown professionally, is proof of the evolved musical scene today.

What can patrons expect from your show at Baleno Wicked Weekends?

I never plan my sets beforehand. I like to catch the vibe at each venue and ensure that patrons enjoy the music I’m playing for them. I mainly play hip-hop and pop music that people are familiar with. My job is to make sure that the energy of the place is always up and I can guarantee a good time to anyone who shows up.

Baleno Wicked Weekends returns to Mumbai on March 25 for an edition that features the dancefloor-friendly stylings of DJ and producer, Nanok who will perform in Mumbai at Glocal Junction, Worli on March 25, 2017


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