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Breaking down barriers, blurring genre lines and busting some mean beats ~ thatís what this UK-based band are all about. DJ/producer Diamond Duggal of Swami speaks exclusively to The Record about their exciting new album, the changing face of music in India and finding admirers in the Olsen twins!

The Record: What is Swamiís approach to music?
Diamond: Our whole approach to music was about being visionary in terms of how Indian music can be integrated and put together with so many international sounds. Weíd already established a style of mixing Punjabi music with reggae with our work with Apache Indian. Having moved on from that I got more involved in the whole club culture in England, mixing for Indian fans, be it bhangra, be it Hindi music, and experimenting with that.
When I first got into music I started out as a guitar player playing rock music and I think at this point in my life having done these other projects it seemed like a part of my musical DNA was this rock element as well. So I thought this hadnít been done before ~ to mix elements of traditional white rock music, from countries where Iíd grown up like England, with the whole experience of black music like hip-hop and reggae, and with desi music as well. Itís something I got very excited about and the end result is the new album Desi Rock!

TR: What are your favourite tracks off the new album?
Diamond: All the tracks actually reflect different aspects of our life. My particular favourite on the album is Desi Rock, which is about introducing this sound and showing a good time feeling with this sound. When I see peopleís faces light up on hearing the new sound, which that track captures, itís very exciting. Also songs like Donít Hold Back which say ĎDonít let people stereotype you, we can be who we want to be and do whatever we want to doí, Iíd say those are my two favourites.

TR: You were in India for the MTV Style Awards recently ~ how was it?
Diamond: That was fantastic! Iíve been to India so many times before, in particular Bombay. Itís my most visited city in the world! Every time I go back somethingís changed and it seems to be moving at a rapid pace.
Playing at the MTV awards was really exciting. Iíve been there before, mainly with other artists that Iíve been working with, be it Apache Indian or Taz of Stereo Nation. But to go there as Swami and play with my own band was a really exciting moment because I really felt that we were introducing a new sound with the whole rock, rap and desi aspect. It was good to see that people were excited, but also surprised I think to see something so different.

TR: Would you contribute a track to a Bollywood film?
Diamond: Iíve already been approached to make some songs for Bollywood movies, but Iím not allowed to say by whom. Itís a very exciting thing because the kind of music I do is not traditionally associated with Bollywood music, which shows the fact that the films are changing somewhat and becoming a lot more international orientated and incorporating Indian aspects to the music which Iíve seen from a different perspective as well which is fantastic. Itís really exciting!

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Swami in the November 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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