For someone who has no formal music training and is mostly self-taught, Asad Khan, popularly known as Khanvict, has come a long way – transforming himself from an engineer, to a successful wedding DJ, and now into a music producer.
To mark his new milestone as an original artist, Khan will be delivering his first live set at Imperial Vancouver on January 17th, featuring Raaginder, a violinist from the United States. The two artists, of Pakistani and Indian origins respectively, infuse traditional Indian music with a modern twist. They have been collaborating since Khan’s first EP, Kahani, launched last year.
“I developed a strong name as a DJ in North America in the South Asian community – people still think of me as Khanvict, the wedding DJ,” he says. “This upcoming show is the first step to show what the new Khanvict is. So much preparation has gone into this show beyond the music. I am passionate about building a cohesive audio-visual set that can give the audience a multi-sensory experience.”
A new trajectory
Khan is no stranger to curating a memorable experience for his audience. Decibel Entertainment, a successful wedding DJ company he founded in 2013, has won multiple awards. This success gave Khan the financial freedom to further pursue his passion as a musician.
“Creatively, I felt I had reached a plateau. I had really good sets for weddings, but it was no longer challenging.”
According to Khan, his trajectory changed when he went to his first music festival. He was so taken aback by the atmosphere that he decided he wanted to DJ at these festivals. It was around the same time that he also met Tarun Nayar, a DJ/producer and a band member of Delhi 2 Dublin – a Canadian world music group that plays a fusion of different music genres. Sharing a similar vision, the two started their own record label, Snakes and Ladders, in 2019. Khan’s first EP Kahani was released by the label last year, and he is in the process of releasing more music this year.
Beyond creating music, Khan is also interested in making more impactful visual content. “I like the idea of making music videos that are socially igniting. We just did a video for Turiya Turiya, where we take a jab at the fact that women tend to do most of the housework in South Asian families. We have these older aunties sitting on the couch while their husbands are serving tea and cleaning the house, and later the aunties go out to a rave while the uncles stay at home,” Khan chuckles.
The accidental musician
As an immigrant kid who moved to Canada with his family in his early teens, music was not Khan’s initial calling. He first pursued engineering at UBC until luck knocked on the door and he answered.
Khan recalls the pivotal moment in his life. “Back in 2010 to 2011, I had no interest in doing music yet. I ran into an old friend whose dad used to send DJs to weddings. I was looking for a summer job and he asked ‘Why don’t you come work for my dad’?”
Kahn feels he learned a very valuable lesson that day. “If someone gives you an option, then at least you should go check it out…it changed my life. When I saw a few hundred people dancing at the wedding, I knew it was something that I would really enjoy doing.”
Turning down lucrative wedding gigs these days in order to make time for his own music, Khan says making a connection with people through his art is what motivates him.
“I experienced some really amazing moments on the dance floor with the right artists, and the idea of being able to create that for thousands of people in a lifetime is really special,” he says. “That, plus I like being on stage, taking all the energy that people are giving and putting that into my performance and giving it back. You don’t think about what you are doing on stage when you hit that flow state.”
For more information, please visit www.khanvict.life