From his beginnings as a graffiti artist to becoming one of the most renowned DJs in the world, William Sami Etienne Grigahcine, better known by his stage name, DJ Snake, has come a long way. In one of his old interviews, the music producer reportedly said, “When I first started DJing, because everyone called me ‘Snake’ in my town, I was like ‘DJ Snake, OK , let’s go”. The name sucks, but it’s too late now. The name was coined after people recognized its ability to evade police who were on the lookout for the person vandalizing property with his graffiti art. Refuse for whatthe DJ released some memorable tracks such as Get low, Taki-Taki, Let me Love You, lean on and Riddim magenta, which was filmed in India. He has won and been nominated for several awards. Having won several awards such as the Denmark GAFFA Awards in 2015 for Best Foreign Song and the Billboard Music Award for Best Dance Artist in 2016, Snake has also collaborated with the most iconic names in the industry including Lady Gaga, Cardi B, Meghan Thee Stallion. and much more. The DJ, who released the track most recently Night Birdtells us about his performance in Bengaluru (which is part of the Sunburn tour), his inspiration and his Indian fans.
You have already spoken about the love you have for your Indian fans. How excited are you to play for them again?
I expect the fans to bring all the energy to the shows! India is like a second home for me. I feel so comfortable and welcomed here. I can’t wait to come back, to visit and discover new cities, to meet more people, to hear more music and to see more of the country that has influenced me so much. India is pure magic. I love the passion Indian fans bring to the table. It is unmatched. I put a lot into my music and my concerts and it feels good to see the level of passion. One of the most memorable things about the tour is the energy I feel when I’m in India. The feeling is so different from anywhere else in the world.
Apart from the fans, what makes you want to come back to India?
I love the culture, the food, the music and the warmth of the country. It’s phenomenal and I can’t wait to be back for one of India’s greatest tours.
What prompted you to become a DJ?
As a teenager, I loved American bands like 2pac, Biggie and even the fugitives. I had no idea what they were saying. I was just listening to the beats, the flow, the vibe. I was inspired to become a DJ after watching a scene from the classic 1995 French film Hatredin which the record player Cut Killer performs from its window to the neighborhood below.
What do you think are some of your most memorable songs?
Some of my most memorable songs include Riddim magenta, Refuse for what and Let me Love You.
After a decade of career, do you feel like you’ve evolved or have found your niche?
I’m still evolving for sure because becoming complacent is dangerous for artists.
You’ve collaborated with some of the most recognized names, including Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. What was your experience working with them?
Working with Selena always feels so natural because we’ve known each other for a while. A while ago, we had thought about the possibility of making another record together. When the idea of selfish love came, it felt like the perfect fit. It was a fun process working on it with her and the best records are always like that, they’re fun to make. And Justine? His voice is just magical and every time he sings, he touches the heart, the soul.
How has Paris, as a city, influenced you as an artist?
I grew up outside of Paris, not in the best neighborhood, where it’s a mix of low-income people from all over the world. We all grew up together. Every type of person, every color, every religion. Even I… I’m French and Algerian. I am a mix. It’s like the city of Paris. It’s a big mashup.
What is your artistic sound most influenced by?
I am like a sponge. I love picking up sounds from everywhere and really digesting them.
How do you think the pandemic has influenced live performances and music in general around the world?
I think we all enjoy live shows now more than ever. Personally, I was not a fan of live streams because I need to feel the crowd, I need to feel their energy. I need to hear people singing next door.
Are you interested in working with Indian artists?
Well, I’m a fan of Jaqueline Fernandez and would love to collaborate with her in the future. I am also in contact with Indian musicians/actors now and we exchange inspirations and ideas. I’m still learning a lot about the different Indian subcultures. Whenever I visit India, I make sure to find music and artists that I have never heard of in the past.
What are some of your other interests?
I love collecting vinyl records and I love football. I support Paris Saint Germain.
After India, which other countries are you heading to in the coming weeks?
My month of December is filled with performances in Indonesia, Thailand and the United States.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
There are a lot of things happening in 2023. I have a lot of new releases planned as well as tours in various countries.
Before performing in India, what is your message to your fans here?
India! DJ Snake is back! This is going to be an epic showcase!