I’ve been a big fan of E=MC from his work alongside RDB and the compilations to his solo albums and projects with the likes of Sukhdev Darapuria and Aman Sandhu. We caught up with him to talk about his start in the industry as well as went through his music collection and upcoming plans. This was his first interview in a very long time, and it’s a long read, so sit back and enjoy!
Let’s take it back to basics – how did you start off in the music industry?
Manj is the one that gave me a chance when I first started off. I started off rapping, making basic beats, nothing crazy. Always been a big fan of Bhangra music, I’m originally from Southall. I listened to it but as I got older I listened to more hip hop. I came across these 3 singhs on the Internet which was RDB. I saw the website and saw these guys were doing it big, they’ve got this fresh sound. They were coming here to do a show and I grabbed a ticket and went there to the gig and I literally bombarded Manj and was like hey! I got this tape, I rap and I do this and that, check me out. He looked at me like alright chill, chill. I didn’t make anything of it, I thought he was just going to brush me off, you know he must have had so many people come up to him like that. Luckily I got a phone call from him the next day and he was like are you the guy who gave me the tape. I said yeah, and he was like cool lets link up. I linked up with this guy in his basement and I had this raw version of ‘Desi Fly Chick that I’d done. The beat was all over the place but the lyrics and hook were ready.
We just refined it, added a few bits and within about 4-5 hours we had the song. He burnt it on a cd and I’m showing all the boys; I then sent it to Tony from Untouchables UK, he loved it and the rest history. It was number 1 on BBC Asian Network and from there you could say things just kicked off for the brand or the name E=MC. From there we just started to do more compilations, Danger 3, Urban Flavas 2. I started buying more equipment. Manj gave me a copy of cubase and a couple of other things and told me what to buy, so I bought a small little 8-track mixer, keyboard and then I really started pretty much watching Manj and Kuly in the studio, interacting, working etc. I never really used to ask them too many questions because it gets annoying after a while, so I’d just sit back and watched what they did, what they clicked, how they used the tools and I picked up little things as I went along. I’d come home after that session in the studio and implement those things to try to make those beats. Then slowly slowly I started taking my beats to Manj and Kuly and they were like this sounds dope. They then gave me some vocals, and from there I started producing singles. I’m not a crazy rapper or lyricist but I had good melodies and composing melodies; that’s always been my strong suit.
Kuly and Surj were in England and I was here; Manj moved to Canada. Thats when Aaja Mahi etc was blowing up in the UK and he was all the way over here, so we started RDB North America. We took care of all the things in the NA side. Eventually Manj sat me down and asked so where do you see yourself going. I was like I’m just apart of RDB. He was like yeah you’re definitely apart of us but he’s like if you really are serious about progressing in this field and you want to make it – and he believed in that – then I would need to go back to the UK, move there and push my music and do an album. I was young at this time, like 18 years old. So I literally packed my bags moved to England with like £200 in my pocket. The label was very supportive, so when I first stayed in the UK I stayed at RDBs house for like a month. Tony from Untouchables said he wanted me to live in Leicester and so I stayed with Manak-E for a month, he took care of me etc. One of his buddies had a house and I moved there for £40 a month with some proper fojee’s. I stayed in my bedroom 90% of the time working on my vocals. I told the label I wanted these vocals and went to wherever the vocalists were based, Lehmber, Manak-E, Angrej etc.
I started working on my album. Before that, no one was booking me; I’d ask for them to pay my train ticket and that’s it. There was this one guy Reece, who gave me a slot at Creations, to give me a start here in the UK. I got the album ready and took it to Kuly, who listened to it and he helped me by pointing bits out like change this and this sounds good / bad, maybe use this flute etc. He mentored and guided me; told me what wasn’t in key as I was still learning etc. In about two weeks later I was at his house in Leeds, we mixed it and mastered it and then we shot the video. We produced the Sahara album (Undisputed), Lal Ghagra, me and Kuly produced that together. That was the intro and a teaser to show that the E=MC album is coming. And if you listen to the album, it was very different to the other guys in the UK; it had its own sound. The point was to get away from the RDB sound and establish the E=MC sound. That was one of the main reasons to come to the UK, to showcase that whilst we are on the same label we are doing different things.
So lets talk a little bit more about the album; firstly where did the name come from? – Call It What You Want?
