Interview with DJ Ravin

Algarve Lifestyle Magazine was delighted to attend the Premiere at the W Hotel to see DJ Ravin perform, as we love the Buddha Bar compilations. The one thing that Dj Ravin has, is a beautiful smile whilst he works his utter magic on the decks. This master is still at his happiest spreading his fusion-style music to the masses. “I love nothing more than making people happy and watching them dance; that means everything to me!”

We catch up with him soon after the W Premiere before he jets off to Bucharest.

So how did your relationship with music begin?

I was immersed in a broad spectrum of music genres early. My Father was a yoga teacher, so traditional Indian music and Bollywood films always captivated and enchanted me. My overriding love and passion for music eventually made me quit school.

Where was homelife?

I was born in Mauritius with two other Brothers. My Father worked hard and put all of us through private education, My Brothers excelled, but my passion was music and not school. At the age of 10, we all moved to Toronto. Mum didn’t adapt, as you can imagine, from the tropical temperatures in Mauritius to the bitterly cold Toronto. The school was a disaster; my brothers liked it. In 1980 we went to France; I remember my Mum being so happy as her sisters lived in France, it was easy for Mum and Dad to get jobs, but once again, for me, the school was a disaster.

I then just immersed myself in everything to do with music; I would go to the radio station at every opportunity. Mum was okay, but Dad was upset; he worked hard at putting all of us in private school, which was wasted on me. I used to sell records and buy tapes – all music genres, pop, soul, reggae, hip hop.

Music preferences?

I was then, and still am, passionate about listening to Bob Marley. I loved new wave, Depeche Mode and the likes, which took me on a musical adventure. However, with every style and genre of music, I have to feel the passion; for me, it’s the most important thing. I was quite a shy boy, but through music, I gained confidence and loved interacting with people. Encouraging them to broaden their music genres, which I helped them with, so was a win-win.

How has your life changed?

I have, and still have, a wonderful life; my job is truly my passion. I’ve played as a DJ in clubs and private parties, and with experience and following, it allowed me to play the music I wanted. Fame was gained through Parisian nightlife and when I started playing at celebrity hangouts such as the Rex and Les Bains Douches.

I’ve stayed the same, humble; I’m a straightforward, down-to-earth, primarily due to a religious Mum Catholic, Dad – Hindu. I was Baptized Catholic; Dad is from North India (Roots) Indian. I’m very happily married and have two lovely children.

Even now, I still travel extensively; it’s my life, 25 years of Buddha Bars, there are 30 Buddha bars, and I’ve played at everyone. I’m still searching for that unknown artist which fuels my passion for including within one of my sets. Originality unfolds with notes of classic vibes, coupled with spirituality and then mastered by the maestro himself, making for an authentic world sound and synergising with Buddha Bar implicitly.

Styles of music that influenced you and DJ’s artists you aspired to?

Lots of DJ’S – Talvin Singh, new names, new DJs, ethnic music, every day I dream. I love to watch people dance, whilst I’m not a dancer myself, the ability that my mixing can pleasure others, for me, it’s my perfect job. I’m always happy performing and watching others dance.

Greatest Collaboration?

Claude Challe contacted me when I was working in London. He wanted to share his vision with Buddha Bar. It was pivotal meeting, which I presented him with a tape of my work, which I believe he listed to at 3.00am. It was a massive challenge and privilege of an opportunity and I’m delighted he liked what he heard. My Arabic style and Indian roots made for a great fusion between our contrasting, yet harmonizing styles.

Buddha bar in Paris in 1997 was where my first sets were played. This breakthrough allowed me to shine utterly, and with the collaboration with Claude, the Buddha Bar Paris compilations by George V Records began, making me immeasurably proud. My style was that of my Indian roots and Claude the oriental. The fusion of Indian / Asian works effortlessly, and the result was volumes 1-3 Bubba Bar collections, our finest hour indeed. Volume 3 was released in 1998 and became one of the most successful compilations ever. The essence of Buddha Bar when you enter is to feel immersed and encapsulated with passion, and a romantic feel whilst being serenaded through our fusion.

There was always a health rivalry between Bhubba Bar and Café del Mar, which their style was more the Balearics story and Sunsets. Sadly, we lost Jose Padilla, a few years ago, a true pioneer. Our mission at Buddha Bar is world fusion music, give them emotions never heard, pioneers,

What turntables did you work from, and what cartridges (Needles) did you use?

