When Roach Killa released his debut album “The Revolution”, it peaked at No.6 on the iTunes World Charts. His first single Yaara Dildara reached No1 on the BBC Asian Network charts. Possessing immense versatility, Roach sings Hip Hop, Reggae, RNB and Punjabi Music. He firmly believes in the element of originality.
When it comes to Indian MC’s, one name that always stood above the rest is Blitzkrieg aka Blitz. With an appeal that is global, his lyrics lean more on the emotional side and completely draw people in. His tracks are inspired by people or events in his life that reflect reality and meaning of life.
Together, Roach Killa and Blitz have returned to give their fans the YYZ Project with a monologue and three music videos that evoke, inspire and entertain. Fans will recognise their signature sound and style on what aims to become the summer anthems
Asian Style caught up the entertaining talent Roach Killa last month, during his stay in the UK. In a no holds barred conversation Roach talks talent and music.
Fatima: You are collaborating with Blitz again for your new project YYZ would you be able to tell us a little more about that, how it came about and what’s the idea behind it all?
Roach Killa: Okay for starters YYZ is the airport called Toronto International Airport. Like LHR is London Heathrow. So YYZ is Toronto Pearson International Airport, the significant naming was to let the people know that in order for me to gain success in the music business we have had to travel out of Canada to come in to the UK and abroad hence YYZ, as we have taken the city with us when we flew out. In terms of Blitz and me we have been working together for a very long time. There are a lot of songs we have done, and it’s not just about the music with me and Blitz. We are from the same city so it’s more like a brotherly love situation. He is more like my brother. He has taken a step back from the music, he was doing more of the live festivals, live shows and stuff, so it’s been a long time since we have released a track together, so we thought why not. We always say people go download it legally from this digital platform and that and so it’s only fair to give our fans something freely. The reason why we released our project on the 30th of June was because July 1st was Canada day. So kinda like a free gift from Canadians to say Happy Canada day and this is what we are representing.
How has the journey been in terms of introducing new music to British fans over the last few years?
I think everything depends on how hard you work and how badly you want it. I could have sat in Toronto and dreamed about making it in to UK scenes, coming once every year and going back, but we all know that if we inspire to be a Bollywood actor you have to travel and be in Mumbai you can’t do it from anywhere else because that’s where the work is. So therefore, I had to leave a lot of things you know. Pack my bags come here on my own, not with my family, I believed so much within my heart that this is what I am made out to do and nothing was going to stop me. Therefore, I just decided to put all my eggs in one basket.
You mentioned Bollywood.
Yeah, I had a chance to go to Mumbai like a year and half ago and I met with the Meet Brothers who have done Babydoll and Chittiya Kalaiyan with Kanika Kapoor etcetera and they kinda like understood, it wasn’t about me, it’s about connecting with the right kind of people for the music you want to create. So, Meet Brothers were the ones who I felt connected to, during the music and so from there we ended up doing the track from the film Baaghi with Shradda Kapoor and Tiger Shroff. The song was called ‘Girl I need you’ and it was me and Arijit Singh and Kushboo Grewal singing it. Then follow up to that we just released a song for the film Raabta the song is called ‘Mein tera Boyfriend’ and that’s by me and Arijit Singh again and this time Neha Kakkar is singing it and I just actually got a call two days ago and we have another film that’s coming out. I don’t want to give too much information for it, but you know how it is they are shooting for it right now I can’t be there to be in the video unfortunately right now (laughs) but Bollywood usually has playback singers. But you know I am very humbled at this whole situation. If you think about it a young man from Toronto/ Canada inspiring to do music and not just doing music from Canada eventually going from Toronto to UK and worldwide, to all the way to a Bollywood film. I think it’s more of a personal victory for me to show me that you know God has blessed me with talent and I believe I am taking it the right way because things are looking better and better by the day. So, I have to say all praise to the mighty high!
You mention that it all happened about a year and half ago. I watched a video where you performed back in 2010 for the Indian music awards
Yeah GIMA Awards.
And you got introduced by none other than Saif Ali Khan.
Yeah, I know (laughs)
How was that experience?
