The #TourChronicles Ft. Atish

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The Atish experience is one that sits deep within your heart, and keeps you smiling for days to follow. His warm demeanour and passionate performances are truly infectious, and light up any dance floor. Thanks to his many memorable gigs at the late Cabal, Atish’s name has become easily recognized amongst Toronto’s music lovers. This Saturday, January 26, we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Atish back to our city, as he makes his CODA debut. But first, we took a moment to catch up with the Manjumasi label owner to chat about the adventures, lessons and challenges of life on the road. This is the #TourChronicles with Atish.

The biggest myth about life on tour is…

That it’s a big party. Over the years, as my hangovers have gotten worse, life on tour has become pretty tame and sober. I learned that regularly drinking at gigs is unsustainable if I want to continue doing this for a long time. There’s always exceptions, of course. Even moderation must be moderated.

One of my worst airport experiences was…

Believe it or not, I mostly enjoy being in airports. That being said, one time at the Barcelona airport, I fell asleep at the gate with my iPhone in my hand. I woke up when they announced boarding and my phone was gone… someone literally stole my phone right out of my hand in front of all those people, in front of all those cameras! I was angry, but I was actually more impressed by this smooth criminal.

The best airport for a long layover is…

Heathrow, London. There are 3 really nice Star Alliance lounges there that I cycle through to keep things interesting. Once, to kill some time, I took a shower in each lounge and wrote a lengthy useless review on the merits of each. Plus, I love British accents.

One new city I haven’t played, but would like to…

Anywhere in Brazil. I’ve heard the clubs and audiences there are next level.

One of my favorite venues in the world is…

The Bow, Buenos Aires. These Argentines are incredibly passionate about music, like nowhere else I’ve ever seen. Also, The Bow is one of the few clubs I can think of that fits thousands of people, but still has the DJ booth within arm’s reach of the dance floor. The intimate connection between DJ and dance floor is very important to me.

I also need to shout out StereoBar Montreal and Kater Blau Berlin. Would be a shame for me not to mention those in the same breath!

Atish at The Bow, Argentina 2016

Atish at The Bow, Argentina 2016

One of the best sound systems to play on is…

Speaking of StereoBar…the room upstairs, Stereo, is like no other.

Fondest memory of Toronto…

Any gig at Cabal, which is sadly no longer around. I love small club vibes, and this place perfectly embodied that feeling. It attracted a really great crowd too.

Favourite city to afterparty in…

San Francisco. I lived there for 10 years which meant I knew which after parties were going to be good, and which ones might be a trap. Also, after having lived there for so long, there’s always a good number of friends for me to hang out and catch up with rather than me sitting (or napping) awkwardly in the corner, as I’ve been known to do.

You can be constantly surrounded by people and still feel lonely. Make time to be at home with family and real friends.

Tell us one of your favourite experiences with an opening or closing DJ…

My brother from another mother Mark Slee is great to B2B with, but any time he has a set time before me, there’s 1 less thing I have to worry about. Naturally, given the fact that we both run our Manjumasi label together, we have a lot of overlap in music preference. His taste veers a little deeper than mine, so I know things are going to be perfectly set up when he’s warming things up. Also we both share the same sense of humour, so our mindless on-stage banter relieves my pre-gig anxiety.

atish: mark slee

One of my favourite promoters to work with is…

Peter Blick, from Public Works San Francisco and Below Radar in Denver. I like to describe him as “one of the good ones” in this industry. Truly stand up guy, always fair (sometimes better than fair), quirky sense of humour, timely with communication, and never screws anyone over. I wish everyone could be as professional as Peter!

The last best meal I had on tour was…

Izumi in Dhaka, Bangladesh with my wife, Arsi, and Sadat. Who would have thought Bangladesh has killer Japanese food!? Oh my!

Some of the warmest people in the world can be found in…

The Middle East. Hospitality is deeply culturally ingrained in most Middle Eastern countries I’ve been to, I love it.

One of the most difficult shows I ever played was…

The Facebook F8 Developers Conference. Some drunk attendee was not happy with the music I was playing and heckled me a few times throughout my set. That’s fine, but he then poured his entire drink on my turntable while the record was playing! This was when I had just started DJing, so I didn’t yet know how to temper my emotions on stage. We got into a yelling match, which naturally caused a scene, and his friends eventually dragged him out of the venue. I was nearly in tears for the next couple hours after that. It was a good lesson though, and I’ve grown a thicker skin. I also never took a corporate gig again.

When it comes to life on the road in 2019, my #1 goal is…

To figure out the best way to offset my carbon footprint from all this flying.

“Life on tour” has taught me…

You can be constantly surrounded by people and still feel lonely. Make time to be at home with family and real friends.


Catch Atish at CODA in Toronto this Saturday, January 26. Tickets here.

Atish is on Facebook// Soundcloud

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