With music producers releasing albums much too frequently in the Asian music scene and everyone wanting to jump on the band wagon yet still releasing material that sounds all too familiar, Jr. Dread is no doubt going to go against all odds by releasing a sounds that is both distinctive and fresh.
Jr Dread released his long awaited single featuring the eloquent vocals of Javid Bashir & the Punjabi rap of Sharni."Akha Lariyan" on 7th May worldwide! Junaid managed to speak to Jr Dread to discuss his single, future music projects and a lot more!
First of all, it's been 4 years in the music industry for you, how do you feel?
The same as the very first day I entered. Excitement, nervous, hungry and always striving. I must admit as the years go on, the hobby becomes more of an occupation as it takes over your life but I will continue until the day I no longer enjoy.
You got a great feedback for your debut album and also "Folkin Bass" which track would you say defines you?
This is blasphemy! To make me pick one song amongst many will always be difficult. How can you pick one when your energy goes into each track? Wouldn’t it be a disservice to all those who enjoy the full album only for me to say I prefer one track over another?
Now you are doing something different, collaboration with Pakistani singer Javid Bashir. How did this come about?
I’ve wanted to branch out into working with non Bhangra singers for quite a while now. There’s just a whole different scope of musical styles that can be brought forward. It was something I discussed with the label who then arranged for Javed Bashir to record his vocals for my concept.
Can you tell us more about the new single “Akha Lariyan” featuring Javid Bashir?
I prefer the intrigue, there’s something about leaving such details until you’ve heard the song more exhilarating.
It has now become almost mandatory to release a video with every single song that is released due to advancement of visual media. Many UK artists are seen drinking or driving flashy cars in music videos whereas JR Dread is either in a forest or reading books! Is this a representation of how you are off camera?
Ha yes, exploring new lands and reading are both interests of mind. However, I’m doing neither in this video. Each artist has their own representation and mindsets that they like to portray, and the viewers enjoy such. I’ve always found it better to keep my videos more grounded and letting the music speak for itself.
I DJ in such venues and also the more underground raves, my personal time is spent doing the alternative, keeps the head on a level playing field.
One thing you dislike about the Asian music industry in the UK and how it could be improved?
There is nothing to dislike or improve. Any negatives are simple areas for improvement, without those we would be stale and repetitive.
Would you describe yourself as a Bhangra producer or Punjabi music producer?
Whilst I work mostly with South Asian artists, I would say just a producer as you should see all the music that’s never going to be released! Dub, Jungle, House etc. My passion for music delves more deeply than just ‘Bhangra’ or ‘Punjabi music’ I don’t like to categorise my creativity into one genre.
You clearly show great creativity in your music and videos, however, do you sometimes feel being creative might not get you that wedding or club night booking and you just want to join the bandwagon?
There will always be a commercial aspect of any musical genre. It is a deadly game, where if you aim to be on the bandwagon, you may fall off at any point whilst those walking alongside it will keep going. This is the reality of music, commercial sounds/videos will always have a bigger following but the fickle nature can mean the attention will wax and wane at any time.
Aside from this, you are also working on a track with the legend Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, this sounds really exciting, tell me a bit more about this?
I cannot give any more information at this current time, except, it’s not just one project!
Are there any other vocalists you're currently working with you would like to share?
Quite a few newcomers and some highly respected artists, I’ve branched out so don’t expect to hear the same things over and over.
Your music journey has recently landed you in London, how are you finding it here?
Musically, highly rewarding. The blend of cultures and the resulting musicians, singers and artists this brings has resulted in these projects you are about to here. Generally, London has a very fast pace and highly vibrant and exciting. There’s plenty on offer here but you must keep up.
Are you working with any non South Asian vocalists?
I am indeed but such information I will only reveal closer to the time of release.
There must be one artist in this world who you'd ultimately like to collaborate with?
It’s hard to name one as there are many whom I wish to work with, most of them I’m currently working on tracks with.
Can we ever see Jr Dread in Bollywood?
The only aspiration I have is to be as best as I can. If this results in Bollywood picking me up to work on songs, then I’ll gladly go with it.
A lot of people nowadays are doing dharmik albums, would you ever consider working on one?
For me to produce such an album, I would need to be in the right mind frame and spiritual stance. Once such a position is held, then the project can be true to its core.
Where do you want to be in 5 years time?
The future is a fickle one to predict but I will still be making music, still releasing, still DJ’ing. There’s so many projects on the go currently that it may take 5 years to release them all.
Biggest inspiration in life?
Life itself. Life has a way of being both motherly and fatherly, comforting and disturbing. All the lessons it can teach should be absorbed.
You seem to be one the biggest tea lovers I have ever come across, what's your favourite place in the UK to have an afternoon tea and which tea is your favourite?
There are many! I’ve found the little tea shops of Camden to be the most beloved. Favourite tea changes with the seasons, with the coming summer, fruit teas and silver tip teas will always be wanted.
If you went on route 66 road trip, name one person in this world you'd take with you and 5 songs which you'd definitely include in the CD for your car?
One person would be my wife, she is the cornerstone of my being. 5 songs would be too hard to pick but currently Electric Head pt2 by White Zombie, Lean On by Major Lazer, Sucha Soorma by Mohammed Saddiq, Oh La La La by Fugees and Fire by Kasabian.
How can your fans stay in touch and support you?
There’s various social media, such as:
Instagram and Twitter: @jrdreadonline
Thank you for your time, any messages to your music listeners?
Always believe in your path, never speak of ‘if I succeed’ as to doubt your own choices, always ‘when I succeed’ so you know you will one day become what you started out to be. Thank you one and all for the love and the support. To those who bought the single and to all the glorious team of SimplyBhangra.com I thank you deeply.