Please can you introduce yourself: What do you do, where are you based, and what is your South Asian heritage?
My name is Nadia Chopra, known as ‘Noudle’ in the music industry, a 25-year-old sound engineer, DJ and radio host from London, UK. My grandparents immigrated to the UK in the 1950s from Punjab, India. Both my parents are born in this country, however, growing up they always made sure to educate me on my Indian heritage including food, culture and of course music.
I work as a full-time Freelance Sound Engineer and DJ, and for the past four years, I’ve been involved with companies including Boiler Room, Defected Records, Rinse FM, Nike and PUMA, and also host radio shows each month on Noods Radio and Worldwide FM. I’ve also been running my club night ‘Lucidé’ since 2018 where we combine club culture with live music and support our creative community through DJ competitions, where we also run a monthly radio show on Whynow Radio and always highlight upcoming artists and DJ’s. In addition to this, I started my YouTube channel ‘Noudle Sound’ in April 2020 educating others on life as a sound engineer. One highlight of my DJ career so far is when I performed at Lost Village Festival in 2019 in the Dishoom tent for Ahadadream’s ‘No ID’ event, showcasing South Asian talent with an all South Asian lineup, it was such an honour to play for such a special event. My DJ style and sound include deep house, garage, funk & soul, disco and jazz, all of which were huge influences on my love of music growing up. My parents were always playing their favourite funk & soul, disco and garage records around the house which impacted how much I loved music throughout my younger years.
Can you sum up what music means to you in a sentence?
Music to me really is a feeling, it’s a transportation of memories attached to a particular song and a way to express yourself in one of the most creative ways, and these are the feelings I always aim to translate to the audience when DJing or playing songs on my radio shows.
What is one of your key musical memories from your teenage years?
One of the most significant musical memories that stands out to me is when I decided to work in the music industry as a sound engineer. I always knew from as young as four that I wanted to be a performer, and so making this shift to work in a more technical role took some time to build. My mum had sent me to music tech summer courses throughout my teenage years as I was keen on keeping up with my studies during the holidays. I met other teenagers and learnt I had the same inspirations as them, where I loved learning the electrical and technical side of the music industry and how to use DAW programmes such as Reason, Logic and Pro Tools.
What’s your favourite track of 2021 so far?
A song I discovered this year is one I have been obsessed with is Mr. Ho and Mogwaa’s ‘Bali-E’. I heard the song while watching Peggy Gou’s live set in South Korea on the Wolmi Sea Train, and fell in love with the way the track builds through punchy drums, synths and vocal samples throughout. I always try to slip this into my sets, it’s definitely one of those tracks I would close my eyes and vibe out to on a dancefloor!
Are there any changes you would like to see within the music industry to better highlight and support South Asian artists?
When I first started DJing in the music industry six years ago, I couldn’t see many other South Asian DJ’s on line-ups. It wasn’t obvious to me that the underground scene was making an effort to put South Asian artists on the line-ups and platforms that they deserved. However, South Asian artists such as Ahadadream, Nabihah Iqbal and Jyoty have been on the scene for years, shouting about our heritage and making a significant impact in the music industry. I was so inspired to see the recent Daytimers Boiler Room with Yung Singh and a full South Asian line-up showcasing our heritage and introducing the UK and Punjabi sound to the audience. I felt so proud at this moment to be Punjabi, it was such a pivotal moment in making a change for the South Asian community in the music industry.
London’s Dialled In festival this year is one of the major steps forward for our community to have the platform it deserves, showcasing an all South Asian line-up, introducing not only our heritage but talent and skill in all genres of music. It needs to be highlighted that just because we are South Asian artists and DJ’s, it doesn’t mean we only play music from our heritage backgrounds. Most South Asians in the UK have been influenced by garage, house, R&B and dubstep in their younger years and actually many Indian, Punjabi songs used and still use garage and R&B beats mixed with our Punjabi music to blend the cultures together. Music really is instilled in us from a young age as our culture is surrounded by it, at weddings, religious ceremonies, and Bollywood films.
In our heritage, working as a DJ in the music industry or something creative is not always seen by our elders as a ‘real job’ or ‘sustainable’, and so for many of us pursuing these careers, we have had to step out of the norm and push for what we believe in. We are stepping out to make these changes to hopefully inspire other South Asians to have the confidence to do the same.
It’s essential that all parts of the music industry recognise us to be equals and just as much a part of the music industry as any other culture, creating diverse line-ups, workforces and also taking on more South Asian crew for those of us who also work in the more background roles. It should also be highlighted that those of us South Asians who have been working in the music industry have been making a difference to create a bigger impact on changing the traditions and moving forward to incorporate our heritage with our love for music and enriching our culture.
Can you recommend a South Asian DJ / artist to check out?
One of my favourite South Asian DJ’s and has been for some time now is Arthi. In 2019, Arthi entered our ‘Lucidé’ competition and won! It was the first event she’d ever played, and the first time I heard her sound. She’s smashing it in her music career and is also a very sick dancer and choreographer!
This content was originally published here.