Panjabi By Nature (PBN) has just finished releasing his brand new solo album titled 'Homegrown', SimplyBhangra.com caught up with the 'hitmaker' for a quick catch up to talk about his new album and to finally clear up the facts surrounding the track 'Chun chun gabru mareen'
We last caught up with you on back in 2007 with the release of 'Jaan Panjabi', you have recently released your solo album 'Homegrown'. Is the album name making a certain statement?
PBN: Homegrown is not intended to make any statement. It is quite simply a title which I liked and is a term widely used in the music industry. It’s catchy and represents my music being from the heart of the UK Bhangra scene.
The album features a number of big vocalists, who can we expect to see on the album, and how many tracks?
PBN: The album features an array of versatile singers such as Miss Pooja, Dippa Dosanjh, K.S Bhamrah (Apna Sangeet), Sameera, Apache Indian, Lehmber Hussainpuri alongside a number of new upcoming vocalists. There are 10 tracks in total.
I think we can both agree that the biggest criticism of PBN in the past has been the similar style, however it was interesting to note that in the press release, there seemed to be concerted effort to put across the fact you have gone out your way to increase the original element of live instrumentation, is this something you have really concentrated on this album?
PBN: I have been producing music for over 7 years and the one thing I have tried to do is develop my own unique sound and style. Year after year the public expect PBN to drop a floor filler and that is something I believe I have been consistent in doing. If I was to lose that sound and style I would in effect lose what PBN is all about. I always headline my albums with the party numbers as that is what the fans want to hear from me however, from listening to Homegrown you can see how versatile the production work is. For example my song titled Nah Reh Nah sung by Sameera is something which is completely different to my normal style, it has been laced with acoustic guitars and soulful rhythms and based around a bollywood influenced vocal. I will always bring something new to the table but I can’t lose what the fans have respected and supported over the years.
I have used some of the best musicians on this new album from mandolin, sarangi and flute players to well respected percussionists who play for bands like DCS and Jazzy B.
'Aashiq' has been taken the dancefloors by storm!, It's proving to be another successful anthem for you, but there was initially a lot of mystery surrounding this single and the emergence of a song called 'Chun Chun gabroo mareen', I understand you put out a statement explaining the situation. However just to clarify the situation, you do hold the rights for the Pooja vocals worldwide, and somehow they were leaked in India for the Chun Chun gabroo mareen track?
PBN: Firstly can I just thank my fans from all over the world for showing so much love and support for Aashiq! The response has been amazing!
Right basically the track was recorded whilst I was over in India and unfortunately the studio I used to record Miss Pooja’s vocals ended up being a very unreliable one to say the least. As Miss Pooja has made her name from being a duet singer someone tried to add additional lyrics to my song and accompany her vocals with some random out of tune idiot (as I cant call that person a singer!!). The song was leaked on the net illegally and that’s about as far as it will and can go. Aashiq is solely owned by myself and Limitless Records and we own the world rights for the song. The song is due for an official release with our partner label in India over the next few weeks.
I also understand there's a song on the album titled 'Dancefloor', you've brought out Aashiq, but is this saving the best till last?
PBN: Well it’s the public who will decide which is best but in my opinion Dancefloor is the sure fire floor filler. I have tried to give this track a pure party vibe and it proving to have worked. I purposely wrote a catchy cheesy hookline so once you hear it you won’t forget it and more importantly it’s easy to sing a long to. I firmly believe that there are key ingredients to make a party number and Dancefloor is an example of this. The song is based around the girl who just doesn’t want to stop dancing. We see it all the time, at parties, clubs etc and this song represents that. No politics, just feel good bhangra music.
You call yourself 'the hitmaker' but do you think there's more to UK Bhangra than just the dancefloor?
PBN: The whole “hitmaker” thing has come from a reputable radio presenter and station and for those who have purchased the album will see that. My definition of UK Bhangra is happy, feel good music that people can go crazy on the dancefloor to. I think there is a lot more to “UK Asian Music” as that opens many more doors and influences but as far as UK bhangra is concerned lets not complicate things from making it into something other than popular dance music that originates from the Panjab and has been influenced by western music genres.
Lets say that tomorrow you were given the job as Miss Poojas manager, what steps would you take to try and ensure consistent success for Miss Pooja, hypothetically speaking of course.
PBN: Lol. Well firstly I would keep her far away from the studio. Since Ive released Aashiq there has been a massive influx of her vocals on every tom, dick and harrys album produced in the UK. I just hope for her sake that people don’t get fed up of hearing her vocals on new UK produced tracks releasing every week. I think with any artist it should be a case of quality over quantity. Miss Pooja has a huge fan base who respect her for what she has brought to the Asian music scene, she just needs to be a little more critical on what she releases.
You worked on Dippa Dosanjh's solo album, are you working with any other vocalists on solo projects?
PBN: There are a number of major collaborations taking place this year. I am currently working on Apache Indian’s new album, K.S Bhamrah’s Album and a very special collaboration with The Dhol Foundation due for release at the end of this year. I have produced a song on the new Lehmber Hussainpuri Album releasing with Serious Records as well.
I have also very recently been approached by one of the living legends of the bhangra industry to produce a song for his new album. It was an honour and privilege to be involved in his project as I have been a massive fan of this singer since childhood. I won’t say anything more just yet but 2009 is definitely a year of collaborations for PBN.
Could you ever see yourself joining a live band set up in the future maybe as a keyboard player?
PBN: Most definitely! At the moment I would not be able to commit to being part of a live band due to other music commitments but in the future for sure.
Other than Bhangra, what other genre of music do you really enjoy listening to, or maybe take inspiration from when producing?
PBN: I listen to all most anything. As long as it sounds good I don’t care what genre of music it is. I have always been a fan of Hindi music, especially the earlier Mohammed Rafi tracks. My inspiration comes from many different types of music as well as day to day life.
If you had to pick one track from your back catalogue that you feel really pushed you career, which one would you choose and why?
PBN: Jaan Panjabi. I still can play this track out now and it will receive a massive response on the dancefloor. I think this song really helped bring together Panjabi’s all over the world. The feedback from places like Canada, Australia and England was amazing when this released and I think helped cement the name PBN. Although I was close to saying Aaj Meh Peeni!
Thanks for taking time out for this interview, do you have any final words for your fans across the world?
PBN: Thank you to Simply Bhangra for the Interview. Keep representing UK Bhangra to the fullest. A big big thank you to all my fans for supporting me over the years. I say it time and time again but it really is you guys who make and break an artist and I am grateful that your support for my music strengthens each and every year.
Thanks for the great response you guys are showing for my new album “Homegrown”. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did making it.