Which Indian city has produced more musicians?
Mr. Boom Shack-A-Lak is back! Apache Indian is not exactly a name that immediately dawns on you. At least not in this country. Born in Birmingham and raised in the Asian community there, he's already more than a superstar in India. He succeeded as the first Asian pop star to enter the charts around the globe. He has already sold 11 million albums worldwide, and his mega hit "Boom Shack-A-Lak" from 1993 provided the background music for over 70 commercials as well as in the films "Dumm & Dümmer" (with Jim Carey) and "Scooby Doo 2" . In recent years, Apache Indian has worked with a large number of mostly reggae-related artists such as Maxi Priest, Luciano, Frankie Paul, Yami Bolo, Sly & Robbie, Shaggy, Pras, Black Street, Jazzy B, AR Rahman and Boy George last toured the US with Sean Paul. In 2005 he also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the UK Asian Music Awards.
For the current album “Time For Change”, Apache Indian has achieved the brilliant coup of reliving the hit “Israelites” with reggae superstar Desmond Dekker. Reggae and dancehall fans will also get their money's worth with the 18 other tracks on the album. Be it with “Get Loose”, in which Pras from FUGEES is also involved, the oriental-inspired “Global Talk” or the dancehall anthem “Selecta”. But the Indian superstar can also do more than produce fun sound. Already on his debut album "No Reservation" he dealt with the more serious things in life, such as the subject of AIDS ("Warning"), or criticism of the still common arranged marriages in India ("Arranged Marriage"). ). Apache also speaks a first word here and there on “Time For Change”. "Om Numah Shivaya" is dedicated to the victims of the tsunami and there is probably not much left to say about "A Prayer For Change". After all, change in the right places is never wrong, and “Time For Change” is probably the right soundtrack for it.
Apache Indian will be accompanied live by his famous band THE REGGAE REVOLUTION.
Apache Indian, the "Don Raja", was the first Indian musician who had great success in the charts (biggest hit "Boom Shaka Lak") and earned worldwide respect and recognition, especially in India he received a lot of attention. After many years in England, he now lives in India and is again causing a sensation with his new album "Karma".
In August of this year (2001) we had the great honor of seeing him live in Amsterdam and being able to conduct an interview with him afterwards. We talked about him, his music, racism and his views on life.
How did you come up with the name Apache Indian and what are your main influences and inspirations?
Inspration is life! We are from England and our parents were born in India (Punjab). In England the latest generation is influenced by many things, such as reggae, rap, pop, music, fashion and many other things. The influences also come directly from India, such as "arranged weddings", which have always been part of our culture. My music represents my origins and I mix these influences with reggae. I was also shaped by people like Bob Marley and UB40 (from Birmingham). This music style "reggae" is an element of the streets - and I mix it with indigenous Indian impressions, as I have heard them at home, actually quite simple! New generation - new culture, believe me!
I think it is not very easy for a foreign child in England to get into the music industry in England. In today's world, Indian parents are like this: "Music can be your hobby, but first you should have a good degree and then a good job." What were your reasons for "toasting" and what was the reaction of your parents before and after your huge success?
I never told my parents what music was. That is the difference. My teacher became aware of my musical talent. My music reflects who I am and I have a lot of respect for my parents. I try to bring the new generation closer to them. I come from India and you shouldn't ignore the people on the streets, but respect them. When they hear my music (as I said reggae with Indian elements), then they are proud to come from India. My biggest supporters have always been my parents and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
Can you tell us your personal opinion about the individual differences between your four albums and what has changed about Apache Indian in the respective years of the album releases?
Music is a reflection of how we live and how we think. The first albums were reflections of my previous experiences and years. The first album is where you can tell about your whole life, but in the music industry you usually put out an album a year. The difference is that at the beginning I had no experience in the music business - now I've been with it for 10 years, have my own live band and travel all over the world. I was able to gain a lot of important experiences. Of course I've also got older, no longer a boy, but have a child, family and everything I need to live. Over the years, my music and beats also mature. I am a writer, I write down everything I sing. The new album "Karma" is a really special album. It's a new movement, not just music.
You've been making reggae music for so long. Have you never thought of going in a different direction ... maybe rock / crossover like the guys from Asian Dub Foundation do, or electronic things like drum'n'bass?
No! I am and will remain a reggae musician. There is no formula for it. This style of music determines my life and will always determine my life. I can't help it. I always like to mix it up with Indian elements and that's how songs like "Arranged Marriage" come about. I like to experiment for my life! It is a feeling! Yes, music is a matter of feeling! I will therefore never stray from raggae.
The guys from Asian Dub Foundation do great things and mix it very well with bhangra and Hindi vocals, but I do it with raggae ... I love raggae! (should have become clear by now)
There are big differences in the Jamaican music business. The music styles "Reggae" and "Dancehall" each have their own style and feeling. What do you think about it and what do you like to hear about it?
