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Bobby Friction
Bobby Friction is a man behind a lot of music. The soundtrack which first brought Punjabi MC’s Mundian To Bach Ke to India, an award-winning BBC Radio 1 show featuring the best and brightest of Brit-Asian music, a remix of the Bhangra Knights smash hit Husan are all projects that Bobby has spearheaded. And now with the album Friction, an essential compilation of the best of 21st century Asian music at the top of the charts, it seems like his efforts are really beginning to pay off. Weeks before he flies in to India to continue his promotion of Asian music, Bobby speaks exclusively to The Record about his various projects.

TR: How did you select the tracks for the Friction album?
Bobby: It was very hard (to shortlist the tracks) for this compilation because there’s been so much good British Asian music coming out of the UK over the last couple of years. I’d already done the Boom soundtrack, and I realised that Mundian To Bach Ke had been a big hit and so had I See You Baby, so I wanted to somehow reflect that in this album. Basically I just got down to picking the most up-to-date 21st century Indian, British idea of what a good track should be. Put all those in a blender and came up with the track listing that you’ve heard.

TR: Tell us about your award winning show on BBC Radio 1.
Bobby: You can listen to the show on It’s basically me and my partner Nihal. We started off at 3 o’clock in the morning and the BBC was going ‘The Indians may like this, will this show work? What will the white people think?’ Two months ago they moved us to the primetime slot on a Wednesday night at 9 pm. This is across the UK, across the whole British Raj we’re hearing Indian music wherever you go!

TR: The show is regarded as the definitive word on 21st century Asian music…
Bobby: When it’s regarded as definitive we’re talking about musicians, we’re not talking about the big Bollywood industry you know. If we did that the show would be 99% Bollywood. We’re talking about the same as it is in the West - young people in bands, young people who are DJs, young people who become singers. What defines the genre is the following. Number one, you have to have come from India, and Pakistan and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. We’re talking about that landmass. When you go out to Europe, Australia, Canada, America, let’s face it, even though it might be all about India back home, out there the Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis tend to stick together culturally. So we define the show as the music from people of that background and music that they’ve made here in the West – in Canada, America or the UK.

TR: You introduce a lot of new artists – how do they get their tracks played on your show?
Bobby: Me and Nihal both are obsessed with discovering new artists, that’s why the BBC employed us as well. Most of the time, now that we are so widely listened to, people sort of quite literally finish the tracks in their studios at home, burn it onto a CD and within four hours or five hours it’s already in our hands.
At the same time we also go to gigs, meet guys on the street, give them encouragement, we meet young ladies and tell them to go into studios, not just sing to their friends. More importantly as a DJ, because I play all over the world, I also go and scout in different countries. The best example of this is I brought bhangra and Brit-Asian music to Poland and four years after I did I got a CD back from a promoter of a Polish bhangra act. Three white Polish guys who don’t even speak Punjabi or Hindi did a bhangra album! They’re called The Masala Sound System.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Bobby Friction in the October 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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