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DJ Neerav!

Neerav’s mission in life is to bring positive vibes to the people wherever he plays. Raised in the tropical clime of the Caribbean with a mixed and Latin heritage, he moved to Canada when he was 10, studying piano and guitar. From a young age, he fell in love with listening to the radio every night.

With over 25 years of experience in the global music movement, DJ Neerav is one of the founding fathers of Montreal’s burgeoning scene, having come up with the likes of Tiga, Misstress Barbara and DJ Champion. His love and passion for music have taken him across the planet in search of the perfect groove. He’s headlined at major festivals the world over, and is known for his ability to tune into the dance-floor and deliver an inspiring and memorable journey

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DJ Neerav Bio (Overview)

 

…His sets on the festival scene are legendary.

With over 25 years of experience in the global music movement, DJ Neerav is one of the founding fathers of Montreal’s burgeoning scene, having come up with the likes of Tiga, Andrew Interchill and DJ Champion. His love and passion for music have taken him across the planet in search of the perfect groove. He’s headlined at major festivals the world over alongside Simon Posford (Sphongle/Hallucinogen), Ott, and other top artists as well as playing the ambient stages, and is known for his ability to tune into the dance-floor and deliver ‘the vibe’.

DJ Neerav has extensive record label experience, representing Interchill Records on the East Coast as a label DJ and releasing CD compilations. He’s also the man behind Canada’s original electronic music magazine ‘Trance 5000’.

After a return trip to Goa in 1995 he changed his DJ name to Neerav and became one of Canada’s main ambassadors of Trance on the international scene for about a decade or so. He moved to Berlin briefly after repeated DJ tours in Europe (https://voir.ca/chroniques/bpm/2003/03/26/au-revoir-neerav/), and following a season as a road manager in 2005 for good friend Misstress Barbara, he moved back to Montreal.

While touring the North American festival scene in the mid to late 2000’s, he was drawn to the live stages and grew to love the sound of California bands such as Hamsa Lila and Kan’Nal, as well as the sacred and ceremonial music he discovered while traveling in Latin America. From there he transitioned to world fusion sounds (his current main style), inspired by fellow Interchill artist Adham Shaikh and others.

Not long after, he got deep into West Coast inspired midtempo bass sounds while producing a night called Groove Temple, and also became one of Canada’s foremost proponents of playing freestyle for Ecstatic Dance and Yoga events.

Since 2013 he’s been producing his own music, and works with musicians (Sunya, Taina, Boreal Groove, Oshuna, and others) on live fusion projects for festivals.

In his sets he enjoys bringing a blend of sacred and playful world influences, and creating a space where people can explore total freedom of movement and expression through dance. Neerav greatly enjoys supporting the local and international scene through his musical experience: he’s a resident DJ at Wanderlust Yoga Studio in Montreal, Flow ecstatic dance events throughout Quebec, and the newest member of the YogiTunes family. Additionally, he’s added weddings and corporate events to his repertoire.

Come join the fun with DJ Neerav!

Long Bio: get to know him better

How it Happened

While taking a trip around the world at the start of the 90’s, Neerav discovered the outdoor parties on the traveller circuit in South East Asia. When he was asked to play the next full moon event on the beach, he said ‘Yes’, even though he had no experience whatsoever at the time. That ‘Yes’ changed the course of his life. He got busy getting his hands on some fresh new music, practiced, practiced, practiced, then played just before New Years eve on a giant sound system for one hour under the full moon, on a gorgeous beach off the coast of Thailand.

Having discovered the power of sharing music in a community gathering, he was hooked, and from that moment on Neerav’s mission in life was clear: to bring positive vibes to the people wherever he plays.

Fast forward to two year later…returning back to Montreal from Goa, India, Neerav was eager to share his passion for music with other like minded people. He was not alone, and his timing was perfect, as the Montreal electronic music scene was just about to emerge. For the first couple of years, he focused on getting some turntables, refining his mixing skills, and building up his record collection. He wanted to play the few parties that were happening, but the scene was still pretty limited. In the meantime, to contribute to and document the burgeoning movement and its critical developments he started the first music magazine, called “Trance 5000”. Although was editor, publisher and writer, and it was just a couple of pages of photocopied editorial text at first, it soon became more elaborate. He later teamed up with fellow founding founders of the scene, including Tiga, Gnat, Robert de la Gauthier, Twin Peetz, and Andrew Interchill, all of whom added articles and content.

