17 tips for DJing at Burning Man

I sadly won’t make it out to the playa this year, but I put together a long list of tips for DJing at Burning Man. Hopefully some of this lands with you before you share your music.

1. Try not to make Burning Man about DJing or your career (also remember, Burning Man is “supposed” to be anti-commercial). It’s hard with so much opportunity abound, and to be fair, I’ll admit Burning Man is where I truly honed my craft and made a name for myself…But, I’ve regularly made the mistake of overplaying.

Sorry, your friends don’t want to see you play every single time. You miss out on those bonding moments, the transformation, the FUN. It can get lonely. BM has so much more to offer, enjoy it!

2. A camp/art car is gifting YOU the opportunity to play music, not the other way around. Telling people your DJ sets are your playa gift is lame. It’s like saying “I’m gifting you the opportunity to help me achieve my career goals”…Just say nothing or think of something else.

3. Shit will go wrong. Monitors won’t work, CDJs will be fussy, and power will go out (multiple times). Just be cool about it all, laugh, and chalk it up to playa chaos…Tons of people (sound techs, lighting, stage builders, etc) worked tirelessly, for free, to provide this experience for you under insane conditions, so don’t place real-world expectations on the teams.

4. If you SYNC, learn how to beatmatch. You may end up in B2B situations with DJs who don’t Rekordbox, or the sync button might fry. This goes for the real world as well (you especially don’t want your thumb up ur butt when going B2B with a vinyl DJ where you can’t rely on the comforts of the CDJ).

5. Don’t get grouchy or rigid about set times. Shit regularly runs late due to the aforementioned playa chaos. When conflict arises with another DJ, ask the host of the camp/art car to arbitrate. If they are incapacitated (which is not uncommon), then just be cool and compromise.

6. However, if some big-name DJ tries to kick you off the decks (not naming names here, but this happened to me), stand your fucking ground. This isn’t a Vegas nightclub. We’re all equals, regardless of how many bottles and tables we can sell in the commercial world.

7. You’ll have opportunities to meet really BIG DJs, and you may want to get an “in” with them. But here’s the truth…most busy touring DJs just wanna hang out, get silly, and meet fun people on the playa when they aren’t playing. Say hello, be cool, and save the industry talk for off-playa.

8. Prepare ten times more music than you are slotted to play. You never know what gigs will pop up. And your 2-hour set might become a 5-hour set…this has happened to me. Thanks to Dixon for showing up late to P Diddy’s camp. I had a blast all 5 hours 🙂

9. On that note, keep a USB stick on you at all times. I keep mine on a necklace (I know some think this looks ridiculous or like a dick swing, but in my book, practicality wins). They are very easy to lose.

This also reminds me of a great spontaneous moment I had with Patrice Bäumel years back. Near the end of the week, we just traded USB sticks. Unexpected moment, and I had a huge step function in my music collection+knowledge. Be open, and aim for those!

10. Relatedly, bring 2-3 extra copies of your USB stick. Keep at least 1 extra on hand with you (you don’t know if the CDJs will be linked!), and keep the rest packed safely at camp.

11. Write down/print all your gigs with set times and camp locations (and optionally camp contact phone #’s if you’re into phones on the playa) on multiple pieces of paper stored in various places. Put it in a waterproof plastic sleeve (or laminate it, if you’re an uber-nerd)…It’s really easy to lose track of time. Also, there’s a high probability your phone battery will die, so in general, don’t keep any critical information stored in digital form only.

12. Assume any gear you bring to the playa WILL GET DESTROYED. I am a Traktor DJ in the real world, but I don’t want my computer to get mutilated, so I mostly just play off USB at burning man. Also, laptops overheat, so be careful during daytime gigs.

13. Include all those weird, oddball tracks that you never get to play at clubs in a special folder. Shit gets wacky out there, people are way more open-minded to musical risks. Go for it…seriously!!

14. Unpopular/old-school opinion here. In my opinion, posting a flyer with all your gigs is lame (remember, non-commodification/commercialization). If someone wants to see you, they’ll ask you directly or check the Rock Star Librarian.

15. Bring your ID and a cup to your gigs. I usually bring a few beers for myself too. It’s best to enter playa situations NOT expecting special treatment. Be as low maintenance as possible.

16. Before you play, take a minute to ask around and find the closest place to pee – as mentioned, your 2-hour set may become a 5-hour set. I have a hilarious story based on personal experience that got quite gross/messy. You can ask me about it in person sometime.

17. Lastly…really….truly…HAVE FUN. Easier said than done in many cases with so much chaos and opportunity abound, but just enjoy the ride, and laugh as much as possible.