I had an ancient Sony turntable and then upgraded to a SLMK2 12000 grey one, I was also listening to a lot of tapes, we lived a simple life and were not rich at all.

Where is home, and how’s family life?

I’m very happily married, Vanessa is Brazilian, we met 14 years ago. I remember our first contact, which was intense and magical. I invited her to Paris for the first time, and one year later, we married, I was 42 when we met. We have two great children, Son Raj, and Daughter, Valentina 12 and 11.

Paris is where my job/studio and record label is, and my family and I live in Vilamoura. Infact, I have been coming to Vilamoura, for over 20 years. My first DJ set was at Vale do Lobo Golf course.

Are you self-taught, or did you have a mentor in becoming a DJ?

My mentor was taken from classical Indian music. When I was in Paris in 1996 a DJ was somebody that was quite unique, they weren’t trendy, back then there was no mixing at all, it was about playing records which people typically hadn’t heard before. However, it was definitely to have a lot of fun.

What would you say is your most defining moment as a DJ?

There are a few defining moments, in Venezuela for a NYE party, it was a 12-hour set, I remember drinking copious amounts of Red Bull. I started at10 pm until the following day, at The Hotel Humbolt, Caracas. Then in Brazil where I met my wife, it was a magical party in Santa Catarina, at a club called, DESEO, which sadly is now closed. Then in India, it was in a botanical garden and the sunset until sunrise was epic. It was an Indian family for a private event as they love Buddha bar. There were specific tunes timed specifically at Sunrise, which were very emotional.

What styles of music are your favourite to fuse to create a playlist?

The two styles of music would be from my roots, classical Indian and the beginning of Buddha Bar, mixing traditional with electronic, with Claude volumes 1,2 and 3, they’re cherished souvenirs and will always be “timeless classics.”

How did you become known through the Paris nightclubs?

I have played at so many clubs and then was privileged to play at Les Bains Douches, where I met Claude, then the Rex Club, where I was resident on Saturdays; eclectic music, pop, r and b.

Will Buddha Bar come to the Algarve?

It’s an interesting question, Buddha bar has 30 restaurants worldwide. The challenge for setting up a new Buddha Bar is to gain the ideal location. So, maybe Vilamoura or Quinta do Lago maybe options and we typically work with a 5-star hotel to showcase our Buddha Bars and has to be near the beach.

The problem in one aspect is that the Algarve is not Mykonos and is not Ibiza. It’s a place to relax, not show off. We need to educate people! It isn’t easy. I played at Cua Cua there last year for their opening which was excellent. I also play at the Vida Lounge at Spikes too.

Were you ever nervous about playing?

No nerves at all, I first look at the place and then do a sound check. One before, I like to take a small dinner to capture the mood, feel the crowd. You always must prepare yourself, in order to play music and make people happy. If a DJ crowd is crazy, the DJ feeds off the crowd. I am initially shy of the group, until I understand them, and when I see them enjoying the music; then I’m in the groove. I always make eye contact with the crowd to connect and control them.

What would be your favourite album, and why does that resonate with you?

Bob Marley – listened to a lot when he was young, message in his music.

So, when DJ Ravin wants to relax with music, what playlists /artists enchant/unwind you?

Nature, I love to walk in the forest, I love sunsets and in Portugal I love to cycle at Falesia beach. Unadorned, my life is VIP, a lot of bling, I do say to my children, to love your job, and to be able to share my passion and love of music makes me both humble and balanced.

What projects are currently underway / future possibilities?

I’m currently working on many projects, we’re releasing a Buddha Bar,triple vinyl, limited edition. Then Buddha Bar, the early years, which will be re-make of the first 1-3 Buddha Bar volumes and so we’re going to remix it. We also have a new project with a box set at the end of the year, which focuses on Buddha Bar Galaxy, which is 4-DJ’S featuring both Soul Brothers and Mr ID. And, finally, Buddha Bar lovers for Christmas. That brings me on to Christmas, which will be spent in Vilamoura, but New Year’s Eve will be in Paris for Buddha Bar as last year I was at The W Hotel in Muscat, Doha.