One of the biggest albums of the year is nearing its much antcipated release date. 'RE-LOADED' by DJ H & DJ RAGS is a monster 16 track album! SimplyBhangra.com caught up with DJ H to get all the low down on the new album!
What’s up H! For those who don’t know about you, give everyone a quick lowdown about yourself and what you do!
DJ H: Well, I am a full time DJ which I’ve been doing since I was 16. I released my first album ‘ The Debut’ two years ago which was a massive hit both here and internationally and featured the chart topping single ‘Ishq Brandy’. I’m also one of the resident DJ’s for Calibar Roadshow which keeps me busy over the weekends and lets me do what I do best, which is work my magic behind the decks.
Its been nearly 3 years since you came out with your debut album, most artists would bring out an album as soon as possible to capitalize on the success of ‘Ishq Brandy’, but you chose to wait?
DJ H: The first album was a big success, I was really pleased with it, it gave me a platform to raise my profile and also experiment with different sounds. But I wanted to wait before I released my second album and continued to DJ and get more of a feel of the music industry and experience first hand what worked and what didn’t so I could incorporate that into the second album. As a result Reloaded really showcases my growth in the music industry and I have spent a lot of time on each track making sure that they are nothing but perfection. The most difficult task in Reloaded was to produce another leading track like Ishq Brandy, but I can honestly say that there are 4 or 5 leading tracks on this album.
The new album ‘Re-Loaded’ promises to be massive, before we get into it, I think we can both agree that a lot of money has been spent on it, in these testing times in the Bhangra industry, are you expecting to recoup any of the investment put into this album?
DJ H: If I knew from the outset this project was going to end up costing what it did then I would have thought twice before starting it. But, we wanted to give it our 100%, with no expense spared, in the end product speaks for itself.
Your right though it is testing times in the Bhangra industry and we just have to keep our faith in our fans and listeners to buy rather than illegally download, which will give us the opportunity to recoup the money we spent. People need to understand that if they want to see us and other artists offer big projects with great music then they need to go out and support the industry by buying rather than downloading.
You’ve shot quite a few videos for the new album; can you give us a low down on all the different locations used and the different directors?
DJ H: Yeah we have shot 4 videos in Dubai, Mumbai, Punjab and LA which have each been directed and produced by the exceptionally talented Danny and Sai from Ballistics These guys are so talented and I am sure you will see big things from them in the future.
Video 1: Shot in Dubai for the track ‘Aaja Aaja’. (Watch it Here)
Video 2: Mar Javan, Shot in Mumbai. (Watch it Here)
Video 3: Jawani shot in Punjab. (in DJ Rags village)
Video 4: Peeniyah shot in LA
The video for ‘Peeniya’, from what I’ve seen, is somewhat… original?
DJ H: I think it’s the first time a Bhangra video has been shot in the Hills of Hollywood and it was an amazing experience…. The leading lady in the video had just appeared in Usher’s video which was great. The whole experience in Hollywood was something that we will never forget and hopefully that transcended into the video too, you just have to watch this space and see for yourselves….
The two lead singles ‘Aaja Aaja’ & ‘Mar Javan’ are not your generic Bhangra tracks, can we expect some hard hitting Bhangra tracks from the album?
DJ H: Oh definitely, one of the main tracks on the album, ‘Jawani’, is definitely a hard-hitting Bhangra anthem. Then we have other tracks on the album that I’m confident will be big hits on the Bhangra dance floors such as ‘Jind Mahi’ that we rehashed and got Labh Janjua to sing. We also have a great duet by Nirmal Sidhu and Miss Pooja and some great wedding boliyaan by Labh Janjua.
The vocalist line up on the album is very impressive, you have Kaka Bhainiawala, Miss Pooja, Labh Janjua, Nirmal Sidhu and a lot more! You’ve gone for more established names, is this a case of not fixing what ultimately works?
DJ H: We wanted all the singers on the album to ooze quality and experience. With new singers its difficult to get them to sing in the style you want and they usually lack that element of grit and passion. Also when you are sitting in a studio in India you have about 20 people in there, and to get your message across to the singer of how you want the track to be sung can be a challenge on its own.
