Chakdey.Com touchdown with raw folk Punjabi prodigy ‘Banger’, discussing his work with Ustad Kuldip Manak Ji, his hit single ‘Patandra’, MoneySpinner, Master Saleem, Sukhi Chand and much more! Check out the indepth interview right here!
Chakdey.Com Interview with Banger[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/BangerInt5.jpg” width=”600″ height=”400″ title=”Banger Interview 5″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
First of all, what made you jump ship to becoming a vocalist?
As a part of MoneySpinner, when we started a project with some new vocals I used to lay down the guide for the lead vocalists and this was sent to the vocalists for them to sing in the melody that I would sing the guide in. Realtone Records saw this and asked me if I was interested in doing something vocally and not just production. After a long period of time and persuasion from MoneySpinner, my family and friends, as well as receiving approval and encouragement from the late Legend Ustad Kuldeep Manak ji, I agreed and recorded my Debut single Soorma featuring Ustad Kuldeep Manak.
Who have you received vocal training from or has it come naturally to you?
Vocally I am being trained by Dr. Bharpoor Singh Sohal, a student of Ajeet Singh matlashi ji. Dr. Bharpoor Singh Sohal has been singing for over 20 years, he understands how the voice works. He knows how to make any voice sing or talk in key and also knows how to develop a voice to its full potential. As well as being an Ustad he is also like a big brother and uses traditional methods of teaching. It has not come naturally to me but having a little understanding about the Punjabi language and music has helped a lot. It’s thanks to Paaji that I am doing what I am.
What was the largest barrier in your rise as a vocalist and what has been the biggest setback you have suffered during the process?
The largest barrier is that your voice is not an instrument and it gets tired with you. An instrument can be retuned and put in to key even if you are tired, but your voice is a part of your body and the first thing people hear not only tiredness but also nerves and if u are unhappy. One of the very first times I went on the BBC Asian Network I got very nervous when I had to sing I will never forget that feeling, God saved me as it still sounded ok. So looking after your voice and also keeping a positive mental state is very important.
You aren’t new to the scene itself having worked for a while with the production outfit MoneySpinner, what did they make of your move?
MoneySpinner are my brothers, I have not moved from MoneySpinner, we are still a team. We are working together as a team on the huge Master Saleem project. The future only God knows. I am just going to try my very best at what I am doing.[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/BangerInt2.jpg” width=”600″ height=”448″ title=”Banger Interview 2″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
Most people will remember you as the face of the track ‘Pangha’ by Balwinder Matewaria, back then did you ever think you’d be singing to your own tracks?
Back then I was persuaded by MoneySpinner that I was a good looking guy who they wanted to be the face of MoneySpinner. Little did I know that they wanted someone who looked as if he was from India (someone who looks like a “Freshy”). I never thought that I would sing back then.
Not many people can say their debut track (Soorma) was introduced by Late King of Folk Kuldeep Manak, how did you hook up with such a distinguished personality?
Ever since I can remember I have been a fan of the late Ustad Kuldeep Manak Ji and I have been going to India almost every year for the last 7-8 years. Every time I went to India I was fortunate enough to meet Ustad Ji as he lived in Ludhiana and we also have a home there as well. I can remember the first time I met him it was through one of my friends who is in the police force in Ludhiana. I was telling him that I was a big fan of Ustad Ji and he asked me if I’d like to meet him. At the time, I thought he was joking, but we all know that Punjab Police is capable of doing anything! We went to Ustad Ji’s house and everybody knows about the story when I first met them and ever since I have gone back every year I would go and meet him and the family.
Was it a surreal experience and how did he guide you through the process?
The experience was surreal every time I met Ustad Ji, as each time he would leave me with a new memory. The guidance that Ustad Ji gave me was “awaz teri sohni aa, zara khull ke gaya kar”, “sach gaayi” and “bahuta darr ke na gaya kar”. These are just a few things, I can go on for ages telling you each time I met Ustad Ji, it was a real learning experience.[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/BangerInt1.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ title=”Banger Interview 1″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
Moving on to your new track, for those that don’t know what does the term ‘Patandra’ mean?
Patandra is a very common word used in Punjab. The actual meaning of Patandra is Forefathers. The way that we have used it in the song, the closest word in English is rascal.
Are we right in guessing the beautiful woman with the twitchy nose is not Jaswinder Jassi? Will we see you working with further female vocalists after the success of Patandra?
The lady in the video is not Jaswinder Jassi, she is a fantastic actress from Punjab and her name is Alisha Grewal . I have been offered more duets and at the moment we are in the process of selecting the type of songs to do. So watch this space!
The debut track was produced by MoneySpinner and Times Productions (Sharni), what made you choose Sukhi Chand to work with for the production on Patandra? How much input did you have on the instrumentals?
I didn’t choose Sukhi Chand, Paaji chose me and he has done a fantastic job with the production of the song. He is not only a fantastic musician/producer but he is also a fantastic person and a gentleman. All the music was done by Sukhi Chand. I only sang the song itself.
You had nearly 50,000 hits in the first 2 weeks; did you expect such a positive reaction?
I didn’t expect anything to be honest but with Waheguru di mehar te Tuhade pyar de sadke we have had a fantastic response.[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/BangerInt3.jpg” width=”600″ height=”321″ title=”Banger Interview 3″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
Do you think the two tracks you’ve released have had crossover appeal to audiences in India, Australia and North America?
I have been having a lot of response on Twitter and Facebook from all over the world. I think audiences have liked the song from the feedback that I am getting.
Who have you styled your image on or been influenced by in your appearance?
Ustad Kuldeep Manak Ji.
Do you think you can match the success of JK, Garry Sandhu etc in terms of impact?
With Waheguru ji di Mehar te tuhade pyaar naal, nothing is impossible.
What do you have planned next in terms of release, can we expect an album soon or will you be taking it slowly?
I will be releasing one more song this year and then a full album next year.
We have seen some solid releases so far this year. Which album or single release are you most looking f
orward to? Is there anything that you’ve heard behind the scenes that we should watch out for?
I think that UK Bhangra scene is thriving at the moment and everything that is being released is of a very high standard.[image src=”http://media2.chakdey.com/Images/BangerInt4.jpg” width=”400″ height=”400″ title=”Banger Interview 5″ lightbox=”yes” align=”center”]
Last but not least, a question which we will feature in a forthcoming article: Is the number one spot on the iTunes World or the Official BBC Asian Network charts really the be all and end all of what an artist wants to achieve? Is it an accurate measurement of success?
I think for me the most overwhelming thing is audiences still appreciate traditional, raw, Desi, folk, Bhangra Music. Music is a media that breaks down all barriers and unites people. There is no way of measuring the borders of how far, how high music can go.
Finally, do you wish to add anything to any fans and readers out there?
Lastly I would like to say Thank you to everyone for all the love and support that you guys have shown me. Waheguru tuhanu saraya nu sada khush rakhey te aapna pyar ehda hi banayi rakhey. I would also like to thank Chakdey.Com for giving me this opportunity to share my feelings and experiences with you guys.
Thank you for taking the time out for our interview and we wish you all the success on the promotion of your release!