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They rap in Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi, Spanish and English, write about the cross-cultural experience, live by a Mahatma Gandhi saying, and tie it all together with some wicked hip-hop beats. The Record brings you an exclusive conversation with Sammy and Nimo of Karmacy.

Never heard of the band before this? These are the 3 essentials you need to know.

1. ‘Our music stays true to life.’
Nimo: “One thing that is really important for us is that in our music we really try to stay true to the experiences that the four of us have had in our lives. Our lives are very diverse in the sense of who we’ve interacted with and the experiences we’ve gone through whether it’s in the hood in Los Angeles or in an old country town in India. So our music reflects on the realities of our experiences in life and we don’t try to create something that we’re not.

2. ‘We want to be the change we want to see.’
Sammy: “I definitely think it’s much like what Gandhiji said in that quote – we really want to be the change we wish to see. We try to make that happen across the board in everything that we try to do, be it musically, lyrically or culturally, and I think that there are so many people out there that live life just like us and don’t necessarily live the Bollywood lifestyle. We’re so much more real than a lot of it out there. So, in who Karmacy is and what we represent, I think we want to be the change that we wish to see.”

3. ‘Fusion hip-hop is kind of how you could describe us.’
Nimo: “One thing that I think I would love for people in India to know about is that our music I think touches all aspects of life. It could be a party club track, something that is really high energy, like our song Euphoria to a song like Reminisce where we talk about our childhood, and then songs like Intensity which talks about the struggle between money and passion. I think there is a rainbow spectrum, it goes from all different colours, different parts of life, and that’s what our music represents. People used to ask us initially, ‘What’s your music?’ and we’d say fusion hip-hop. I don’t want to coin it that but it’s very open-ended music from our perspective.”

Here’s the story behind the song.

Nimo: “The song is kind of our take from what we’ve experienced through our parents and other immigrants and their story of moving from their motherland to another country. When we wrote the song it was kind of a take on that whole story that any immigrant faces when they’re leaving the country and the way we kind of depicted it was with two brothers – one who wanted to stay at home and the other who wanted to, in this case, pursue the American dream which is money and fame. It kind of takes you through a story of staying home, staying true to your roots and the struggle between that and pursuing the dream of what America is supposedly meant to be in the media and TV.
In the end the song comes to a realisation where the brother that moves to America comes back to India and realises that he had sacrificed a lot and it wasn’t necessarily worth it. He kind of sees that through the growth that his brother back home had.

One of the interesting reactions we got to the song was once when we performed the song in New York City. After the performance, an old Vietnamese lady of about 70 came up to us and was kind of crying and she said that when we were performing the song she was crying – she couldn’t understand Gujarati at all and obviously even hip-hop in itself, the way it’s spoken is hard to understand but she said that she really appreciated the way we depicted the struggle of the immigrant. She felt like that was almost the story of her and her brother and it was interesting to see that coming from someone that most likely couldn’t understand the lyrics or the wording right away so it was interesting.”

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Karmacy in the March 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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