Discord Demo Day 013 – atish & Enamour

I was delighted to welcome Enamour as the guest host on the latest instalment of Discord Demo Day. He has been on fire these last couple years with releases on Last Night On Earth, Einmusika Recordings, Get Physical Music, Anjunadeep, and many other top labels. If you’ve caught any of my recent sets, you’ve definitely heard his tunes, plus he’s an all around thoughtful guy, so I was vvery happy to have him lend his ear to all of us. Hope you enjoyed it!

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

New vinyl EP ‘Instant Transmission’ out now on Manjumasi

I have some new music out on vinyl this week. It’s a collaborative EP with Vridian, this time on Mark Slee and my’s Manjumasi imprint.

While Vir and I only met in person once (which was a hello/handshake at my OddBird Theatre gig in New Delhi back in 2017) we’ve had a close musical connection as he’d released 2 killer forward-thinking EPs on Manjumasi. We’ve been chatting over the years sharing music and musings on life in general. At the start of the pandemic, I had a lot of musical drafts, but I wanted to push them to the next level in terms of edginess and sophistication, so I sent a few tunes his way to see if he was inspired. He bounced back with some outstanding ideas, and we tirelessly worked on molding these lumps of clay into a lump of wax.

Artistically and personally, it’s been an absolute pleasure working with Vir and building our relationship – it took us two years to fully understand each other’s approach + figuring out when to compromise and when to veto, so I see this EP as the first chapter in a story that’s yet to be written.

I’m proud of our final product and floored by the absolute stormer remix from Christopher Ledger, another artist whose music is another dimension beyond the rest of the pack.

This is currently a vinyl-exclusive release, so check the link here if you’d like to own and support the music in its physical form!

A conversation w/ Atish and club booker (Peter Blick of Public Works/Walter Where?house)

The Office Hours Industry series continued this month with a guest appearance from respected club manager, promoter, and event organizer Peter Blick. Peter has been at the helm of nightlife scenes in San Francisco, Denver and Phoenix. I’ve worked with him many times, growing my presence in these cities at the likes of Public Works and Walter Where?House as well as through the Atish All Night series in SF and Denver.

Peter and I dug into how the world of promotion and event organisation in the electronic music world really works and what it is that promoters/bookers are looking for in emerging talent.

For more info on my Artist Mentorship Program visit:

Discord Demo Day 012 – atish & Anja Schneider

It was very special to welcome Anja Schneider as my guest on the most recent Discord Demo Day. She has had a massive impact on the international underground scene and on my own personal musical path over the last two decades. She’s worn many hats over the years as a DJ, producer, label boss (of Mobilee Records and now Sous Music), and business builder, so it was great to have her join me on the stream. Hope you enjoy!

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

Discord Demo Day 011 – atish & Eelke Kleijn

I was thrilled to welcome Eelke Kleijn as my guest host for the March edition of Discord Demo Day. Eelke is an industry veteran, having released music since 2006. I got turned onto him back in 2013 and have been closely following his journey ever since.

Over the years, he’s released music on respected imprints such as Spinnin’, Suara, Toolroom, Einmusika, and Balance, but he has also a deep catalog on his own prestigious project, DAYSlikeNIGHTS.

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

Discord Demo Day 010 – atish & Love over Entropy

Love over Entropy is one of those “producer’s producers.” Not everybody may know his name, but those who do have mad respect for his work spanning prestigious labels such as Cocoon, Endless, Lossless, Sohaso, and others. Beyond that, he’s done a couple stellar remixes for Manjumasi, and he’s an all around lovely and pleasant human, so I was very happy to have him lend his ears on February’s stream. Enjoy!

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

A Conversation with Atish and a House/Techno Booking Agent (Gunita Nagpaul of listed Bookings)

I sat down with Gunita Nagpaul, head booking agent of Listed Bookings, and we discussed some of the most common questions around the bookings side of the industry: How do I get gigs outside my home town? How can I get a booking agent? How can a booking agent help move my career forward? And many others…

This conversation is taken from my Artist Mentorship program. More info on the program here:

Hopefully this conversation can help you on your career journey!

Discord Demo Day with guest host Mark Slee

Delighted to have welcomed my Manjumasi co-conspirator Mark Slee as my guest on the latest instalment of Discord Demo Day.

I’ve known Mark for 23 years. He is a man of many talents, but his releases on Manjumasi, Cityfox, Seven Villas, and Kindisch amongst others, speak to his sonic voice in the industry as a respected producer. Beyond the DAW, Mark and I work closely together every day on our Manjumasi label imprint, and we heavily rely on each other’s ears for reviewing and critiquing music.

Given all the projects we’ve worked on, I’ve always appreciated that Mark has a unique ability to both analyze how things fit in the big picture while simultaneously (and sometimes neurotically) being able to get deep in the details.

Hope you enjoy!