I’ve always been like that. If you want to call it good, call it good, if you want to call it bad, call it bad; thats just the way it is. Regardless of whatever name I gave it, theres two side of the spectrum, either people are going to love it or they are going hate it. The public are the ultimate judges; Kuly loved it, he was like your a genius and thats the best album name; your thinking is different. After Kuly kept pushing it, I decided that Call It What You Want is going to be the name. He kept asking me ‘what’s the name of the album, we can’t call it The Debut because Indy (Sagu) has already used that’. A lot of people forget that it’s the audience that are going to be the ones listening and judging your music. You can call it the sickest album ever, as your making it and you think its dope. But its not necessary that everyone will feel the same way. Luckily a lot of people didn’t have anything bad to say about this album.
I’ll be honest, that was a big album. It had quality tracks on there and it came out in a year where we had some big albums released
That was the peak I think in the Bhangra industry, you had Sahara, Dr Zeus, RDB, E=MC, Aman Hayer with albums around that time. Lehmber, Angrej were doing it big, there was just a vibe; the industry at that time was at a peak. If you look at the guys in India now, half of them can’t sing, and it all comes down to whose got the money, and whose got a good image and thats it. It doesn’t matter what lyrics you have. It comes down to this guy has a good image, got money and is doing videos. When we were in the industry, in the UK, a lot of the guys (singers) weren’t in the videos, it was some young guy miming instead. People were buying the CDs though, and buying the songs, everything has changed nowadays. Everything’s on iTunes and Spotify etc. The culture has changed and a lot of the older guys, I feel there is a void. A lot of the younger guys who are making music, they don’t know what the real sound was with real singers and vocalists. Amar Arshi used to have effects on his vocals but he is probably the only one who sounded good with that AND he can actually sing; KS Makhan, same thing. We know how to use autotune and all that, but a lot of the newer guys don’t know how to use it. I remember actually back in the day when we went to gigs, they’d ask me to DJ but I was never a good DJ; I’m not a DJ, so when we had those gigs, Surj (RDB) gave me a mix of my songs. When I’d come on, I would press play, pause it, say a couple of lines, hype the crowd and press play again and move on (lol)
A lot of the new guys in the industry are not with a record label and are doing it independently. Is that the best way now and do artists even need a record label to push their music?
I’m on the track where I’m making stuff, with old school vocalists, with that modern twist. I got a song coming out with Dildarpreet, who sang Akh Sharaabi. If I can give advice, as an artist, record labels promise you the world but nothing gets done. Now finally, I’m doing everything myself, my own YouTube channel, label and doing the distribution myself, it’s going to be a good experience and at least you own your stuff.
Looking back at the album (CIWYW), Mahi Ve Mahi was my favourite track. I was hyped when I heard Lehmber at the beginning, then I heard Manjit and then Angrej was featured on there as well. What was the story behind this track?
It was Sabar Koti, Lehmber, Angrej and Manjit in the studio with Amrit Saab. Amrit Saab brought them down and we recorded like 30 vocals throughout the whole day. We recorded some vocals and they asked me what kind of song do I want. They were chilling and sang Mahi ve Mahi, and I go, ‘Oh this is Didar Sandhu’s song’, They asked me if I know Didar Sandhu, and I go ‘yeah I know his songs’. So Manjit got up and started singing it and what had happened was everyone had a few drinks, Lehmber got excited and right in the middle of the song as Manjit was singing the first verse, he kicked him out the booth and started singing the Sher. The guy was just recording, and Lehmber was like no trust me. He sang a Sher, and right after that Sher, Angrej Ali got into the booth and sang another Sher – I still have it recorded btw, I never used it. So he sang a Sher replying to what Lehmber said. You now have these two guys going at it and Manjit is just waiting to finish the song lol. And then Angrej Ali, was like I am going to sing the second verse, as they all loved the song. So he ended up singing the second verse and Manjit Rupawalia sang the 3rd verse. And thats how it ended up.
On the album you also had another huge name in Surinder Shinda. How did you guys meet up and what was it like working with him?
