Fresh from collaborating with Diljit Dosanjh on 'Main Fan Bhagat Singh Da' & numerous other projects - We catch up with producer JSL for this exclusive interview!
Welcome to SimplyBhangra.com – Who is JSL?
Thanks guys, Who is JSL? Come on man everyone must know who JSL is :P.. j/k.. Well it’s the same JSL back from the days when StereoNation used to be Johnny Z ...
Many may remember you as a underground remixer/producer – what year did you first start out in – and how did you get your music noticed?
Well, I started my stuff in late 90s.. I used to remix songs on and off just for some fun.. One day we had relatives at home, I played few of the stuff to my cousin who also had a similar interest, he asked me to make a remix compilation and release it on net, I didn’t have internet at that time so I asked him for the favour. It was titled “DIFFERENT STROKES” and was forwarded to all major websites in 2000-01
Back in 2007 you and Manni Sandhu released a remix album called ‘Mutual Concept’ (featured on SimplyBhangra.com) – Do you remember how you and Manni came about to doing this release?
Well, by that time I had released approx 6-7 underground albums and I was kinda fed up of it, because I hated that SCENE, picking up someone else’s song, cut the bass and highs, add your beat and TAG it as your own. So I started searching for vocals, found some of them, also at that time I heard some of Manni’s stuff.. So I approached him, appreciated what he was doing, he also knew me from my work and we had a nice chatting session... I told him what I was up to at that time, I had like 4 songs ready and to my surprise he also had a few finished songs.. So we both came to the conclusion of making a mixtape TOGETHER! Following week, Mutual Concept Vol. 1 released.. Vol.2 might follow SOON lol! :P
From remixing undergroud, you got your big break on a number of official projects including DJ Sanj’s ‘American Desi’ album, how did the break come into this official release?
Umm... in 2007 I completely dropped music from my life and started assisting my dad’s BUSINESS down here in Delhi (India), in 2008, we had an argument, he asked me to leave and I was BACK ON TRACK loll!.. I started looking for a job related to music and then a friend told me about “GAURAV DAYAL” a well known music director from Delhi, I approached him and requested him to make me his assistant, was ready to do anything at that time, from being his driver, peon whatever, just to expand my knowledge and confidence in music making. He told me he was starting an institute named “BEAT FACTORY ACADEMY” and BAMM! I was the first student... cutting the long story short.. He made me meet TAZ Stereo Nation, TAZ gave me my first commercial break with the song “DOST KARLEH TOAST” on his album “TWIST AND SHOUT” and TAZ introduced me to DJ SANJ, this is how we started!
In 2012 you released ur debut song titled ‘Assi Sikh Haan’ – Which recently picked up a PTC Music Award. How did it Happen?
I made that track in 2009, Mr S Mukhtiar wrote the lyrics, I was touched... Being a SIKH, we are always told to take “BABA JI’s” name before starting any work, So I kept this as my DEBUT, I thought whenever I’d release my Commercial SINGLE this will be the one. In todays date most of the artists wants to play safe, especially when its your debut... from PLAY SAFE I meant, giving out a DANCE number, or may be a song which has a few bad or double meaning phrases, or a song which deliberately targets a girl as “BEWAFA”. These are the tracks which will automatically be people’s top 10,I wanted to do the track from my clear heart, dedicated to my religion, irrespective of anyone’s reaction and the response is in front of you!..
March 2013 – ‘Main Fan Bhagat Singh Da’ – You teamed up with Diljit Dosanjh for this single – how did this project come about and what were your reactions to the feedback it received?
I met Diljit in 2012 with the help of a mutual friend Sonali Singh, we chilled out for a few weeks, made some samples, FAN BHAGAT SINGH was one of them, after a few months I was approached by the Producers of “Bikkar Bai Sentimental” movie, they loved the track and also It suited their story, so I approached Diljit bai and asked for this favour, he agreed and the song was featured in the movie. The feedback is CRAZY and I am totally packed with work at the moment..
We understand you’re also working with Diljit on a number of other projects – can you confirm which ones & how did this come about?
YES, I am currently working on a movie titled “Mukhtiar Chadha ft Diljit Dosanjh” and also his upcoming album, “TEMPTATION” (rough title).. well at first I was doing only couple of tracks of the movie, The director “Director GIFTY” called me and narrated me the situation of a sad song, I made 3 fresh samples for the song, 2 were scrapped, they loved the version I played, hence they decided to give me the whole movie.. The soundtracks are totally different as compared to what is in the market, I am sure people will appreciate the hard work of the whole team! The album will be released later this year and I am pretty excited about it!
‘Bikkar Bai Senti Mental’ is a Punjabi movie which you’ve done the soundtrack for – How impressed are you with the current level of Punjabi cinema – Is it an exciting time to be involved with it right now?
Well!.. I would say I am grateful to be a part of this movie, it is totally different from the usual stereotypical Punjabi movies you would see, the screenplay, storyline of this movie has a kinda dark feel to it as it portrays how a common man suffers in his day to day life in India (corruption etc.), because of what the music had to be aggressive as well as dark at the same time, everyone appreciated the MUSIC, 3 of its songs are in TOP 5. The movie is also doing good and i am glad Punjabi cinema is improving and people are accepting these kinda movies too.
Would you say Indian based producers are still looking at the UK scene for the latest trends in Punjabi music?
Well I feel, UK based producers have become more Indian than the Indian producers.. late 90s and early 2000 was the best time for UK music, am sorry to say but most of it sound the same to me now, except a few..
Name your Top 5 Punjabi albums of all time!
Johnny Z – The NEW DAWN
Specialist & Tru Skool – Word is Born
Immortal Productions –Shaheedi 4
(then there are singles)
Any final words for the worldwide readers of SimplyBhangra.com?
I wanna thank ya all for appreciating my work, and reading this interview!
Keep Bhanging and Stay Blessed.. and Thank You SimplyBhangra.com , today if I am doing my thing, SimplyBhangra gets a good portion of the CREDIT for it!! THEY SUPPORTED ME WHEN I WAS A NOBODY AND I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT!