The Bilz (comprising Master-D and Vicious) & Kashif are a Canadian trio to be reckoned with on a global scale. There is very interesting background of the Bilz & Kashif trio, The Bilz-Brothers in Laws – was originally launched by DJ Vicious ( real name Vishal Urva, a Canadian South Indian musician) and Master D (real name Subir Dev, a CanadianBengali musician) in 2006. The name comes from the time both were still in school and were brought together by their common love for music. “We believed that we were both married to music – hence the name Brothers in Lawz,” explains D J Vicious.
With over a decade of hard work prior to their big break in 2006 with the club anthem 2 Step Bhangra, the past few years have seen the group gain major awards (including the South Asian Alliance of Quebec’s Performing Arts Award), millions of hits on YouTube and a legions of enthusiastic fans worldwide.Their trademark fusion of up-tempo North American Urban beats and multilingual vocals has chimed with territories as distant (literally and figuratively) as the UK Desi scene and mainstream Canadian radio. As denoted by the title of their album, The Bilz & Kashif pride themselves on Breaking Barriers – musical, cultural and international.Let’s have chit chat with The Bilz & Kashif. The superstar trio discusses their current world tour, their musical journeys, the importance of crossover success, the Canadian and UK scenes and much more!
Kashif, you’re a singer-songwriter formerly of a boy band, Master D a producer, and Vicious a DJ. How do you feel you complement each other coming up through these different areas, and what do you bring out in each other?
The great thing about our story is that we’ve all known each other and have been friends for a very long time. Individually, we all have been involved in creating, performing or making music for over 10 years. We’ve all been on our grind, seen each other’s struggles and obstacles. We’ve always supported each other’s projects. I guess respect and chemistry have been key factors for our success. It just clicks for us. We’re lucky that we have that kind of musical relationship.
The international success you’re enjoying now must be so overwhelming. But one of the subjects you touch on in your music (as in the songs Against All Odds and Rags 2 Riches) is that of struggling and paying dues. What were the challenges and struggles that you had to overcome to reach the point you’re at now?
You’ve nailed that point really well. A lot of people claimed we had overnight success, but the reality lies in the Against All Odds video. We all had struggles and really had to make a lot of sacrifices in life to push hard for a dream that many claim isn’t possible.
We’ve individually and collectively worked very hard to get where we are today. It takes perseverance and persistence to survive in this industry. There are a lot of people who talk and do less walking, so to speak. So, you just have to depend on your team and people who truly believe in you.
When we do something, we make sure it’s on-point. And, even if it is, some people in the industry don’t want to embrace it right way, so you just have to overcome those obstacles and eventually they’ll understand your movement. It really takes time!
As for Rags 2 Riches, that’s something everyone can relate to. There are easy ways out, but we want the world to know; you have choices in life. For us, when we see the hard work we’ve put in, the success just tastes better and it keeps us grounded.
Have you ever been pressured to make music that is more primarily Desi instead of primarily Urban? What are your views on that type of pigeonholing?
The industry will always force you to go with what’s “hot”! We’ve never felt pressured about anything at all and have always gone with what we believe in. I don’t think we ever will be pressured. We just do what we do. And we’re independent, so we take all the risks, and it’s what makes us.Our barometer for success for a record is if we like it – no matter the style, whether it’s Urban or Desi we bring it out. I think it’s what makes us stand out from the rest, while the rest follow our footsteps. People come back to us saying, “You need another 2 Step Bhangra.” But we’re like, “We don’t need another one. That’s a classic piece. Instead, we need to make the next hit a classic piece.”Pigeonholing is a result of not taking risks and sticking to the norm. We believe we’re game changers, so it’ll never sit well with what everyone has to say about our music. You have to re-invent, and eventually the world will follow your movement.
How important do you think it is to defy the expectations people may have of you and your sound?
We think it’s very important. You need to always come bigger and better every time. It’s a pressure for any artist that has sustained hits after hits on the charts. Breaking Barriers entered the World Charts at #6, and that was the best feeling. Then you think, “What will the next album chart at?” So, you put your creativity hat on, make music that comes from your heart and hope for the best.We live in a music society that consumes music like water, but, if you come in with quality over quantity, you will stand out from the rest and eventually make history! I’d love to name tons of people in the industry who didn’t believe in us, but now they’ve realized our movement and have come around and give us respect. It’s something you need to expect in this cutthroat industry!
As you all have your own areas of expertise, are there any plans to pursue solo projects as well?
Our #1 priority is The Bilz & Kashif. However, we all plan to have solo projects. Kashif is such an amazing talent and he is without a doubt one of the best all-round artists in the industry, so that’s also in the pipeline. Master-D will be coming out with an incredible Bengla album that will completely change the game. And maybe we’ll see the signing of a new artist to the Bilz Music roster. Let’s see what the future holds!
Where can we keep up with you all?
You can keep up with us everywhere. To watch all our videos, check us out on our YouTube Channel. Our label site is www.bilzmusic.com. The fans can also communicate with us on Facebook.com/TheBilzandKashif. And we have our Twitter pages; @bilzmusic, @masterdonline and @kashifonline. We’re also on Bebo, socheck us out on that!
Finally; what message would you like to extend to all of the readers?
We love our fans. Without you, The Bilz & Kashif are nothing. We owe all our success to you. You guys are the reason why we’re making music.We cannot wait to perform for all of you!