As it turns out, running the magazine provided the connections and visibility required to break into the scene, and he started DJing under the name Mini-Mono around 1993, featuring a forward thinking style of minimal, techno and acid. These were the ‘Rave’ years, with its crazy costumes, all night parties, and groovy dance moves. The initial enthusiasm and excitement was palpable, and everyone was convinced that this was something that would change the world -for the better.

The Beginning…
and Trance 5000
Magazine

The Beginning…
and Trance 5000
Magazine

Fast forward to two year later…returning back to Montreal from Goa, India, Neerav was eager to share his passion for music with other like minded people. He was not alone, and his timing was perfect, as the Montreal electronic music scene was just about to emerge. For the first couple of years, he focused on getting some turntables, refining his mixing skills, and building up his record collection. He wanted to play the few parties that were happening, but the scene was still pretty limited. In the meantime, to contribute to and document the burgeoning movement and its critical developments he started the first music magazine, called “Trance 5000”. Although was editor, publisher and writer, and it was just a couple of pages of photocopied editorial text at first, it soon became more elaborate. He later teamed up with fellow founding founders of the scene, including Tiga, Gnat, Robert de la Gauthier, Twin Peetz, and Andrew Interchill, all of whom added articles and content.

As it turns out, running the magazine provided the connections and visibility required to break into the scene, and he started DJing under the name Mini-Mono around 1993, featuring a forward thinking style of minimal, techno and acid. These were the ‘Rave’ years, with its crazy costumes, all night parties, and groovy dance moves. The initial enthusiasm and excitement was palpable, and everyone was convinced that this was something that would change the world -for the better.

Transition
to
Psytrance

By the mid 90’s the scene was already starting to change. Lots of players were trying to get into the action, and it had lost some of its naivety and sense of purpose. Heading back to his musical roots in Asia, Neerav returned to Goa, India for the festival season. It was the year that Goa finally broke into the underground in Europe and the music was becoming available on vinyl for the first time, with artists like Simon Posford (aka Hallucinogen/Sphongle) leading the way, and so many labels that became a staple of the genre, such as: T.I.P (The Infinity Project), Dragonfly, Twisted, Blueroom and Flying Rhino records.

 Neerav helped bring the sound back to Montreal and became one of the mainstay DJs for Goa and Psytrance. He later teamed up with DJ Nivoc, as well as Nuclear Ramjet on Ascend records, and became a travelling ambassador of the sound, touring Europe and beyond multiple times. International Festivals he has played include: Earth Dance (California), Universo Parallelo (Brazil), Antares (Germany), Samothraki (Greece), Shambhala (Canada), Eclipse (Quebec) as well as many smaller events in Latin America (Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala).

While touring as a Psytrance DJ, Neerav was living with DJ Gnat. A well known ambient and junglist DJ, Gnat ran the Tiga & Gnat radio show on CKUT, and was one of the main proponents of downtempo music in the city. Gnat’s love of the music exposed Neerav to some amazing and different sounds, such as the Warp record releases (as a DJ, Gnat was big into the UK sound of intelligent ambient, as well as Drum and Bass). Neerav started DJing Ambient and Downtempo music on chill out stages at events around that time. Their good friend Andrew Interchill (with help from Gordon Field) started up what would become a world renowned ambient record label in the form of Interchill Records, and Neerav soon found himself invited to join the roster as a resident DJ. He would go on to tour with Interchill at several festivals, and curated two cd releases as well.

Interchill Records
and Ambient Music

Interchill Records
and Ambient Music

While touring as a Psytrance DJ, Neerav was living with DJ Gnat. A well known ambient and junglist DJ, Gnat ran the Tiga & Gnat radio show on CKUT, and was one of the main proponents of downtempo music in the city. Gnat’s love of the music exposed Neerav to some amazing and different sounds, such as the Warp record releases (as a DJ, Gnat was big into the UK sound of intelligent ambient, as well as Drum and Bass). Neerav started DJing Ambient and Downtempo music on chill out stages at events around that time. Their good friend Andrew Interchill (with help from Gordon Field) started up what would become a world renowned ambient record label in the form of Interchill Records, and Neerav soon found himself invited to join the roster as a resident DJ. He would go on to tour with Interchill at several festivals, and curated two cd releases as well.

