THE MUSIC LEGEND IS BACK WITH A BRAND NEW ALBUM CREATED ENTIRELY IN LOCKDOWN
by ASJAD NAZIR
MUSIC has always played a major role in the extraordinary life journey of Apache Indian and even today, after all of his global success, that connection remains stronger than ever.
He listens to music every day, creates songs, does collaborations, delivers world-class live performances and teaches the next generation of artists at his successful music academy. That deep passion for music is illustrated with his new album What’s Not To Love and the first single from it, Trip To Jamaica.
The love for his art was apparent when Eastern Eye caught up with musical warrior Apache Indian to talk about his new album, single, inspirations and future hopes.
What led to your excellent new album? The year 2020 has been hard and the global pandemic has changed everyone’s lives. As a musician, I have spent 30 years on the road performing, promoting and recording, until now. Life came to a standstill! I was at home from March to August, focusing primarily on writing and recording music at my home studio. And before I knew it, an album started to take shape, so I decided to release this work.
Tell us about the album? This is my first album in some time where I’ve written everything and been involved with every aspect, from vocal production to artwork, mixing and mastering. This album is truly a passion project and I love every song for a different reason. In many ways, this is the best representation of my 30 years in the business, and I’m very proud of this body of work. I hope the fans enjoy listening to it, as much as I enjoyed making it.
How does this album compare to previous ones? This album is different in that it was all done at my home in Birmingham. With most of my previous albums, I travelled globally, to work with different producers and musicians. So, this is really me and my ideas of the past six to eight months. I’ve put my heart and soul into it, and enjoyed every minute of the process. I hand-picked artists I wanted to feature, but none of us were in the same room at any point, so it was all done while we were in lockdown. Look how much we were able to get done in a short time. All because there was no touring or travelling. We were all stuck at home and music kept us sane in this insane time. And so the album was born.
Tell us about the first single from the album? The first single Trip to Jamaica is a collaboration with Hunterz, who has produced the track and written the wicked hook he was on. He had come into my academy to work with the kids. He mentioned a track and later sent it across. I wrote to it and we both loved the record. We spoke about going to Jamaica for the video, but due to Covid, our plans were halted. We still wanted the record to come out, so here it is. It’s a personal favourite and anyone who hears it will feel the vibe. It’s a special record for both me and Hunterz.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while recording the album? Not being able to leave my home! It was all literally written and recorded mostly during the lockdown, due to the pandemic.
How did you decide on which artist to work with on the album? As I was writing and recording songs, I would sometimes hear people on the songs. So according to my vision, I would reach out to certain people. And sometimes people sent me tracks that they felt I would fit on. All the songs in the album are very diverse and sonically unique, but they all make sense together, on the album. So, it all just worked.
How do you feel when you release new music after all these years? As an artist, I always love to have something to show for all the hard work, which represents different times in my life and career. And that’s what music does – it commemorates a time in your life, along with your sound, influences and vibe at that specific time. I enjoy writing and recording music, whether I have an album coming out or not. But there is definitely an excitement and anxiousness that comes with each album, because it’s so personal to the artist. And it’s the first time the world is hearing what perhaps took the artist months or even years to create. It is exciting, but also a sense of relief when it’s out and you can share it with the world.
What does music mean to you today? Music means to me today what it’s always meant, and that’s an expression of what I’m feeling and experiencing at that time in my life.
Has your outlook towards music and life changed during the lockdown? Musically, it’s essentially the same, but yes, life has changed because we’ve all been impacted, and all of the things we’ve always done and taken for granted went away. We couldn’t visit friends or family. We couldn’t jump on a plane. We couldn’t walk down the street as we once could or gather with friends for live shows. Musicians, especially, were impacted as our livelihood became non-existent because many of us rely on income from shows. There have been none in months and likely not to be till later 2021, if we are lucky. So yes, life as we knew it changed, and I doubt it will ever be the same moving forward.
What is the musical plan going forward? Always to keep writing and recording music. That’s who I am. I couldn’t stop even if I tried. I also would like to focus back on my music academy and keep fostering new talent. 2020 was the kind of year that wasn’t, so we have to make up for lost time and activity in 2021 for sure.
What is your greatest unfulfilled ambition? I still feel there are too many politics at play in the music business and wish music was being pushed for the right reasons. People give emphasis to a lot of false things like how many followers someone has on Instagram. When I came out, we had no such thing. If someone liked your music, they bought your record or a ticket to your show. That’s it! It wasn’t about people paying money to buy followers and creating a false sense of accomplishment. I wish there was a way still to showcase real talent without all of the politics and nonsense coming in the way.
Tell us more… I wish DJs were able to still play music they discovered and wanted to champion, as opposed to a programme director sending a weekly playlist that had to be played, whether you like the songs or not. When I had my show on Radio 1 back in the day, they gave me a list of suggestions, but ultimately, I had the freedom to play music that I personally found and liked too!
Who would you love to work with? I would love to work with reggae greats like Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, Capelton and Damien Marley, as well as newer artists like Chronix. Gurdas Maan and Mariah Carey are on my wish-list too.
You have done some incredible work in 30 years, from helping the youth and charity work to finding global success with music, but what inspires you today? Music, of course, but as I grow older and wiser, just life in general inspires me. Good situations inspire me to keep going and bad situations give me lessons that I need to guide those around me, and hopefully, inspire others. My advice to everyone is to live life to the fullest, as if today is your last day, because 2020 has shown us that life is unpredictable and can change with no warning or reason.
Why should we pick up the new album? It’s a great album and has great collaborations on it. And why not? Everyone is on lockdown again for the rest of the year, and music soothes the soul and takes you on a journey even while you may be stuck at home. So yes, please listen to the album and continue to support artists even while we can’t tour and travel like we used to.
Love for the legend
ARTISTS who collaborated with Apache Indian on new album What’s Not To Love share their experience of working with him.
Jay Productions: “Working with Apache Indian on the three songs Angelina, Stronger and Ay Papi is like a dream come true for me. He’s so down to earth, humble and gives so much time and respect to everyone around him. He has guided and pushed me so far in the music industry. I am where I am because of his support and guidance.”
Jon Rodgers: “To work with an internationally recognised artist like Apache was an incredible experience and definitely, not something you get to do every day. I’m really grateful he uses his immense platform to provide life changing opportunities to young artists such as myself. I hope to do many more collaborations with him in the future.”
Hunterz: “I’ve always had respect for Apache. I remember watching him perform to millions on TV shows like Top Of The Pops, which inspired so many of us artists. To come from an Asian background and make a huge impact on the worldwide reggae scene is an amazing achievement, especially, at the time he did it. Working with him is such a vibe because we connect musically. Our song Trip To Jamaica came together so naturally. His performance on the verses are some of the best vocals I have heard from him.”
Roach Killa: “I have been inspired by Apache Indian since my childhood. Getting in the studio and producing a track for him has been a dream come true. A true superstar who has given back to the community and remained humble, no matter how much success he has achieved.”