Interview Date: 30th November 2020
Dav has the pleasure of interviewing Apache Indian MBE. Someone driven by community spirit.
Singer, songwriter, musician, actor, director of the Apache Indian Music Academy, Ambassador for Diabetes UK, Host of Real Talk at Apache’s Bar. Pioneer of Bhangramuffin music who crossed over to the mainstream and helped put Handsworth on the map for mainstream music. We talk about life, assisting the community and his new, rather badass, album ‘Whats Not To Love’.
Dav: Good evening, is this Apache Indian?
Apache: It is yeah yeah
Dav: Yes my brother. How are you feeling over there in Spain? How’s the weather over there?
Apache: Yeah the suns shining every day. Feeling great.
Dav: I’m proper jealous, mera butha inna jareya sareya hogeya hun (Panjabi- my face is now proper burnt/unhappy/jealous)
Dav: You gotta try London man, because the people, the way they are going on, especially in Dagenham which is sort of the old National Front headquarters back in its day. The racism level has boosted up even more, extra high now because of lockdowns.
Dav: Is there tension in Spain?
Apache: No there’s no tension in Spain but there’s a lot of tension in Birmingham, the same thing. You know mans are coming out. All the idiots have turned into more idiots and the gangs are coming. There’s nothing to do and there’s no money so its fuelling the street and it’s not good because its not really been addressed. It’s just been left. Three people got shot last week in Birmingham. So mans are on edge. The government really needs to step up I think. Shame.
Dav: It’s a big shame, it’s a dirty shame actually.
Dav: Exactly, exactly so thats why your troubles on the streets because areas like, I know Handsworth, I used to do singing with Ustad Nagi at the Handsworth Fire Station, Boota Pardesi used to be in class with me when I was a young lad.
Dav: I love Handsworth, you know B21, I remember there’s a Jamaican food shop there and the way the girls used to throw the food at you like they hate you.
Apache: (laughing) Its just the culture dread, it’s just the culture. They don’t hate you, they like you.
Dav: (laughing) They sucked their teeth as soon as I walked in.
Apache: (laughing) You have to go in and say ‘whatum man, whatum sister everything good?’
Dav: (laughing) Oh my. Wow. Yes so what I’m trying to say is…If they can try and stop people coming into the country. The system is bringing the drugs into the county and the elite’s are making the profit off of it. I’ll just say it straight on the radio show.
Apache: are you on the radio now then?
Dav: Yeah I’m live.
Apache: Are we live?
Apache: That’s serious conversations running live then dread.
Apache: Big respect to all the listeners out there. Big respect to everyone for listening to this conversation. The truth is that right from day one I’ve always tried to bring people together with music and celebrate diversity and some of the things that are going on are not good. You know, it’s breeding some of this hate. You know it’s not good, it’s going against the grain. I release music to be able to sit and speak about things, not just to release music. It gives me a platform to address these issues of culture, multi-culture, tension, racism and its not good because its supposed to be behind us and it’s raised its ugly head again. Look what’s going on in America for the movement, Black Lives Matter, and things are going on in India right now. We’ve had a horrible year so it should inspire people to put their best foot forward and where’s all the good people? Stand together and let’s try to make something happen.
Dav: hmmm…very very true and I think from the start with your music, you’ve brought communities together with that. Did you feel tension around times of nine eleven.
Apache: Yeah there were tensions around that time. There were tensions right back to Handsworth Riots if you remember 1985. Its a shame, when things happen in India, there’s a repercussion over here in England. There’s gang cultures that we grew up with, but people need to know the world changed in the last year (pandemic). So there’s no time for this foolishness. There’s no time. How many people have died? There’s a lot of things going on but its time, like I said, for people to stand up because we can never give up. We can’t stop believing. Good times are coming but its definitely been a time to reflect upon what is going on. We need to look at our own lives. Look at the communities. Look at the industries. Music, music has been left for nothing. No one’s addressed the musicians, the artists, the people behind the scenes. We’ve been told to get new jobs. It’s not very good. I’m a teacher, a self-employed teacher as well, I work in a college and there’s no work there at the moment until next year. So as an artist and as a teacher, I’m left unemployed. Look at that Apache Indian’s unemployed (laughing) first time in his life. I’m just saying it’s unpredictable, life is unpredictable. The world, look what happened. So we’re sometimes in the asian community just stuck a little bit. So look at ourselves before we look at other communities. Look at ourselves, what we’re doing and I do it through music. I try to bring people together and try to speak about things. I don’t know whether people know I run a Music Academy for young people for the last seven years in a college, Handsworth College, where I was born and raised. Free of charge every week people are coming like a youth club so again, giving back, bringing people together, empowering people, trying to change the communities. We have people now from Eastern Europe and lots of different people from all over the world which is great but how do you bring them together? Music, sport and not enough emphasis is put on this. If you don’t bring people together it breeds racism, ignorance. So I try to bring people together and it makes a difference in their lives. It makes a difference in their community because we’ve got the next generation to learn from and inspire. So come on people!
Dav: Very very true bro. Let me just quickly jump back to one point you made about the Handsworth Riots back in 85. I spoke to an old Jamaican man at the boxing gym because when I was young, to keep out of trouble, we had the boxing gym in Wolverhampton and he told me a story. He said, this may sound absolutely nuts to you. But he said the police had this device yeah, whatever it was, and they aimed it at the people and it made them spark off in a bad temper. Is that some sort of sonic, you know, whatever they are using. So I started delving into this, I started getting really deep into this. I don’t know. That’s some very interesting stuff. So riots could also be engineered.
Apache: Yeah, you are absolutely right, a lot of riots could be engineered. So you just never know. I’m not putting those things in peoples heads just sometimes you just never know and with the Handsworth Riots there was stories about the police and certain things weren’t handled properly and then afterwards when there was a retaliation against the police everyone said ‘Oh it’s the blacks against the asians’ and they put it down to the racist thing which it was never a racist thing. It’s easy to say that about Handsworth and for ever more it just gives us a bad name. But what was the truth?
