Master-D (real name Subir Dev) is a Canadian Bengali musician who is out in the world lending hand to promote Bangla music.
Generation Next interviewed this young man for our readers:
Please tell us a bit about you academic/family background?
I studied at Trebas Institute in Sound Engineering but I really got all my experience hands on. That’s really where I got all the knowledge from and continuing to work on exploring music. I used to even do sound and lighting stage setups that now I use as experience on the road when the “so-called” sound engineer is behind the board.
∙ Why be a producer/singer?
I guess I can say it runs in my veins. I come from an environment where music and Arts were part of life. Under the guidance of my mother I learnt to sing and play the harmonium first. After immigrating to Canada my music sense got sparked as I was surrounded by so many varieties of music and musicians. With all that available to me I then got interested to create my own compositions by fusing Desi style with urban music. At first I was not sure of myself but as I kept composing, I just kept getting better and better. Having accomplished 3 successful albums, winning many awards and touring the world with The Bilz and Kashif there’s no better feeling than that. Now I’m on a journey to revolutionize the Bangla Music industry.
∙ What is it for you? American music or Indian music?
I can’t really choose one or the other as they are very distinct and have their own style. Both styles have made who I am today as I love combining them together. I had 10 years of Hindustani classical training on Tabla under the guidance of my Guru Dr. Narendre Verma. This is an instrument that allows you to develop a vast style of rhythmic techniques which I find makes me explore new ways of thinking about music.
∙ Why do you think many modern songs & music videos are not like evergreen songs & music videos of the past?
It is very unfortunate how music these days are like fast food. Reality is also major labels just don’t invest in talent anymore and always look at just making a return on investment.
An artist in the past would make an album every 2-3 years. Now you have to release one every year and few extra singles almost every 2 months to keep up with the pace so artists themselves don’t spend time making music or even experimenting.
We’ve always just focused on quality above anything. Artists like Bruno Mars is the essence of true music for today’s generation and is one of my favorites.
∙ Do you believe art is for entertainment or for social awareness? One can argue that with so much disturbance in life, people would like to enjoy art for relaxation purpose only.
I think that’s a great point. I believe it’s both but as an artist you have to also move the next generation to be aware of situations. For example ‘One Voice’ by The Bilz & Kashif sparked a major understanding within our community and is still a favorite amongst our fans.
∙ What’s your family’s reaction to your profession choice?
I actually had to fight for my passion with my parents. It was tough but I have learnt that you should always follow your dream as in the end of the day we all look for happiness and making music enlightens me everyday. Today my new challenge is to change the way Bangla Music is heard.
∙ Is it a profession where you can make money?
Yes you can but it’s much tougher. 15 years ago you could live off from a single and a full album without touring. Most of the money now comes touring and expanding your brand outside into movies and merchandising.
∙ Do good looks matter? Do they get you into the door?
Most humans will always judge the book by its cover until you prove yourself.
∙ How do you keep yourself fit?
A good balance is key to success and health in my opinion. I’m not going to lie, there are days that I give in but I’ll make sure I take care of it right away.
∙ How much time do you spend on social media?
As much as I can lol. It’s a lot especially when you need to focus on making music for my new Bangla Urban project .. but please don’t message me to make you famous! It took me years of hard work to even scrape this surface!
∙ What kind of pressures do you feel as a professional?
It’s really tough to continuously keep making hits after hits. So there’s always that pressure. Not to mention, being creative when it comes to visuals and setting the bar for the Bangla Music Industry. In the end, its my fans that keep fueling me.
∙ How much pressure do you feel to maintain a certain figure and looks?
I try working out every day, laugh a lot and keep my skin moisturized. Ha! But honestly, I think music keeps me young maybe it’s a form of mediation!
∙ What and who do you turn to when depressed?
Family is the best cure when it comes to that. I also like to watch a lot of comedies online when I’m stressed it really helps you should all try it too.
∙ Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself as successful artist/producer with 3 bangla albums. Possibility getting my foot inside Bollywood and Bangla movies along with winning few awards. I want to represent desis worldwide, and especially take Bangla music to international heights. I might also dabble into producing and writing my own Film.
∙ What would you like to change in the world?
I’d like people to live more in peace and stop fighting about issues that date to ancient history. Live together in harmony and enjoy life as it comes.
∙ Your favourite male artist
Micheal Jackson and Bruno Mars
∙ Your favourite female artist
∙ What was it like working with Bohemia on your new single/video?
This is the first time that Bangla got fused with Punjabi. I am a very strong believer on mixing cultures together. When I had completed “Tension Stress” I wanted to add that language mix and the first person who came to my mind was Bohemia. Bohemia had always respect for the music production I was doing. He is a pioneer of Punjabi Rap in the same way I am pioneering Bangla urban. Adding the two elements together made this song a masterpiece. So far the support has been amazing from fans all across the world.
∙ Will we ever see a The Bilz & Kashif reunion?
We’re always working on things together even if we’re on a solo path. Vicious is handling all the business for both me and Kashif so at the end of the day its family. I can only say that all rivers run to the sea. So eventually ……keep an ear out.