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Chakdey.Com Interview with Jr Dread

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Chakdey.Com hook up with Jr Dread, one of the most innovative music producers in the scene, discussing everything from his new single, his unique personality and deep issues that affect Asian Music! Check Out what went down right here!


Your debut album came out in 2010, what did you make of the response to it?

The response to the first album was good. It wasn’t really pushed or promoted as it was more of a tester into the market. The label, understandingly, did not want to sink too much into a project without knowing of a return investment. However, some songs such as Teri Heer Nu and Jaan Toh Pyaari took off and lead the album to do well, they’ve now fully delved into my wondering insanity and allow me full reign of my material!

What was the reason behind the gap of your releases from the album in 2010 to Jogi in November 2011, Nachu Sara in April 2012 and now Jarnail Kaur?

The reason with the gap was I was quite busy on the gig market. Whilst most DJ turned producers are from a wedding DJing background I was from the club scene. So I returned to that with an intensity that was fuelled from the release of the first album. Then it took more planning, research and sitting back to contemplate on what to create next musically which was the year and so gap between the releases.

Now thankfully with the label’s support, I’m allowed to just sit back and make music and then decide which song and when to release. All this currently is just building up to a second album that will be out in 2013.

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What have you learnt about the industry having experienced it first hand?

There are many daggers in the dark, snakes that slither in your bed to bite with poison. Many who will voraciously seek to be a comfort whilst slowly caressing your back with a sharp blade. Then there are those who will seek to offer wisdom, be humble and genuinely look to help build a bigger, better scene for us all.

How do you get hold of the vocals that feature in your music?

The latest releases are all down to Hi-Tech Music. Their back catalogue of releases for me to delve into and also with a few upcoming projects, I’ve requested lyrics from certain writers and luckily the label are in touch with the singers I’m after and having the vocals recorded and sent over, or if the singer is to hand, we’re getting them in the studio!

The music you produce involves a variety of sounds yet there is always that element of Desi, do you see this changing in the future?

Well all the elements of desi are just from the releases so far and will proceed to be on the albums/singles I release for now – even though the album will include other sound elements.

Then there is the music I make to aid in the DJ sets or out of fun which has yet to be released. This is quite varied and mostly non-desi and just helps in bringing that alternative vibe into my actual releases.

You have a wide range of musical tastes and influences. What non-Bhangra tracks are currently on your hit list?

Oh heavens! Just five? Such sparse choice…

  1. Sub Swara
  2. Mumford & Sons
  3. Deadmau5
  4. Afrojack
  5. Laura Marling
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You’ve lost your dreadlocks and have inherited a lizard. Do you think your unique personality gives you an edge over bog standard artists?

Oh the lizard (Zyon, my bearded dragon!) Isn’t a new addition. He’s been with me for 10 years now! An old fogey by their cold blooded age. I’ve also had many other lizards (4ft Green Iguana, Water Dragons, various Geckos) over the years…

I wouldn’t say my personality is unique, more of an acquired taste much like certain wines. I’ve never intentionally set out to be this way at all bizarrely, this lifestyle of mine is completely natural and I’ve always had this long before I became an ‘artist’.

What benefit do you get as an artist out of releasing singles to the lead up of an album as opposed to all in one go?

With the giant monstrous mechanical engine that media is, it needs constant feeding! So to satisfy such needs, singles are released as they help build more awareness, more visual (through the videos) appeal and help to build a release until the final tribute of an album is offered up! If you release an album today without any previous releases it can be quite hard to even get noticed on this market.

Moving on to Jarnail Kaur, You’ve teamed up with Dippa Satrang on the remake, do you think his vocals do the original justice?

Personally, Dippa’s one of the best UK vocalists going. Does he do the original justice? In my eyes yes. In the eyes of the braying listeners? Time will tell.

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Does the Late Kuldeep Manak get a mention on the track itself or in the credits?

Well as you will see, the video has homage to Manak Ji and as you listen to the song, Manak Ji is mentioned. It was hilarious to see that when a trailer, a mere 20 or so seconds showing clips of a final product that can be up to four minutes long, how some would react as if they just heard the entire song. One person came to me and said ‘Manak isn’t mentioned in your song! That’s disrespect’, so I stood in the middle of the city centre that I was in, and gave him my iPod and played him the song. He soon changed his mind…

What made you choose MadTatterFilms to work on the video? Are you excited by the response you’ll get for the end product?