Dav: Exactly, what was the truth? Even if we go back to Clinton McCurbin if you remember when the police, they killed him. Was it in Next where they said he had a dodgy card or whatever? There’s protests over that so in Wolverhampton. It all builds up. I’ve been doing my homework as I do as a presenter and..
Apache: Well done, yeah exactly
Apache: No its good, it’s good because sometimes these platforms like radio are to speak aren’t they? People just come and they are not using this platform. They are talking about nonsense and they are not doing their research properly. This radio is about educating the people, learning from the people, educating the community. Talking about things, past, current and in the future so we can learn and move on together. If we don’t address them then we don’t move on because things are left, not closed, we need closure to things and move on forward but yeah I don’t mind talking about anything. You bring it up. If I’ve got some value to add, I will definitely be saying that but yeah, well done for all the research. Don’t make it fool ya, don’t let it make it you go round in circles because sometimes too much information’s not good. ‘Cause everyone keeps putting information out, some of its right, some of its not right.
Dav: Very true.
Apache: People need work together more. Stand up together more. Unity is strength.
Dav: Hanji. I checked out the video for the BBC One Show about AIM Academy, you teamed up with the South and City College. You did ‘Boom Shak-A-Lak’ live. Who is that sick rapper man? He’s a young lad. He is sick.
Apache: Yeah a young rapper called Zack. He came to me when he was twelve years old. He’s sixteen now and his father’s from a different country so lots of difficulties in school from bullying, he’s disabled as well. So, he came to my academy, as a very quiet lad. Built up his confidence over a few years, helped him with certain situations, just gave that personal touch. Helped his father as well and then he (Zack) had a passion for writing. Again if you guys haven’t seen that one show please go and watch it. They wanted to do a thirty year celebration of ‘Boom Shak-A-Lak’ and said can we perform? I said yeah but come and film the kids, come to the academy, come to the college. All of a sudden instead of Apache Indian, you’ve got all these young people performing. They feel great to be on The One Show, they’ve never ever released a record. The college is on The One Show, the community. That’s about that little extra effort to include everyone but yes great talent. There’s another kid there called John Rodgers who was featured on the show, singer, songwriter. He’s actually features on my album, I gave him a little chorus to sing on my album and now he’s on the album all over the world. So it’s not just about working with the big artists, it’s about trying to give the young people a chance, the academy is magical, the BBC One Show gave a good representation of me, told you a lot about me and what I did in my life and what I’m doing currently and then you understand the music. Right from the beginning I have been saying ‘Arranged Marriage’ and ‘Chok There’. Talk about caste, aids problems and drink. I always using the platform to talk about something. So I’m encouraging artists out there. They are not writing lyrics no more. Who’s writing anything? If you are a rapper, if you are doing any of those things, what are you saying? Stop singing the same songs and showing me the same videos, people are tired of it. So represent the proper way, it’s real for me, it comes from Handsworth, it comes from Birmingham. It’s a real blend of everything I grew up with. It could never be different. So I’ve always been honest with my music, my fans, my roots, my culture and sharing that with you so its personal. People should do the same, use that platform, inspire people but be real and true to yourself.
Dav: Very very true. John Rodger’s yeah? He was on the guitar in the video wasn’t he?
Apache: thats right yeah
Dav: Cool, so he’s on track nine, which is ‘Together As One’ with Brad Turner, Gillian.
Apache: Gillian, another lady from London. Brad Turner. ‘Together As One’ bringing different people from different races together. Great song. Reggae song.
Dav: It’s a beautiful track. Do you know, you as an individual, you are not one of these kind of guys who says ‘this is my limelight and you cant come in the limelight’ what you’ve done, you’ve pulled people into it and thats absolutely beautiful. Look at the Godiva Festival in Coventry, The Diwali Festival, Soho Road of course smashing that, Zee London Mela Southall. Look at how you are with the AIM Academy. So tell me more about the funding behind the academy and has Birmingham Council helped?
Apache: No no. Thank you for all the things that you have said. The whole beauty about the Academy is not just helping the community, it’s not funded. I don’t want any money from anyone because when you get money from people you set up these things, when the money runs out, they fall down on their face. You’ve seen it in Handsworth kini vari (how many times). You used to have youth clubs, they spend all this money. Ineh ineh peseh (so much money), build these buildings and the funding whatever, everyone gets paid. The buildings shut down, the kids are left to nothing. I don’t do that, I spend my own money, my own time, reorganise my life flying in and out of countries. I don’t want anything from anyone. I want to help the kids genuinely. It’s been seven years. I go to people and say right can you help me? People give me water. One sponsor from London gives me water. Three thousand bottles of water. East End Foods, I give them a shopping list, they send all the food to the Academy and we started in the fire station right there on Stafford road because it’s a part of the college now. I was there for five years. Now I’m inside the college. I took my own stuff there from my own studio. I called a couple of my two friends, somebody gave me a guitar, somebody gave me a tabla and we started. From that people have just been walking in and giving us stuff and helping in that way but I don’t want any money. Look what we’ve done, we’ve helped people, we’ve helped the community, we’ve used our resources but we haven’t asked for a penny. Edha hunda kam (that’s how work is done). Talk about something out the box. Don’t complain about there’s no money for the community. Go and use what we’ve got and then we help the police because obviously there’s issues on the streets so we do work around knife crime, gun crime, gang culture. Of course it helps the community so the community wants to help me. So whoever can’t physically stand there, they come give me something or some samoseh for the kids, biscuits. Everyone comes with something. Jidda (like) its a temple of music and love for all religions and cultures brought together by music.
