Member Focus - Sanjay Seran
Posted July 29, 2019 by
We are pleased to have Sanjay Seran, vocalist and one of the founding members of Delhi 2 Dublin, as our latest member feature! The band initially came together for what was intended as a one-off performance at the 2006 Vancouver Celtic Festival. However, only a year later, they released their first album and performed live at the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in front of an audience of 150,000. Sanjay, along with fellow bandmates & VMA 145 members Ravi Binning, Tarun Nayar, and more recently Serena Eades, have since toured across the globe, their diverse beats connecting with their audiences no matter where they go. They have released a number of albums to date, including their latest release in May, We Got This.
How would you describe the nature of Delhi 2 Dublin?
We have termed it now as "Subcontinental Pop." I think that term is really fitting. I know it’s made up, but it really is pop music (especially with our last album) with Indian influences, and I think that really sums it up. Back in the day, we were definitely more of an Indian-Irish electronic band. Now, it's like, we just put out a pop album and we just embrace it.
What made you want to evolve into that style of music?
We have been going for a long time, I think we are fourteen years now. I think there’s a natural progression. It’s almost like a linear progression where as you get better with songwriting, your songs become more pop-like any-ways because you start to write better. It’s kind of connected. Pop might sometimes have a strange connotation attached to it, but really it’s just popular music, it's catchy. The better your writing, the more your lyrics are connecting with people, and the more it starts to fit into the pop world. That's kind of what happened with us.
And I think we also just wanted to grow. We wanted to see what's new and what's different for us, and to try and write a song that breaks forward and takes us to somewhere new where we can learn more things. That's what this album, We Got This, ended up being.
What kind of impact do you hope to achieve with your audience through your music?
The biggest thing we've seen when we play shows is connectivity. There's a pretty crazy feeling of love that kind of happens, and that's huge. We want to make people feel that and go home with it and even have it trickle forward into everyday life. When you see anywhere from 100 to 1,000 people connecting through this amazing music and dance, that's it. That's what we're trying to do, and that ties into writing a pop album. You really want to do that and reach the most amount of people.
What’s the importance of having cultural diversity in music?
This is our social fabric, our everything in this country. The importance is to represent all the people that live here. This is what Canada is. It is super important that everybody feels that they can be represented and that they can see themselves on a stage. It was big for us when we started. We would be the only brown people at a festival. Everyone would be like "What's Up? Delhi 2 Dublin!" We're like "Oh, they must know the show!" Then you look around and we’re the only Punjabis walking around. It's getting better now, especially with agencies like Blue Crane, who represent women, artists of colour, and LGBTQ artists.
What are some of your favourite moments over your career thus far?
We have definitely been to some interesting places. Going to India for the first time as a tour was really awesome. To go there and feel 100 percent accepted, even though we come and tour as an international act - there is no underdog feeling. They see the instrumentation and understand the language, even though Punjabi is a minority language. Getting to play in Bali was awesome as well. Two years ago, we also played at Glastonbury. It was unreal. I've never been to anything like that. There's so many different stages, and each stage has its own backstage area. We were in the Silver Hayes area, which included five stages. I think the headliner in our stage was Dawn Penn and Shaggy. That's the level of musicianship that's at that festival, where they're not playing on the main stage even!
If you had all the resources available, what would you do to help BC’s music industry flourish and grow?
I think the big thing is getting the word out there. I think all the "traditional or regular bands" know about this stuff. But for us, in our community, we see kids in their late teens to early 20s at home in Surrey making crazy beats and creating all kinds of music. But they have no idea about funding, what SOCAN is, that they have a union that they can join - no information on this.
I'm sure this is happening in every community in the Lower Mainland for sure, and probably across Canada. I'm not sure if they have the access to the resources. I know SOCAN's started. They'll do panels and stuff like that, and they're involved. They get it, and they send their people. They're on it now. I think just more of that would help.
For the aspiring musicians out there, what advice would you offer to them?
My big one is to really follow and stay true to what their artistic vision is. I feel like there's two things: your own vision, and then there's the flow. Sometimes you've got to go with the flow to get to where you want to go, and sometimes you will sacrifice your vision, and then it feels like there might be a fake flow, and the flow knows. This is really convoluted, but it really resonates with me and the band. The industry and everyone was kind of telling us to go in a different direction much earlier in our career, and we kind of fought it.
I also think that staying really true to what it is you want will create the best possible outcome at the right time. Really stick with what you want. I think that when you're that clear, the flow just goes that way, and that's when real magic kind of happens. Any time you water it down or try to do what you will think is going to work - it might work for a bit, but I don't think that's the way to longevity. It's not the way to create art or to really break through, to have an individual voice.
What’s in store for Delhi 2 Dublin for the rest of the year?
We've just got a bunch of stuff lined up this summer with festivals and stuff like that. Some radio stuff is actually lining up for us for the first time, so we're watching to see how that goes. We also have more videos to shoot and a couple singles to release. The album kind of came out late, so I think it's building up more towards next year as well.
For more information on Delhi 2 Dublin, be sure to check out their website at https://www.delhi2dublin.com/. You can also follow them @Delhi2Dublin on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram!