Time to go Bally-istic
Two things about Bally Sagoo strikes you immediately: He doesn't look like he's turning 49 next month and he can't speak Hindi. And his strong brummie accent makes the word 'satyanaash' sound mighty hilarious.
The youthful music artiste-producer is excited to be back with an album after a gap of nearly a decade. CS caught up with him to learn more about the DJ culture, remixes and his music in general.
Everything I hear around me influences me. It could be anything from birds chirping to horns honking in traffic. I’m not a fan of one specific song or sound or singer. Even when I’m back in England, I listen to Telugu, Tamil songs along with English numbers. But yes, I’ve grown up on the British music scene so it has a major influence on my work.
Who: Bally Sagoo
What: Talking about the era of remixes
Pic/ Satyajit Desai
The long hiatus
I was in the studio working day in and day out. Just that I was working on other people’s ventures — overseas films, producing albums in different genres and remixing others’ songs. However, my latest album has brand new songs in Hindi and Punjabi. It was two years in the making but I’ve already accumulated like 75 to 80 songs for my next albums. So, I guess it’s worth the wait (smiles).
I was DJ-ing in the ’80s and it was very dissimilar to what we’re seeing nowadays. People were afraid to play Indian songs in the UK and I thought we’ll have to mix both the cultures and come up with a fusion. And we’re talking about an era when you DJ-ed with cassettes, not CDs! I remember coming to Delhi and staying at Sheraton where the hotel guys paid for my expenses. In return, all I had to do was teach them how to DJ. It was a win-win deal (laughs).
I keep my music relevant by paying attention to all sorts of music. I can’t afford to be ignorant. Fortunately, I’ve got friends all across the world who keep sending me songs — be it Arabic, Latino or Bengali — to listen to and deliver feedback on. This daily exercise keeps me glued. It also helps me introduce upcoming talents because if my name goes with their work, they’ll get the required time and attention.
What went wrong?
Remixes entered the Indian market with a bang. But as years passed, the genre became repetitive. So it was just a matter of time before the word ‘remix’ became a dirty word. But I wasn’t getting the bad press as I’ve always been careful about the sort of associations I kept. There are some really good DJs but they are just illegally remixing old Bollywood songs when they should be coming up with their original albums.