Dav: Hanji (yes- respectfully)
Apache: Now, I’ve got an AIM Academy in Holland. Look at the Insta page, separate page. Kids, people are coming from Holland to my Academy, from my Academy to Holland, also the next one’s going to be in India, Pune. So the movement carries on where you’re helping people through music and like you said before let’s share the platform. We don’t do that enough. In our culture we always say ‘Oh ki karda?’ (whats he doing?) and ‘Oh ki kardi?’ (whats she doing?) and how come my kid never did as good as his kid? There’s a massive platform in the world (music). The fight isn’t against the culture, it’s against the world. Let’s get on those stages, I’ve been around the world eight times in thirty years. I’m telling you there’s space for us all. We don’t have much people singing any more. The young panjabi singer, where is he? The new Bhangra group, where are they? Come on, there’s things to do, there’s things to say. Don’t give up. Look at the bad things, learn from them, move on. You go through a bad experience, write about it, sing about it, inspire somebody else. This is what’s missing, we are not helping and supporting enough. I always have, I always will. Anybody wants to get in touch, any age, come to the Academy, send me a message. If you want to work with me, send me a message. Its not about money any more because music isn’t worth any money. These songs cost me £5000 to £10,000 per song and you are buying it for less than a dollar. So where’s the money? The money was in the live shows. There’s no live shows. So whats the music for? It’s for you, it’s for people out there to enjoy and for people to come on the platform and speak about things. I’ve done interviews through to Malaysia, through Capetown, Africa, and to Jamaica and we are talking about culture and things, problems around the world and if we can help with something we are doing it. Look at the platform the music has given me, I want to share the platform with everyone else and inspire them to do the same.
Dav: Hanji. Wow. What a superb answer as well. Do you know, when you take money off people it comes maybe with restrictions and limits. So at the end of the day you have that freedom as well to do things the way you want.
Apache: Thats right. Don’t take money from people. You shouldn’t take money. Do whatever you can with whatever you have and the goodness will come from God himself. Throughout my life and my career I always asked my God and said ‘Ki eh?’ (whats this?), I’ve got fame, riches, touring but something is missing. What is it? I battled with it for many years, and the answer came from God himself and he said ‘You know what? Use your name and your fame to go help people’. What else was it for? Was it for me to me to say ‘Come buy my new single, Apache Indian!’ I’m 53 years old, I’m a big man talking. I’ve got children. It’s not just a joke. I’m not doing music for a joke. It’s life, life experiences, sharing my culture, my emotions, my anger, whatever it may be, happiness, sadness. Look this year we had the Lynx commercial running every day which is a blessing from God, because when there’s no money, there’s no gigs, look at the timing of that running. It’s brought me some royalties, it’s kept my name on the TV nationally. Reggae song playing by Indian hottest, Lynx commercial going everywhere with Anthony Joshua. These things I can’t make happen. These are blessings when you do good things. So encourage people to do good things, good things will come. Don’t ask anyone for anything, help people, help comes without the speaking of money. There’s so much you can do. So much.
Dav: You did your take on ‘Om Nama Shivaya’ on Q on CBC, you put the reggae feel to it and I thought it was absolutely beautiful to do that. So I picked up that you are a religious person.
Apache: I’m a spiritual person, that’s a very very special song. It wasn’t just for the radio if you haven’t heard it, there’s a video as well. Everyone, this is my most requested song even more than ‘Boom Shak-A-Lak’. ‘Om Nama Shivaya’ out of all of my songs I have ever recorded over the thirty years, it’s my favourite song. It was written at a time in India. It was just a difficult time. I got a lot of peace from that song. The amount of people that listened to that song around the world, across genres, across cultures. They said they listened to it in the mountains in Brazil, in the morning at 5 o’clock when they meditate.
Apache: It’s a special song from India to Jamaica, they said Damien Marley was inspired from that song to write another song. So it’s a heavy reggae song, Indian chorus ‘Om Nama Shivaya’, but yet the second verse says ‘He who dwells in the secret place of The Most High shall abide under the shadow of The Almighty’ and that’s from the Bible, Psalm 91. You put in religion and culture and everything together to enjoy the music. I get healing from my own music so I hope it heals other people. Music heals and this song I put it on every now and again.It just brings me back to the spirit and the culture captured in the magical song. If you haven’t heard it people, please listen to that song ‘Om Nama Shivaya’ Apache Indian.
Dav: Of course. Interesting that you should mention Psalm 91 because from my point of view, I would use that as a hedge of protection against evil.
Apache: That’s right, yeah it’s good over evil. It’s not about the culture, it’s not about the colour of your skin, it’s not about religion. Religion is one of the reasons why so many people have died. So many people over the years. More people have died through religion (religious conflict) than anything else. So I say we have many prophets from Jesus Christ to Muhammed PBUH, Bob Marley was a prophet, Mahatma Gandhi was a prophet. You can call him what you like, but we all have one God and there are many people such as saints which have led us and have done many great things. So everyone can make a change in the world. In the UK as British Asian’s we should be doing a lot more. People get too comfortable, we haven’t been here long. Only since the 50’s and 60’s, it hasn’t been 100, 150 years. For all the things that our parents did, what are we doing? Whats the next generation doing? Back in the day when your dad worked in a factory for thirty years you’d say ‘Yeah respect dad’. Now if someone worked in a factory for thirty years, they say ‘Oh he must be an idiot, whats he wasting his time in a factory for thirty years’. So the culture has changed, the views changed, on the TV they are telling you that you could be the best artist on X-Factor, a famous guy in two minutes or win the lottery. We weren’t told that when we were young. We were told to work hard in whatever we did. Now, so don’t get it twisted, you may not win any of those things. It’s about putting the effort in, working hard. If you want to be a musician, start learning from now, it may take a few years. Me as Apache Indian, I didn’t just start listening to music, you know I was raised by a Jamaican nanny for five years of my life, I played sound system in the Jamaican community for the next ten fifteen years before I even made a record. So it takes time. Nothing happens overnight, otherwise it ain’t going to last long. Lay the foundation of your whole life from early. That’s what I did and that’s what I’m continuing to build on for over thirty years. Make it right. Make it positive and make it inspiring.
Dav: Absolutely beautifully said. You are a very conscious individual and you highlight many issues in our reality such as ‘Aids Warning’, you put it in your music, ‘Election Crisis’, and the obvious one ‘Arranged Marriage’ in our community as well. When you were doing these songs, what did you think? Was you expecting the impact from the lyrics from the community?