I met Surinder Shinda in a pub, pretty much, in Bradford. So I sat down with him, me and Kuly and he was like ‘which vocals do you want from me’. He was expecting me to say I wanted to do a new song or a track that everyones done / knows but I asked for a song that even he didn’t expect. I was going to ask for Jind Yaardi from the film Putt Jattan De. Growing up as a kid, I used to watch PJD, it was like a family thing. In that movie, there was a song called Jind Yaardi which is where his friend dies and he is talking to god and asking God to not hide his brother, his friend, let the guy have him back kind of thing. So I sat down and was like I wanted to dedicate this song to my grandfather, he was like my best friend and it means a lot to me and this is the vocal that I want. He was just like blown away because he was like no one ever in my whole career has asked me for those vocals. Those were the ones I wanted and he was like okay lets go. So we literally went to the studio and recorded it like 20 mins after having that conversation which was probably the most unreal experience ever right, having Surinder Shinda in the studio, it was huge.
Such a powerful vocalist. The quality in his voice is unbelievable. He easily outshines 90% of the current crop of singers in India right now, hands down.
He is a legend man, right. When you talk about legends, you talk about Manak, Surinder Shinda, Chamkila, Kulwinder Dhillon, Surjit Bhindrakhia. These are legends and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be around a lot of great, great singers over the years. And I’m just glad that I got to live in that era, even you know like Sabar paaji RIP, but you know a big influence on me musically. Him and Charanjit Auhja, I’ve seen Sabar live I don’t know how many times, just growing up as a kid and growing up in Canada, he’d come and do shows. To work with people like that, you can’t really put a price on it and you can’t even put it into words.
It does make a difference when you as a producer can work with such talented singers.
It is something else definitely. So if you look at my first album and my second album, that album had nobody famous on it. I still remember the day I heard Bari Kholkeh, when it came out on Indy’s album and was like how can you not love Surinder Shinda; the vocals are so powerful. It’s on you to come up with something that has impact and the pressure is on you as you don’t want these great singers coming back to you and saying you’ve ruined my song. You’ve got to really figure out what your scope is and what you are trying to do with it. It worked out perfectly because when we did the medley right at the end, we paid a tribute to everyone. I came up with the idea to get these t-shirts made; Surjit Bindrakhia had just passed away at that time. So it was Bindrakhia, Chamkila, Kulwinder Dhillon, Lal Chand Yamla Jatt and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. So we got all these t-shirts and we’ve got Shinda singing the song and then the throwing of the roses; it really brought everything together for the medley.
It was a powerful visual statement and brought the emphasis to the song even more. You don’t really see many medley music videos nowadays, which is a shame. Who came up with the video concept?
All of that stuff you see in the video, me and Kuly, we literally did within 5 hours of shooting the video. We stayed up all night, the night before storyboarding this whole video. We did it in this junkyard of a mechanic shop in Bradford and everything came together. That is the genius of Kuly. That was him when you’re around such a visual artistic person like the way he was, you just fed off of him; it was like okay lets go, let’s do this. We shot the album cover in a tunnel, he just grabbed his camera, we took the picture and he brought it back and edited and designed it because he was a graphic designer; he had a degree in graphic design. He designed it and I told him how I wanted the writing for the CIWYW etc. and that was that.
The amount of creativity and innovation that came from RDB was second to none. You look at their albums, compilations, videos, website, album covers, RDBTV; the whole movement was fresh and ahead of its time.
That was all Kuly; every album cover that was designed, every video concept, anything to do with the media side, it was Kuly. RDBTV – that was Kuly and just overall man everything that he did he was one step ahead of everybody else – Always! Creatively, visually he was like always one step ahead – you’d have the crappiest phone and he’d have the phone that nobody has ever heard of lol you know, that was just who he was. He was something else!
You don’t get that RDB sound in the UK anymore but also the creativity and innovation that came from that camp, it’s no longer there now.
That was the beauty of RDB, and a lot of people think Manj sold out but he didn’t. He has said it before as well, you can’t expect him to be RDB when Kuly is not there; that is half of his creativity that has gone. So you can’t expect someone to carry on the legacy when the other person isn’t there because people are going to say you are ruining the name. He didn’t want to tarnish anything, so he wanted to be separate from RDB and keep that as a brand and keep that as it was in history and wanted people to enjoy that but now he needed to move on and try to do something as an individual. RDB wasn’t one person, it was a team of two people.
The first album was a huge success, you then decided to follow it up a year later with ‘And What!!!. You mentioned earlier that you consciously wanted to use unknown / new singers this time; did you feel you got the response you wanted?
