/ The Bilz - Freshly Squeezed

The Bilz – Freshly Squeezed

Aug 09, 2013

While it seems ages ago that Punjabi MC opened doors for South Asian instrumentals and vocals to be looped into the mainstream, it is not a genre that has altogether become common on radio stations. But there’s a rumbling from Montreal, melding lyrical eastern flavour with western urban-pop, infusing the mainstream with fusion sounds. Rotating on stations across Canada and on video rotation on MTV Desi, 2Step Bhangra is getting people talking, and it’s all about The BILZ. Unlike other groups with the ethnic touch, The BILZ are putting out original tracks without sampling in production. Check out ANOKHI’s latest Starpick.

Made up of DJ Vicious and Master D, The BILZ’ logo is “putting Montreal on the map”. It’s not a modest claim, especially in a buzzing club city and DJ playground like Montreal. But not every fusion group or DJ has climbed both U.S. Top 100 Billboard Dance and Latin R&R charts. So how does a Canadian twosome get noticed in the international mainstream music industry? It’s a marriage of talent and experience – Indian classical roots and street credibility.

Master D came into The BILZ with over ten years of training in Indian classical music on his brag sheet. His musical and producing background – from radio jingles to “long studio hours with Punjabi artists [which] gave me a heavy crash course in bhangra” – have opened doors to creativity with fresh beat patterns and instrumentals. Balle Balle, off the new album, uses acoustic guitar and harmonica – giving Punjabi music a blues twist. Having dipped his feet in pop, dance and finally, Indian remixes, Master D says of his musical style, “You can categorize me as Mr. Booty to bhajan.”

“I bring the term ‘everyday I’m hustlin’ to reality,” says DJ Vicious, the other half of The BILZ. He has put in a decade-plus as well, of deejaying, pushing his mixtapes, and promoting – all the while gaining an ear for the club and street joints, and how the marketing aspects of both the South Asian and mainstream industry work. This insight is what got The BILZ off the ground.

He says, “I make sure we are on point with everything from the sound to the business aspects of our company [BILZ Music].”

Named one of the “Top 50 Desis” on desiclub.com in 2004, amongst notables M. Knight Shyamalan and Shah Rukh Khan (“Hey Bollywood, here is the new hero,” Vicious jokes), gained him international recognition. DJ Vicious opened for Funkmaster Flex, Jin the MC, Punjabi MC, and Sean Paul’s Montreal After Party. So, when it came to dropping the first album, The BILZ had much support.

DJ Vicious and Master D gained immense street buzz, making The BILZ imprint with an underground mixtape series (Insomnia 1, 2 and 3) by “…branding a desi feel to it for that crossover edge, so that the audience was always pleased with the mix.” Insomnia 3 sold over 7000 units; clearly, The BILZ were onto something.

Signed with Times Music India (label to Raghav), the debut self-titled album, “…is the future for South Asian urban music and portrays nothing but hot originals, no ‘loops’ tracks…” says Vicious.

The BILZ has pushed its limits with musical versatility, and this is evident in the album’s fresh sound. Gaining popularity through myspace pages even before its release, 2Step Bhangra caught international attention with its crossover appeal and sexy video, shot at Montreal’s prestigious “Club Newtown”, owned by Formula One racer Jacques Villeneuve.

“You can’t just throw a loop on an 808, scream “yeah” and think it’s going to sell…” he says. “It’s an awesome feeling knowing that we are throwing something fresh for the industry.”

Bumping on their iPods right now, DJ Vicious and Master D have Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, Frankie J, Raghav and Rishi Rich. And on every other iPod? The BILZ has been thrown into the mix.



Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter for all of the latest news, articles, and videos delivered directly to your inbox each day!

  • PLEASE NOTE: Some of the contents of the newsletter may not be suitable for minors.

    Join A Community That Cares About What Matters To You!

    We Fearlessly Celebrate Our

    Desi Identity!