After the release of his brand new debut album 'We Are All'', SimplyBhangra.com caught up with young DJ turned producer 'DJ Phoneixx'. Check out the interview, were DJ Phoneixx explains exactly what went into creating his solo album, and alot more!
The new album ‘We Are All’ is out now, how’s the response been for you so far?
DJ Phoneixx: The response has been phenomenal. I always felt I had a great product but hearing it from other people is what it’s all about. A lot of people from all over the world have been sending their love and support which is great for a newcomer like me! Tracks such as “Majujane” and “Killer Look’s” have been getting loads of great feedback.
How long was the process of making the new album, from picking vocals to mastering the product and finally releasing it?
DJ Phoneixx: As this was my debut album, I’m always learning so it took me around 18 months to complete the entire album. It wasn’t easy and there were many obstacles that I had to overcome but I can now say that it was all worth it.
As a new artist in the Bhangra scene, are you even expecting to see a financial return on the product you have just put out? With sales drying up, what is the motivation that keeps you and many other new comers in the industry?
DJ Phoneixx: Well I can’t really speak for others, but you’re definitely right in the sense that sales are drying up. The way I see it is that if you’ve got a good product then people will buy it and you should expect a return. I’ve done my best and made a product which I believe is worth the price it’s at. I think The Sound Pipe Label is probably the only label that is trying to help the consumer by pricing their products below £5. My advice simply would be is believe in your product and people will believe in you.
What was your exact role in the creation of this album? Can you clear up the job of you (producer), the instrument players, and the engineer?
DJ Phoneixx: All the music on this album was produced by me from the start to the beginning. As I don’t play any instruments myself, I directed the musicians to create the sound I required and the album was engineered and mastered at the Sound Pipe Studio. There were many musicians on this album such as Bee2, Taj-e, Guvi, Dhani and many others.
After a listen to the album, it comes across as much of your standard ‘Sound pipe sound’, now this isn’t a bad thing at all, but as a new artist would you not have been concentrating on creating a new fresh sound to try and gain a following? Is this something you hope to achieve in your follow up album?
DJ Phoneixx: I think what you have to remember is that all the musicians that I have used are the musicians that have provided the sound for previous releases on the Sound pipe so this may be the reason why you feel there is a “Sound Pipe Sound”. Musicians such as Guvi and Dhani are in-house musicians for the Sound Pipe and also top musicians in their field, so it would be silly not to use them. I wouldn’t say the sound is the same, I believe I do have my own sound and most tracks will show this. Furthermore my future projects will also show this as they will not all be Bhangra projects.
You managed to get Miss Pooja on the album, how did this come about? And why no appearance in the video? (Click here to watch the video)
DJ Phoneixx: Well it all started off while I was in India looking for new vocalists for my album where I first heard of her. I was feeling her vocals and heard she was doing really well in India and then I was lucky enough to meet her and to get her recordings. She was happy with the outcome of the track and was really pleased with my input on the track. Just for the record she is totally aware of this track and also she was meant to be in the video but due to her busy schedule of show’s she was unable to. She is really big in India and is pre-booked up to 9 months in advance.
Who is the girl in the video? Seriously…
DJ Phoneixx: She is a model/actress from India and was a good friend of the director’s. She’s featured in many other videos and the Indian look and profession she offered was of top quality. I really feel she fitted in the video very well and I was really happy with the outcome. Big up to the Sound Pipe FX team and also my main man – The small guy that made the video unique in every way.
One of the highlights of the album for me was the new vocalist ‘Major’ that you have introduced, was it tempting to go with the same Lehmber & Kaka combo rather than go out and find fresh talent?
DJ Phoneixx: Let’s be honest whenever we hear of a newcomer or a debut album from a producer the first thing you can expect is either Kaka who is on the album or Lehmber, In my case I went for someone new, someone that I feel has the potential to meet Kaka and Lehmber. I have always believed in taking and giving chances and as I was given a big chance by Bee2 and Taj-e, I felt I should give others a chance too. There are many newcomers on this album such as Major, Nitasha and Horizon who I feel have loads of potential to go far in the industry. Sometimes it’s not always about using artists that you know that will do well, bringing a new artist on the scene may not get you the sales you need but sure will get you the respect.
You’re the Sound pipe resident DJ; a lot of DJ’s in today’s industry bring out albums simply as a calling card for more gigs, was this your intention?
DJ Phoneixx: Not at all, the road show has been doing well for many years now and we’re mostly over booked on the weekends. This album is all about me, my music and my label. But it’s important for people to know that I am part of a road show for near enough 5 years so that people don’t assume I have just come from no-where. I have a background in the industry and have performed with many artists in the past.
The Sound pipe Record label is one of the few success stories in Bhangra; in my opinion Taj- E is severely underrated in the Bhangra scene, how much has he been an influence on your music and progression as a producer?
DJ Phoneixx: Taj-e is one of the best producers in our industry; he’s a great artist and a great person to learn from. He’s supported me throughout this project and has taught me a lot. Once again I was lucky enough to learn from two of the best producers out there. Bee2 and Taj-e have both given me a great amount of their time and not forgetting their useful advice. Their teachings are not something that can simply be forgotten. I also believe that Taj-e is highly underrated, but I’m sure this year all will change. He’s got a lot of stuff on hold which will be dropping soon so watch out for my man Taj-e because he will be causing havoc.
If you could produce one male/female duet with a pick of any two vocalists, past and present, who would you choose and why?
DJ Phoneixx: It would have to be a duet between Amar Singh Chamkila and Jagmohan Kaur. My main reason for choosing both of the above artists is simply because they are legends. They have pushed Punjabi music to extreme levels. You know these people are legends because even 20 years on people are still listening to them and I can guarantee you 20 years in to the future people will still be appreciating their music. Whenever the word “duet” is mentioned, the name “Chamkila” instantly appears in my mind. If he was still alive today I’m sure he would still be making brilliant music like he did back in the days.
We recently published an article about the lack of Bhangra on our Asian music channels; what do you think about the recent lack of exposure on mainstream Asian TV channels such as Zee Music? Was your video rejected, if so what was the reason given by Zee Music or any other music channel?
DJ Phoneixx: I’m glad you guys have talked about this topic and I totally agree on the lack of exposure young artists like myself are getting. I think channel’s need to get behind artists and help take new music forward and also take our culture forward. We Asians are proud of where we come from and proud of our music so I feel it should get all the support available. My video till now has not been rejected by any channel but if it is I will keep you guys up to date!
Pick only one choice!...
DJ or Live Band: Live Band
Kuldip Manak or Surinder Shinda: Kuldip Manak
Taj E or Bee2: They are one!
MC’s or No Mc’s: Depend’s on the track
90’s Bhangra or Post 2000 Bhangra: 90’s
Thanks for taking time out for this interview, any final words for the readers of SimplyBhangra.com, and anywhere they can catch the Sound pipe team live?
DJ Phoneixx: Just want to thank all the people out there that have taken time to read this interview and also the people that have supported me through my music. I would also like to thank my label for believing in me and my product so big up to the Sound pipe. Keep it locked on simplybhangra.com and also keep up to date with me and the rest of the sound pipe team on www.thesoundpipe.com. We will be performing all over the country in the upcoming months due to the mela season so make sure you are there.
Chocolate Party 2 – 18th July
East London Mela – 3rd August
London Mela – 10th August
Face book: Gurps DjPhoenixx
All the best to everyone out there!
The Sound Pipe