Udyan Sagar - better known by his stage name Nucleya - turned the Bollywood music obsessed industry upside down with back-to-back hits like "Koocha Monster", "Bass Rani" and "Raja Baja "but at the back of his mind, classic ghazals by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Ustad Ghulam Ali play on a constant loop.
"I definitely take inspiration from Bollywood but that's not it. I grew up listening to a lot of film music and my father has always been a huge fan of it, straight from the 60s to the 90s. And even though I produce more of dance music, I love the old tunes of Shankar-Jaikishan and Kalyanji-Anandji and ghazals by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab, Ustad Ghulam Ali Sahab. I listen to everything from old film music to folk music," the 39-year-old DJ told in an interview on the sidelines of Sunburn 2018, arguably Asia's biggest electronic music festival.
He was one of the headliners at the first day of the 12th edition of Sunburn, which saw DJs like Axwell, Ingrosso, Don Diablo, Vini Vici, David Gravell, Julia Bliss, Zenith, Siana Catherine, Hugel, Amann Nagpal, Anish Sood, Progressive Brothers, Kash Trivedi, 39 Kingdom, 18 East, Ritviz, GREFF, Dual Vibes, Basspatch and Sara Santini.
The DJ, with chartbuster hits like "Bhayanak Atma" and "Aaja", says he used to do a lot of experimenting by mixing classical music with Electronic Dance Music (EDM) but then left it due to classical music's complex composition.
"I have experimented with classical music way back. I don't do it so much now because I feel that any form of music which is complex in nature is difficult to understand and not always fit into dance music," he said adding that classical music requires a certain sort of training due to its unique compositions (unlike dance music's repetitive compositions) which is not understood by the masses.
The "Bakar Bakar" artist, however, says that it wasn't always easy for him as people were not open-minded and that it took him 15-20 years to be where he is today.
So what changed?
"I started making music 15-20 years back but at that time whatever I was trying to do musically didn't work. That's one reason why I had to struggle so much.
Now, a lot of people are very open-minded. You throw anything at them musically and they will take it and will try to understand that," he explained.
Although his early days as a DJ were a struggle, Nucleya has gained enough fame for himself in the field to now attract packed audiences to his concerts.
In 2013, he launched his first EP, "Koocha Monster", which became a hit in colleges across the country. In 2015 he launched his album "Bass Rani" and in 2016 "Raja Baja", both of which have become extremely popular; the track "Aaja" (from "Bass Rani") alone has about 18 million views on YouTube. Some of the tracks from his new album ("Tota Myna", 2018), such as "Mirza", have already been watched 2.1 million times on YouTube.
So what do you think makes people dance to your tune?
"I believe people are able to relate to my songs but still good music is good music. It can be in any form, genre, tempo but if you can relate to it, it becomes much easier and to be able to like something you have to be able to understand it first," he said.
The three-day Sunburn 2018 its "Welcome to Paradise" theme, raised its curtain on December 29 at the 100-acre Oxford Valley by Shapoorji Pallonji.
The first day of the festival saw the 2/3rds of the Swedish House Mafia, Axwell and Ingrosso, playing out a more variated set compared to their last domestic showcase. The legendary DJ/production duo never failed to nail crowds with their everlasting anthemic songs like "Sun Is Shining", "Reload", "Out Of My Mind", "Dancing Alone" and "More Than You Know". Axwell and Ingrosso, towards the end, also played their respect for the passing away of Swedish legend Avicii by playing "Wake Me Up" and "Don't You Worry Child".