Excitement and nerves usually role into one with me. Ever wondering at what queer and sometimes boisterous commentary always raises my curiosity and this is a fate I enjoy! I’m looking forward to the reactions.

How is your track different from the version Tru-Skool released on In Tha House?

The biggest difference is that Tru Skool’s version is a remix of the original whereas mine is a cover/reproduced version.  Oh and of course, Tru Skool’s brutally ace remix features the Ustad Kuldeep Manak Ji! Now a cover is completely different from a remix. A remix would be the original but with added music, so adding new instruments/breaks and other such wonders as taste dictates. A cover is taking the concept of the original but then creating a whole new song that still pays an ode to the original. I’ve not used any of the music from the original and created a rave style beat but the ode is that there is still that desi feel of the original – and of course the lyrics!

What would you use to measure the success of your new single? Does iTunes or the BBC Asian Network chart mean anything to you as an artist?

I’ve often sat back and reflected on the absurdity that some artists take to what a chart position means. So let me ramble a little here… Firstly, let us not forgo any sense of honourability here, I am highly appreciative when my songs chart as it shows a buying fanbase who appreciate the music, so I will not knock anyone for celebrating on such positions. It also helps in that the higher a song charts, the more likely the playlisting increases, more people obtain exposure to the song and other such bountiful benefits.

However, strictly from an artist’s eye, it saddens me to see egos and madmen grow from charting for such a sparse space of time! Look at some of the No.1 songs we’ve had over the year, I bet many can only name a handful. Yet ask them to name some of the biggest hits – such as Moorni by PMC – these songs remained present in the charts for weeks on end. That’s when you know a song is a true hit. Give me a song at no.20 for 30 plus weeks over a no.1 for a week anyday!

To measure the success of my single, I’ll be seeing how well it does in the charts but the most important aspect I look to relates more to my DJ side. If I get told my song is playing in clubs up and down the UK, across the pond and in other countries, in cars driving past – this is the ultimate buzz! Then I know the song is a hit as people are playing it everywhere! Again, check some songs that chart, you never hear them outside in the general public…

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To what extent does your label hi-tech music have a say in what you release and what you don’t?

At the start, a fair bit but now, since JOGI…they have very little! I love Hi Tech Music and all their support. They are genuinely happy to let me carry on how I want to release, what songs to shoot videos for, how I want the video, when I want to release etc. Full control is mine and they push me more to branch into different aspects of music!

What do you make of artists and labels that disable YouTube comments for their videos?

Oh my! If only you posed this as an essay I could be here for hours with this but I will keep it brief so your readers are not wondering off. I’m completely against the disabling of comments on videos – utterly and vigorously against it! Now let us delve deeper in the pariah that has now presented themselves. Commentary on videos is that of the public, it is their views and opinions. As such these should be valued, both negative AND positive. How else will you guage the response to your songs if not by seeing how people react to them?

As many who follow me on twitter will know I am highly for free speech and the freedom to say what you will, which in turn will lead to a better discussion and resolution to such matters – the same applies to music.  As soon as you’ve disabled YouTube commentary because you cannot hope to see past the negativity then your hide needs to toughen!

Now for the big, pending and creeping BUT….

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I do not condone horrid, vile and vindictive language that some people will post onto YouTube comments. Now I actually know my label do remove some comments but these are generally ones aimed as insults against their artists or family personally. If you have been given a music video, then please comment on the music and the video! This is what that function is there for. Abuse this and spam/insult the artist then I do believe the artist/label should reserve all rights in removing these comments but they should leave the rest to run riot. Also, does anyone actually read the commentary? I’ve not even read any from GALLIYAN and that was released two years ago now? Such things do not faze me but I know that if I ever need to check…

Is there anything else you would like to add before we depart ways until next time?

Something for your readers to think about…

Without any intentional fancy way of adjusting yourself, to express yourself as you are is the most important thing” – Shunryu Suzuki

Thank You for taking part in the interview and best of luck in the promotion of Jarnail Kaur and your future releases!

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Bhangra · Interviews · News

Music Editor at Chakdey.Com who has lots to say about everything!

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