Apache: I have to tell you that I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I was just thinking about things to say. I grew up with arranged marriages myself, it was a big subject matter. I grew up as a Hindu, my background’s Hindu so I know about the caste system. So what can I do I’m bursting with all these subjects. Aids obviously is a big thing, arranged marriage, all these things, and alcohol problems I saw when I was growing up. Everyone was drinking always. So what do you do? I want to write it down. I want to record it. It wasn’t for anyone else I’m healing myself I’m talking about things in my mind. If you look at arranged marriage its Indian sounds with reggae sounds, because it hadn’t been done before was it a formula to be popular? It hadn’t been done before, so not really. Udha ya, (it’s like that) I’m just writing my own things for my own self and even the music, Indian music everything from my culture, reggae because I love it. I didn’t once think it was going to be popular to tell you the truth. I was just doing my thing but if people liked it they would say ‘Ah’, I would say I’d do it again because I’m just doing what I love. Thirty years later I’m still doing the same thing. It was always real. If I’ve got something to say, I’m sharing it with you. My emotion, my spirit, my culture, when I’m down, when I’m up, when I’ve travelled somewhere, sometimes I’m just saying I’m just having a good time like ‘Boom Shak-A-Lak’ just because the sun’s shining I’m having a good time. So it’s not just about preaching to people, its all emotions. Happiness, sadness, gusa (anger). Like you said ‘Election Crisis’, I listened to politics, I’m interested in politics. Why? Because these people on the top are making decisions that affect our lives so how can we not be interested. So I didn’t just do the song to highlight the thing but young people are not interested in politics, so I got the young people involved with the video and made them aware of certain things so there’s lots of things at the same time. People are not doing that. You tell me. Since the nineties which artist has come along and said anything thats made any impact to anything?
Dav: I think if they tried to there’s a hand round their throat my bro.
Apache: Haven’t they got things to say? I mean there’s knives, there’s guns, people are dying. There’s coke, crack on the street. Covid just happened, there’s homelessness, there’s unemployment, there’s poverty. Music’s a platform to say these things. I thought it was going to inspire a generation after we got popular, to say things. Especially when we got things to say, no one’s saying anything. I’m seeing videos with mans holding guns.
Apache: Are we going backwards or forwards dread. I don’t get it.
Dav: We’re going backwards bro.
Apache: (deep breath)
Dav: We are, and thats why we need to stand against this sort of stuff. When I was growing up I saw you as breaking cultural norms right. You are stepping outside the traditional territory and that for me as a young Panjabi growing up that’s really really inspirational and I put you, now this is a big thing, I put you in that same category where I put someone like Kash the Flash Gill. Kicking ass, the kickboxer.
Apache: Yeah, there you go. Big man there, Kash the Flash. Four times world champion kickboxer and he’s sharing his talent with how many more champions he’s made. How much work he does in the community. Me and him work together very very closely. Big respect to him. Handsworth kid, all his brothers I knew them when they were growing up, everyone. He went to school with my sister as well at Hamstead Hall. We were very very connected right from the beginning and we even talked about making a film together, me and Kash because we were growing up and he became world champion kickboxer and I did what I did as Apache Indian and we came back and worked in the community together. That’s a great story. It was inspiring other people to be famous and to do what you gotta do but you gotta use that to give back and inspire more lives from that same area. Otherwise, again, what was it for?
Dav: What was it for? Yeah. Very very true. I put you on that level because in his day as an Indian man going into the kickboxing ring, and you venturing out with this whole Bhangra-muffin genre of music. Whether its fearlessness or whether it just felt right or whether it was experimentation. The end result was absolutely top notch. There you have it.
Apache: Thank you very much, it was fearlessness, confidence to share and do what you want. How many people said ‘Apache you’re an Indian guy trying to be black or kala’ or whatever. I grew up with the culture and I will be confident enough to use languages, sing in patois. You think it’s easy singing in patios? Singing in a language not from my culture when I’m in Jamaica. They’ll throw you straight out of Jamaica. Music is like a religion out there. The amount of people that have respected me and helped me from Sly and Robbie, to Maxi Priest, Frankie Paul, Luciano, the biggest of the biggest. That’s what I’m trying to say. Same with Kash. He’s gone out in the big arena before there was any asians on the martial arts or boxing scene and he was the first guy. He’s up there in Japan, Australia, and when we connected I used to walk him into the ring. I sang the song ‘Chok There’ as he was going into the kickboxing ring. Wicked. There’s a video for that look out for it, and he still uses it. This is an example of the old school working together, we’re still doing it today. Young people don’t do that enough. Maybe because that community is not linked that’s what I’m trying to do with the Academy.
Dav: Regarding the Academy. Your heart’s in it and that goes through to the youth. What you’ve done and what I’ve seen on the videos on YouTube on the AIM channel. You’ve actually taken the youngsters on the stage with you with your T-Shirts on. How brilliant is that?
Apache: Yeah, you know I’m always doing gigs so I say to them whoever’s been behaving, it’s all about manners, respect, how you move, I say ‘Next gig, I’m taking you guys’ and some of them have never left Handsworth, never left Birmingham. So it’s like a treat, like a school trip, and everyone jumps in the minibus at least ten fifteen of them. Took them to Godiva Festival, Croydon, London Mela with Jay Sean, twenty thousand people. Took them up north as well. Who does that for their kids? It’s just a bit of effort. Here’s the place to sit in the car, some food, look after them like your own children, but give them the experiences of life, how you greet people, social interaction and all of them behave themselves. All of them top manners. All of them went back inspired and thankful. What did that cost me? Yeah a little bit of money but what an experience for young people. To be able to venture in their own country, be proud of their country, they’re changed people. I’ve found people jobs, written CV’s for them, called somebody and said ‘Give the girl a chance’ like we used to back in the day. No-one does that personal touch. Got girls jobs in care centres, care homes, in shops and all the people that have fallen through the cracks no-one’s helping them then that leads to drugs and crime. I’ve got people off of drugs. When somebody walks though my Academy door what am I looking at? This girl’s going to be a star, this guy’s going to be a great rapper. I’m assessing mental health.
