Who are The Curry Smugglers you ask? Two men. Paresh. Sachin. Both armed with good looks, svelte style and silky baritones that have listeners glued to their iPods and computers every Sunday (better known as Smuggler Sundays) for their weekly online music show.
When it comes to the South Asian music scene there is a lot of diversity and a vast collection of music and talent that goes unrecognized. Enter The Curry Smugglers; an online radio show that highlights underground DJs and artists that don’t get the credit they deserve on a commercial level.
On December 2, 2012, The Curry Smugglers release a new show called “Chill 6” and Daniel Ashwin Pillai had the opportunity to catch up with Paresh and Sachin of The Curry Smugglers to chat about music, passion, Bollywood and the future.
I have to ask. “Curry” and “Smuggling” – tell us the story behind the name.
The name of the show came to us in a total rant of passion one day. We felt that a lot of South Asian shows in the United States were not promoting independent talent or underground artists and DJs without all the commercial fluff. So we had a running joke between the two of us, that this is the curry that’s being served by what is out there already, and we just need to smuggle it. Make it our own and then do our best to serve it to our community. This is how we came to the name, “The Curry Smugglers.”
Tell us about the upcoming show “Chill 6.” I had an opportunity to listen to the show and it’s by far the BEST Chill episode you have produced so far. The track list is amazing and each song lends a soothing quality to the show as a whole.
Chill is a total blast for the guys to do. Sachin takes the show off and hands over the co-host chair to Vishal, who is a close personal friend of ours and a regular contributor to the show. The Chill series began on a whim when Paresh & Vishal were hanging out at home one New Year’s Day and decided to do a show completely opposite to our core, upbeat club format. What resulted has become one of the most anticipated shows we do between seasons. Musically, it allows us to flex our cerebral views on other genres that are not remixes/urban Desi music and bring out artists from the independent scenes a lot more.
In between the music, we get a lot of personality, gossip and discussions on your shows. How do you maintain a balance between that and promoting the Underground music scene and independent artists and DJs who inspired the show?
It’s always been about the music and promoting underground talent. Having said this, we want to be able to branch out. We rely on external bloggers and talent to bring to us the gossip and entertainment and this helps us expand our brand and cater to the different tastes of the audience. Our listeners tune in, they get a 20-minute music set and then they get a dash of personality and the latest buzz from the world of entertainment.
Bollywood drives the music industry in India, so, how do The Curry Smugglers become a unique platform, especially when dealing with underground talent?
It used to be the case three years ago, where Bollywood music producers would send their music to DJs and ask them to make tracks. They chose the remixes they liked and included them in the soundtrack and if these DJs were lucky, they would get credit and recognition for their work. The Curry Smugglers represents those DJs that did not make it and in most cases, those DJs that most likely did better work.
Many DJs don’t get recognition for the work they have done when working with Bollywood soundtracks. The Curry Smugglers try to do their best to bring recognition and credit to artists that deserve it most. Now that we are working in the digital age, with many different social media platforms available to us, we want artists to look at The Curry Smugglers as a platform where they can send their work and have it showcased. We want to be THAT source.
Where does this passion for music, DJs and the changing the industry come from?
Our passion started with music. We were both born in India and were raised in Dubai. Being from Dubai, we were fed our music from the western world, the Middle Eastern world and the Indian world. We have both become appreciative of all genres of music and the language of music across all borders. We are passionate about it because we grew up listening to it. More so, the radio stations and music outlets we had access to growing up didn’t necessarily play the music we loved and wanted to hear.
Coming to the United States, we gained a new perspective. To us, we did not see a platform or an avenue for music and we both came to a point where we decided to share our music libraries with the world. If we cannot be a part of the system, we’re going to try our hardest to build the system and that is our mentality.
What is the feedback you have received from the artists you have worked with, and from the listeners? How has your mission to work and showcase underground talent been received?
Having artists appear on our show to not only showcase their work, but meet the audience listening to their music is a very big deal. When we have good artists doing quality work come on our show, it’s a tangible testament to our mission, our passion and the quality of our own work.
We also take extreme pride in the fact that sometimes we introduce [new] artists to our listeners that they have [never] heard before, and it makes doing our show so much more worth it.
Don’t forget to tune in on Smuggler Sunday for the release of “Chill 6” on Sunday, December 2, 2012. In the meantime, enjoy past episodes and the current season of the Curry Smugglers with their free broadcast episodes at www.currysmugglers.com or visit the Curry Smugglers on their exclusive channel at the iTunes store.
Story By: Daniel Ashwin Pillai | Photography Courtesy The Curry Smugglers