BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Electric Proms

Latest entry

To be honest, I was never much of a talker...

  • Nitin Sawhney
  • 23 Oct 08, 04:05 PM

To be honest, I was never much of a talker.... I never found the depth of feeling or thought I experienced through music. So I find it hard to write blogs. "Encapsulate your thoughts in around 200 - 300 words", I was asked....

We're in rehearsals now. The new album has been very well received ( The Guardian , Music OMH, In the Mix , Daily Telegraph
etc. ) and I'm proud to be out there representing it and playing gigs again.

Ultimately, I'm playing with musicians who could get blood, guts and emotional intensity out of a spoon so I'm not worried about the music. The visuals were designed by the country's leading artist along with some brilliant graphic designers. That all feels great, it's just.....

Well, I really hope people get where the album's coming from.

Nowadays, every time I switch on the box or pick up a newspaper there's something negative about multiculturalism or cultural diversity. Muslims have been demonised endlessly in the media and the issue of immigration is back again as a scapegoat for all the crap that's presently going down with the economy.

This album, this show, this tour is, above all, a celebration of diversity with artists of many backgrounds collaborating from a profound sense of connectivity and mutual respect. The music they have painstakingly produced is soulful, haunting, powerful, heartfelt and beautiful. It's the sound of a muted city desperate for a collective voice.

That and nothing else is the point.

Recent entries

  1. paranoia, anxiety, self doubt, denial, hedonism and balancing on Bobby's shoulders

    • Nitin Sawhney
    • 16 Oct 08, 03:08 PM

    Well another crazy week gone by.

    Socialism made a bizarre return to save the arses of greedy, narcissistic bankers who change all the rules when they're losing badly.... Meanwhile the NHS and British education system are on their knees...... No extra billions under Alistair Darling's mattress to rescue THEM unfortunately.

    As for myself - Just a blurred flurry of interviews, Dj-ing and late night cabs really.... alternating with massive bouts of paranoia, anxiety, self doubt, denial, hedonism and balancing on Bobby's shoulders to snatch a Bollywood classic from the jaws of obscurity. All of which are the usual runnings when you put a new album out..... Ah, did I mention that?

    Yes indeed, "London Undersound" emerged to the naked glare of critical opinion and public view on Monday. Very proud of that fact and terrified at once but I reckon it'll do alright. Great reviews, thank God.

    Anyway, on a closing note, we go from full band and orchestral rehearsals tomorrow into a mad rollercoaster of the Electric Proms, frantic touring and an experimental IMAX performance in London, teaming up with designer Es Devlin, Onedotzero, the band and an 8 storey high screen lurking inconspicuously behind us (November the 14th ).

    Oh, did I mention the 5 film scores, videogame music and spontaneous combustion I'm currently working on. No?

    Time flies.....

  • Africa Express...maybe doing something on their night too

    • Nitin Sawhney
    • 7 Oct 08, 12:35 PM

    Mad. Since my last blog, expressing my confusion over Ian Blair not resigning after Jean Charles' killing in 2005, he actually resigned last week...

    Really impressed to hear that Oasis are going to play the Proms with the Crouch End Festival Chorus. Ennio Morricone, who's always been a massive hero of mine - true genius - , used them in his soundtrack work. Coincidentally, I just did an interview about his life and work last week for BBC Radio 4. Been listening to and inspired by his brilliance since I was a kid. Amazing how much of an influence he still is.

    I'm also pleased to hear Africa Express is going to get it's own night on the 22 October. I played with them earlier this year and thought it was a fantastic way to support a great cause. Been talking about maybe doing something on their night too ..... Rehearsal schedules willing.

    As for our gig, I'm just coming to grips with the tempo of the set. Problem is if you come in too slow you can lose a live audience with a big venue like the Roundhouse. Come in too upbeat and you lose some of the emotional, intimate aspects of performance. Going to come in solid and build, I reckon.

    Had a great meeting over the show visuals last week... Looking really strong. Some excellent coverage of the album too - ie. The Guardian and The Independent and you can check the youtube vibe on a rough and ready upload of Days of Fire. If you can deal with the insanely bad sound quality!

  • London can be a crazy place.