Dav: That’s big.
Apache: Has he got a smile on his face? Is she feeling alright? Does it look like she just wants to be left alone? Maybe he just wants to sing and switch off from the world for a minute. Without getting in their business, you know like you have a child and you don’t know what’s wrong with them but you know there’s something wrong. So without getting into their business, you help them, you comfort them. That’s AIM Academy, it’s a family, it comforts people, it gives them a chance, it gives them space, it gives them safety, and it gives them love. One of my young people ended up in a mental home, so I was going to visit him to look after him. You just don’t give up on them. And I won’t until the day I’m off this planet and that will carry on running. They will run it themselves. Kids that have been there since sixteen are now twenty-three. They will help me run that Academy, but I have young people from five, four, three, two come with their parents and their parents will sit and look at what we do. So it’s beautiful, it’s absolutely beautiful. People leave there and say what a great vibe there is in this place. How come everybody is so nice and so friendly? Why don’t we just practice being friendly if you are not friendly? Practice being nice if you’re not. Do it as a game. If you can’t play the guitar, but if you pick it up every day, after six months or a year you will know how to play. If you are not a good person, just pretend. All of us are actors, because when you meet someone who really shows you their true feelings or who they are really?
Dav: Thats true you know.
Apache: So we are all actors, so let me give you a new thing to act. Pretend to be nice. Pretend to be good. Pretend there’s no problem and just be nice and you will become that nice person. How do you do that? Like we say at the Academy. We stop swearing if we swear too much. Do things in moderation. Stop the drugs. Whatever your bad habit is, don’t do it, and even myself whatever it may be. So we can all improve and then you have a set of people which are good people trying to win. Then everyone tries to help each other, everyone intermingles, its not about colour, its about good and bad. Are you good or are you bad? Are you bad and you want to be good? Are you good and want to be better? So that’s how we work and that’s how I live.
Dav: I think thats a very beautiful way to live because one thing I noticed, I’ve been in London now for ten years. Let’s say you get the train from Wolves, or Birmingham New Street to Euston Station, you will see that niceness wear out. By the time you get to London, the jareya sareya butha (miserable, jealous face) is there.
Apache: You’re right, the butha (face) is not right. You can’t even see the butha behind the mask and glasses. So come on man, fix the butha. Get it right. Put a smile on the face, pretend to be nice and then you’ll become that nice person if you want to be. Don’t let anyone take the smile off your face. There’s people out there, nasty people, bullies, evil, devil working people.
Apache: Don’t let anyone take the smile off your face. Be fearless and be confident.
Dav: Hold on, let me just emphasise. Steve, you heard that, Apache Indian just told you off. Sort it out.
Dav: Hold on, you are that brilliant that you jumped over and did Drum & Bass. You did that track ‘On the Weekend’ with Jim Bean so tell me about that.
Apache: Oh wow, so you did your research good and proper
Dav: Dekhya (see that)
Apache: There’s a producer in London, Maximum Force his name is Raz. It was originally done by Jim, the vocals but two tracks I gave them to Raz to do. I released them earlier in the year before the album. Drum & Bass I love it. I haven’t done enough of it and look out for his song called ‘One Of Those Days’. (Apache sings) – ‘One of those days when you don’t feel like working’. And ‘On The Weekend’ (Apache sings) – ‘See a lickle sound boy die, on da weekend…Tell you me no play with no guy, on da weekend’. Wicked song. You’re the first person who’s brought those songs up so big respect to you man.
Dav: Thank you Apache man, it’s an honour. I think as a presenter, it’s a milestone to interview people like yourself, so I gotta give a massive shout out to Raj Ghai. So how do you know Raj?
Apache: Raj I’ve known for thirty years, he’s one of the top people in the music industry, he’s also just won the ‘Best Radio Show’ award. He did radio when I first started, so he’s done radio for thirty years. He runs a massive PR company called Media Moguls. So, they’ve looked after, you know, from Jay Sean to Rishi Rich, music projects and non-music projects such as film and arts. So big respect to them, always pushing. Been there for thirty years. Raj is a dear dear friend of mine and he knows this industry like the back of his hand. He’s got a lot of respect out there, a lot of contacts. He always does my PR and he’s a top man so big shout out to him.
Dav: I met you bro back in day at the Asian Media Awards 2013 when I was working for Missy Dee and Luv Asia Radio. I met Raj around the same time. I spoke to him and he told me how he started out. Him and his Mrs with the typewriter, and that for me was inspirational. With RadiAsian we started out with what? With like next to nothing and so he’s grass roots, I’m grass roots, you’re grass roots, and you’ve taken it worldwide. You’ve gone all the way to the film world so ‘Scooby Doo’, ‘Dumb and Dumber’, eight films is it?
Apache: Eight Hollywood films. ‘Dumb and Dumber’ was massive, twenty years later they asked me to do ‘Dumb and Dumber 2’, yeah the song was big in the movie so it was great to be asked again. These are Hollywood A-listers. ‘Scooby Doo 2’ a movie called ‘Threesome’, probably 150 TV commercials internationally from Colgate to Wranglers Jeans in different countries, Brazil and Australia. So wow, look at that one song has been celebrated all over the world. Still today it’s on the Lynx commercial so it just shows, it was written in 1993. People have to understand the song, it’s fun, it’s a big hit song internationally. All over Jamaica. Many reggae compilations have it. What it does do is that the people that listen to that song want to know what Apache Indian is all about then they hear ‘Arranged Marriage’, ‘Chok There’, they get into the culture, they get into all the Bhangra and say ‘Wow, look at all this’. It’s kind of a gateway into the more serious stuff but yeah. Wicked.
Dav: My sister Harvinder, Harvi. She’s like a skinny version of me, She’s scared to eat food. I’m the opposite. She’s listening in from Wolverhampton. She’s asked me to..