However, we have used several fresh young talents and up and coming singers on the album too. One untouched stone who goes by the name of Billa Bakhsi, has re-sung Kuldip Mankak’s ‘Koi Mor’ and he did a fantastic job. Then we have another new talent by the name of ‘Tanvir Gogi’ who is equally as talented. We also have the likes of Jaz Johal, Pooja Kumar, Bharat Goel, Pankhaj Khanna, and DJ Bola who you will definitely hear more of in the future.
In general when starting this project, I really wanted to incorporate old school Bhangra as well as to promote new talent from the UK which we have done. Hopefully these new talents will go on and do their own projects which we wanted as that’s what keeps this industry alive, as fresh faces bring fresh music which innovates and pushes boundaries which is great.
You have been very transparent in who has done what on the album, ‘Ghost Production’ has become a controversial issue in the Bhangra industry, so for everyone reading, clear up all the misconceptions around the Reloaded album and the input of yourself and DJ Rags.
DJ H: We’ve been totally open about who’s worked on the Reloaded album, from the producers, singers to the engineers etc... We’ve openly credited Kam Frantic, Bharat Goel, Jeeti and RDB, Rags and I simply direct the music.
We know what we want and we know what sounds good. We never claimed to be able to sit behind a mixing desk and use compressors and samplers! Simple pre-production is done at my own studio. SO IT’S SIMPLE...NO GHOST PRODUCTION!!
From the start to finish of the tracks, we create the composition of the track then we go to lyricists and tell them what kind of song we want and they write the song. Then we go to the singer and tell them to sing the song using the composition. Once this is done, the basic production is done at our studio which is creating the layout and beats we like. Then we go to skilled engineers, by the likes of Kam and RDB to finish the track off.
For most of the tracks on the album we have used live instruments played in studios in India rather than using samples to finish off the tracks and add that touch of freshness.
What would you say to those “artists” who claim to produce an album, yet all they do is basically stick their photo on the cover, without giving due credit to musicians, lyricists and other individuals who may have had input.
DJ H: I am not going to tell others how and what to do. But all I can say is, is that I personally believe that credit should be given where credit is due, simple. I am not going to make out I am something that I’m not because I would only be cheating myself and others around me which is not in my nature.
This album was releasing on Moviebox…but now your own label, what happened with the Moviebox deal that you chose to launch it on your own label?
DJ H: There was no problem with Moviebox, it was just my decision to do this under our own banner. The main reason was because we have spent so much time and effort in creating this album that we wanted to finish it off by putting in equally as much time and effort in promoting the album ourselves.
You’ve got 16 tracks and a DVD for only £10; would this have changed, lets say if you had released with Moviebox instead?
DJ H: The price would have remained the same. The DVD has 90mins of footage of behind the scenes action and escapades. We have interviews with everyone involved on the album and also a video diary. You can pre-order your copy of the album from www.abcmusicshop.com
The album is set to release on August 1st, is this date set in stone?
DJ H: This is the date set in stone. I think the timing is great because it gives the tracks on the album the opportunity to become summer hits. I’ve already heard some cars driving past playing Mar Javan. I wonder where they have got these copies from? hmm… something’s are never gonna change.
Any chance of getting a discount for Calibar Roadshow?
DJ H: When you call the Calibar office mention ‘Simply Bhangra’ to receive a good deal/package. We don’t actually believe in discounts because you get what you pay for.
I’m personally looking forward to the new album a lot, so all the best with that! Thanks for taking time out for the interview, any final words to the readers of SimplyBhangra.com
DJ H: Keep it locked to Simplybhangra.com for all the latest news from the Reloaded Camp and also I would like to thank all staff from websites like SimplyBhangra who spend a lot of time to keep their websites updated and pushing the Bhangra music industry forward. Thanks!
A massive thanks to DJ H for taking time out for the interview, remember 'RE-LOADED' is out AUGUST 1ST and you can pre-order your copy HERE