Kulwinder caught up with the Canadian band EnKarma where she talks to them about their journey of the band, how they work as a band, their new album #EnKarmafied and lots more!
Hey, how are you lot doing?
Hey Kulwinder, thank you very much for the interview.
First off all congratulations on your album! Could you tell us who does what when creating an album?
Basically when we all get together we decide on the music and who we want to work with in terms of song writers, we then work out the vibe we want. From there Inder will start the compositions, then we will sit with the songwriters and it's a yes no kind of thing.
I (Nick) will start with the music and we all come up with ideas I'll then mix it, record it and work on it further.
Were you all born in Canada?
No, myself and Pip the drummer were born in the UK. Inder and Doli are both Canadian.
Where has the passion for music come from?
Inder has always been a fan of Jazzy B, whereas Nick used to play around with music, trying new things and has been for many years. Also Pip and Nick used to work with Malkit Singh, Safari, and Apna Sangeet and with others.
Describe En Karma in a few words?
Loud, energetic and Punjabi as well as a live band.
Have any of you had training in music?
All of us have learntthings here and there they have been informal lessons such as sitting down with a friend. Majority of it has been self taught.
What were you lot doing before you created En Karma?
Before En Karma we were all sessioning here and there, Nick played the drums in different bands, Pip wasn’t doing anything and Inder was singing boliyan for Bhangra bands and Kooner and Dholi were in school. Out of all of us when we first started En Karma, Nick was the only one who was working full time in music.
Did you lot always want a career in music?
Music is in our blood and we want to do it for as long as we can.
Whilst growing up who did you listen too?
Nick and Pip listened to DCS, Heera, Alaap, Premi; Apna Sangeet we grew up in the 90’s when music was WOW and as live as it could be. Nick also used to listen to the charts pop music; it was a wide range of different kinds of music including Kuldeep Manak’s songs that Nick’s dad used to listen to in his clothing shop. Inder and Kooner listened to Jazzy B, Chamkila, Manmohan Waris, Sarabjit Cheema that kind of era.
Apart from Bhangra what kind of music do you listen too?
Nick listens to everything and anything when producing music I think you need to be in touch with everything that is out there. Pip enjoys pop music, Inder likes hip hop, as well as that we all love hardcore Punjabi music.
What instruments do you lot play?
Nick play’s the keyboard and the drums however there’s a lot of new gadgets out now a part from the dholki, keyboards and drums there are other bits and pieces that we use on stage as well as samples, so we are up to date with all of that. Pip plays the dhol, drums and dholki. For Doli it is the dhol, Inder plays the tabla, the harmonium, the tumbi, as well as the drums.
Where has your best performance been?
Every show which we have done has been a highlight to us, especially the Olympics. Performing with Jazzy B’s tour as his backing band was big for us. Performing with KS Makhan, Balkar Sidhu and all the superstars have been a highlight to us too. Everyone has been great and in every performance we can take something back.
So far in your journey what has been your best album and why?
Both albums have been great. They are both different and as a band we have grown more as individual musicians. The way we have matured in putting pieces together such as videos etc have made us learn and grow.
Who writes the lyrics of your music?
We come up with a basic idea and know if we want a nancha tapna kind of song, then Inder will come up with a hook line we agree to it or disagree, and then from there we begin to create a composition and someone will go and write it. But at times we have gone to song writers such as Jasbir Gunachauria where we tell him the idea and he helps us.
If you could recreate any song or album of yours which one would it be?
Wow this is a brilliant question, for Nick he is a perfectionist when in the studio and for him there are many songs which start out good and end up in a different direction. The songs would be Khera Shaat Ditta and Datt in the first album, but having said that we have done a remake of Datt which we are now happy about.
Do you prefer albums or singles?
Albums as it shows a variety of flavours and singles you never know when the next one will be out. Although next we are working on a single but we will be creating an album in the near future too.
Do you feel there is a market for albums or is it all about releasing singles?
They both work well but it all depends on marketing, the plan and the business tactics behind it. Equally they both work, B21 have come back with a great album, people like Sartinder Sartaj are always launching albums, Diljit Dosanjh’s album was great too, Nick is a believer of albums.
How long did it take to make your recent album EnKarmafied?
It took us about 2 years to create the album #EnKarmafied. As we went on tour and were gigging quite a bit for Jazzy B and Malkit Singh. We were working on the album whilst being on the road; we would scrap some ideas as well as create some. It has been a long lengthy process. We are now very happy with the product and we think it is great that the album consists of songs which are different so there is a variety. It was a lengthy process as we had to cater to the worldwide audience.