Apache: (laughs) harvi, yo has she got a question? Go on then
Dav: What was you going to say to her?
Apache: I was going to say Harvi big respect to you , God Bless you, Wolverhampton’s a lovely place, but you know what? I love to cook but I don’t like eating. I got a problem I’m scared of eating too. This is a complaint from my mom, God rest her soul, and all the people around me, ‘He doesn’t eat properly’. I don’t know what it is, I’ve been travelling so long so I’ve been safe with food. I don’t want to eat the wrong thing at the wrong time, you can’t do the gig, so I see where she’s coming from. So big up Harvi. Nice to hear from you? What’s the question?
Dav: The question is ‘Have you got children? and if so, will they be following your footsteps in the world of music?’
Apache: Yes harvi I have three children, I actually had a child when I was eighteen years old, my eldest boy’s thirty five, I have a daughter who’s a nurse, she’s twenty-six, and I have a young boy who’s twenty-four, Rajan. He’s gonna follow in my footsteps. The other two have their own careers. Rajan is definitely a mini version of me. He’s got the dreadlocks, he’s my DJ, goes round the world, look out for him on my Insta DJ Raja. So he will definitely be following in my footsteps and he loves it. Too much energy Rajan, he inspires me every day. I love him to death, I love all my kids, so God bless them.
Dav: Absolutely beautiful. Harvi’s given a thumbs up brilliant.
Apache: Thank you Harvi. I got your approval with that one., God bless you. I’m coming to see you Harvi. Can Harvi make roti?
Dav: It’s an attempt, her barfi right,
Apache: Barfi, ahh ahh
Dav: It’s absolutely, she sent it over. I go I miss moms barfi right? ‘Cause they video called around Diwali. I got so depressed because I saw mom making food and I’m stuck here. Boris Johnson’s got his hand round my throat saying ‘Dav you cant go anywhere’, she posted it, she posted the barfi.
Apache: Wow. It’s hard to make barfi you know.
Dav: Yeah of course, I’ve mastered besan.
Apache: Harvi can you send me some over to Spain. Federal Express what’s it called?
Apache: Maybe put it on Amazon, everybody can order some of that barfi .
Dav: She says ‘Yes, I’ll send you some’, but I’m going to be real with you bro. I have never had barfi like this my life.
Apache: Wow. Dekhya, it could be something there, what about we go on Dragons Den?
Apache: I’ll put my name to it, Apache Harvi Barfi or something. We’ll make up a name anyway. Think out the box, let’s take this barfi international.
Dav: This is absolutely brilliant.
Apache: Send me a red gold and green barfi, I’ll give it to my Jamaican friends, the Rasta Man Barfi.
Dav: Deal absolute deal
Apache: Ok beautiful, beautiful.
Dav: I kicked off the show with the Baba Nanak track which got sent in by Parghan Bhandal as it’s Guru Nanak Ji’s birthday today. The second track I played on the show though was by Youngz ‘Nothings The Same’ so tell me about YoungZ.
Apache: YoungZ from my Academy?
Apache: Wow, respect to you then. I mean yes its the same guy Zack. So yeah he’s the guy who was featured on the performance of ‘Boom Shak-A-Lak’ on the One Show. He’s a young kid that came to me from when he was twelve. He used to be teased at school and the music gave him the confidence. I love this kid he has so much passion. Now he’s sixteen, and he wanted to go to college. Which college did he go to? The same college that the Academy is based at. So he’s just enrolled on a music course. A lot of support for him and his life. A lot of talent, but yeah as I said it would have been wasted if no-one helped him. He wouldn’t have been in the position if the Academy wasn’t there. If I wasn’t there. Studio time, free help, guidance. He’s been on many shows we’ve had Sky News there, Channel 4 there, we’ve had ITV, Central News, we’ve had them all. So all the kids have been on TV, it gives them that boost and why not? They deserve it. More people should just be given the opportunity. Give people an opportunity. There’s not enough of that, there’s just a chance. Not a chance, a real opportunity to get that job. When they’re going for jobs, I write references for them. When they’re going to college, I can be a reference for a further job. Me and my colleagues help young people. Youngzy, hopefully it’s in God’s hands that he’ll have a music career. I always tell them, I can’t promise you that, that’s in God’s hands. What we can do is we can work hard but I can’t promise you that this is going to be your life. Just work hard and good things will come.
Dav: I think the mere fact that you give someone a reference coming from a heavyweight like yourself.
Apache: It does help. Whatever I am and whatever I can do I’ll do. You don’t have to be an artist to do that, you should just generally help people. Help them writing that passport form, I’ve got kids driving licenses because some of the kids don’t have any ID so they cant get into the club, they can’t get on certain things. Just because they haven’t got that £50. So I walk them to the post office. I know the post office lady on Soho Road and say ‘Look after them’ and fill this form in. Take the picture over the road from the photography guy, Mr. Balu Travels, whoever it may be, and we all help each other. Now they have got ID’s. It maybe a small thing but look at that, they feel so happy with a provisional license with their picture on and they feel like they belong. It could be something as small as that but it’s a big thing for them so let’s not take these things for granted.
Dav: I wish the world had more people like you bro. When I first came to London the first thing that I noticed over here, was there this huge culture of everyone’s got this big outbuilding at the back of the yard and all they’re doing, they’re not leaving til the bottle’s finished. I was thinking what the hell is going on with these guys over here? Then I noticed there’s no sense of community spirit either. They will see you getting your head kicked in. Real talk. If you’re in the Midlands right you can run into the pub and people will back you up, well thats the pubs that I know. In London everyone’s like I’ve got my mortgage to pay, this is your caste, you drive a beemer, I drive a merc, nobody wants to get involved in anything. Everyone’s just scared and wants to pay their mortgage. Where am I going with this?
