Indian Manjeet Singh Ral better known as Manj Musik, known for songs like Tamanchey Pe Disco, Whistle Baja and Laal Ghagra is in a happy space as far as his music is concerned. The lead singer of the now-disbanded popular British Asian music act RDB (Rhythm Dhol Bass), Manj swears by Rap music and says it’s here to stay. Disappointed with the rehashing of old songs, Manj says it’s high time Bollywood took the original route. Excerpts from a tete-a-tete with the singer-composer. What’s more fun, composing for Bollywood or independent music?
Definitely indi music as you get to be more creative with your work and not tied down to the movie or situation of the song needed in Bollywood. Bollywood is good to create something different but there are so many people involved with their input that you lose your creative side you originally wanted to make.
Do you think in our dynamic music industry, Rap will survive for long?
Yes, definitely as Rap is just another form of saying what you feel. It’s all about freedom of speech in a rap form, unlike singing which is always situational based on love or hurt or a story. Rap has no boundaries and anything can be said. Our language is so worldwide that it will only get bigger. Rap in India is here to stay.
We Indians are more into romantic songs, what do you like? I love romantic songs and even love singing some time to time, but for me it’s always a party song that hits. From Aaloo Chaat to Sadi Gali to the recent Laal Ghagra, I have to make a party rock cause that’s just me! Manj is the party starter.
Is it creative satisfaction for you at the end of the day or financial success?
It has to be both really and a very equal amount as financial success is needed for your future and more importantly for my families future. But creative satisfaction as a creative is vitally important too. To be honest, the way I balance it is that I refuse to not have my creative input in a song I’m involved in. If they don’t like my creative input then I would rather refuse the song. This guarantees that I can make and give a hit track. But the finance must be right for that work to be put in.
Which Indian composer do you like?
I love Vishal-Shekhar. I always have loved what they do, as they always create something totally different and so versatile. They are definetly my favourites.
Why does Indian music not have longevity now. People still dig songs of the 60s and 70s.
I guess because it’s become a brain wash industry. The old songs are gold because they had time to sit in your head and they got famous for being good songs. Today people are being brainwashed with absolute rubbish with no sense, just repeating crappy lyrics and horrible music. So in realistic terms these songs will never last. They will be here today and gone tomorrow because the public was pushed to like it and not organically like it because it was a good song. Old is gold for a reason because its worth it.
Is there a lack of creativity and imagination in singers and composers that we are hearing rehashing or ‘remixes’ of old songs?
There definitely is a lack that’s why all these remixes are happening. I have been asked myself to remake all the old RDB songs and bring them back. But I tried to keep the original feel of the song, which others don’t. Instead they are cut to pieces and ruined. They really do need to start making original songs again for the goodness of music in India. This is why Punjabi music is being picked up because the original Punjabi songs are so big. Bollywood just wants to capitalize on them.