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Niraj Chag - A quick update

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This was a short and sweet email questionnaire that Niraj Chag answered for the AV readers to enjoy.

AV: Tell me about your history with Outcaste?
NC: I signed to Outcaste records when I first moved to London (from Southampton), around 1997. I had been experimenting with fusing sounds for quite a few years and was delighted to learn that there was a whole 'Asian fusion' scene in London. I worked with Outcaste records till 2001 and then we parted company. It was a mutual decision as I wanted to move more into composition work for TV, theatre and dance and Outcaste records were also changing their musical direction.

AV: Tell me a bit about 'Baiju Bawra'? How did you get involved in that project?
NC: Very shortly after leaving Outcaste, I participated in a musical theatre workshop at theatre royal Stratford east. It was here that I started learning about musical theatre. I collaborated with so many brilliant artists as part of the workshop. When I finished the workshop I left a copy of some of my Outcaste work to a few people there. A few months later I was approached by the theatre - they really liked my work and wanted to work on a show with me. They asked me if I had any ideas and I suggested updating an old (quite leftfield for the time) Indian film called 'baiju bawra' for the stage. They loved the idea and 'baiju bawra' the musical was born.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 20:53

Karsh - Broken English and music at large...

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[HOPEFULLY this interview will be transcribed soon.]

In the meantime enjoy the audio:
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 20:44

TJ - Warm and Chilling

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On his first-ever visit to NYC I got to sit down with TJ Rehmi and chat about his visit and the music as he sees it. Enjoy!

AV: What's going on in NY? What are you doing here?
TJ: Well I am in NY to promote myself and theWarm Chill album. I have also been invited by my label Dharma Moon to do interviews, DJ gigs and live performances.

AV: Warm Chill came out in Feb 2004 - how does it feel to be promoting something that is 9 months old - meaning are we going to be hearing new material also at your gigs?
TJ: Well yea, you are right - I should have done this way before. At least before the American release of the album. But really, this album doesn't have a short shelf life - it's an album that we can keep pushing because it's not a pop album. We can keep pushing it for a few years. My record label, does recognize the fact that it would have been better for me to come a bit earlier but you know what they say "better later than never." But, as I said, I am not just promoting the album I am also promoting myself as an artist. I have other albums and I will definitely be back again to promote those also. This is all part of a new long term process.

AV: Actually that leads to my other question: a lot of times artists have something on the back burner while they are promoting one album - is that the case here?
TJ: Yea I am working on a lot of new material that will end up on future albums. After I chose which tracks that I like I compile them into a new album. I am continually working on music and when I come to a point where I have enough for an album then I go for it. The next one, I haven't really made up my mind yet, but I am thinking of calling it "Breaking News."
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 19:59

State of Bengal and his views

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After doing two albums with very different flavors - State of Bengal surprises us with a third one that has nothing in common with them. I chatted it up with the man to hear his views on why he does what he does - and what he thinks of this god forsaken record industry.

AV: You have done a bunch of different albums and this your third one - compared to the previous two - what is so different with this one?
SOB: This one pretty much started out because I wanted to work with Paban Das Baul. Initially the idea was to have him work on a track for my next album but, I didn't get to finish that album because I was working on so many different projects. So that one track just kind of turned into this Bengali Baul Folk Funk album. This is something I have always wanted to do since I was a young kid and that I have always wanted to do an entire album totally recorded in my living room - kind of regressing back to my roots - where it all started and yet taking it to the future.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 19:51

Janaka + Maneesh of Dhamaal Soundsystem

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I got to sit down and interview Janaka and Maneesh of Dhamaal Soundsystem and hear their story behind the new album and the collective.

Note: In parts where both of them are speaking Dhamaal is written, where it's only one, the name is provided.

AV: First off why don't you tell me something about Dhamaal. Where did it all come from? I know it was called Azaad before hand.
Janaka: Well it's all really one big continuation. We just celebrated five years of Azaad and Dhamaal together. Nothing much has really changed between the two things. Dhamaal actually got started about five and a half years ago at a house party in my place. Maneesh, Mustaf with Rhino Affects and myself were going to DJ there and, Shabi Farooq and Adheesh were going to play in a smaller room in my apartment; sort of a classical room. But Adeesh had the idea of actually mic-ing up the tablas with the DJ music. Overall, it was a really successful party but we did get busted though around one o'clock when the police came. At the time the whole place was shaking - for my small apartment it was a huge party. The night was one of those, for the lack of a better word, magical parties where all these people had crashed (some invited, some not) and they were all mingling. It was a very interesting vibe and it was jammed! So, we asked people if they like to see this in a club environment and a couple of weeks later Maneesh, who was doing a residency at 111 Minna on Fridays, was able to sort out a spot there on Saturdays. And that's sort of how things got started.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 November 2010 19:28
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