    • Nitin Sawhney
    • 23 Sep 08, 11:57 AM

    Great that we've got TV coverage this time. The response to our performance in 2006 really pushed for that. Yeah.... "London Undersound" comes out on October 13th, Electric Proms the 24th and then a full scale uk and European tour ( ). Feels exciting here in the city.

    But then again.....

    London can be a crazy place.

    Today I'm hearing all this stuff on the news about the inquest over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and I feel.... well.... Pretty sick really. I mean, how does it work that a totally innocent man gets shot seven times in the head by the police and they call it "an accident" on TV? Today the judge said the inquest was a fact-finding exercise and "not a forum to determine culpability or compensation, still less to dispense punishment".

    Why not?

    How come chief constable Ian Blair didn't resign over that? What happened to honour? Humanity? An innocent man got blown away on his watch....

    I just don't get it. Never will...

    I'm working on the music for a Brazilian film about Jean Charles tomorrow and the album starts with a track referencing him....

    If he can't get any justice I just hope he gets remembered.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not those of the BBC.

  • The trouble is that human stories can be so politicised...

    • Nitin Sawhney
    • 19 Sep 08, 01:36 PM

    Sorry about that....... Been a couple of weeks since my last blog. This week I've been to Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin to talk up "London Undersound" - both the album and October/ November tour. Last week I was trying to finish off the score for a film and a videogame "milestone", along with putting down some guitar for Imogen Heap's forthcoming album. She previewed me some of the tracks. Really stunning...

    Been quite strange talking about the album with journalists. We get into a lot of mad stuff about music and politics. Although everyone seems to be into the music, some feel it's quite a political album, which they also like. I feel it's about human stories. The trouble is that human stories can be so politicised...

    You know, if you have someone like Natty, one of the album collaborators and guests on the show, who was standing in front of the bus when it exploded at Tavistock square on 7/7 or was a few train carriages behind Jean Charles De Menezes when he got shot a couple of weeks later, his human experience is bound to feel politically charged... but it's still a human story. It's still a London story.


    You don't want to get me started on politics.

  • 4 film scores and a videogame...

    • Nitin Sawhney
    • 3 Sep 08, 07:28 AM

    4 film scores and a videogame on the go right now plus a quick Dj set this weekend over in Stradbally, Ireland at the Electric Picnic. Life can be frantic.


    This week's been a bit lazy other than the above. Normally, I wake up, run, do some weights and a bit of kickboxing or yoga if I get the time. This week I've been getting up, falling over, wandering around the house pointlessly for a bit before finally succumbing to the fact that I actually need to go back to bed.

    Tomorrow morning I'm meeting the creative team who are going to be working the visuals for our EP show in Camden. They're very sharp and really seem to get the ideas behind 'London Undersound'. When you've been manically working an album for two years you want to know it's in safe hands when you're taking a step back from it. Same goes for, say, the remixes. We spent ages looking for the right guys to remix key tracks. In the end it's really paid off - ie. we just heard that Cotti's dubstep remix of 'Ek Jaan' works for Skream. Did that sentence sound English?

    Anyway, blah blah ­ I'm wrecked.Nite.

  • So I've got a set list idea.

    • Nitin Sawhney
    • 26 Aug 08, 07:23 PM

    There's material in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic,
    Bengali, Hindi.... Take Tina Grace - She sings in the first four of
    those languages and speaks them all too, amongst others - She used to be a contortionist/ acrobat/ fire-eating tightrope walker with a Brazilian circus... insane. Natacha Atlas, Reena Bhardwaj, Ashwin Srinivasin, Luci and Sharlene deliver the remaining vernacular pyrotechnics between them whilst I normally watch in mute admiration, banging away on my keyboards, guitar or something.

    I'm so excited by this band. To put on a cohesive and flowing show
    with such an eclectic bunch of musicians is sometimes a challenge but always a revelation. I get a real kick out of finding connections and common ideas through live performance. Something fresh always comes out of the cultural collisions that keep music dynamic. That's why I find this international bunch of musicians such a London band. London is, if nothing else, a collision of cultures. I get so bored by the monotony and repetition of lazy, parochial dogma and musical pretentiousness. I want to hear something that reflects the sounds in my head - The sounds I hear in Camden, Brixton or Brick Lane. Street sounds.

    London sounds.

  • The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy