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Praktyczna Pani was born into a family of musicians; her grandmother a pianist, her father a drummer and her mother and sister guitarists. However, Ms Pani didn’t join the profession until much later, leaving a regular job to become a self-taught DJ. Now, 13 years later, there is no looking back for her and she says she will “be a DJ as long as I live”. Dawn caught up with her in Islamabad and discussed her journey.

Q: How did you get started in music?

A: I have a Masters degree in Finance and Management and was employed on a regular 9 to 5 job in a private company. Then, one day, I thought this was very boring. I needed to do something which excites me; something creative, something which gives energy, and then I started learning about music. I got into this profession at the age of 24 and have been a DJ since then.

My first CD was released in 2010. Since it is a self-taught profession, I had to struggle a lot. I learnt how to scratch, how to mix, sat for hours on YouTube watching tutorials for almost first three years to learn and learn more. Finally I got my first major break after my CD, titled Real Match Mix, was launched.

Till date, I consider my first CD as my favourite because I had zero experience mixing tapes. I didn’t know the rules; I had to figure out everything myself after putting in a lot of effort. So I mixed different songs and came out with 60 minutes of a mix with hip-hop, old school and classical. When this CD was released it changed my life altogether. Contracts, offers and invites started pouring in from clubs and big companies.

Q: Is it difficult to be a female DJ in Poland?

A: On the contrary, it was easier for me because in Poland I was never taken as a competitor, because I never wanted to be a DJ like men. Also, I believe that if you put your heart and soul into something, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. The public will love you and accept you for what you give them, not whose giving it. I never entered this profession with a male or female DJ’s challenges in mind. I wanted to be a DJ for myself, not for competition or be getting inspired by someone famous. I was putting in 100pc and I didn’t want to be a failure.

Q: How do you differentiate your music depending on your audience?

A: It was hard for me in the beginning as I was only playing for younger crowds, for initially three to four years.Then I thought that I was limiting myself and it would affect me professionally as well as financially and that my career would be over soon. So I started to struggle more and my persistence to do better was the key to my courage. I will not say it was easy, but step by step things started to get better. Now I play for big companies, hipsters’ parties, younger crowds and for those music lovers who know the essence of music and are very picky. It took me 13 years to come to this stage.

Q: How strong is music scene in Poland?

A: It has come of age. Some years back it was pretty inactive but now it’s emerging. We have younger performers because the audience is very young. Rap music is very popular in Poland. I will be releasing two CDs this year with my vocals and lyrics. I do not want to be a called rapper because I am not. It’s just that I am telling stories in a lyrical way.

In Warsaw clubs have become too commercial; they want volume from DJs, not quality. When I get tired of playing on their demands, I organise my own events to quench my thirst for good music. I create my own parties with old school music.

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2019