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

‘Baby Steps & Grand Gestures’ from Padre out now on Manjumasi

Happy to announce our latest Manjumasi release this week, “Baby Steps and Grand Gestures” by Padre aka Pete Lazonby. Pete sent these tracks our way back in 2020, and from the first few seconds of listening, I knew there was something special. This is our first label release with vocals, and I love that it’s music that’s really hard to stylistically put in a box and keeps me on the edge of the seat.

We released this on vinyl last year, and happy to have it available on digital with stellar remixes from Powel and Floyd Lavine.

Stream/Download here.

Discord Demo Day with guest host Jeremy Olander

I was thrilled to have Jeremy Olander as my guest host for the last Discord Demo Day of 2021. Jeremy is a melodic house and techno production wizard with his music showcased through his own Vivrant imprint, and he’s also released on prestigious labels such as Anjunadeep, Suara, and Last Night on Earth amongst others. I’m a big fan of his music, hope you enjoy watching!

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

Discord Demo Day with guest host Tim Engelhardt

Very happy to have hosted Tim Engelhardt as my guest on Discord Demo Day 007. Tim’s a bit of a wonderkid in the world of dance music having released on highly reputable labels such as Watergate, Poker Flat, Stil Vor Talent, Vivrant, Sincopat, and Rebellion before reaching 20 years old. Beyond that, Tim and I have collaborated together as producers on our track “Bullfrog” and he’s remixed for Manjumasi. His ears are first class and he’s a lovely human being.

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

My new collab EP with YokoO is out now on his Satya label

Big milestone today as “Atman,” my collab EP with YokoO, is out now in digital stores and streaming platforms. I don’t release music often (it’s been nearly 2 years since my Warbler EP!) so I’m feeling quite of bit of excitement and relief right now.

This EP came together deep in the isolation of 2020. I had been working on some tunes off on my own and I sent dear Julien a whatsapp message with a playlist of what I’ve been cooking. He felt inspired by the parts, and within a few short weeks, we found ourselves with 3 originals perfect for his new Satya imprint.

It’s been an absolute pleasure collaborate with YokoO, and both as a friend and fellow artist, I’m glad we’ve been able to cross paths in this way. Hope you enjoy the music!

Stream/Download the release here.

Highlights from Discord Demo Day with guest host Hoj

I’ve been a fan of and friends with Hoj for over a decade now, and I was thrilled to co-host him on Discord Demo Day. His ears bring a lot to the table: he’s a label founder of Tale & Tone records, a resident of All Day I Dream, and a killer DJ and producer as well. Beyond the music he’s just a lovey human being overall.

Full stream available here.

If you’d like to submit your music for the next Discord Demo day, join my discord channel here:

Making the Move from Ableton to Bitwig

New tune in progress and DAW nerd talk…I’ve using this time at home to get deep into learning Bitwig, a DAW that I now prefer to Ableton. Thought I’d share a few things that make BW shine over Live.

Big things:

  • Open multiple projects at once. The audio engine is decoupled from the project (!!) Super easy to pull elements in and out of other projects or reference what you were doing in previous versions. Live has a clunky approach to project component sharing, but it’s so bad I never use it
  • Modulators. EVERYTHING can be modulated, in many crazy ways. This is natively built-in, not an LFO tool bolt-on. It’s insane how much this has made my textures richer and more complex. Plus my approach to working with samples is completely fresh
  • The Grid. Bitwig’s friendlier version of Max/MSP. It’s so fun I find myself building my own synths
  • Shortcut key map everything. Extremely powerful, I’m much more productive. TÂCHES has a template file to make all the Bitwig shortcuts mimic Live’s
  • Hybrid Audio/Midi tracks+bounce in place. Productivity win here. Less frustrating to bounce a clip, which means more fun to experiment tweaking with ideas
  • Hard to quantify, but the interface just feels slicker

Medium things:

  • Library browser on steroids. Half of music production is choosing which tools to use
  • Combined session/arrangement view. Workflow++
  • Hide tracks out of view. Focus on what I’m working on. Remove all the garbage. Focus++ 
  • Manipulate audio within the clip view. Session Jamming++

Small things:

  • Inline Help. The detail they put into their help dialogues is insane and actually…helpful
  • Stability. The decoupling of the audio engine makes a project still workable even if a plugin crashes. Reload it inline

High level thoughts:

  • Took me only 3 weeks to be able to fully flow in Bitwig. Would have been quicker if we had a nanny for more hours a day 😉
  • I think Bitwig is worth making the switch if you’re an intermediate or advanced Live user (3+ years). BW community support is not yet as robust, so Live wins if you’re new to production.
  • I’m not dropping Live altogether. I’ll still have Live in my pocket for Mentorship sessions and collab work