It’s been a little while since my last post. Things have been really busy with Empire, school, work, and family, but don’t worry, more posts will be coming very soon. For those that followed my London Recap posts (check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) there was a missing part which I did not go into much detail about. Recently, you might have seen a few videos promoting Panjabi MC’s new song, Bari Barsi (sung by Ashok Gill, yes the same singer of Morni). The first video was a quick session with Panjabi MC talking a little bit about the song (check out the video here). Then a longer trailer of the song dropped (check out the second video here).
For those of you that actually watched the videos, you’ll notice Panjabi MC rocking a Bhangra Empire t-shirt in the first video. And in the second video, he formally announces that Bhangra Empire will be in the music video for the song. Obviously, this wasn’t news to me, but it was the first time the information had gone public. Needless to say, this is something we are extremely excited about and can’t wait for the video to release. For those that are interested (and you must be if you are reading this), I thought I would go over some of the details of the day of the video of shoot.
To begin with, we were contacted by VIP Records in early January to discuss the possibility of being in the video. They had heard that we would be coming to London, and reached out to us to gage interest on working on a project with them. I took it back to the team and everybody was interested, but we had to work it out schedule wise. Fortunately, VIP Records worked around our schedule and the video shoot was scheduled for Sunday February 12th (the day after The Bhangra Showdown).
So then came the preparation stage. We had to come up with a full routine to the song. Now most of you might be thinking, “that shouldn’t be too hard for you guys.” Well, it turned out to be more challenging than you would think. The main reason is that we normally dance to a mix of songs. We choose parts of songs we like, add some extra sound effects and beats to emphasize what we want to, and mix them together. And for this, we couldn’t do that. We had to choreograph a routine to the full song, from start to finish, without any added sound effects of course. On top of that, we had to make sure we were focusing on the routine for The Bhangra Showdown, which, obviously, would be completely different. I have to admit, when it comes to making routines, I am horrible at working on more than one routine at one time. My approach to it, is to put everything I have into the routine I am working on. Any extra time is used to improve that routine and I usually make these improvements/changes up until the week before the performance. In this case, since the routines would be back to back days, I didn’t have that luxury. Fortunately though, since it is a Music Video, you can take multiple shots and edit out any mistakes.
Anyways, so Sunday morning came about. The team was still feeling the high from the night before. The London crowd had been so welcoming and supportive of us and we wanted to take the same momentum and attitude to the video shoot. Around 1PM, a coach was sent to pick us up from the hotel. We were headed to Birmingham, which was about a 2 hour drive from London. VIP Records was kind enough to send us our own little bus, so we definitely were comfortable on the way there. Most of the team took this time to catch up on some well needed rest. It had been a busy couple of days, and the combination of the jetlag, the cold weather, and the performance, had exhausted everybody. But at the same time, everybody was excited as well. We stopped off at a Starbucks/McDonalds for a quick snack and then finally made it to Birmingham.
The video location was in a decent sized building and right away we started to get down to business. I spoke with producer Guvy Heer to outline a plan. We only had the area for a certain amount of time, so it was extremely important to use our time wisely. We also had to take the time to get ready which usually takes a couple of hours. The first half of video shoot was done in our track suits. We used this time to get familiar with the area and the camera crew got a chance to figure out which angles they liked the best. We then broke to eat some food. Guvy had arranged some indian food for us. Unfortunately, since the team had to dance shortly afterwards, not many of the dancers ate that much. I, however, had a good meal (one of the advantages of not dancing). After dinner, the team started to get ready. The guys started tying their pags, and the girls got their hair and makeup done.
After the team was ready, we got to spend a little bit of time with Panjabi MC (or Raj, as he likes to be called). He was extremely friendly with us, took some pictures, and gave us a little shout out. We gave him an Empire T-Shirt as a small thank you and he started wearing it right away, which was pretty cool. We then started the second half of the video shoot. This consisted of repeating the routine many times to make sure the camera people got all the necessary angles. For those that think music videos are all fun and games, I have some news for you. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of patience. I’d say our dancers ended up doing the routine 10-12 times straight with very little rest in between. We finished it off with some solo shots of the dancers. At this point, I think Guvy would have liked to get a few more shots, but we had a hard stop time of midnight (due to venue restrictions). So we began to clean up, change, and pack back up to head back to London.
The way back was a very quiet drive as everybody was pretty much knocked out. Some people had flights to catch as early as 5AM the next morning. Special thanks to our driver, who stopped off for food/bathroom breaks and did a whole lot of driving that day. And of course special thanks to Panjabi MC, Guvy and his team, and VIP Records. It really was a combined effort from everybody and hopefully the end result turns out good. The song is set to release on April 12th so keep an eye out for it. And check out the VIP Records Website for a little preview of the song and video. I’ll leave you with the latest promo, which was just released by VIP Records. It gives a sneak peak to the music video so be sure to check it out.