Trance 5000 Pt. 2
and Passage Multimedia events

At the start of the new Millennia in 2000, after a lull of a few years in publishing Trance 5000, Neerav decided to get it revved up again. This time, he teamed up with ace graphic designer Mathieu Belanger. Whereas before, he was always getting help from various and sundry friends for the layout of each issue, this time, he had a dedicated graphics guru.

Trance 5000 was always a free magazine. It relied on fundraiser events and (later on) advertising from labels. Once a year, for three years in a row, Neerav, Mathieu Belanger and their friend Jean-Sebastian Baya (a budding graphic designer and VJ) put together what was known as Passage events. These were multimedia sensory driven events, with VJs assigned to team up with the DJs. The DJs had to provide each VJ their first song weeks in advance. The VJ would then put together an epic visual short movie for the intro, projected live onto huge screens. Later on, installations, and live circus performances were integrated, filmed live and added to the visuals at the whim of the VJs. These events were way ahead of the curve and became quite legendary.

After several consecutive summer tours of Europe in the early 2000’s playing trance and ambient (including one season as road manager for good friend Misstress Barbara), Neerav started his search for a new sound. Greatly influenced by the music being produced by old friend and colleague Adham Shaikh, he dialled in an approach that brought the best of both worlds: the deeply rooted and spiritual sounds of the ancestral and tribal traditions of the world fused with cutting edge modern production techniques. Consequently, he became one of the primary proponents of the World Fusion sound, which he continues to play to this day.

The wonderful thing about this style is it opens up so many possibilities, depending on both the cultures being referenced in the sampling, and the approach taken in the production. BPM’s (Beats Per Minute, or the tempo) of the tracks can vary from the smooth downtempo Indo influenced yoga beats of say, DJ Drez, to the upbeat tribal trance melting pot of Om at Last, or Shine. It also opens possibilities to introduce authentic, original and even purely acoustic based songs into the mix at the appropriate moments, bridging the gap with the source material.

This ‘world’ influence is starting to seep into underground pop and dance music productions, as producers look for new sources of inspiration. Beatport is full of inspiring new tracks that use snippets of world sounds and take a more ‘spiritual’ approach. From the Cumbia inspirations present in the Latin American electronic music scene in the form of ‘Folktronica’, to the deep resonating tones of Australia’s Didgeridoo, and the pulse quickening beats of the African Djembe, the colours of world music can increasingly be found sitting comfortably on top of a booming kick and snappy hi hats, with synth arpeggios and textures holding it all together. And when the drums kick in, so does the energy of the dancers on the dance-floor.

Tribal and World Fusion Music

Tribal and World Fusion Music

After several consecutive summer tours of Europe in the early 2000’s playing trance and ambient (including one season as road manager for good friend Misstress Barbara), Neerav started his search for a new sound. Greatly influenced by the music being produced by old friend and colleague Adham Shaikh, he dialled in an approach that brought the best of both worlds: the deeply rooted and spiritual sounds of the ancestral and tribal traditions of the world fused with cutting edge modern production techniques. Consequently, he became one of the primary proponents of the World Fusion sound, which he continues to play to this day.

The wonderful thing about this style is it opens up so many possibilities, depending on both the cultures being referenced in the sampling, and the approach taken in the production. BPM’s (Beats Per Minute, or the tempo) of the tracks can vary from the smooth downtempo Indo influenced yoga beats of say, DJ Drez, to the upbeat tribal trance melting pot of Om at Last, or Shine. It also opens possibilities to introduce authentic, original and even purely acoustic based songs into the mix at the appropriate moments, bridging the gap with the source material.

This ‘world’ influence is starting to seep into underground pop and dance music productions, as producers look for new sources of inspiration. Beatport is full of inspiring new tracks that use snippets of world sounds and take a more ‘spiritual’ approach. From the Cumbia inspirations present in the Latin American electronic music scene in the form of ‘Folktronica’, to the deep resonating tones of Australia’s Didgeridoo, and the pulse quickening beats of the African Djembe, the colours of world music can increasingly be found sitting comfortably on top of a booming kick and snappy hi hats, with synth arpeggios and textures holding it all together. And when the drums kick in, so does the energy of the dancers on the dance-floor.

Ecstatic Dance
and Yoga

In the mid 2000’s, around the same time he found himself travelling to Latin America and getting into World Fusion sounds, Neerav started facilitating ecstatic dance workshops, under the branding of Dance Jam. Working at first in collaboration with Godi Sagou, Louis-Philippe Day (DJ Eoka) and then alone, he developed a process for getting people to dive into the experience of connecting to their bodies and each other through movement and music.

This process involves an opening circle, no talking (vocalization and sounds are ok though), no shoes, no drinking, no smoking; just comfortable clothing, music and activities that build up in an arc of intensity, melting down self-imposed walls and allowing for greater freedom through being and movement. The activity ends the way it began, with a closing circle, and (optionally) sharing of experiences. This is a great activity for team building in any situation and perfect for unifying people’s energies, connecting to our deep understanding of ‘tribe’ that allows participants to feel truly empowered.

DJ Neerav has been working for several years with the Flow (curated and animated by expert facilitator Solomon Krueger, who is currently refocusing his approach in favour of smaller, more intimate gatherings). The Flow was for several years the main vehicle for ecstatic dance in Quebec, and continues in various regions, including the Flow Val David (produced by Marie-Eve Collette, in collaboration with Neerav and DJ Eoka). He’s also resident DJ for the Wanderlust Yoga Studio in Montreal, and is often booked to provide music for various workshops.

One of the joys for Neerav in playing these types of events is that he can explore ‘freestyle’. For Neerav, freestyle means playing any style in waves that build, in any combination, without restrictions, as long as it works. This is especially useful in Ecstatic Dance and Yoga events, where the most important thing is to provide an ‘arc’, building up from warm up to peak and back down to warm down, following the needs of the dancers at each and every moment of the process.

DJ Neerav has created many underground club nights over the years, and held many residencies as well. His most recent was Groove Temple, done in collaboration with DJ Patrick Gagnon. The night became a hotspot of cultural and dance activities, and a major meeting point for many of Montreal’s artists and underground dancers. The musical emphasis of the night was on bass music, from downtempo to midtempo, as well as trance, featuring sounds more prominent on the West Coast. Live acts, live dance performances, snacks, and colourful deco and lighting rounded out the pleasures of this wonderful night.

Groove Temple

Groove Temple

DJ Neerav has created many underground club nights over the years, and held many residencies as well. His most recent was Groove Temple, done in collaboration with DJ Patrick Gagnon. The night became a hotspot of cultural and dance activities, and a major meeting point for many of Montreal’s artists and underground dancers. The musical emphasis of the night was on bass music, from downtempo to midtempo, as well as trance, featuring sounds more prominent on the West Coast. Live acts, live dance performances, snacks, and colourful deco and lighting rounded out the pleasures of this wonderful night.

Production

Neerav’s long time dream has been to produce music. After several attempts, he finally got the ball rolling in 2013. Since then, he’s been studying hard, learning all the intricacies of producing electronic and fusion music and collaborating with live musicians. Working primarily with Cubase, Ableton Live and Maschine, he has a fully functional home studio, and is constantly refining his growing knowledge on studio and live production.

One of the latest chapters of Neerav’s career is providing music for Corporate events and Weddings. With the music scene in constant flux, he realized the importance of being versatile. As such, his career in this domain started very much the way his entire career did: someone asked him to play and he simply said Yes. Providing appropriate and good vibes through music is what he’s all about, so for him it’s an absolute joy to be able to provide musical content for such an important community event as a wedding. As for Corporate, Neerav worked high level tech support in a large company for several years, and as such understand the needs, customs, and language of the corporate environment.

Corporate Events
and Weddings

Corporate Events
and Weddings

One of the latest chapters of Neerav’s career is providing music for Corporate events and Weddings. With the music scene in constant flux, he realized the importance of being versatile. As such, his career in this domain started very much the way his entire career did: someone asked him to play and he simply said Yes. Providing appropriate and good vibes through music is what he’s all about, so for him it’s an absolute joy to be able to provide musical content for such an important community event as a wedding. As for Corporate, Neerav worked high level tech support in a large company for several years, and as such understand the needs, customs, and language of the corporate environment.

And now that you’ve gotten to know the man behind the music a bit better…

…hopefully you’re curious to know more! Any questions, feel free to contact DJ Neerav:

Contact

And now that you’ve gotten to know the man behind the music a bit better…

…hopefully you’re curious to know more! Any questions, feel free to contact DJ Neerav:

Contact