So a lot of people said the album was this and that and it wasn’t what they expected. The whole point was that I wasn’t doing that album to try and be out there or anything. If I vibe with someone and I get along with them and we having a good time and we make something and that makes sense to me. As I started to make the album, I met Surinder Billa and all these different artists and I was like I wanted to give people who don’t get an opportunity, a chance. Tony said maybe put some well known artists on there; I said no, I wanted to try and do something different. He was all for it and he liked his artists being creative and not having to tell them what to do all the time. When I recorded all those vocals, I never even recorded them at the Untouchables studio because Kuly had moved the studio to his house. When we had recorded all the vocals before it was in Leeds and then Kuly bought a house in Bradford and he wanted his own studio similar to how Manj had his own studio. So it was kind of hard because they were working on their album and I didn’t have the time to always go to Bradford and take artists to Bradford so I had a mic set up in my room and I was recording vocals right out of there. I worked on the album and Tej Gill is a good friend of mine and I definitely wanted to put him on more and do stuff with him.
I tried a different approach and tried to evolve the sound a little bit more. I didn’t really want to put that much rapping on everything and wanted to keep it a bit more clean and tried to do something different and help people who really need the help. Like Surinder Billa was a foji working in a fish and chip shop and struggling; he stayed in my flat for 3 months. I get the hospitality and helping others out from you know Manj and Kuly; like if you look at how many times I stayed at Kuly’s house; they kept me up for months at a time like it was nothing. When you’re around that, it rubs off on you. The other thing was at the time, I was literally 19 years old surviving on my own and I never got paid for my first album; all I got were the vocals. So either I took money and I would have got no vocals or I got good vocals and I didn’t take money. For the second album, I told Tony if I need vocals I will let you know but other than that I’d like to get paid for this album. Sometimes you have to look at your situation and see whats going to work for you.
I actually liked the second album; it had a different vibe compared to the first. So you release two albums and then we don’t hear from you for a few years – until you released FAUJ, what happened?
I got to a point where I was living in England and by myself and away from my whole family for about 3 and a half years now. You come to a point where you’re like you just don’t want to stay there anymore. I want to go back to my family, I literally packed my bags and my equipment and left it with one of my friends in Coventry and I went. I came back few weeks later to pick up the rest of my stuff. Then for a while I took a break, really didn’t do much; setting up a studio in Canada and getting some new equipment. A couple of my friends were really interested in what I was doing, where they were like lets start a label, lets do this, lets work on a project. That is when I started working with (Sukhdev) Darapuria and Tej Gill. Tej was always around, he is a phenomenal writer and when Darapuria came on the scene it was just ‘okay lets go’. He is a student of Kuldeep Manak and he can sing.
FAUJ to me sounded the most complete and polished of the albums; was that partly due to you being in a better place?
I think I was in a lot more of a happier place mentally; being back home, not having the pressure of playing rent and surviving in England. It was expensive to live there; I was living in Leicester town centre in a 2 bed flat, right next to the train station. I had a lot of pressure on me whilst I was out there and living there on my own. I wasn’t always alone but it does take its toll on you; going to a gig, you’ve got your boys with you and when you come home, you’re by yourself. I became this homebody person, where I didn’t want to go out; because if I go out into the town, everybody knows you. You know what the Bhangra industry was like back then, you couldn’t even walk into a McDonalds without being bombarded. You couldn’t go anywhere and a lot of times you would want to go into a pub or a bar. A lot of my boys came down, like Blitz, he is one of my tightest boys, Roach, one of my tightest boys. We all grew up together and they would come down to push their stuff and work with Tigerstyle and we’d go to melas and study and they’d stay with me.
So you could imagine 10 guys staying over in a flat with me. And they’d go out to bars and clubs and they’d be like woah. The first time Blitz came down with Roach and 22K, they went to to Creations and like 3000 people singing Mahi Ve Mahi and I’m not there. Obviously you don’t go to these events if you aren’t supposed to be there because no one will book you. That was one of Tony’s biggest things – don’t go to gigs if you’re not there to perform, he didn’t want me in a club. These guys are coming back and yelling out the window, what the f**k bro there are 3000 people singing your song, you’re a superstar. I’m like thats a regular thing out here, it happens all the time for every single song. They were just like blown away, and there in the club telling everyone that they’re staying with this guy and no was believing them lol. But yeah dude a lot of things like that really take a toll on you when you can’t go somewhere or you don’t have that freedom. Sometimes you go to a pub and you’ll have guys just wanting to kick off with you or they were haters, they just wanted to start shit with you. You try to stay away from those things.
