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Mentor Kolektiv
If you’re familiar with, (and by now you should be), the impossibly catchy rhythms of British-Asian artists Rishi Rich, Juggy D, Jay Sean and Veronica, then please give it up for Mentor Kolektiv, the latest addition to the family.

In this case, when we say ‘family’ we mean it literally ~ producer/musician Mentor (who formed the Kolektiv) is producer/musician Rishi Rich’s younger brother (‘real brother,’ as they like to say here in India). However, that is not why we chose to feature him in this issue. Our ears perked up to the group’s solid beats on the hit compilation Bombay Bronx. Even before DJ Nihal told us to watch out for the track Pasand by Mentor Kolektiv, we had zapped it to our iPods.

This March, the group launches Broke, their full-length debut album, in India and we sat down with Mentor in Mumbai to find out more. To begin with, why call the album Broke? It’s kind of an obvious meaning, Mentor explains, “Broke was just kind of our state of affairs at the time really. As musicians it is not really a [financially] rewarding job at the beginning. You have to work really hard and it’s a progression that you have to go through. A lot of people start off broke and I think everyone can relate to that at some point in their lives, you know. So Broke for us is really just kind of showing our hunger and determination as artists and musicians to make it in this game. Despite the financial struggles, we’re still determined and still making music and enjoying and loving what we do.”

The first single off the album is Pasand, which, with its addictive hooks and thumping beats, makes an excellent first impression. And to think the track nearly didn’t get recorded. Says Mentor, “It was a track I had lying around for some time. I was going to give it to another artist but that never happened. I didn’t quite think much of it at the time because it was just something that I had worked out really quickly. But [vocalist] Des-C heard the track and he was really excited about it and so we began working on it. Then when we launched our website we put it up as a free download so within a week, everyone around the scene had heard it and was playing it. We were doing gigs up and down the country at the time and a week after we put it up we had a gig and everyone was shouting ‘Pasand, Pasand! We want Pasand!’ [Laughs] And we were amazed because we’d only put it up a few days ago.”

Till recently, ‘free download’ almost always meant that it was illegal. It’s interesting (record companies listen up) to see how artists, like Mentor, perceive the concept. “People in the music business regard the internet as the downfall of the industry but for an independent artist it is the saviour because the internet opens you up to the whole world instantly. People anywhere around the world can access your music at the click of a button. So the internet was a great thing for our group ~ we didn’t have a record deal when we started, we were just doing live gigs, going out to clubs and supporting artists like Juggy D, Jay Sean and Veronica on the road. For us, the internet really helped us to get where we are.”

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


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