The outlook of UK Bhangra looks bright if talented individuals like Des C can continue making progress in the bhangra industry. A real UK Born vocalist, his voice has already been behind massive hits including; Pasand (Mentor Kolektiv), Majajneh (Rishi Rich), Juliet or Heer (Blitzkrieg). After featuring alongside some big names Des C will be releasing his brand new album titled 'First Flight' in the coming months. We caught up with Des C to give you a low down on what his all about!
I first remember hearing you back in 2004 on the Mentor Kolektiv Mixtape, were you sang a few freestyles including Bari Kholkey. I was pretty taken aback by your vocals, and even more so when I found out you were a uk born vocalist! How did you initially get into singing, considering you are still relatively young now.
Des C - I don’t know why but my voice does make people think that I’m from India etc. I got into the whole singing thing when I was 11. At a very early age in knew what I wanted to be and that was a singer. I was always encouraged by friends and family to sing at special occasion’s weather I could sing or not... I was always the ‘bali da bakra’ [sacrificial goat] to take one for my father when it was his turn to sing. From that point onwards I kept the fire going of becoming a singer.
You’ve now gone solo signing with an independent record label, what was the reason you left Mentor Collective, or was it a mutual decision for the group to disband and go its separate ways?
Des C - Well like most bands / groups we had to go our separate ways, on good terms obviously. It was very unfortunate that we had to but the label that we were working closely with at the time, left us with no choice.
Your new debut solo album is set to release this spring, featuring the single ‘Tor Nagini’ (click here for info) , tell us a little about the album and which producers it features?
Des C - The album is a little different to what some vocalists have released in the past because I have had total control over the project. I have hand picked and chosen some very talented producers some of whom are well known and some who will go on to become stars in their own right.
The producers include: KAM FRANTIC, TIGERSTYLE, ALAN SAMPSON (PRODUCED RIDE IT! FOR JAY SEAN), SANGRA VIBES, D-BOY, MENTOR, JAGS KLIMAX, MR NAMZ, AND AT LEAST TEN DIFFERENT LIVE MUSICIANS.
The whole idea was to give the audience an idea of what I can do as a solo artist. I needed to shake off some of the hip-hop image as I want people to know that I can sing hardcore Desi, Hindi, etc. The best thing is that each track is different, fresh, and will I hope go down well with people of all tastes in music.
Jags Klimax (Tor Nagini) & Des C
The video for Tor Nagini has been co directed by Hard Kaur, how was it for you working alongside such a colourful character?
Des C - Well one thing is for certain she wouldn’t be where she is now if she didn’t believe in herself. She is a very successful artist due to her own journey through the music industry.
To be honest I had some mis-conceptions about her due to her professional image. The bottom line is she is smart, sassy, and wise. I regard her like a sister. I guess she saw the same spark and hunger in my eyes before she agreed to help in my project.
Any collaboration with other vocalists that we should keep an eye out for?
Des C - Hmmm watch this space...it’s a secret...
I don’t count my chickens before they hatch! One thing I do know is that there will be projects in the pipeline after I drop my album.
You’ve worked with Tigerstyle more recently, and featured on the Shaheedi project in 2007 on the song ‘nishaney kaumaan de’, how did you feel being asked to work on such a prestigious and powerful project, and what was it like working with Tigerstyle?
Des C - When I was in Scotland recording for my album, I knew they were working on the Shaheedi project. After recording my track, Nachna Onda, I asked them if they could give me the opportunity to participate and luckily they agreed.
I have been a big fan of Tigerstyle since their first project. It’s a dream come true now working along side them.
Sada Haal was easily my favourite track off the last Mentor Kolektiv album, you sang that particular song live on a BBC Asian network live session with Adil Ray, whats your view on live singing and performances compared to doing PA’s? Is live singing a must for any self respecting Punjabi vocalist?
Des C - Most definitely! If you can’t sing live, how can you be respected as an artist in front of your fans. Before turning to professional singing, I was singing live in front of bharat’s at weddings as part of the DJ set up I was involved in. Trust me there is no audience tougher to please than a coach load of Punjabi wedding guests! My objective was to free style some boliyain consisting of all the relatives, It was very tough I assure you.
The next step for me would be a small band but for the moment I am happy to do PA or LIVE, I feel that I have been blessed that I can do both.
'Tor Nagini' Video Shoot
You’ve been making moves in the Bollywood scene recently; tell us a little more about this! Your not going to go all Bollywood on us are you?!
Des C - I got this call in the middle of the night from HardKaur, asking if I could write some lyrics for a bollywood song. I was deep asleep at the time and thought I’m dreaming! Next thing you know she gives the phone to Shankar Mahadevan of all people who’s a legendary bolly singer! That’s when he repeated the request, told me what sort of concept they were after, then I spoke to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who said we will phone you back in an hour!! Its then that I needed the bathroom quick time! I had some lyrics and a hook line by 4am. After they heard me sing it over the phone they were impressed and used the song lyrics for the film Johnny Gadar. Alas I did not sing it but who cares! The great Shankar Mahadevan sang it! This for me was a big deal in itself.
Writing lyrics seems to be an important part of what you are as a artist, you definetly get a feeling that on tracks such as Sada Haal that you are really into the song and going through the motions when you are singing. Do you feel comfortable singing songs that you don’t necessarily relate to, or had any input towards?
Des C - To sing any song you should be able to visualise the concept or idea behind it. Ok some songs don’t have much in the way of deep lyrics and maybe they just have simple hook lines, I just try and put effort in to each one.
In terms of collaborations outside of your album, you’ve kept fairly quiet about featuring on other artists albums, is this a conscious effort you’ve made not to flood the market working with various producers before your actual album is out?
Des C - Hell yes!! I have had no end of offers over the last few years, but I want to be known as an artist in my own right!
Your appearance always seems to raise a few eye brows as you have your own unique style, any chance of seeing Des C in full Punjabi attire in one of his videos?
Des C - You know funnily enough I was actually discussing that with my label the other day. I most definitely want to but its early stages as yet. Watch this space I guess.
You’ve come straight out of Luton, which I’m sure you would agree has its rather bad parts, we know of Raxstar, is there any more talent floating around that the world isn’t aware of yet?
Des C - Monty Panesar [England Cricket player], RKZ an up and coming rapper.
Are their any producers who you would like to work with, that aren’t featuring on your debut album?
Des C - Now that’s a secret... I don’t want anyone copying me.
Ok now im going to give you a few words and you have to say the first thing that comes to mind!
The Bhangra industry – In chaos
Operation Bluestar 84 – WRONG JUST WRONG!
Doh Point Noh – Homer Simpson say Do’h! - point Below!
Luton – Wala Des-C
Gurdas Mann - legend
Sukshinder Shinda – Jazzy B
Live Music – Dhol
Punjabi culture – Slowly dissolving and becoming western
SimplyBhangra.com – frequently visited
Were can we see you performe live in the near future?
Des C - Anywhere you want! Tell your local promoter to get his booty in gear and book me lol.
Any final words for your fans and the readers of SimplyBhangra.com
Des C - Yes! During my career as a singer being on tour, doing numerous gigs, I have learnt a lot. One of the things that I have learnt is that being part of the next generation I am continuously seeing an increase in youngsters consuming alcohol and drugs. Now I don’t want to preach or anything but I will promise you this: I will not promote alcohol in any of my songs in years to come and you can hold me to that...