So a lot of things like that affect you and when you come back home, you’re out with your family. I was in a very good mindset at that time. Lets continue this thing and do it on our own kind of thing. Tony shut the label down, Untouchables was shut down and that was another big thing, Tony was like I’m not doing this anymore, there is no money in it, Kuly and Manj were trying to figure out their whole Bollywood thing; they were in India trying to sort that out. They weren’t really around to kind of have input on what I was doing and I just started woking on stuff and got into the studio with Darapuria. Once I got to the studio with him, he never used to write, that was my biggest thing. Like Manak-E, he never used to write either, but I got him writing, Pind De Munde, we wrote that stuff together. So when I hooked up with Darapuria, I said look you’re an amazing vocalist paaji but you need to start writing your own material.
The reason why that album was more polished you could say and the sound had developed, especially with tracks like Yaari and Gera, the reason was, because I was making beats and we were writing and composing the songs at the same time in the studio. It was the first time we did that; I did it on And What!!! too but I was doing it with next level vocalist now and a guy who really understood what I was trying to get out of him. The only other guys who I’ve been able to do that with are Tej and Manak-E. And so a lot of it comes down to the artists involved in the project that they bring to the table.
It makes a difference having the singer’s input throughout. Nowadays the singer would just come in, do his part and leave.
I still don’t do that, any song that I’m working on, I try to have the artist involved. I’ve got vocals that I recored years ago and I’m hitting up these singers and asking them to re-sing certain parts and they were like yeah sure no problem. They’d totally forgotten about that but I haven’t. Making music nowadays has become just like clockwork for those who are out to make money; for me personally everything that I do going forward is not about money but preserving the legacy. 50 years from now would anyone remember the name E=MC, thats what its about. Making sure the name resonates, and the music, people realise this guy wasn’t putting out any crap but he had a vision and didn’t look at anyone else. Overall with the camp, we all pushed for that and make sure that we all had our own sound. No matter how many times Kuly and Manj worked together, Manj had his own sound and Kuly had his own sound and I have my own sound. You’ve got to stick to what is truly you. Me as an artist I don’t want the limelight, I’m not looking to be in the videos, or the album cover with buildings blowing up in the background and me sitting on a tank. Going forward, in the next couple of months, you’ll notice, it will have nothing to do with me as a figure.
I’ve had people approach me on social media and say they’ll get me 100K followers and I’m like I never did that on YouTube; Dream Girl was the first track that got over 1M views on YouTube. And I never even imagined that but I’m not going to go out there and win people over or do that stuff. People who know already know whats good. Going forward, whatever I put out, either you’ll appreciate it or you won’t and thats been my attitude from day 1. I’m in it to make good music and quality music that people will like. Im okay with 1500 followers that appreciate what I do compared to 150k who don’t even know who I am. The industry has just gone social media hungry.
A lot of the people now are hyping their social media stats over 100K followers, X amount of million views. 90% of those are fake.
If you have 100K followers but 100 likes on an image, even if you’ve got 2000 likes. What does that prove. I’m hoping the UK makes a comeback though, the vibe and buzz right now is in Canada.
Who do you rate as a producer in Canada?
As a producer I rate this guy, who is actually a very good friend of mine; he’s a guy who I’ve taken under my wing and I’ve told him not to give up, SOE. Very nice and humble guy, somebody who has a lot of talent and doesn’t really see the bigger picture. He is like the industry is where you need to have a lot money and need this and that, but I’m like nah, there are people who will appreciate whatever you are doing.
SummerNights is a prime example. Came out of nowhere and did really well. Aman Sandhu had some banging tracks on that. Speaking of him, how did the two of you meet?
Aman was a student when he came over here; I got introduced to him and he was in a very bad situation where he was pretty much homeless, sleeping in a truck, it was like -20 degrees outside. The guy who he was staying with pulled a fast one on him and left him to pay the rent, and he couldn’t afford it so got kicked out. This was a guy who was my age when I moved to England and doesn’t have a place to stay, I’ve only recorded 2 songs with him at this point. I literally sat him down and told my parents, look this guy needs a place to stay and he’s going to stay with us for a bit and we’ll help him out. We became brothers and he literally stayed at my house for a year. When someone is in need, you have to help them; if god has given you everything, and you cannot help others in need, then what good is it right? I started working on his album, and right before he was going to move out and get his own place, his immigration didn’t come through, so they were going to deport him and he had to go back to India. So now your have an album half finished and everyones devastated. We thought we had this next level vocalist, the next Kaka, the next Lehmber, in my opinion and we were hyped. We put Bhul Gaye out and we were just starting. He had to go back to India, a year goes by and I’ve got half an album sitting here, so what do I do. I went to India, paid for the ticket, paid for the studio time and finished his album and released it; it was the least I could do for him with his whole situation.
