Getting to Know Wavyrager & Jhassic
Introducing Wavyrager and Jhassic
We’re excited to introduce a pair of fine young local DJs/producers - Gerald Wala and Sanj Kheray, otherwise known as Wavyrager and Jhassic. With respective South Asian and African backgrounds, these excellent selectors love to push modern dance floor sounds with splashes of their cultural heritage. But before we get down and boogie, let’s pull up a pew, and discover a little bit about what makes them tick.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to, tracing from your childhood days through to your teens?
Wavyrager: As a young kid I was listening to reggae music, rock, R&B and soul, which was also my parents’ music. As a teen I was bumping rap, R&B and gospel music. I have quite a lot of influence from the music that was played in church too.
Jhassic: I was born in ’92, so rock and ‘00s R&B hits have a special place in my heart. I went through an angsty heavy metal phase and rap phase in high school. I was also exposed to lots of chunky, funky Chicago house thanks to my Uncle Dos, who played at Club 77 a couple times back in his day.
At school, I was exposed to a lot of classical, jazz, blues, funk and Latin music. Since my school days I also love diving into movie and video game soundtracks. If you haven’t heard it, the Hitman Contracts soundtrack by Jesper Kyd is GOATED.
What’s a song you love that your parents or elder family member exposed you to as a kid? And vice versa, what’s a contemporary tune where you thought, ‘hey I reckon they’d be into this’?
Wavyrager: My parents love Bob Marley (especially ‘No Woman No Cry’), Lucky Dube and Prince, Pink Floyd and The Eagles. I also remember hanging out with my uncles and aunties who loved Oliver Mtukudzi - he’s probably the most influential Zimbabwean singer and songwriter.
Jhassic: My Dad used to pump really vintage Bollywood tracks from time to time which flew over my head in terms of appreciation. My family have always been musical, it’s in our blood. We sing and play instruments to pray at the temple. I can remember Dad loving ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast when it used to get played on every radio station back in the day. Mum is a huge Queen fan. My upbringing always had a mix of traditional and contemporary music.
When and where was your first foray into partying and clubbing? Set the scene for us.
Wavyrager: My first clubbing experience would’ve been when I was 18 going to Candy’s Apartment. This was back when The Cross was still The Cross and wild!
Jhassic: I’ll tell you about my first time at a ‘club’ in Kings Cross. It was in 2010, pre-lockout times. I had just turned 18 and went out with a group of people I didn’t really know that well. My friends were still underage at the time and I wanted to see what it was all about. I’m wearing a dress shirt, skinny black jeans, pointy ass shoes and a fucking tie. We didn’t get let in anywhere! Finally we’re asked to come into a venue (yes, asked). We head downstairs and it takes me about ten minutes to realise that I was at a strip club. Such an anti-climax.
When was your first gig and how did it go?
Wavyrager: I think it was in 2018. It was absolutely horrible, I was so nervous. I still get a bit nervous playing gigs, but that was madness!
Jhassic: I think I might have played a birthday party or something. I remember planning every song in my set and fretting over it so much.
How would you describe your DJ style?
Wavyrager: Somewhere between the borders of rap, house and tech-house with lots of edits.
Jhassic: It really depends on the moment. Sometimes I love to layer songs together and have long gradual transitions and other times it’s chopping in vocals, drum layers or a capellas over something. It depends on the gig and the energy up in the room. You’ve got to balance the fine line between reading your crowd and doing your own thing.
Is there a traditional song or sample that you’ve weaved into a DJ set that gave you a massive buzz or made everyone go bananas?
Jhassic: In terms of a buzz there’s nothing better than the crowd going nuts at a track that you’ve produced yourself using a traditional sample. Not only will they recognise it and be brought back to their childhood, but they’re trying to compute the fact that it’s got a new aesthetic as well.
Gerald, you released an album with Jonah Hamond this year, Jukai. How did the project come about and how did you find the experience of making it?
Wavyrager:Jukai, our sonic baby! That was a Covid project. Over lockdown we were just exchanging ideas and writing a bunch of random songs. We were also experimenting with different sounds and having interesting conversations about life, love, and you know, all that bullshit. It was a cool experience, super blissful and free. I like that we created a safe space to share ideas and build on them.
Sanj, there are some delicious mashups on your ‘Mukherjee Mixtape’ and ‘Triple J Friday’ mixes. Is that what excites you the most about DJing? The juxtaposition of splicing tracks together and brining a producer element to DJing?
Jhassic: Thank you for saying so. While producing tracks for DJing is amazing, honestly just having a crowd that know it’s the music that’s the star of the show is the most exciting.
Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
Wavyrager: Sydney has a lot of talented mofos!
Jhassic: The best thing is the (usually) gorgeous weather, my friends and family, and the cultural melting pots.The worst thing is the mould that grows in the inner west.
Best party you’ve been to this year?
Wavyrager: No Kerfew. It was cool to attend and watch a bunch of brown folks create a space for themselves and show out.
Jhassic: This is such a difficult question. Probably BKR Rooftop and Kerfew; No Kerfew. Both are local homegrown parties with careful curation and attention to detail. They have great variety in terms of performances, excellent food and a beautiful community.
Name the film or documentary that blew you away?
Wavyrager: ‘Mo' Better Blues’, a Spike Lee Classic!
Jhassic: Team America: World Police. I watched this again recently. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.
Favourite album of the year?
Wavyrager:Notes With Attachments - Pino Palladino and Blake Mills.
Jhassic: Spaces and Places – Kerri Chandler
You’re set to play the Boogie Dance Café all night long this month. What can we expect from the night, given you’ll be curating the music for the whole evening?
Wavyrager: Expect some fun tech-house, Cool UKG edits and techno vibes. The energy will be high. Should be a fun night to dance!
Jhassic: Gerald and I have enjoyed playing together for a long time. I imagine it will be similar to being in the studio with our friend Luke - we used to set up the decks all the time and go back-to-back. Knowing our bread and butter, I think the forecast will be quality house, techno, UKG and house with some cultural elements. That’s just the weather prediction though!
Have you got anything exciting coming up that you’d like to share?
Wavyrager: Hopefully some new music.
Jhassic: I will be supporting Yung Singh, a huge international act from the UK at Mary’s Underground very soon. I’ll also be releasing music throughout the end of the year and into 2023.
Favourite quote that you try and live your life by?
Wavyrager: “In a world surrounded by chaos, hold onto the light when you see it shine.”
Jhassic: “JUNGLE IS MASSIVE!” – Ali G.
Wavyrager and Jhassic play Boogie Dance Café at Club 77 on Friday 18th November. Full event info can be found HERE