Starting out the week we have West Coast Spotlight – SNJÜ. We sit down to talk about his musical journey to venturing out as a solo artist. We also talk about what it’s like being a father and who a dream collab would be. Check it out now.
Over the course of your career you have had some notable style changes between tracks like Dil Nachde vs We Got This? Tell us a bit about your musical journey?
It’s exactly that, a journey. And I think like all good journeys there might be a destination or plan but the magic happens when you detour or take the scenic route and give space for the living-in-the-moment moments. So that’s really what has happened with my career and my music. In the moment I just did what felt right and what was maybe needed or being asked of me but then when you look back it’s totally a crazy journey that just leads to you more now, more moments in time to do whatever feels right. Currently, my focus is to follow the path of most joy, do the things that just make me feel happy inside. Can’t wait to look back in a few years and reflect on this current journey I’m on as part of the even larger one. Shit’s getting all flux capacitor crazy!
You have played everywhere from Glastonbury to Burning Man. What has been your favorite event/gig you played?
This is so hard to answer because it’s not really about where or what the show is but rather the energy and feelings that were felt at that gig and that comes down to the people. Some of my favorite people are at a festival called Faerieworlds that takes place in an enchanting venue called Horning’s Hideout. They have so much love for D2D that it’s almost overwhelming akin maybe to the feeling of love when on mushrooms and the universe opens up just to show you how worthy you are! Home shows at the Commodore Ballroom are also like this, the venue is iconic but playing to that home crowd with that much love – outta this world.
Delhi 2 Dublin has been around for 13 or so years. How does it feel to go solo?
Right now it feels great because I get to do whatever I want. Things just flow and it all feels really easy. However, the big elephant in the room is that there is COVID and I haven’t played any shows. So right now it’s just me making music at home or working with awesome new people. I think that will be the big difference. Without a doubt, I am going to miss my onstage family that has been with me for almost 14 years. It’s gonna feel so different. I do believe change is always good though.
What made you decide to go solo?
I’d say there are a few factors that lead me here – like everything I’ve ever done or experienced has led me right to this point. COVID lockdown provided the space and time to create, it forced all our D2D touring and festival plays to be rescheduled to next year allowing my mind to be able to focus on the energy of this project. It’s hard for me to be fully in D2D mode while trying to do anything else really, let alone another creative endeavor.
Last fall the band discussed slowing down, being on the road, and traveling as much as we have for the last 11 or so years was getting taxing. I never thought I’d do my own thing but once I started I realized that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I hit a flow and it hasn’t stopped, it just comes with such ease. The deeper I went the more I realized that the sound I was creating was so me, so the childhood dream. There was a creative element that I needed to express that wasn’t possible within the Delhi 2 Dublin construct.
Your new moniker, SNJÜ, what does the name mean?
I had just played the first two demos to one of my closest homies and he basically said whatever you do with this you gotta do you and do you hard AF. Those words have not stopped resonating with me since. My household name growing up was Sanju, it’s like the official nickname or kid name for Sanjay. So I said there is nothing more real and more me than my inner child so I took Sanju and gave him the new makeover and I love it. It looks sexy, sounds exotic and what can I say that’s me, me as fuck! (laughs)
The new song, Jealousy, is super dope. I get strong like tropical house vibes, can you tell us a bit more about the song and what it means to you?
The song is produced by KULTARGOTBOUNCE and collaborating with him is amazing. He really helped me let go of the notion of trying to create the perfect song and to focus on capturing a vibe then letting that go and that is what this song is. It’s the musical capturing of a night out at a strip club. Everything is about sexual energy which is playful yet extremely powerful and the beautiful back and forth dance between two people that takes place in any fantasy escape. It’s all a game.
Who would be your dream collab?
SAINt JHN 100 percent. I feel his music like no one ever before. It honestly resonates with me on another level, the connection feels molecular and divine. I can’t wait for it to happen, it’s gonna be one of the sexiest songs ever.
One of the biggest communities in Canada is the Desi community. Given the rise of more visible and more community-centric stories finally getting mainstream attention, can you tell us a bit more about being Desi-Canadian and what that identity means to you.
This is a big question. One that probably deserves a full essay if not a master’s dissertation or full-on workshop or some shit. Being Desi and being Canadian is my everything, it’s how I define my existence. Being neither here nor there is a way that a lot of kids of immigrant families would describe what it is like. I didn’t grow up having turkey dinners or going to cabins on a lake. I was subjected to racism from the age of six and embarrassed by how my grandma looked or that I might smell like curry. Imagine being embarrassed to go to the mall with the one person you love more than anyone and anything in the world, yet not fully understanding why. I was born here so why am I different, kinda fucked right?
There’s another twist in my story too, my parents were from Singapore so we were seen as different in the eyes of those that would have immigrated from Punjab. As I said, this could be an entire interview on this topic. Fast forward to now and I wouldn’t change a thing. Being Desi, being west coast Canadian, these things have brought me to this specific place in time – exactly where I am supposed to be as the person I am supposed to be. I love me, but I’ve done the work to get here, Now I can be loud and proud about it.
You host a weekly radio show available online, is there a lot of pressure to promote and be the voice of the show?
No pressure at all, my team at Rukus Avenue Radio is awesome. They let me do whatever I want. They brought me on for that reason and have honored it fully. I just do me.
How is it playing at home during COVID, vs playing live shows? It must be difficult not being able to feed off the energy of the crowd.
No comparison. I did a few streamed and pre-recorded live performances this summer. It was fun but I don’t even consider it in the same category as a live performance – It’s more like content creation. A live show is more than energy. It’s exponentially more powerful than just the vibe of the band combined with the energy of the audience. I would compare it to someone explaining what partying at studio 54 might have been like to a school dance. There is music and dancing at both but it’s not the same by any means.
How has becoming a dad changed you?
You have to face yourself. Those little people are mirrors of you. You gotta be prepared to face that and learn. Besides being much more practiced in patience, having the opportunity to instill the values that I believe in to help this human become the best possible version of themselves is such a blessing. I believe that everyone needs more love, always. Having a kid is the biggest way to get to practice that. And holy shit is it ever hard but the reward is immeasurable.
What advice for artists just starting out would you give?
Stay true to your vision. Only you know what it is you want and if you can do so the payoff is huge. Follow the joy. If it brings you joy you are doing the right thing. That goes from what you wear on stage to how much autotune you wanna use. Don’t care about what anyone else says about these things. Then build your team and surround yourself with people that want what you want for you. Don’t be an asshole, or at least not until you are huge enough to be one (laughs).
With COVID leaving a lot of smaller restaurants and venues in limbo, are there any shoutouts to local favorites you’d like to give?
Oh hell yeah. I’m a vegan so once I find dope places they end up having a place in my heart. The Crane and Robin @thecraneandrobin as well as Oxeye @oxeyegaliano on Galiano Island and Meet in Vancouver. As for venues, all of them. Venues struggling or closing is heartbreaking, it’s where artists and musicians go to raise the universal collective vibration. We need them.
What do you want to say to your fans?
Thank you. Thank you for what you have allowed me to do. I love what I do so much and without you, it wouldn’t have been.
West Coast Spotlight – SNJÜ is in the books. Big shout out to Sanjay for taking the time to chat with us.
Check out Jealousy now!
Keep up with all things SNJÜ
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