Amit and Deepak known as 'Cloud 9 Music' speak exclusively to SimplyBhangra about their latest album, egotistical artists, producers and more!
Since the release of your debut single ‘Kan Kar Gal Sun’ what have you been up to?
Since Kan Kar Gal Sun was released, it was important that we kept the momentum going with our second release and the album. We worked carefully with VIP records to ensure that we planned the release of both carefully. We also wanted to ensure that everything was perfect and have been involved in every aspect of this release, from the cover design to media awareness planning. Today we present to you our brand you new album – ‘Sky’s The Limit’ – We are very proud of the finished product in every aspect.
Tell us about your debut album ‘Skys The Limit’?
‘Sky’s The Limit’ is a 12 track album, (including 2 intros), which we would describe as an album for everyone. All the tracks have been arranged and put together from scratch by ourselves, from the concepts and lyrical content to the actual instrumentation playing and production of each of the tracks. We have some desi dancefloor tracks in there, some funk, some reggae, some romance, and some heartbreak. Overall I would say each and every person who listens to the album will be able to relate to the lyrical content, and message that we have tried to get across.
Which singers and lyric writers have you worked with on the album?
We hand-picked the singers and lyricists that we wanted to work with, with the view of creating exactly the picture that we had in our minds – Working with Boota Pardesi, Nirmal Sidhu, Balwinder Matewaria, Bakshi Billa, Sudesh Kumari, Charanjeet Channi, Jaswinder Dhagamia was a truly an honour, and a great experience.
Tari Banwalipuria, has written the majority of the tracks in our album, he has really helped us create the image that we were looking for from the concepts that we created for our tracks - a world class lyricist, with a heart of gold. We have also used lyrics by Happy Bains, Nirmal Sidhu, Jatinderpal Singh Hampal, and Resham Lohara who all are excellent writers with their own styles.
Who was your favourite vocalist on the album?
It is very hard to single out one singer who from our album is our favourite vocalist...
Working with Boota Pardesi, (Amit’s father), with his experience and success as a pioneer of UK Bhangra music was a great honour; along with his support he has contributed massively to this album. In terms of out and out vocal ability, Bakshi Billa and Balwinder Matewaria stand out for us. Billa pha-ji is just unbelievable - he sings at a very high pitch but sounds so comfortable, he has so much control over his voice its simply amazing. Balwinder Matewaria’s tone of voice is awesome, he also adds so much feeling and emotion to a track, a great vocalist.
Can you both tell us your favourite song on the album and why?
For both of us, our favourite track on the album is Ek Kuri Dil Lageyi. A story of 2 friends, who have a close, brother like friendship; one of them being haunted by a girl he has fallen in love with, but never actually got the opportunity to approach her; the other trying to help him cope with his mis-fortunes by making him understand the true value of their friendship. Sung beautifully by Balwinder Matewaria and Bakshi Billa, a great song with so much passion, emotion and quality, we can listen to it over and over again.
What do you think of the quality of music which is being released in today’s market?
The technology available today, makes it extremely easy for someone to pick up a keyboard, midi interface, PC/Mac and production software package and make a track. It has made it easier for the more talented individuals to tap into the market without spending fortunes on studio costs. But it also means that you get a lot of low quality production. Generally we think that the industry is getting better, as the better musicians and producers are slowly pushing out the cowboys.
How important is a good music video?
These days a good video can make or break a songs success. For example when we shot ‘Jee Jee Kareh’ – many of our friends and family weren’t a massive fan of the track, however once the video started airing they grew really fond of the track, and now so many people love the track due to the impact of the video!
What advice can you give new musicians singers who are looking to release in today’s market?
- Go learn your trade first!
- Go and get an education and job, so that if the music doesn’t work out you have something fall back on.
With so many artist releasing independently what are the advantages of being on a record label?
There is a lot running around, and links/contacts that need to be made in order for you to successfully release a track/album. People like us have day time jobs, (we are both investment bankers by the way – lol), and we simply do not have the time to chase and arrange everything that comes with the release.
They also have far more experience than us and so can help us reach our potential a lot quicker.
You’ve included tracks aimed the wedding market – Was this a conscious decision, as the live scene is so dependent on the wedding scene currently?
Our album is very diverse. Although there are a few tracks aimed at the wedding scene, we also have a few good listening tracks. With the wedding market being so big these days and getting bigger as each year goes on, we felt it is important that we aim some tracks for that scene, as this is when your tracks get played the most. From experience, the tracks that are kicking it on the wedding scene make their way to the club scene also.
What are your thoughts on egotistical artists and producers, as well as ghost production?
If an artist wants to be egotistical, fine, it really doesn’t bother us. We will just concentrate on what we have to do. Ghost production, I do and don’t support. People who have no clue what so ever about music production and ask someone to produce a track for them without any input what so ever is a disgrace! However those artists who sit in a studio with a music producer or engineer and spend hours on end trying to bring the image in their mind to life, I think should be given a little more credit.
The producers that actually make their own music from top to bottom will be the ones who will be around for years.
Creatively, what do you think of the contemporary Punjabi music industry? Which artists excite you and do you think are maintaining standards?
Honey Singh has been a breath of fresh air for the Bhangra Industry, along with some of the younger more talented artists. In terms of maintaining the standards, PMC, Ravi Bal, Zeus, Aman Hayer, Sukshinder Shinda, have all maintained the standards for years, all inspirations for us both.
As an artist, how important do you feel it is for artists to keep engaged with their fans via social media?
Twitter and Facebook has definitely brought the fans and supporters closer to the artists, something which we believe is great, as your fans and supporters can tell you directly what they think of your music. It’s also important for the artist to keep their supporters updated of all events and releases, as they are the people who are paying for your music and putting you up there in the first place. Respect and love to our fans and supporters.
The last few years has seen the UK scene shift almost entirely from CD to iTunes and digital sales. Do you think it’s important for established acts like you to try and appeal to younger audiences who are the new generation in buying music legally?
Firstly thank you for considering us as an established artist, its only our first release we have a long way to go yet!
The recession in the UK and around the world we feel has caused buyers to resort to illegal downloading more than ever. It’s almost as if people actually think it’s normal to illegally download music – quite shocking really. With singles hardly being released on physical format, the digital market is the main source of Bhangra music now. It is now so easy for young people to download music illegally and to be honest there is not enough being done to deter or scare youngsters from doing this. Unless this is targeted properly by the government and music unions etc, I can’t see this ever changing.
What are your plans for the future?
We have aspirations to work with many artists, with our next project it will be our aim to tick off some of our ambitions. Going international is also very much the next step; to show people around the world the type of music that we make.
However most of all, we will continue producing good music for all our supporters and fans in the UK. We will be looking to tour around Europe, India and North America to showcase ‘Sky’s The Limit’ over the next few months and also working on our next single which should be out early 2013.
Any final words for the worldwide readers of SimplyBhangra.com?
Thank you to our family, friends, and all our fans and supporters both here in the UK and around the world, without your backing and love we are nothing. The response to the album has been emotionally overwhelming and we are so pleased that so many of you have come forward and given us such positive vibes. If you see us around please come and say “Hi” – We would love to meet you all in person.
Please keep in touch and up to date with all the news and events in regards to Cloud 9 Music, on Twitter – ‘@Cloud9MusicTeam’ and on our Facebook page ‘Cloud 9 Music’.
Stay safe and sound - peace, love and respect, Amit & Deepak – Cloud 9 Music
P.S. Right now “Sky’s the Limit” – soon we will be “Reaching for the stars!” – come and join the ride! ;-)