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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.

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Karsh Kale speaks to AsianVibrations.com about this newest album Broken English. He also drops hints on what's in the pipeline for him and how he feels about the state of music at large. Hope you enjoy.

Note: The words in [ ] are added by me to clarify the point that I felt Karsh was trying to make.

AV: So how did broken english came about? What were you trying to do with the album.

KK: After putting out Liberation, the next thing I wanted to do was something more universal. Encompassing a universal language. With the concept of broken english being the language that is spoken all over the world.

AV: Ah I see! Ok.  I was wondering what you were trying to say there. I was wondering if you were referencing to the broken english that all our parents speak.  

KK: It was partly a reference to that. [But mainly I wanted to reference the language spoken all over the world.]

AV: I felt, when listening to the album, that you departed from what you had done in the previous albums. How much of that was an attempt to not do a South Asian Fusion album?

KK:I don’t think I was really attempting to not do something. I was [more trying to do something and] not be concerned with what I had done before.   You know, right after that I worked on an album with Anoushka Shankar in India.

AV:You are talking about Rise?

KK:No no. Not Rise. I just came back yesterday from India where we had been working on a new album which is a collaboration between the two of us.  So we had been working with a whole bunch of new musicians. On one hand this work [from her perspective] is more of a western record and other hand [from my perspective] it is more of an Indian record because we both were pushing each other in a different direction. But that being said, then I am also doing a Kollective compilation which is much more about underground music. I also want to do a live cd with the Realize band.  So I am never thinking in terms of “what am I supposed to be doing” [or not doing]. I do what I feel like I need to do - at the time.

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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 the Warm 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.

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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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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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