I really enjoyed the album; I thought it had a different vibe; even the name stood out – another unique title – 2 Fingers 2 The Game.
Another unique title that the BBC Asian Network said that its too vulgar and they wouldn’t play it and said its disrespecting the industry.
Mainstream artists have album names that are a lot worse. Theres been so much controversy with the BBC AN over recent years with certain artist’s music not getting played, to favouritism, drop in viewership etc.
Oh dude let me explain something to you, I had it out with Friction and Nihal, just a couple of weeks ago actually when Roach (Killa) was posting something. They wanted to make some comment about how I wasn’t an MC and was this and that. I’m like you guys are literally the ones that boycotted everyone in the Bhangra Industry, and just played Rishi Rich and Juggy D 24/7 on the radio. I’ve had numerous dealings with these guys and they do not like me. They are not a fan of me and I’m not a fan of them. I think that it’s horrendous that people like that get to be that high up in the radio industry and in my opinion they shouldn’t have a job.
And to be honest with you I wouldn’t even send them my song, because the culture that is there, especially at the mailbox is either they like you or they don’t; if you don’t do things their way. When my album came out they were playing Mahi Ve Mahi and they weren’t playing any of the other songs. I was like there are some other good songs on there, put them in the playlist and they wouldn’t do it. It was Nihal, he made some smart comments or something and I was at a mela, I confronted him and said if you have anything to say, you can say it to my face. It was one of those situations where he was caught off guard and he was like, no no no its not like that. And again a couple of days later they are on the radio and badmouthing me saying they will play what they feel is right for the market, we play what we feel is good music. 3 days later I get a call from the person who handles their interviews, calling to ask me to host a Takeover show. I said are you kidding me, first of all you guys are dissing me, the label – that we don’t make good music and its not suitable to play on your radio station, and now you want me to come and host a radio show with these guys!
I’m like nah, I don’t want to do that. I’m not going to do something when you guys are not even supporting. If you are, you should be doing it genuinely. Ever since then I haven’t really given a s**t about giving anything to the BBC AN. It’s not just me, it was Manj, Kuly etc. It was always Rishi Rich / Juggy D. No disrespect to Rishi, he is a good friend of mine, Juggy D too. Juggy comes down to Toronto enough times, him, Mentor and we always chill you know, so no hate there. My point is, don’t show favouritism because they are your friends, keep it equal, so everyone can get recognised. There are so many people putting out good music, but all you could hear on the radio is, 2 Point 9. No disrespect those guys are very humble, especially Rishi, he is a pioneer in the UK.
Yeah Rishi Rich is a pioneer for sure. But with the BBC AN, I don’t get the system they use for their playlists. Like I’d see a really good, fresh and unique track listed on their C Playlist and I’m thinking, are you guys serious?
To be honest with you, you now have Spotify, Apple Music, nobody really cares about the BBC AN.
Yeah true, they recently lost around 100k listeners last quarter
They can be thankful they have a job, if it wasn’t sure Mark who really loves the culture. He was listening to original cassettes of Sukhdev Darapuria in the 1980s, he listened to Manmohan Waris, he met up with Sarbjeet who was the guy behind Planet Records and Soni Pabla and he was chilling with us and naming tracks that even Sarbjeet didn’t know. He was like you know more about some of these songs that I release than me. I don’t remember this album and Mark was naming oh on this album you had this track and this and that etc. So you have a gora who is really into his Panjabi Folk music not even UK music. People don’t know that about him and he was probably the most genuine guy I’ve ever met. And even when he became the head at BBC and took that role, he was very humble and I could still call him up and say you guys aren’t playing my song. He’d be like okay we’re going to speak to these guys and don’t worry and we’ll get your songs on the playlist. He was always there to listen to what anyone had to say and never neglected anyone. That was huge on his part I think.
If you look at the way it is now, an artist can (and probably should) manage the whole process end to end. From releasing the song independently, to promoting it on social media, they don’t really need to rely on traditional outlets as much now.
