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Ten Questions With Indira Paganotto

Ten Questions With Indira Paganotto

Sometimes, it’s a bit hard for Indira Paganotto to slow down. During a rare moment of downtime at W Amsterdam, the Madrid-born superstar DJ admits that sometimes “after a huge event, I’m so energetic, I can’t sleep,” she says. “I’m super hyperactive.”

Over the years, she’s found various ways to help her come down from a great gig. “The best way to relax is a big shot of tequila,” she says, while noting that sometimes she instead goes directly to the gym to jump on the treadmill. “I walk on it with the level really high.” But as a DJ, she also appreciates the way sounds can wash over us and help our bodies and minds drift away. So if the other means aren’t cutting it that night, she likes to cap off a great gig by going on YouTube to listen to “crazy storm sounds, or recordings of washing machines.”

She comes by her passion naturally, as well as her affinity for tranquil sounds. Her father was one of the most popular DJs in India, specializing in the “Goa Trance” style, a heady style designed to keep people dancing while also luring them into a blissful state of mind. He raised her on a steady diet of dance music, and while she briefly considered becoming a doctor or a lawyer, she knew she was always going to be an artist. “Maybe it’s something inside of me.”

But Paganotto always does things her own way. She calls her style “Psy-Trance,” which still seeks to create a heady, blissful affect on the audience, but with a more high-energy, pummeling delivery. It’s an approach influenced by her love of heavy metal, which is also evident in her all-black and heavily tattooed sense of style, as well as the rocking merchandise she sells.

Never one to let someone tell her what to do, Paganotto started her own record label, Artcore, to have complete control over her music. She recently released the Guns & Horses EP, which shows her production skills are as sharp as ever. A day before participating at a workshop hosted at W Amsterdam about social media (she says her team is always telling her “to be more careful” with her Instagram), she talked about scandalizing her grandmother and following in her father’s footsteps.


When did you decide you wanted to be a DJ?

It was when I was so small, like 17. My father was DJing in Goa in India for ten years. So I was growing up and watching him play. I studied for one year to be a lawyer, but I was super in love with music. Music is like my life.  I listen to everything, like rock, metal, everything. I started mixing it all with the music of my father, which is Goa Trance.


What made you decide to start your own label Artcore, and what has the experience been like?

Three years ago, I was living with an artist. I was looking at him painting all the time, and I was helping him with the paintings, too. We were living in the mountains and I really loved the architecture, the art, everything. But I’m really super hardcore. I’m a strong woman. So I was thinking, “I really need to have a label so I can show who I am with everything, with the art and with the clothing too,” because I make my own merchandise.

“I’m super lucky because I have a family and we are making all my dreams come true together.”



So I decided to make Artcore, and I started it with my team. I’m super lucky because I have a family and we are making all my dreams come true together. We are creating a lot of different things. It’s not all typical kind of techno stuff, because I love metal, I love gothic style and skater style, so we did a mix and a combo, so I think we have some really cool merch for this year.


What is the most rewarding part of having your own label?

What I like most is, I can express myself. In the past, I was making my stuff and I would send it to some labels. But I wanted to be the boss, so I don’t need to say “thank you for releasing my stuff.” I wanted the freedom to make whatever you want and in the way I want.


We’d  love to hear more about your love of gothic music and heavy metal. How has this type of music influenced you? 

My dream was playing in a band, but my father said, no, you need to play the flute. But I like everything, a lot of bands. I love gothic, I love metal, I love classic music, I love flamenco. I love all music that sends you some kind of good feeling, Or a bad feeling. Depends on the day.

Indira Paganotto
Indira Paganotto

“I try to mix the two worlds and then I will think, “yeah, that’s my sound.”



You said your dad was a doctor and a DJ. What was it like growing up with a father in the music industry?

He was a hippie, he was partying at the Goa parties, on the beach in the ‘90s. He is super proud of me, he is my number one fan. He comments on my Instagram in five different languages, every time, because he is so proud of me. I think for parents, it’s the most brilliant thing, to see that your child follows your path.


Where do you currently live when you are not touring?

I now live in the Canary Islands. It’s amazing because it’s where I was born. It’s one of the best places you can be, because it’s not Ibiza, it’s not Greece, it’s another frequency. You go there, and it’s like the town says “stop it.” It’s super quiet. That’s the beautiful thing, it’s like a super chill place.

Indira Paganotto
Indira Paganotto

How many tattoos do you have?

A lot. Actually, I started two years ago, but my parents were like, you can’t get tattoos because it’s disrespectful to your family. We’re super Italian, from the North.

So I was like, “okay,” and I started waiting and waiting. But later, I was like, “okay, now I’m a woman. I can decide for myself.” So I started getting them and now my grandma is super angry at me and she said “you can’t come over to my home.” But my most recent one was on my neck, actually. It was painful.


I know you have a tattoo that reads “cute, but psycho.” Could you tell me about it?

It’s here to remind me every day that if I’m bad with someone, it’s not me. It’s my mind. I can say that I’m an artist and I’m super hyperactive. One day I love one thing and then the next day I say, “I hate it.” I’m kind of in a war inside of myself every day, but I’m cute in the end.

For more on Indira Paganotto, you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram @indirapaganotto/

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