What happened was in 2012, I teamed up with Wiz Management and they are a subsidiary of Wizcraft Entertainment from India, who do the IIFA awards. I was invited to perform at the awards show and I got to perform, its just the hospitality of Bollywood is beyond your expectations you know people say it’s a five-star circle, but to be honest if you go to Mumbai they refer to it as the seven-star circle, because it is beyond the five-star treatment right. So, imagine me coming to perform which I am feeling very humbled about, however I opened my door and my dressing room was directly opposite to Shahrukh Khan and on the right, was Sonu Nigamji and to the left of me was Sonakshi Sinha. Imagine me walking to the stage to perform and I see this beautiful lady just nonchalant walking by. It was Priyanka Chopra!! It was such an experience it’s like I said it’s all about the laws of attraction. You want something bad enough you work hard enough and you believe in it, you can make it happen and I’m living proof of that, because remember I’m coming from North America side of the world, to the opposite side of the world and achieved the goals.
For somebody who is normally singing Hip Hop, Reggae, RNB to then be……
What is the misconception of the artist Roach Killa is that yes, my first love is hip hop and reggae music but that does not take away the fact that I am born and raised Punjabi. I speak Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu. I can read and write Hindi, Punjabi. I can speak Arabic, a bit of Persian there is a lot of multiculturalism in me which influences my music. So, a lot of the time when I’m creating melodies and stuff it’s a direct descendant of the eastern influence. There’s Arabic in me, I was born in Libya which honestly it helps me so much around the world. So, there’s a lot in me that’s going on. So, I guess you can just call me a box of smarties (laughs)
So, it’s true what they say that music especially where you’re concerned, speaks all languages!
Going back to your early days you were quite heavily influenced by Apache Indian and that’s what sort of got you into creating. Are there any plans for any collaborations with Apache in the future?
If you do have a chance go on my YouTube. In 2008 on my first album I do have Apache on the track and it’s called ‘Hey Girl’ and that wasn’t just made for the public, it was more of a personal thing, because he’s like m biggest inspiration growing up. So being able to share the same studio, same stage and to be able to perform the song with him and ironically my first album release party was in Apache’s restaurant bar in Birmingham. So, again like I was saying about the laws of attraction me growing up as a kid I was so inspired by Apache you know 20 years down the road being able to work with him sit with him, have a laugh with him, that is not normal. Not everyone can say that they did that with their idols.
I’d love to collaborate with him again it’s just a matter of what works out and of course Apaches busy doing his tours and his stuff, so it would be an honour to work with him again.
Your new single coming out with Blitz what are your expectations from this project?
In general, we were just sat down having a chat about the world being so fast and what we meant by that was they say the internet connects you to the world but it disconnects you from your surroundings. So, what I mean by that is if me you and a couple of mates are sitting in the room, more are the chances that we’re not conversing, but all on our phones. And it will be quicker responses to WhatsApp than to actually ask you a question to your face. Do you get what I am saying?
So, the whole point was to say nowadays a song comes and the lifeline of the song is literally a week and then the next song comes, then the next so the world has got in to this concept of views and likes and shares and has become very statistic. What happened to the fact of just making music and making it for the pace, for the sake of just listening rather than stats? We’re not actually expecting to achieve anything, this is something that we felt okay why not give something out to the public. We don’t care how many Instagram views or likes it has. We took it back before the internet phenomena, when it was just a record that was out people liked it. They watched it, when they wanted, listened to it when they wanted. It wasn’t about I got to get it to a million views overnight and pay for it. That’s what most of the people are doing. What is good in paying for something when you’re lying to yourself. How do you know what your fan base is when you are lying to yourself, so this whole project was about giving it for free just for the people who appreciate what we do and how much they have supported us over the last ten years? Watch it at your own convenience, I am not putting on a timeline to see how much stats I want to go up.
What message would you like to give to your fans?
I will give you a quote. It’s one of those memes and it says: ‘I am 95% sure that you don’t like me but I am a 100% sure I don’t care’. What I am trying to say is be yourself. Don’t worry about making other people happy because you can never make everyone happy. It is just impossible. So, my advice is be yourself, experiment on who you are and go for it. Hard work, dedication is the only way you will achieve success there is no way of overnight celebrities. And be true to yourself because one thing is that originality stands above everything else and don’t be afraid to be yourself because the only way to success is through failure. Everyone fails but as long as you don’t quit.