Swami (So Who AM I?)is an electronic music act led by British-Indian DJ producer Diamond Duggal (aka DJ Swami) with a unique hybrid blend of electronic, house, hip hop, reggae, bhangra and world music. He is considered a pioneering producer of British-Indian music with production and songwriting credits leading to Ivor Novello, Mercury Music Prize and Grammy nominations. He is twice winner of the UKAMA Best Producer Award for his ‘DesiRock’ and ‘EQUALIZE’ albums and Swami music has featured in Hollywood, Bollywood and British movies, TV Shows and video games. Swami live shows consist of a hybrid DJ performance accompanied by live Indian percussion, instruments, vocals and live visual projections.
Desi Nu Skool Beatz
Swami was originally founded in 1999 by producer brothers Simon Duggal and Diamond Duggal (Subs and DJ Swami) in Birmingham, England. The brothers were responsible for creating the reggae Indian fusion sound for Apache Indian. Their debut Swami album ‘Desi Nu Skool Beatz’ (1999) pioneered the ‘Desi Beats’ genre blending Asian Underground, electronic house, breakbeat and drum and bass with traditional Punjabi bhangra music. Vocalist Taz Singh (Stereo Nation) and Indian tabla/dhol percussionist Kam Bura (Anakhi) also feature on the debut album as members of Swami. From 2002, DJ Swami continued as the the only original member of the group taking sole responsible for its future creative direction.
Swami released a second album ‘DesiRock’ (2004) with a new hip hop electronic sound and lineup including British rappers MC Sarpanch and S-Endz. Guest Punjabi vocalists featured on the album included Lehmber Hussainpuri, Master Rakesh and Jagz (DSI). With the addition of live band musicians Rocky Singh (ADF), bass player Martin Savale (ADF) and new vocalist Supreet Suri (Sur), Swami live performances evolved into an energetic hybrid of hip hop, rock, grime and electronic bhangra with headline performances at Glastonbury Festival, WOMAD Festival, MTV India Music Awards, Transmusicales Festival and BBC Maida Vale sessions. The ‘DesiRock’ album was consequently remixed with the new live band influences and released as ‘So Who Am I?’ (2005) on Sony Music India. The lead track ‘DesiRock’ became an international anthem for progressive British-Indian music with it’s quirky breakbeat vocoder bhangra fusion winning DJ Swami the UKAMA Best Producer Award (2005). It has also featured in Hollywood, Bollywood and British films, TV shows and video games including EA Sports FIFA World Cup Soccer.
Swami’s third album ‘EQUALIZE’ (2007) took a different approach to previous albums with initial recordings being made in DJ Swami’s ancestral home town of Phagwara, Punjab, India collaborating with local Punjabi folk singers and musicians. The songs were completed in London, UK with additional guest vocal performances from Pras Michel (Fugees), MC Spee (Dreadzone), South African vocalist Ishmael Morabe (JOZI), Errol Reid (China Black) and NYC female RnB vocalist Boostylz. ‘EQUALIZE’ was a wider international musical journey than previous Swami albums but produced two very different hit singles with the energetic electronic bhangra house ‘Electro Jugni’ and the RnB hip hop groove driven ‘Hey Hey’. The video single release of ‘Hey Hey’ featured a new emerging Swami lineup including Supreet Suri, S-Endz, percussionist Bobby Panesar as well as guest vocalist Boostylz. With the addition of female vocalist Liana McCarthy in the ‘Electro Jugni’ video single release, a new Swami lineup was on the horizon. ‘EQUALIZE’ went on to win DJ Swami the UKAMA Best Producer Award (2008) for a second time.
Swami released a compilation of their greatest hits as a fourth album entitled ‘53431’ (2009) with the inclusion of two brand new electronic pop songs ‘Sugarless’ and ’Tonight’. With lead vocals provided by Supreet Suri and Liana McCarthy, the additional two songs cemented a new band lineup for Swami as DJ Swami with Supreet Suri (Sur), Liana McCarthy and S-Endz. ‘Sugarless’ went on to become a radio hit and Swami embarked on a European, India and Canada tour in 2009-10.
Swami’s long awaited fifth album release ‘UPGRADE’ (2017) started back in 2010 soon after the release of the Greatest Hits 53431 album. Initial recordings took place in Ludhiana, Punjab, India assisted by DJ Nazran. The album is a hybrid blend of electronic pop, house, urban, Punjabi bhangra and Bollywood genres with influences from Diplo, Daft Punk and Zedd to BEP, Buraka Som Sistema, Honey Singh and Arijit Singh. With multi-lingual vocal performances from Sur, Liana and S-Endz, ‘UPGRADE’ also features guest Punjabi vocals from Lovely Pawar and Rav Saini on three of the songs. The album was six years in the making taking Swami on a worldwide musical adventure from Ludhiana, India to Mississauga, Canada and back to London, UK. To date there have been four single releases from ‘UPGRADE’ including Dumdaraka’ (2011), ‘Back It Up’ (2013), ‘Do It Again’ (2014) and ‘We Are’ (2015). The complete album features six more brand new songs including their latest single release ‘Dil Vich’, an energetic reggae bashment groove featuring the amazing Punjabi vocal tones of Lovely Pawar and the hypnotic traditional melodies of sarangi and tumbi.
Accompanying the release of ‘UPGRADE’ is an instrumental electronic version of the album entitled ‘SIDETRKD’ (2017). These mixes are a flow and interaction of technology meets tradition where worldly musical sounds push the boundaries of electronic beat driven creativity. Featuring progressive house and trap mixes with influences of Maceo Plex, Solomun, Richie Hawtin, Stephan Bodzin, DeadMau5, Daft Punk, DJ Khaled, Future and Drake, ’SIDETRKD’ is a mostly instrumental eclectic hybrid DJ live performance club mix of house and bass driven beats with analog riffs pulsating to the Swami DNA of Indian percussion and melodies…
‘Swami have invented an entirely new type of sound’ BBC Music
‘The future of Asian music’ Bobby Friction (BBC Radio 1)
‘DJ Swami is an innovator, moderniser and visionary’ Dipps Bhamrah (BBC Asian Network)
‘One of the most electrifying performances I have ever seen’ DJ Nihal (BBC Radio 1)