A lot of performances we do are in front of white people at festivals so our music isn’t just catered to the hardcore Punjabi’s as we have to balance it out for the worldwide. Therefore we fuse everything in with the techno, the live drums and dhols, so our music doesn’t sound like the India and UK stuff it has a different vibe to it.
How did you come up with the album name?
We were first thinking of the name being #TNJ #ToharNaJeena we just wanted people to refer back to the last song on the previous album. We personally wanted to also reflect on us too as we have respected jobs and we live based on the idea of ‘Tohar’ we make an honest living, we are respectable people. Then we scrapped the idea of the #ToharNaJeena as we thought people might get confused with the song and so we were like ‘we can’t go with that’.
Watch the video for 'Dil Naal Khedey'the video is the first from their brand new album #EnKarmafied!
Then #EnKarmafied came along, Pip chucked out the name of the album we all agreed it was simple and done.
Will you be working with female artists in the future?
We have just done a song with a female vocalist her name is Sasha Tripati she is from Vancouver and is one of the most talented artist in the area. She’s sung a lot in Hindi and has worked in Mumbai where she has done a lot of background live singing. Prior to her visit we hooked up, Nick gave her beat planned the song out she has done an amazing work on the track. She done most of the work we recorded her harmonies.
If you now Google her up she is working very closely with A R Rahman.
Who right now in your opinion is doing well in the Bhangra scene?
Worldwide Ammy Virk, Ranjit Bawa there’s so many young artists out there such as Kaur B all the people from India are getting very popular. India has changed with their music which is working well. Artists from Canada are all doing great work and stepping up in the game.
How different do you find Bhangra music made in Canada compared to the music created in the UK?
The Canadian style is fresh, UK has done there stuff and will continue to do so, there are some fabulous producers out there. In terms of Canada the style is never heard before. Intense and Harj Nagra are doing great stuff.
Will you lot expand En Karma the band?
When it comes to festivals we bring on extra musicians and dancers, but it is really down to just us 4 people. But if we are doing weddings we will being more people,it depends what we need to cater too.
Do you lot always get along lol?
Hell No! We all argue.
Any unreleased music?
Yup, we have almost about 20 GB of music. Whatsapp is crazy with ideas etc we are constantly agreeing and disagreeing what will work and not.
What has the support been like?
It has been unbelievable! We get messages from worldwide fans as well as local support. We love it; we have been doing phone call interviews in Dubai, Saudi etc. Our PR Company and record label is working amazingly. A big shout out to Simply Bhangra for their advice etc and support too.
Which UK band will you like to work with and why?
We work with anybody whoever works on the same level and process as us.
Your sound is inspired from the 80's UK Bhangra bands. What elements have you taken which you use today?
We would say it is more influenced on the 90’s in which the ideas come from, all the acts we work with or have worked with do influence us on what we create as well.
Any views on ghost production?
Nick: call it ghost production or anything else everyone has different terms for it, but it happens, I have done it, I do it, whatever just makes good music that’s what it is about. It doesn’t matter. Good music- Zindabad!
Is there anyone you are collaborating with or would like too?
Collaboration’s yes, but for now we can’t say anything!
How important is for you to keep music clean?
For us we are all family members it defiantly needs to be clean. We all have mums and sisters, daughters we want the music to be clean and heard, and want people to sit down and watch the videos, also we want it to cater to everyone and make sure it reaches out.
Social media attracts audiences to products and is the new way of marketing. How much do you depend on it?
Social media is big you can’t reach out without social media, EnKarma is lazy we need to work on it more.
What social sites can your fans find you on?
http://www.enkarma.ca/ - You will find everything on there! we are paying a yearly subscription so go and check it out lol!
When will you be coming to the UK?
We have been thinking about it so many times, finding the right promoter and shows are vital to us. There have been times when the promoters say we will do this and that but can’t do this for you, so it’s made us sceptical and we are just waiting for the right moment to come now. I guess these things happen in businesses people say one thing and something else happens. But fingers crossed in 2015 we will come to the UK for a promotion tour let’s see.
Message for the readers of Simply Bhangra?
Big up to SimplyBhangra for supporting us right from day one. You guys have been one of our backbones and part of team.
From all of us at Simply Bhangra we wish you all the best and success in the future.
Thank you from us at EnKarma, thank you to all the Fans who have been suporting us, there is loads more to come!
Interviewed by Kulwinder Kaur Kainth