Pal D is set to release his second solo album titled 'Diamond In The Rough' on VIP Records. SimplyBhangra.com caught up with him to discuss his new album and much more!
As an introduction, can you give us a brief description of who you are and what you do?
Pal D: I’m known as Pal D; a music producer who stands out as one who composes, performs, records, mixes and masters his own music as well as everything in between. I’ve also just debuted as a vocalist on 4 tracks featured on my new album: Diamond in the Rough.
How did you get yourself into the music scene and where do you get your inspiration from?
Pal D: I never set out learning music with a view to getting “into the music scene” and don’t believe anybody should. I began learning Kirtan at the Gurdwara when I was about 6 and followed this by learning the Tabla. It sounds clichéd now but hands-on music production requires you to have at least a basic understanding of how music is structured, whether you can play an instrument or not. When I began to learn software-based music production later in my teens, this knowledge helped me pick things up quickly as I could understand why certain things happened and the physics behind it.
My music is inspired by Surinder Shinda, Avtar Singh Kang, Kuldeep Manak and Gurdas Maan cassettes I used to listen to from the 80’s. Back then an emphasis was put on composition because songs were completely acoustic. This transpires into my music which is largely folk-based and traditional but undoubtedly carries more beef than today’s “urban” variations of our sound.
As far as music, you are a singer but do you play any instruments as well?
Pal D: I have only been taught the Tabla to a high enough level to consider myself as proficient. However, I do know how to play various other percussive instruments such as the Dholki, Dhol and Dhad to some extent and I obviously play all the Keyboard/Harmonium and Tumbi pieces you hear on my work.
You are known for being one of the youngest producers in the UK, how does this make you feel?
Pal D: It feels good that this is recognised, however it makes no difference to me. I’d rather be judged on merit.
You are working with VIP Records in the UK, how did you come across such an opportunity?
Pal D: Some time last year (2008) I’d put together a draft version of my album which was nearly complete. VIP Records had heard my track on Bakshi Billa’s album which they were impressed with so they were naturally interested in hearing my new material. I forwarded them the draft and here we are a year later.
Tell us a little bit about the first album “Standard Procedure” released back in 2006. Were you happy with the results?
Pal D: The newest track on Standard Procedure was actually 2 years old when it was released. All of the recordings were finished in 2004 and it was 100% original music which was a rarity at that time and in fact I’m still very proud of this. I worked closely with Bhinda Aujla, Sunny Nijjar, Japjit Kaur and Mani K who all had their vocals recorded in my bedroom studio in Leicester.
The music budget for that album was zero – amusing when you listen to the sums some people are forking out for studios, engineers, extortionate vocals and ghost producers yet still come out with weak, repetitive products.
Was I happy with Standard Procedure as a product? No. However I understand the reasons for the failures and hold no grudges. I refuse to believe any of the shortcomings on the part of my previous record label were deliberate; rather down to a deficiency in understanding/knowledge. I have learned a lot from the experience however, and the negatives from 2006 have encouraged positives on Diamond in the Rough. As an example, I’ve had a hands-on approach with video production for both Diamond in the Rough videos and I felt the need to learn how to master my own material to avoid another scenario of a third party mauling the dynamics of my master mix before release.
Currently you are set to release your second album “Diamond in the Rough.” Could we see any other artists/vocals featuring on this album? If so, who could we expect?
Pal D: Vocally the album hosts Surinder Shinda, Lembher Hussainpuri, Charan Mander and Bakshi Billa who I produced the track “Hor Pegg” for on “Nachne Da Mazza”. Harvinder Bhinda is Malkit Singh’s brother who people will remember from Golden Star and Sandeep Soomal is an upcoming singer from Scunthorpe, UK. As well as singing, Japjit Kaur has also written the song “Badaam Rangiye” which is featured in the album medley video.
Other lyricists on the album include Amarjit Musapuria, Dev Threkeawala, Shangara Bilgiya, Salan Kalaam, Sukhwinder Sohal and Meet Purewal. I’ll also make a special mention for the flute player: Shammi Pithia on the track “Zulm Naa Kar”. This guy was my biggest music critic while we were at University together as he’s a mind-blowing producer/composer in his own right. Check him out on www.myspace.com/shammipithia
When will your album “Diamond in the Rough” officially be released and how do you feel about completing this album?
Pal D: The album should be released Friday May 29th.
I’ve spent 2 years working on some of these tracks and I feel I’ve learned a heck of a lot in the process. I spent 4 months solid learning just how to master audio properly! I feel a great sense of pride at what I’ve achieved without a constant backing within the industry and with limited resources.
I’ve always stated that artists should be judged on their weakest effort at the time and I can honestly say there isn’t a weak song or filler on the album. People who have heard the first 5 promos and assume these will be the only tracks worthy of appreciation on the album are in for a big surprise!
Being that you have had the opportunity to work with many artists, whom did you enjoy working with the most and whom would you hope to work with in the future?
Pal D: The first part’s a tricky one! Everyone I’ve worked with has their own personality and way of working so I don’t think it’s fair to single anybody out as being more enjoyable to work with than the others!
I’m open to working with any good musicians in the future. It may seem strange but I’m not necessarily motivated to work with specific big name artists or “legends” just because they are superstars. I’d rather work with creative, hungry and innovative people like myself – although I’ll admit these attributes are usually what have made/will make people legends anyway!
People see you as being a “Ghost Producer” what do you have to say about that?
Pal D: I think the term ‘producer’ is largely misunderstood. In its literal sense, a music producer doesn’t actually have to be involved in the hands-on creation of music at all. Their role is merely to manage a budget and delegate the ‘production’.
If a DJ decides to pay me a sum of money to carry out all the music creation tasks such as composing; performing; recording; engineering; arranging; mixing and/or mastering, they’re still the ‘producer’ as it’s their decision to use the ‘production’ budget in that way (albeit very lazily).
The problem is in the perception by the market, especially if the musicians and engineers or writers aren’t credited, which is usually the case. The public see a pretty DJ posing on the front of a CD and think everything they’re hearing must have been conceived by this person. They don’t understand or care about who has actually written the music, where it was recorded or who decided a certain Dholki roll would be used to bring in a bridge.
When you hear an amazing chord pattern harmonising a vocal which sends a shiver down your spine, remember to look in the CD inlay credits to try and find out who really composed that music/chord pattern – not who ‘produced’ it and looks beautiful and shiny on the front cover.
That being said, in all seriousness if any more DJs want music doing in the strictest confidence, let me know! www.pal-d.com
Thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans and our simplybhangra.com viewers?
Pal D: I’d like to thank all my fans who haven’t forgotten me in the past 3 years; especially those who kept bugging me to put together another album – they finally got their wish!
Watch out for future projects I’m working on such as Sandeep Soomal’s debut album out later this year and join my facebook group to keep posted on all my latest news: