One cursory glance at Ayesha Chugh and you’d instantly peg her for a musician, painter, designer or any other artistically inclined busy body. And while you’d be right, the up and coming Washington DC-based DJ who has turned tables at Songbyrd and Flash, has an interesting tale to tell. “I actually moved to Washington about six years ago to get myself a degree in democratisation from Georgetown University. I then worked for two years as a democracy assistant, which essentially means helping countries that are attempting to be democratic, in their endeavours. It was during this time that I started playing at friends’ parties, just for fun. I soon got invited to play at small art openings and in no time it snowballed into something much bigger and time consuming. So I gave up my day job and took to DJing full-time,” reveals the Bengalurean, who is currently visiting the city for a bit of home time.
With a shock of shoulder length black and blonde hair and a funky sartorial outlook, this stunning young lady from Bengaluru started playing full time in June 2015 and has already garnered attention from various quarters. A regular at Washington’s many nightclubs, her biggest gig so far, she tells us was the Trillectro music festival. “There was a huge buzz around it and it was written about by all the newspapers and magazines in DC. I was playing alongside some of the biggest acts in the country and it was truly a wonderful experience,” recalls Chugh, whose parents live between Bengaluru and Goa.
A cocktail of genres ranging from hip-hop and house to jazz, dancehall and R&B, her sound is experimental, which is what has resonated with her fans. “I was just in Goa for three weeks. I didn’t play any gigs but had a taste of the nightlife there. I really don’t see myself fitting into the music scene there. But when I came to Bengaluru, I realised I definitely have a place here because of the variety of genres and influences the city has,” says the DJ, whose stage name is Ayes Cold.
While music is her life, with influences including Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and The Doors, Chugh’s other interests include running and reading “Of late, I’ve been veering towards spiritual books. I loved this one called The Art of Stillness: Adventures of Going Nowhere by Pico Iyer. DJ-ing has opened my mind to other ways of living and being,” she explains.
While she’s heading back to America today, Ayes Cold will be back in the city in August and is hoping to play a few gigs while she’s here. In the meantime, she’s got her hands full with a tour covering New York, Philadelphia and Boston alongside Kiran Gandhi, the ex-drummer of MIA and a set at art festival, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas next month....