Bridging the sounds of dark and light melodic house, Zankee Gulati, is a figure head in the Australian electronic scene. As a jack of all trades, balancing producing, DJ’ing, promoting, and a full-time day job, Zankee does not sit still, experimenting with new sounds, in a quest to push the boundaries of his style. Within the last 12 years Zankee has gone from his introduction to electronic to hosting some of the best progressive house parties in Australia, a force majeure in a competitive world.
With Deep Down Progressive Sounds as his platform, Zankee uses this show to promote and express the breadth and width of melodic and progressive house. Will us the listeners be treated to Zankee’s melodic house track juggling? What new and unheard tracks will he bring to the table? A rising star who built his audience through soundcloud, FRISKY is excited to bring Zankee’s show Deep Down Progressive Sounds to a new platform.
After returning from a trip to Japan, Zankee took some time to speak to FRISKY about his growth in music, his passion behind club nights, and what the future holds for his music.
Hi Zankee, first I want to dig a little into your background in music and how you got into electronic. What sort of music did you grow up around what were some early influences? How have your inspirations changed as you’ve become more ingrained in the electronic music culture?
Hi Frisky 🙂 Well I was born in India and throughout my high school years, music was a big part of my life playing Electric Keyboard and Xylophone for different competitions. Although i can’t read notes but I’ve always had a good ear and picked up melodies fairly quickly.
I made my move to Tasmania, Australia in 2007 and was first introduced to Electronic music by my brother around then listening to the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto & ATB. The music that these guys were creating back then was exceptional and was something i’ve never heard before. Proper melodic, repetitive journey music with epic long breakdowns to get lost in. Trance played a huge role in my life as i started going to club nights and Festivals around the country and found like minded people who shared the same passion. I started playing at different clubs and outdoor Raves (Doof) in Tasmania and became a regular in the scene playing mainly Trance and Melodic Techno.
Was there a specific moment when you realized that the electronic style of music was where you wanted to grow and push boundaries in?
There wasn’t really a specific moment but watching ‘Lee Burridge’ at SASH Sydney in 2014 and ‘Guy J’ in 2015 for Something Else Sydney was something i will cherish my whole life. These two are my biggest inspirations and are a whole package 😉
Since the time you decided to develop your style in electronic, what sort of impact do you want to have? Is there a specific ideal or mission that drives you to continue to improve and grow within this culture?
Well, I still kinda haven’t found my sound yet. I am still experimenting with music and my productions have been pretty different so far. For example ‘Breathe’ is completely different to ‘Jupiter’ but they both have that melodic and driving bassline that i love. Its a very competitive industry out there and the only way to survive is to be different and keep going with a goal in mind.
On a different note, promoting seems to be a large portion of what you do as well, running Bootz ‘N’ Catz and Forbidden Tone. What do you see as the main differences between the two brands? Does each have its own separate aim or purpose?
Me and my mate Simon Lovell started Bootz ‘N’ Catz in May 2016 as we felt the music industry in Sydney was lacking a club night for melodic music lovers. Both of us share a common interest of Progressive and Deep House and we wanted to bring all these amazing artists to our beautiful city. Since then we have hosted some of industry elites like Lane 8, Yotto, Nick Warren, Guy J, 16 Bit Lolitas, John 00 Fleming and many more.
Forbidden Tone on the other hand focuses on more darker side of Progressive and Melodic House where try to book some of the more underground acts to create more of that Journey vibe. My mate Andy Ef and I built this one to bring some of our favourites such as Eelke Kleijn, Khen, Sahar Z, GMJ & Matter.
In your own DJing you really seem to try and create a journey through sounds and feature a ton of unknown artists. What is your process for constructing a set and finding these gems that can be pretty obscure sometimes?
I don’t like pre planning my sets too much before I play. Some of the best sets I’ve played in the past have been unplanned. Longer sets are very important if you wanna hear the best out of me as it gives me the time to be able to experiment with different sounds and mix them together to create the vibe that the crowd is up for. This cannot be done if you pre plan your sets. Playing 3 to 4 tracks at a time with melodic or percussion loops sometimes can help you create that magic which you can drag along to make people lost in music. It’s a great feeling when you achieve that. ;
Playing both arenas/festivals and smaller clubs, what mindset do you have when creating sets for the two, considering they can be extremely different in the vibe of the crowd and space?
Playing at Festivals is always fun as I get to hear some of my current favourite tunes on the big Sound System haha.
Are there any records you’re currently listening to that have been an inspiration for some of your sets?
I have been loving everything by Kamilo Sanclemente & Dabeat atm. Their latest release ‘Your Smile is Priceless’ is exceptional and their work is very inspiring. 🙂
How do you manage to find a balance between promoting, DJing, and producing? Is there a particular one of these that you are wanting to focus on more these days?
To be honest I am struggling to find the balance atm haha. With current situation in Sydney with regards to new laws and lockouts, doing events is getting tougher and there is a continuous stress on every promoter. I also have a day time job at a Lighting and Audio Company where my main income comes through. So finding time is a bit of a struggle but I am doing my best I guess haha.
My main focus for this year is to work on my productions and try to release on some of my favourite labels while doing some amazing and unique parties around Australia. 🙂
With your new show Deep Down Progressive Sounds, what sort of ideas do you have for how the show will be structured? Do you have a specific vision in mind for what it will become?
I started DDPS almost round 4 years ago as a monthly mix on Soundcloud just to show people how beautiful this music actually is. I was discovering so many talented producers and their music was very inspiring. I started getting regular listeners and met a few people who I call good friends through it. 4 Years later I am excited to take it to FRISKY which I am very thankful for. 🙂
What do you have planned for 2019? Any big events that you’re working on or shows that you’re excited to play?
We have a huge year incoming for Bootz N Catz already with 16 Bit Lolitas ( Sold Out) on 16th March and we also announced Spencer Brown for April also announcing a very special act soon for our 3rd Birthday on 10th May. 😉
We are also celebrating our 1st Birthday at Forbidden Tone on 22nd March with Any Ef and Mydelf going B2B for 8 hours Open to close which will be massive.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers and listeners?
I have just signed a contract for one of my favourite labels and it’s my biggest release to date. So stay tuned. 😉