SWAMI, a UK-based band founded by the band’s leader Diamond Duggal (aka DJ Swami) with his brother Simon Duggal, back in 1998 is constantly changing the way we think of music. Their sound has never been typically Indian, and it is perhaps for that reason, why the band has achieved international success with fans around the globe. If I could use only one word to describe the band, it would be “unique.” The group is in a category of its own as a pop-fusion-indo-electro-bhangra band, and are constantly evolving and improving their music. The current band members are Diamond “DJ Swami” Duggal (guitar, keys, decks), S-Endz (vocals, rap), Sur (vocals), and Liana (vocals). The last time the band had released a full album was in 2009, but they are back with a new album, appropriately titled, “UPGRADE.” Read on below as the charming S-Endz shares his thoughts on “Do It Again” and “UPGRADE“!
Roopa: Swami may be one of the few Indian bands that has sustained the test of time. What do you think is the reason for Swami’s longevity and global success?
S-Endz: Thank you. It’s because we take chances. We don’t do anything that’s been done before – even if we were the ones that did it! We’re constantly evolving and trying new things. With this new single and the forthcoming album UGPRADE, we believe we have reached a higher level . . . hence the tagline “Upgrade UR Sound”.
Roopa: The new video literally ‘lights’ up the screen! How did you all come up with such a unique concept? How long did the video take to make?
S-Endz: We shot the video in Noida, Uttar Pradesh (not far from Delhi) over the course of three very long days in September! It was a creative collaboration between ourselves and the video director Mandeep Khurana, and we’re very proud of it! It’s a new look and a new style for us. I have to say, the team behind the video all did a fantastic job with the sets, the lighting, the photography. Hopefully, it sticks in people’s minds, and comes across just as uniquely as the song.
Roopa: “Do It Again” has a new sound, but it is still in line with the Swami brand. What inspired the track, and how long did it take to make the track? Was it difficult creating a new sound, while retaining the Swami vibe that fans are used to?
S-Endz: You know, we’ve been working on the UPGRADE record for over 4 years, and Do It Again was one of the very first songs we started writing. It’s gone through so many changes – we’ve probably re-written the song completely 5 or 6 times! This is the tough thing about creating something new – there’s no guidelines to follow! And of course, we have very high standards. It is VERY difficult to create a new sound, but nobody else is doing it, so I guess it was left up to us . . . and we wouldn’t have it any other way! The great thing is, that we have no competition! We’re only competing with ourselves!
Roopa: I’ve heard that “Do It Again” will be released in several versions. How different are the other versions, and when can fans look forward to hearing them?
S-Endz: Where did you hear that? Just kidding! We believe that a truly great song can work in any style, and so to prove that, we like to make all sorts of different versions of our songs. In the coming weeks, fans will hear a ridiculously heavy, super funky extended club mix of the song that DJ Swami has remixed himself, as well as a beautiful stripped down unplugged version with just acoustic guitar and piano . . . and different, more chilled out vocal parts from myself, Liana and Sur. On top of that, some DJs we love are working on remixes too! So, there’s plenty more to come!
Roopa: The last full album fans heard from Swami was in 2009. Fans have eagerly been awaiting the new album. What can we expect from the rest of the album? So far, “Do It Again” is resonating well with fans and others in the industry.
S-Endz: Albums are a strange concept in this digital age. Most people just download or stream songs that they like. But we think there’s a middle ground, and so we’re considering releasing the album as three separate EP’s, followed by a deluxe package. Each set will contain new songs, and different mixes of those songs. For the moment, we’re focusing on the single release, and we’ll move forward from there! Don’t worry though . . . last time I counted, there was at least 12 new songs we’re planning to release over the next year!
Roopa: When are you gonna visit the US?
S-Endz: I think we need a personal invite from Mr. Obama? Isn’t that how it works? We’re planning an UPGRADE tour across 2015, and the USA is certainly on our list!
Thanks to all the UrbanAsian readers and fans, if you haven’t watched the video yet, you can do so at http://bit.ly/swamidoitagain – the song is available on digital platforms worldwide, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@swamimusic)!