/ Q&A With Musical Band JoSH

Q&A With Musical Band JoSH

Jun 12, 2013

JoSH chat about their two hotly anticipated projects: their foray into film with Breakaway and their latest album, Beyond Kismat.

Rup (Rupinder Magon) and Q (Qurram Hussain) are two names that are redefining what it means to be a proud South Asian-Canadian. Raised in Montreal, these young superstars are making their mark around the world with their eclectic musical productions. To date, their Pakistani/Indian fusion band, JoSH, has collaborated with industry giants (including Sukhbir, Rishi Rich, RDB and Nelly Furtado) to produce several chart-topping singles. After taking a five-year hiatus from the music scene, they’re back with their fourth album, Beyond Kismat, which has already been positively received by fans around the world. With the flourishing musical career and a debut acting stint in the making, I sat down with Rup to get the latest on where JoSH is today.

Where did the name JoSH come from?
JoSH is a feeling that comes in many different forms. When you feel that you’re on top of the world or just simply in a “moment,” you are in JoSH. Whether it’s happiness, excitement, sorrow or sheer madness, there is an element of JoSH in all emotions. Since our music has a wide variety of emotions, we thought that the word JoSH would be a great fit for what we do.

Being Montreal natives, how has your Canadian upbringing influenced your South Asian music?
I think there is a definite Canadian/North American feel to our music. Our beats and rhythms have traces of hip hop, American top 40, as well as desi influences. At the end of the day, we are influenced by the stuff we listen to every day.

After taking a five-year hiatus, you released your fourth album, Beyond Kismat. What was the inspiration behind the songs on this album and what can we expect to hear?
The album is an eclectic blend of modern sounds that come together to form the JoSH sound. We have evolved our sound from our previous albums to focus on the famous saying, “Less is More.” We have created what we believe are infectious songs by combining melodies and rhythms that ultimately use fewer musical arrangements. There is a mélange of languages, genres, beats and styles in this album.

How has this time away changed you as a group?
Our music evolves as we evolve as people. Our songs are direct experiences from our lives. The music that we are listening to at the time is what inspires us. So although you will still find the same JoSH flavour from our previous albums, Beyond Kismat displays a more refined and mature band that has experienced a lot at home and on the road in the last five years!

Beyond Kismat was already released in Pakistan, where it sold 50,000 units in the first four weeks. The song “Pyar Ho Gaya” is already a YouTube sensation with a total of more than 150,000 views. Were you expecting such a warm welcome?
Would it sound totally boastful if we said yes? I think considering we hadn’t released an album in more than five years, we were expecting a lot of curiosity from fans. The positive response and love we’ve received for the new music is overwhelming. The Internet serves as an international platform that truly transcends borders. Fans everywhere have embraced the album and we couldn’t be happier about it!

What’s your favourite song on the album?
Our personal favourites are “Yeh Zameen” (a cover of the very popular R.D. Burman’s Hindi film track) and “Pyar Ho Gaya,” which was written by Bollywood superstar lyricist Kumaar Ji.

Rup, you will be transitioning from stage to screen soon with the release of your upcoming film Breakaway. It’s already raved to be the curtain-raiser at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Why did you decide to do the film?
I’ve always been interested in acting. I can remember sitting around with friends and role-playing. We would give each other real-life scenarios to act out. Also, being in JoSH has helped me gain confidence onstage and in front of cameras. We were on tour when they asked me to audition for the role. I filmed the audition on camera and sent it in. The rest is history!

Tell us about your character in the film.
The film is about the struggle of a young hockey player, played by my good friend Vinay Virmani, who convinces his four closest buddies to enter a popular hockey tournament. They eventually create a team called the Speedy Singhs and with no hope of winning anything, agree to enter. I play Jassi Singh in the film — a funny man and one of the hockey players on the team.

How has it been filming alongside some of the greatest actors in the industry, such as Rob Lowe, Russell Peters and Akshay Kumar?
It was a very different experience for me. We have been doing music for more than 10 years, and over time, I’ve become very familiar with the structure of the music business. Movies are new to me. This time, I wasn’t one of the lead singers of an international band headlining a tour, I was simply a supporting actor who was to do a job as best as I could in a new surrounding. Certainly a humbling and new experience that I would love to do over and over!

Is there a possibility JoSH could be making a Bollywood debut soon?
Yes! JoSH is already in talks with some major studios in India for some upcoming films. We feel that it’s the right time for some JoSH music to go Bollywood.

What projects are you currently working on that fans can look forward to?
We have recently launched a track, and the proceeds will be donated to charities working with flood relief and natural-disasterstricken areas around the world. The track is called, "S.I.N.G." (Singing Inspired by the Need to Give). We urge you to listen and purchase it from iTunes.

Many bands get together only to fall apart soon after. What is the ANOKHI (unique) chemistry between the two of you that has helped you stay together?
I think, in a nutshell, we understand each other’s roles in the band and give one another the space to complete the tasks involved. We trust each other’s music and business senses and let one another do whatever we do best. Otherwise, we fight and party just like best friends do!

Chasing your passion is no easy feat. You’ve proven that even in the chaos of having a day job, you can pursue your passion and juggle the best of both worlds. What advice do you have for young aspiring artists today who are looking to break into the competitive music industry?
Never, ever give up! It’s important to understand that there is no destination to this journey. The destination is the journey itself. So if you love what you do, you’ll already be “there” every day. There will be tons of rejections and negativity along the way. Accept and welcome them with open arms. You’d be a fool to think this is going to be easy! Imagine and dream of yourself exactly how you want to be and don’t look back. We make our own “kismat;” we create our destiny with every choice we make. That’s why, it’s beyond “kismat.”

With a flourishing career, where can fans go to keep up-to-date with what’s happening on your end?
If you log on to www.planetjosh.com, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and other social-media outlets. Download our new album, Beyond Kismat, from iTunes and let us know what you think.



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