Sometimes we just need to dance. And to do so, we need solid beats, entrancing vocals and some incredible cultural soul within the heart of the track to refresh our bodies and minds. Within some areas of British culture, the media and the government; there are constant divides with in-groups and out-groups.
Within the British youth and street culture, these boundaries have been smashed to pieces by drumsticks, Nike Airs, Montanas, buck beats and our natural inclination to move… D-Boy's work and views are the next largest brush for this multicoloured canvas of music and minds…
You started out as a drummer – what music were you into as a kid?
D-Boy: I was surrounded by music! I enjoyed all the 80s hit tracks, like Cameo, Wham (yes Wham!) & Culture Club and then also music from the Bollywood films playing in my house, so there was a lot of diversity in what I was listening to. Lovers and Reggae was also huge in South London because we had First Class, the sound system, who would play for free around the area. Hip Hop surfaced with Doug E Fresh and Run DMC. It was great!
You've been in the scene for quite a while, is the Playback project something you always wanted to do?
D-Boy: Definitely. I have always wanted to do a diverse music project where I can be creative as a producer. I grew up on a healthy diet of Hip Hop and New Jack Swing. New Jack Swing then began to involve more hip hop in its music, and now you could say it's hard to define. So during my time in music I have always wanted to do the same but with desi and urban. Playback is the vehicle for that in a credible way.
Could you tell us a bit more about what Playback is about and what to expect from the album?
D-Boy: Playback is about D-boy's journey in music. You can expect to hear big tracks from new and established acts on both the urban and desi music scene. Expect to hear tracks that you can Bump in your car or home stereo! And what you don't expect will surprise you the most so keep your mind open on this one! lol.
What aspects of Bhangra really attracts you to it?
D-Boy: Bhangra is not just an Asian form of music. It is also a part of History in UK Music. I have always enjoyed the energy and drums in Bhangra and have always been attracted to it because if both the music and cultural importance of what it represents. You can also shake your thang to Bhangra!
Do you think it will become more prominent within UK hip hop with time?
D-Boy: Bhangra can only become more prominent if you allow for it to be accessible. You can’t expect people to enjoy pure Punjabi tracks if they don't speak the language. So you have to mix all worlds together to create one sound, like 'Nach Ke' (Bhangra Bounce).
So, I caught the vid for the single 'Nach Ke'… Mint. Who was involved in making that? Do you reckon you'd ever get involved in any independent film shizzle?
D-Boy: The video was directed by Rohit Karn Batra. We shot the video on 35mm in Hollywood, LA early 2007. I came up with the concept of 70s Bollywood with a modern Hip Hop feel. But essentially, Rohit developed the concept further. He's a fantastic director with a huge passion for what he does, and that really helps.
I actually part studied film at University so this project allowed me to be visually creative. Swiss and V Dubl E also proved that they are open minded enough as artists to take a chance on the concept. As for film, it is an avenue that I will always be involved in somehow, someway.
Who would you say are some of the best producers on the planet at the moment?
D-Boy: Too many to mention! But I can only say who I feel. I enjoy listening to Shankar-Ehsan-Loy (three producers) from India. They are very creative and soulful with their Bollywood sound. Timbaland is consistent with his delivery, and Kanye takes chances in music which makes him a cut above. I enjoy our UK producers like 45 Wax (Lost Soldier), Nutty P, Show N Prove, JD , Music Kidz… the list can go on!
Is there a particular track, from any time, that you really wish you'd written?
D-Boy: Wow! 'Rock With You' by Michael Jackson / Quincy Jones / Rod Temperton.
Which artists on your local scene are you loving?
D-Boy: Swiss, Hard Kaur, M.I.A., Dizee Rascal, Jay Sean, Pyrelli and Baby Blue.
Anyone you're planning to work with? Anyone we should look out for?
D-Boy: I tend to wait for the track to be done before I speak of it, however, look out for new vocalist Selah and my artist Sharifa Shi on Playback.
As far as your hip hop influences go, do you listen to more old school jungle or modern juke?
D-Boy: I tend to listen to music depending on mood. So I might have a reflective week, where I pick out all the ol' skool hip hop classics, like Biz Markie, Chubb Rock or Big Daddy Kane. I do enjoy new hip hop. Though I feel more creative music is coming from the UK more than anywhere else in the world.
What / who really inspires or energizes you in your music?
D-Boy: Life and Love. As for energy, when I hear music I love, I make it a part of my life to write about it.
You worked with So Solid in the past, who basically kicked off the whole 'garage' scene. What's your opinion of the current U.K. grime scene, and the whole Channel U culture?
D-Boy: I didn't get into Jungle, Drum n Bass or Garage. These forms of music I admire but never really followed with passion. Grime is an avenue for young artists to have a voice, so you have to listen to what's happening on the streets, that's very important. However, I would not classify myself as I grime fan but I do respect the music as an art form. Channel U is also an avenue for everyone to have a chance to be seen and heard without prejudice which I think is great!
Is it something you'd want to dip your fingers in a bit more?
D-Boy: I enjoy so many forms of music so I would never rule it out.
So what else have you got planned for the New Year?
D-Boy: I will probably be going to hear my friend Neev from Kiss FM play out into the new year!
Any live dates planned? If so, where can we catch you?
D-Boy: Bombay Bronx, Dec. 19th@ Notting Hill Arts Club, Live PA with D-boy, Swiss and V Dubl E, show N prove on the decks.
BBC Asian Network Live radio show with DJ Kayper
More dates to be confirmed.
Do you think your original attitude to the scene or music in general has changed over the years and maybe you've stepped away from your root beliefs? Or have your beliefs just developed and strengthened?
D-Boy: My beliefs are too ingrained to disappear. So I have developed in music and have always tried to be fresh and the best at what I do. Therefore, strengthen as part of my evolution in music.
Any final words for your U.K. audience and advice for any aspiring youth out there?
D-Boy: Hope you take the time to invest time in my sound. My album playback is out early 2008 and features a host of UK talent; Pyrelli, Baby Blue, Sharifa Shi, Sef, Swiss, A G Dolla, Des-C, and from India; Desh and Ranjit Mani. My advice is to anyone in music is to follow your dreams but make sure you also think of ways to support your dreams. Be dependent on nobody but yourself and be prepared to struggle.