Apache: No no, I understand. What they have done is that people live in their own little boxes. I don’t blame some of them because life is hard. There’s not much to give and share so it is difficult. So I’m just saying we’re still living better than other people so there is something to give, even a phone call to somebody helps. It didn’t cost any money. I’m just saying at this time now we just need to make that extra effort. Forget the bottle in the back room, forget the shed at the back, forget it. They’re drinking more in the lockdown. Ki kariyeh (what can we do) a bottle opens they start drinking from three o’clock, by lets say eight o’clock and they do that every day. They’re sick, it’s not good for you. Do things in moderation. Alcoholism is a big problem in our culture. I’ve had to deal with abuse cases where in a lot of our families they kind of accept it. Everyone’s drinking, the uncles are drinking, the dad, my family was the same. I used to be guy who said ‘Wow, I don’t want to just drink’, ehmi boli jandeh (talking for no reason) talking nonsense right getting more drunk. Getting more louder and doing nothing more than just talking nonsense. The culture has to change because the younger people then will drink, and they think it’s OK. If you start drinking at eighteen by the time you are twenty-three, you’ve been drinking for five years.
Dav: Exactly yeah.
Apache: That one, two pints will turn to eight or nine pints. Now your tedh (belly) has come out, right you’re heading towards diabetes type 2 and other conditions. Then you start saying let’s get fit.
Apache: Come on guys, can’t you see that your stomachs coming out. You might feel good when you are young but these things will affect you when you are older. I’ve always looked after my health, my strength, just done some stretching in the garden. Bit of yoga, a bit of meditation. There’s a lot of things going on. Meditate. It comes from our culture. Meditation, yoga, not just sharab, pangeh pangeh (trouble) and baleh baleh is it. You got to balance life out dread. Drink more water. Do good things. Good things will come. Look after people around you. You know Wolverhampton? Let me tell you my first ever gig was in Wolverhampton.
Dav: You’re kidding
Apache: Lama Rouge club
Dav: What roads that on? Where was that?
Apache: Reggae club. Lama Rouge. Me, Cheshire Cat, and Hyper Deli. Asian, black and white three reggae DJ’s. Skippy and Lippy Sound reggae sound system from Wolverhampton. The biggest. That’s how we started, Wolverhampton’s a very special place to me. Big up everyone in Wolverhampton. Big up Harvi running things in Wolverhampton with the barfi.
Dav: Very very true. Do you know you picked up on something my brother yeah. You’re the ambassador for Diabetes UK?
Dav: And that’s a very very big thing. Over here I was trying to tell this guy, because before doing this radio job I used to work on film sets where they’re making The Crown for Netflix, and Spiderman. I was the chowkidar looking after the equipment and helping load and unload the trucks and all that. So one guy over there he kept moaning about his weight. So we started talking about diabetes. He goes ‘I got diabetes I have to do so many things every day with these teekeh’ (injections) and all that. I told him one old school thing. I go ‘kareleh kha’ (eat bitter gourd/melon). He goes ‘What are they? What’s that mate?’ I didn’t pull a karela out of my pocket or anything, but I told him he’ll come back a few months later slimmer and better. I told him it drops your blood sugar so quick. Talking about kareleh to Apache Indian (laughing)
Apache: You are absolutely right, I am an ambassador for Diabetes UK and the reason I am that is because my son I mentioned before DJ Raja, he’s type 1 diabetic and he has been since eleven, before he started school and we have no diabetes in the family at all. So I wasn’t familiar with it. He was losing weight and always asking to drink water, we couldn’t work out, because we didn’t know about the signs and I kept saying to my wife ‘You know you need to take him to the doctor’s, something’s up’. She said ‘No leave it’. When she did they had to rush him to the hospital. He’d been suffering with diabetes for a few months, he could have died. So I tell people to look out for these signs because we don’t have a culture where we have to keep getting checked. In America you have to keep getting checked every year. So you know what’s wrong with you. We think, if you don’t go to the doctor ‘asi teek eh’ (we are fine). You may not know of a problem so I stared working with diabetes. I had to learn about diabetes, it’s not just about the kareleh but the kareleh do a lot. It’s about the whole balanced diet, it’s difficult for my son. He doesn’t want to drink coke or alcohol. If you have one thing it can set your sugars high. You have something it can be low. So it’s a constant every single day thing for your life. It’s not easy, my son does his own injections, four times a day insulin, and it’s not easy to see. The first time he did it I said ‘Come on son you gotta do it yourself’, and I was giving him all the big speech as a father and as he put the needle in I fainted in front of him.
Dav: Oh my God
Apache: Which shows you that we feel the pain, right we feel the same pain that they feel. So I learned about diabetes. I work with Diabetes very very closely John McGhee at Diabetes UK in London. Every year we raise money. In my Academy we have a diabetes sign to create awareness, raise money, do what we have to do. On top of that my Academy represents three charities. So this is the model. One national charity which is ‘Diabetes UK’, second is a homeless charity, ‘St. Basils’, and the third one is young people with disabilities, which is ‘Include Me Too’ from Wolverhampton.
Apache: There’s a charity in Wolverhampton that looks after kids with disabilities and families, supports them, asian lady her name is Parmy and she’s doing an incredible job over the years. I’m the ambassador for that charity as well and we always support them, do events, support the kids, she comes to the academy and back and forth. She has won many awards for the work she has done. Look into ‘Include Me Too’, working with families with disabilities in Wolverhampton. So three charities people, that’s what we do.
Dav: Wow my brother. I’m going to hit you with something odd. Check this out bro. In my old days before entering the world of radio, like I said I was a chowkidar and all that right? I was a chowkidar for the mega rich people, the ultra elite, you know hedge fund, private equity, presidents of countries and all that for a low wage, long hours. One thing I picked up one day on the job was the water. The water that comes out the tap. They had this mad distillation system built in so as soon as they turned the tap, the water comes out of it so beautiful and then what I researched was four litres of that water a day for four months is the equivalent of a blood transfusion. That was some very interesting stuff. I used to wear these big pervert glasses because like an idiot I did a law degree which I shouldn’t have done. I should have just done music straight. I don’t know how it’s linked, but I don’t wear glasses any more. What do you make of that?
