The tempo of Punjabi music and the vibrancy is simply amazing
Reggae artist Apache Indian marked the early 90s, a time when dance parties were incomplete without ‘ Arranged Marriage’ and ‘ Chok There’ playing on a loop. That was nearly two decades ago and people nearly forgot Apache, nee Steven Kapur. However, the 46- year- old is ready to return to glory
with his new album, ‘ It Is Where It Is’.
Q. Where did you vanish after Arranged Marriage? A. C’mon! Just because I was not singing Punjabi numbers doesn’t mean I vanished. I was extremely busy in Japan for a few years. Will it make sense to perform bhangra there? And until perform bhangra, will I be talked about in India? Q. Any plans of moving back?
A. I intend to come back to India. In fact, I have a place in Goa. If I shift, I will get to see my relatives in Jalandhar more frequently than I do now. Nothing is more precious for an artist than the country that he belongs to. It’s always fun coming back to your roots, and every time I come to India, I have to go to Jalandhar. I’m a big fan of Punjabi food and music. The tempo in the Punjabi music and the vibrancy is simply amazing. Q. How big was the Punjabi influence on you? A. I grew up in the United Kingdom but my parents were from Punjab, so there was a strong Punjabi influence on me. I grew up listening to Kishor Kumar, Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar; while, out there on the streets, there was a lot of reggae, Jamaican and rock n’ roll. My music is a reflection of who I am. When my first record ‘ Arranged Marriage’ ( AM) came out in 1989 it created a whole new genre of Indi pop, it was a representation of my culture. Q. Can you recall a proud Punjabi moment? A. After the release of AM, I had come down to Jalandhar to visit my
relatives. There, I heard this jalebiwala playing my song, I knew that it was popular, but not so popular that even street side shops would play it. I was happy that my song had reached this far. Q. Did the success ever get your head?
A. Yes it did. It’s quite natural if you perform to a packed house of 70- 80 thousand audience, but with time, I mellowed down. Even before I tasted success, I was a private person but then after the eyeballs that I garnered post AM and Chok There, I became even more reserved. Q. Is that when Steven Kapur became Apache Indian? A. I know you would expect me to give a high flying answer, but there was no thought process behind my decision to adopt Apache Indian as the stage name.
Q. The area where you grew up in UK is racially mixed, it must not have been an easy childhood. A. Not really, but yes, there were moments of conflicts from the Blacks and then from the Whites. They would poke us for what we are, and we would do it for what they were ‘ not’. I would often come back to my family, and question our values and culture because there was a constant conflict between the culture that we followed inside the house and outside it. With time, we got used to it, but the conflicts were there. Q. So was it the Jamaicans who inspired you for your dreadlocks? A. Initially yes, but soon I realised that even Bob Marley and other people popular for their dreadlocks were initially inspired by Indian sadhus. Q. How do you relate to your latest album ‘ It Is Where It Is’?
A. This is that ‘ big’ album that I always wanted to come up with. While my fans know who I’m and what I do, this album will connect me to the new generation. I have ravelled to 27 countries in the last two years, and this album is the celebration of my life and work. It was written and recorded in the USA with Jims Beanzs from the Sunset Entertainment Group. Globally, he has worked with some of the top names like Timbaland, Nelly Furtado, Shakira, Pussycat Dolls and Britney Spears. In India he has collaborated with Sonu Nigam and Shankar-Eshaan- Loy. I also have a song with Mika that will be released soon.