One of the world’s top DJs risks missing his plane home to sit down with Y’s Alvin Thomas, ahead of a key gig in Oman
It’s not every day an international disc jockey is seen in Oman, and anyone who has lived here long enough will vouch for that in a heartbeat.
So having got a hint from one of my friends that Rosh – the popular DJ from the “One Night in Amsterdam” festival – has the Sultanate in his sights as a location for an upcoming beach event, I push the boat out to get an interview.
And the young DJ accepts and not only sets aside some time for our chat but also risks missing his flight back to Amsterdam.
Nevertheless, we meet at a coffee outlet in Oman Avenues Mall, and DJ Rosh is waiting for me, having dressed like he would be for one of his performances.
In some ways, his attire even resembles that of R&B superstar and current Billboard chart-topping artist, The Weeknd.
But before I can even introduce myself, he calls out to me in a very friendly tone, saying: “Yo, Alvin. What’s up?”, thus breaking the ice.
DJ Rosh, whose real name is Roshan Binda, hails from The Hague in the Netherlands, and is one of the few DJs that broke the music scene in Amsterdam “before DJ-ing became mainstream”.
“I started DJ-ing when I was 15; and from my bedroom,” he says.
“I started with hip-hop and vinyl because I did not have the money to buy digital equipment. And that, I believe, is what set the tone for me because if you can play hip-hop on vinyl, then you can play any type of music anywhere. It really is that hard.
“It took a long time to get a hold on it. And I have to say that it has paid off because now I can simply hear the beats and know how fast the music is going. I don’t need to rely on digital analysers and other gadgets for that.”
Rosh is originally a Master’s graduate in business from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and points out that he came up with the idea of the “One Night in Amsterdam” festival in 2007, when he was in his final days in college.
“In my early days, my parents saw it as a hobby and didn’t bother much about it. They were just happy I was off the streets,” laughs Rosh, before going on to imitate his parents’ “shocked” reaction to his decision to take up DJ-ing full time.
But Rosh’s early days were not always blissful. “Most aspiring DJs of my time were considered loners – and I was one among those too. We weren’t considered cool then.
“Everyone in the Netherlands wanted to become a football player then.”
But then the tables turned quickly for him after the sudden boom in the music industry, which led to an increasing demand for talented DJs.
“This made me quite the desirable guy,” he says, as he holds on to his leather collar in a very amusing way.
Rosh’s decision to become a DJ panned out, though. As of today, he has collaborated with DJs like The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix and Hardwell and Armin Van Burren; and singers including Pharrell Williams, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
He’s also performed in more than 40 countries, including the likes of Canada, the UK, Croatia, France, Sweden, Norway and the UAE, to name but a few.
Tomorrow (April 28), “One Night in Amsterdam” will have its debut performance in Oman. But Rosh quickly steers the conversation towards his next goal: taking over the Asian market.
“Asia is a booming market for DJs like us because this part of the world has only started with music festivals of such sorts.
“And I can tell you that in the next five years’ time, Asia will be hosting some of the biggest music festivals of all time – ours included.
Rosh and his brain child “One Night in Amsterdam” has already signed their biggest contract to enter the Chinese entertainment industry.
“Entering China has been our biggest challenge yet. It is a difficult market to capture. Last year, when we were on with our show in Ibiza, we met the CEO of a huge entertainment group in China, which owns more than 300 clubs.
“It took us a year to gain their trust and in Asia, business is all about gaining trust.
This June, Rosh will headline “One Night in Amsterdam” in Shanghai and Beijing, and other cities in that country afterwards
“The possibilities are endless in Asia,” he says.
“The number of people in Asia who are coming to terms with the whole idea of electronic and dance music is staggering.
“It is unbelievable how they overshadow the western crowds now,” he says, comparing the Asian crowds to crowds from Europe.
“My recent analysis of music festivals in the US and Holland is that the number of people attending and the corresponding revenues from these events have gone down drastically.
“Most of the people there are tired of the music. And unless we go forward to revolutionise ourselves, there’s very little potential there,” he adds, pointing out that despite his beliefs, most of his shows are held across Europe and the US.
Our conversation then turns to how much Rosh loves Asia, and how young talented DJs are emerging from the region.
And when I ask Rosh if he has any advice for young aspiring DJs, he says: “I just have one thing to say. Try and produce your own music. And if it clicks, you will be working with some of the best DJs and clubs in the
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