Apache: Yeah, well water is everything isn’t it? People don’t drink enough water. People need to know that our bodies are made up of more water than anything else. Water flushes out the system. So all this other nonsense that people are putting into their bodies like cola and all these drinks fizzy pops, beers and all these energy drinks. All these kids taking energy drinks. It should be banned. In fact, in some countries it’s banned. Paani peeyo (drink water). Very very simple. Nothing should be excessive. You wash your skin with water. How do you wash the inside of your body?
Dav: Thats very true.
Apache: Thats medicine. It’s more medicine than anyone believes. It would change a lot of things in your life. Headaches? Water helps. When I have a headache I don’t go for tablets straight away, it’s the last thing. So if you have tablets, you then rely on the tablets next time. Let your body deal with some things and pani piyo hor (drink more water).
Dav: Brilliant bro and it’s also about the grade of that water as well.
Apache: The grade of the water is obviously very very important. So for a long time they have been telling us not to use the tap water. What water do we use for the tea in the kettle? Which bottled water is good? There’s how many different bottled waters? Wow, so where do you go? But yeah if you’ve tasted the proper purified water, you know that makes a difference.
Dav: Ah trust me because don’t forget though the word ‘Evian’ backwards is ‘Naive’. How about that?
Apache: There you go, yeah. (laughing)
Dav: You are probably thinking ‘ah banda pagal yah’ (this guy’s crazy) with his radio show.
Apache: No No. It’s been good to speak to you. I have to go soon as there’s another three or four interviews. We’ll speak all night dread. How often are you on radio?
Dav: Three times a week, but we need to schedule a video interview if that’s OK with you.
Apache: I was ready for the video interview, I put my hair up man. Suit saat paakeh (I put a suit on) I was ready. Skype never worked. So you know next time.
Dav: What it was, Raj said to me ‘Keep it as a phone interview’. I was like ‘Huh?’
Apache: I mean, I prefer the phone interviews, you wanted Skype, I thought it was going to be a visual thing. I was ready with Skype. Doesn’t matter. It’s been good to speak to you and its been good to speak to all the audience out there. Now I have my new friend Harvi in Wolverhampton with my barfi. I’m happy with that. Everyone look out for the album ‘What’s Not To Love’. It’s a masterpiece of an album. Hunters, Roach Killa, Panjabi, Hindi, Reggae so please support. It’s out now. It’s good music. Like I said, now you know the conversation, it’s not just me Apache Indian saying ‘Go and buy this music’, it’s what it represents. The community, the culture, the Academy, everything good. Where’s all the good people? Bad people have place to go to right? Prisons and gangs. Where do the good people go?
Dav: Thats true
Apache: Good people come to AIM Academy Street, that’s where we meet and greet. That’s how it runs. Right there. On Soho Road Street. So everyone come and, seriously, get in touch. We can do something. If I can help you with music or anything to do with business, give me a shout. Promote this, promote the barfi business. Yes this is to everyone around the world. Harvi in Wolverhampton has the best barfi straight from the Don Raja Apache Indian she’s the original Don Rani. We will do a shoutout for whoever is ready. Get in touch. Hit me up on my Insta, Apache Indian HQ. Call me and let’s put another interview in.
Dav: Yes my brother, let’s do the video thing. I would have prepared. My shakal is so pehri (looks are so scary) today, you would have turned the camera off. You’ll be paying me money. Send him some money to sort out his shakal. Got a message come through from my other half Claire who is listening in. She says ‘Tell him how I went mad when I heard the song from Dumb and Dumber’ because thats her favourite film.
Apache: Beautiful. Thank you very much for that Claire. Every person who says something like that, it just makes it more special. It’s not an easy thing for a simple asian artist from Handsworth, Birmingham to make it to a film like that. It makes me feel very very proud every time anyone says anything (like that). Jim Carey, maybe one day he calls me. Maybe he doesn’t even know who I am (laughing). Thank you for the blessings Claire.
Dav: It’s all good man. She said ‘What a humble being, OMG, he said my name, thank you’. Please may I ask a favour of you Apache Ji.
Apache: Yes sir.
Dav: Ok my bro, please could you say this, this is a bit of a tongue twister. ‘This is Apache Indian, and you’re listening to RadiAsian the Number One Station for the Asian Invasion’.
Apache: Yeah big respects this is the original Don Raja Apache Indian saying yo ..you are listening to the RadiAsian …whats it called?
Dav: laughing – told you its a tongue twister. RadiAsian.
Apache: RadiAsian. Alright let’s try again. Yo big respects this is the original Don Raja Apache Indian biggin’ up RadiAsian the Number One Station for the Asian Invasion. Me saying listen to me Apache Indian in the equation. Don Raja. Live and direct. Big up Dav, number one DJ. Number One on the radio station. RadiAsian for each and every one (in tune with ‘Chok There’). Big up Dav from Apache Indian.
Dav: You are the best. Now the second one, please can you introduce one of your tracks from your album, whichever one you want me to play?
Apache: Big respects you are listening to the Don Raja Apache Indian, I want you to listen to this big collaboration called ‘Trip to Jamaica’ featuring Hunterz. So everyone get ready for a trip to Jamaica. Hot first single off the album ‘Whats Not To Love’ so look out for it. Check it out. Hot, hot reggae single. Fire!
Dav: Thank you for calling in my bro. God bless you.
Apache: Thank you so much. Brilliant interview. Great to speak to you. Not an interview, great chat, great conversation.
Dav: Thank you my brother. The video one will be next, God bless you bro.
Apache: We’ll do that. Big up Harvi, Big up Claire. Big up everyone listening. Big up everyone in Wolverhampton, Birmingham, everyone all over London. Keep smiling. Christmas is going to be hard but be safe. Thats the key thing, be safe. Be safe, act safe, tell everyone to be safe and the New Year is going to be special after the year that we’ve had. This New Year we are going to make it special if we work together. Yeah. So ‘What’s Not to Love’, enjoy throughout the year and I’ll see you on the other side. Respect. Apache Indian!