This what I mean, and looking to the way I am going forward. I can control what I want to do, how I want to do it, and its pretty easy now to do it. The rest is on how you market it and what your vibe is. I will always have love for the UK, and I’m rooting for the UK, and definitely looking forward to the new DJ Sanj album. I follow certain guys and waiting to see whats coming.
You mentioned DJ Sanj, which artist in the UK are you currently following?
In terms of music production wise, my favourite producer of all time is Bhota Jagpal. He is just a phenomenal guy, he made Safri who he is. Safri was my main influence; I still remember tapes like Death Jamm 2. Bhota is the man for sure. In terms of new school producers, I would say, not out yet but 1 half of the duo known as Sangra Vibes. Very good friends of mine, young and upcoming and then unfortunately Mani passed away and so Gurps is around and I know he is working on some stuff. I’m hoping that he will put something out soon. I think Manni Sandhu is a good producer, he has developed his own unique sound. I think having the same sound does get repetitive; you do need to have your own sound but thats like saying Mahi Ve Mahi had its own unique sound but if you’re going to always have certain touches of that in every song then you’re not going to go that far. I like the music coming from Kaos Productions and Gurj Sidhu.
I feel a lot of the older producers and artists have stopped releasing as much, especially in the UK.
I’m not sure if people in general have gotten tired of it and it’s wearing them down etc. but like a lot of the guys in the UK, everybody just backed off you know. Like the old school guys just dropped off. I want to hear that raw Tigerstyle vibe, I want to hear a Shaheedi album. A lot of the vocalists fell off as well, even like Manak-E. I’ve messaged him many times before to say lets to do something and then nothing happens. I’m still waiting on a Bally Jagpal album you know. But my goal for the next 6 months is that I’m literally just going to be putting out crazy material.
I did like the work you did with Tej, will we be seeing more from you two?
So me and Tej have kind of gone our own separate ways. He’s doing his own thing and I’m doing mine. Mainly it just came down to his management, they wanted me to sign with them also. And I don’t want to be in that situation. So we just decided that he was going to venture off with his team. He is doing his own thing, so you probably won’t be seeing much with Tej but Darapuria and Aman definitely going to be hearing a whole bunch of stuff. I got a new guy on the scene his name is Kunwar, he is from Mumbai and I’m doing some stuff with him; think of the Panjabi version of ‘The Weekend’. It’s a totally different vibe.
Under The Radar – Sukhdev Darapurias album, what did you think of the response?.
I thought that was a phenomenal album. It was just raw Desi. Out here in Canada the biggest song was Rauj Shamnu which just blew up, it was massive, it did really well. The thing about Darapuria is that he is just such an amazing guy, like if you’ve ever met him he is such nice person to be around and humble. I keep telling him that he is so talented and he doesn’t get the praise and credit that he deserves and thats why we named the album Under The Radar because people don’t know about him. He hasn’t gotten the exposure that he deserves. For those that don’t know Darapuria was the guy who sang Dekh Jawani which was made by Illegal Demo, that’s his vocals.
I’ve just listened to the new Darapuria track Mirza (thanks for the exclusive) – You need to release that one first – haha! That is a BIG track. Is he working on a new album or was Under The Radar his last one?
I don’t see an album happening anytime soon. We are going to be making some singles though. He wanted Under The Radar to be his last album. I’m working towards building my studio in the summer so definitely after that we will be releasing more. You’ll hear from Darapuria and you’re definitely going to be hearing some stuff from Aman.
In terms of immediate releases, what’s next for E=MC?
I’ve got some plans; I’ve just had a call with Herbie (Sahara), so me and him are going to be doing something. I’ve got the Dildarpreet single coming out and right after that I’ve got this Kunwar single coming out which is this whole RnB, Weekend meets the Panjabi scene. Then I’ve got a track with Sukhdev Darapurai which is called Mirza Saiba which was a track that was originally going to be on his album. The first track that is coming out is called Khang, with Dildarpreet and I should be releasing in the next 4 weeks, I’m just waiting on the album cover design, its actually been designed by a guy in the UK. My plan is to release a track every month. I will release Khang by the end of February, and then March / April you’ll see the Darapuria track and the I’ve got a few other surprises; I’ve got a couple of songs with Lehmber coming out too. Lets just say for the next 5-6 months I’ve got a nice catalogue of tracks that will be coming out every month.
We’d like to thank E=MC for taking the time to chat with us. Khang is available to buy / stream now! Click the links below to check it out as well as follow E=MC on social media:
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