Nurtured by equal parts underground bass parties and all ages folk festivals, Delhi 2 Dublin’s always distinctive sound has evolved over the past decade into its own unique genre, freshly stylized as “Subcontinental Pop.” The Vancouver group’s new album We Got This (out May 17 on Inside Pocket/Warner Music Canada) is another incredible blend of electronic-bhangra and positive melodic-pop lyrics, combining to create a high energy sound that keeps audiences thinking as they’re dancing.
In recent years, Delhi 2 Dublin has been honing its songwriting skills, and the results are evident on We Got This. Teaming with producer Gavin Brown (Barenaked Ladies, Metric, Tragically Hip), they turned in their most personal and meaningful collection of songs to date, all made with a robust pop-centric focus.
With tracks like “My People,” “Home (Everywhere I Go)” and the title track, Delhi 2 Dublin speaks directly to their experiences as “brown people” in society and how that may translate to people of all of colors and backgrounds. Following in the footsteps of transcendent artists such as Bob Marley, they aim to share their experiences without alienating anyone else.
We caught up with Delhi 2 Dublin vocalist Sanjay Seran ahead of the band’s Canadian Music Week showcase on Thursday, May 8 at The Rivoli in Toronto. For more information go to delhi2dublin.com.
What makes We Got This different from your past work?
First off, we think it is an album of the best songs we’ve ever written and simply the best album we’ve ever put out. Sonically, we stayed away from the big west coast bass sounds of our last album, We’re All Desi, and it’s our first body of work that is almost entirely sung in English. This was intentional; we wanted it to be as accessible as it possibly can.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
“My People.” This song kind of set the tone of the record and also set off the relationship we built with our producer Gavin Brown. We had been writing songs for about a year before we got to “My People.” We had even written a couple of songs with Gavin before that too, but once we wrote this with Maia Davies in Gavin’s studio the magic started. I also find that I sing it well like it was meant for me to sing!
How would you describe the band’s artistic evolution so far?
In retrospect, I think it looks like a pretty linear evolution. We’ve become much better songwriters and with that comes more poppy songs since the stuff we are writing has become more catchy and accessible. One could say we started as a collaboration project to an underground sound system type collective and finally a band and then went through the natural progressions that groups go through.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
My parents used to have these basement bhangra dance parties that were awesome. I wish I could attend one of those now as my adult self. Also, my Dad listened to a lot of music—hence my love for ABBA—and he was also somewhat of an audiophile, so my brother and I were always allowed to listen to our music loud and on his great system. That was pretty rad.
What's your best touring story?
I think it might have to be the time we ended up on our float in a parade as part of the ghost festival in Taiwan. It started with a huge performance in the middle of a blocked off intersection with a massive grandstand. We were performing alongside a group of Thai Kathoey dancers who made it very clear they were into the guys in the band. Oh, and all this was on national television! Double oh, it was pouring rain!