If you went to Tasmania’s premier music festival this year, you might have seen DJ Rikin hitting the decks on the Homebrew Stage. DJ Rikin, AKA Rikin Sharma, is an international student from India studying a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Music Technology, at the University of Tasmania.

We sat down with DJ Rikin to ask him about his passion for DJing, and why he came from India to study music technology at the University of Tasmania.


Explorer: When did you start to DJ?

DJ Rikin: I’ve been DJing professionally since 2003.

Explorer: Why did you choose to study at UTas?

DJ Rikin: My friend introduced me to Tassie. Anchid showed me pictures of Tassie and said there was a college of music, and from there I did a bit of research, read about Dr Dave Carter – a lecturer at the University of Tasmania’s music conservatory. He teaches me about new software, and he really helps me out with the quality of my work.

Explorer:Has he helped your DJing a lot?

DJ Rikin: Yeah, he really has, it’s the next level, right!?

Explorer: So what kind of music do you play?

DJ Rikin: I play house music, mostly. I’m a regular DJ at Grape and Barcelona [venues in Hobart], and there it’s commercial and house music. But I also like to play bangers, they love those at Grape, not so much Barcelona.

Explorer: So I guess that’s half the challenge with DJing isn’t it, really? You’ve got to sense the crowd and what they want and give it to them – not always just playing requests.

DJ Rikin: Yeah, that’s the real thrill of DJing. And if you’re comfortable with handling the crowd you’ll find you won’t get too many requests.

Explorer: So how did you manage to get the gig at the Falls Festival?

DJ Rikin: A guy I know, Allan McConnell from Close Counters was playing at the main stage. He suggested I apply for it, and so did my boss at Grape, DJ Curtin.

Explorer: So which stage did you play at Falls?

DJ Rikin: On the Homebrew Stage, on New Year’s Eve at 5 o’clock in the evening. It was amazing! I was actually scared, because when the performance on the main stage is over, the Homebrew Stage starts pumping and you sort of have to wait for it and I was scared whether I’d get a good crowd or not. But my friend Alex encouraged me and said, ‘Mate, don’t worry about it,  just do your thing’. In the end, the crowd started pouring in and we had a really good turnout. It was kind of a rave party going on!

I’ve been getting messages from fans, and even at Grape, people met me and said they loved me and I was really proud of it. They called their friends and everyone just came and met me and were saying good things about me. I was so proud of myself. There’s something really satisfying about getting reviews from people from a different country, it really makes you proud, you know?

Explorer: So in India, did you get many opportunities like this?

DJ Rikin: In India, although you get a lot of gigs and I’ve been to a few places, it’s just the same stuff over again, just every day kind of stuff, so I wanted to really come to Tassie and challenge myself. The genre in India is different from here, it’s all Bollywood bangers. Whereas here you really have the room to express yourself and play a lot of different stuff, as well as experiment. Being at Falls was definitely a unique experience I wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Explorer: So are you going to stay here?

DJ Rikin: I think I’ll pursue a masters degree at the University of Tasmania as well. It’ll help a lot with DJing and music production. I want to expand my reach in music production. My minor is in sound recording and studio relationships, so everything I’ve wanted to enhance in my own DJing is in the course at the University!

Explorer: Are you liking Tasmania?

DJ Rikin: The people are so friendly, everyone is so calm and so peaceful. I get up in the morning with a smile on my face, I go to sleep with a smile on my face, I’m smiling the whole day!

Explorer: Do you recommend the  Bachelor of Music course at the University of Tasmania, especially the music technology major you’re doing?

DJ Rikin: It’s the best thing you can do with yourself if you’re the slightest bit interested in music, definitely.