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Urban legend

Steven Kapur aka Apache Indian is still very much around, going Boomshakalak with budding artists who are as keen on experimenting with fusion as he is

Budding music producer Argenil, with members Rohit Gandhi and Anil Prasad, are releasing their debut EP (extended play record) this month, and it’s packing a punch. Hitting the shelves with their new-found genre ‘Hindustani Trap’ the duo is collaborating with industry veterans Yatez and Apache Indian.

As good an excuse as any to go down memory lane with Apache Indian, stage name for Steven Kapur, 51 years old. And let him reminisce about his experiences with new and old artists, and his time as a stalwart in the electronic music industry.

Born and brought up in Birmingham, a multicultural city inhabited by people with roots in South Asia and the Caribbean, Kapur set his sights on the music industry early on. He found his love for music in reggae, growing up around bands like Steel Pulse and UB40, which also hail from Birmingham.

The singer-songwriter’s career worked as a dancehall DJ till a streak of success in the 1990s helped him deliver hits like ‘Don Raja’ and ‘Chok There’.

His hit single ‘Move Over India’ was a fusion of ragga and bhangra and became very popular among reggae lovers and the Punjabi crowd. His hit single ‘Boomshakalak’ was also used in Hollywood films like Dumb, Dumb and Dumber and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.

His stage name, he says, came from a Jamaican singer he used to listen to as a child: Super Cat the Wild Apache. He added the word Indian so as to make a statement about his roots and his heritage, right from Day One. He found a way to infuse his culture and heritage along with his childhood idol, and merge them to come up with the famous name. As a DJ figure, he has had a long-standing career in electronic music.

The artist consistently maintains that the music he makes is heavily influenced by his colourful background when growing up. “My music completely represents my childhood as it reflects my Indian roots and my love of reggae music,” he says. “I grew up listening to bands like UB40, Steel Pulse and Musical Youth, all based in Birmingham, as well as hearing Indian music at home.” He later fused all these styles and as a result gave us all the different fusion genres we see today.

Having had such an illustrious career, and after making a name for himself, did he not find it difficult to merge and collaborate with different upcoming artists, and make peace with the different styles they brought to the fore? His answer is a ringing ‘No’.

“I love working on collaborations as it’s all about the music and song. It doesn’t matter if the artist is older or younger, new or established, male or female. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a completely different language or genre as long as it’s done properly.”

Apache Indian believes in the universality of music, as well as the detrimental effect an overdose of pride can have on seasoned artists. Despite his various engagements, he makes time to meet and collaborate with new budding artists. The label of his name on debut albums is truly a huge deal, but he never mentions that. He sees it only as a learning and enriching experience for himself.

The only thing Kapur points to when asked about his contributions to these new artists, is his own long drawn experience. “When I started I myself didn’t fit into the genres I found in front of me,” he admits. He set out to experiment with his sound, and sure enough, we today have a new genre called ‘Asian Urban Sound’!

In closing, when asked to describe his long lasting and eventful career in one word or phrase, he says, “My music is like sharing my life, my experiences, my emotions, my thoughts, my prayers and spirit from my heart and soul.”

He has had a surprisingly long career in electronic music, which is something that we don’t come across often in EDM (electronic dance music) scene. He reiterates how thankful he is for the support of his fans over the years, in between little tidbits about his excitement for his new collaboration with Indian rapper Raftaar. This one will surely be one to look out for!

Music duo Argenil

Based in Bengaluru, consists of producer and percussionist Rohit Gandhi and guitarist and DJ Anil Prasad. With their new tracks they are charting exclusive territories in the music industry by fusing Indian instruments and music with EDM to create a self-composed genre they call ‘Hindustani Trap’.

Argenil states, “The concept of this EP is essentially personal growth and strength. Like everyone, we have been through tough times and have always been resilient and risen back up. In many ways, it’s a snap shot of finding yourself and never giving in.” The ambitious pair have freshly been signed to US based music management firm Sunset Entertainment who have worked with Troyboi, Craig David, Ashanti, Jamie Foxx, Timbaland, Shakira, Jason Derulo, Keri Hilson, Pussycat Dolls, P Diddy, Nelly Furtado and the likes.

Raftaar

Dilin Nair, stage name Raftaar, was formerly part of many Punjabi bands including Honey Singh’s called Mafia Mundeer, before launching into his solo career. His debut mixtape WTF-Witness the Future in 2013 gained a lot of popularity with youngsters. Since then he has been credited for a slew of popular numbers and collaborations in Bollywood films. He had also composed a number along with Vishal Dadlani, for a Bengali film One. Raftaar has even been featured in popular YouTube channel TVF’s (The Viral Fever) popular CUTE series, alongside famed Indian stand-up comedian Kanan Gill.