Most of the time I listen to very old raggae and these are also used again today, like Sizzla and many other talented people. I get a lot of respect from Jamaica and I have just as much respect for Jamaica myself. This style of music is part of everyday life there and has produced great musicians like Bob Marley. It's like a religion there! I've worked with many great artists from the scene and try to fit it all into my own style. and you see that I want to spread this music all over the world. They have great respect for it because I don't want to copy them, but have created my own style. I do this as an Indian and not a Jamaican. I don't want to be the new Bennie Man. You will run into problems if you start copying Jamaican artists. Besides, I would never appear as an Indian in Kingston and do "reggae" there, because as I said, that's a religion there and you have to know the history for that. A black man or someone who does not understand the language cannot come and sing in Hindi, but if you sing it then everyone respects you and thinks it is good. When you make music, you do it for the whole world and they don't say "This is for blacks and this is for Indians", but it is for the whole world.
Nowadays we know many Indian musicians such as Talvin Singh, Badmarsh & Shri, Asian Dub Foundation etc. Do you think that with your early and incredible success you laid the foundation and, so to speak, opened the doors?
Everything helps to get into the charts or the newspapers. The media world is always watching what's going on in the Asian world, but everyone has their own movement! Big respect to Asian Dub Foundation! Respect to the Asian underground scene! Respect for Talvin Singh and Nitin Sawhney!
But my movement remains raggae! They are all true musicians. Nitin Sawhney is an all-rounder because he can play so many instruments (just like my producer). We are all songwriters and people respect and encourage live music! Unfortunately there are too many remixers. All are DJs, Djs and again DJs and remixers, remixers and again remixers. They take old and beautiful Hindi songs and mix it up! We have great artists like Lata Mangeshkar or Asha Bohsle in India, but their songs are remixed by these DJs! It's so bad right now! What can a remixer offer you? Can he sing or dance for you? Prefer to support true music and live music! No kidding, I think it really has taken a terrifying development.
Would you like to work with other Asian artists from England?
I would love to work with Nitin Sawhney. He's a really, really nice artist. You have to know that it is important that people should be nice and without pretense. I have worked with artists like Asha Bhosle or A.R. Rahman worked together and, but hello: both of them are totally nice!
You also made a few songs for the Indian film world. What do you think of the Indian film world, i.e. Bollywood? Do you also watch such films privately?
Personally, I don't watch Bollywood films, even if Bollywood is a big scene in India. It is certainly nice to look at the jokes and dialogues and to be part of them in a way. But people should understand that India is not only represented by Bollywood. We have a lot of problems in India. You see, when you arrive at Mumbai Airport, you don't see Bollywood. The film world is certainly beautiful, so fake and yet with a lot of love. I've talked to people on the street and they always say that they prefer to go to the cinema after work. You want to immerse yourself in this dream world for 2-3 hours and come back to reality after these love stories or action films. This is very important for the people of India, but for us it is nothing, just entertainment. Despite everything: the Bollywood scene is very beautiful and I am happy to be a part of it, because it gave me a lot of experience.
Is there a reggae / dancehall scene in India? If there is, what does it look like?
We don't have a scene in India. People have MTV and music from the western world. They have everything we see on TV. I have a lot of fans with support from India, Pakistan, Dubai, Singapore and other Asian countries. People love the reggae vibe. In addition, artists like Shaggy, Inner Circle or UB40 have already been there and given concerts. My impression is that Indians love rock music the most. The artist Bryan Adamas has also been there. Sure, they have also known reggae music for many years.
You have been in the music business for a very long time. What were your positive and negative influences with the music business and what advice can you give the young artists?
I can only tell the truth to young people. I'm not a businessman and I have no respect for the music business and this industry. I only have respect for the music and the musicians themselves. Because THAT is music! But there are also too many people in the scene, like agents or managers, who just want to make money and have no real connection to music. You have to keep the music believable and stay true to yourself. Then you are also successful! I don't like the music industry at all! Nah, this thing is not good ...
What do you think of the current racial conflict that has started again in England?
Bad! Racism is really a terrible thing. In England it has caused many problems in areas such as the economy, schools and race riots. But let's forget about that. Where does this racism come from? The white people absolutely want something like that to appear in the newspapers, because now people are talking about how bad the Asians are and they show pictures with stones throwing them. After that it's quiet again and you ignore it. But we are sitting here in 2001 and we still have to discuss racism. That's really ashamed. It is a serious matter and it makes me very sad because I have children who have to experience this everyday life! They built their system and we were powerless! I would love to get out of this country. Our parents came to countries like America, England and Germany and wanted to work there. Their children were born in these countries and live like the others, but they are always seen as foreigners.
But in the last few months the new generation has been fighting against these injustices. If you live in England then you will be seen as a foreigner and in India you are, so to speak, a foreigner. I'm really not a fan of this England and this thing is just horrible. Man, I'm sorry for talking so much, but this topic touches me a lot!
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