Toronto's XD Pro Music about their new single released on Saavn

The musical duo's new track, Crown and Coke, was recorded in collaboration with singer-songwriter Tej Gill. 

A Harini Prasad Published :  29th June 2018 05:22 PM   |   Published :   |  29th June 2018 05:22 PM

Toronto-based pop artists, XD Pro Music, released a new track, Crown and Coke, on Indian music and audio streaming service Saavn recently. In collaboration with singer-songwriter Tej Gill, the pop track pays homage to the artistes’ go-to drink growing up in the city. The catchy Punjabi track tells a story of the many facets of the duo’s lives - from the moments of joy to celebration of accomplishments. Popular as XD Pro Music, the duo comprises Shaan Sangha (X) and Maninder Dogra (D). The Canadian music production duo, who are trained sound engineers and producers, have earlier played to large venues and produced a number of hits including Indian Style by Deep Dolla$. The track Crown and Coke is sung by Canadian-Punjabi singer Tej Gill whose career took off with his debut hit Aaja Chan Mahiya in 2004. XD Pro Music has previously collaborated with Tej Gill on Rooh and Hatdi Ni Tu.

We catch up with Maninder about their journey and the new single. Excerpts:

Tell us about your journey. How did the two of you first meet and decide to compose music?
We met many years ago when MSN Messenger was the LinkedIn/WhatsApp of yesterday. We crossed paths in the past during events and such but reconnected through a mutual friend six years ago. We had both graduated as recording engineers from music production colleges but both find it difficult finding a steady job in studios. Our musical connection and like-mindedness lead us to start working together on beats and records which eventually lead us to opening up recording studio in Toronto. After a couple of years of developing our sound and working with many artists from all around the world, we decided it was time to come out as a production team. The rest isn’t exactly history yet, but we’re working on it.

Were both of you born and brought up in Toronto? What were your initial ideas for music? 
The both of us were actually born outside of Toronto. However, we both credit the city as the root of our upbringing. Shaan was born in Montreal, Quebec, a French dominate province in Canada and moved to Toronto at the age of nine. Whereas, I was born in New Delhi and also spent a part of my childhood in Cyprus before relocating to Toronto at 14. We both have similar musical backgrounds and tastes. We never limit ourselves to a certain genre and are always pushing ourselves to make music that bridges communities the same we grew up with all sorts of musical influences.

Who are your musical influences?
Where do we start! We both grew up in multicultural communities and had the pleasure to listen to many different genres of music. Our early musical influences include Talvin Singh, Asian Dub Foundation, Dr Dre, Scott Storch, Kanye West, Timbaland, Panjabi MC, Major Lazer and Dr Zues to name a few. Now, we try to find inspiration for working with other artistes creating new sounds. 

Tell us about your song, Crown and Coke.
Crown and Coke started as a fun personal track playing homage to our favourite mixed drink. After doing some travelling around the world and being in many studio sessions, there was always one drink that made us remember home. But the record is more than just a tribute to a drink. It’s a reminder that the rush you get isn’t from the drink itself, but rather from the company you are with.

Football is an unusual topic for music, especially in Punjabi and Bollywood songs. What made you choose a theme like this?  
Shaan is a diehard Manchester United fan. After being sent a video of a singer for India freestyling some Punjabi lines in a YouTube video, we couldn’t resist to reach out and see if we can make a song with him. We literally made the original song with the audio from the video. Once a rough version was drafted, Gursehaj Saini, the singer/writer of this song decided to reroute his vacation to California and come to Toronto instead to finish the final recordings. The rest was history! 

What is the idea behind the song?
The concept behind the song is to make music that actually speaks and reflects our personalities. We pride ourselves in making music that tells our real-life stories. We make songs with no expectations from anyone, as long as it sounds good to us!

How popular is Punjabi music in Toronto?
Toronto is oozing with talent in the Punjabi Music scene. It is as popular as it gets at the moment. Being in the thick of it, we benefit from working with many of today’s superstars. Many of our longtime friends are currently smashing the industry and it is amazing to see!

How was it working with Garry Sandhu for Love?  
Garry Sandhu is an amazing person and really talented. One of our friends, video director Gurpreet Dhillon, needed a studio to shoot a music video and the artiste happened to be Garry. They ended up using our spot and while Garry was there, he heard a couple of our beats. We hit it off well and the next day Garry and we were in the lab experimenting. The track Love was made in four hours and Garry, being the innovative personality he is, he decided to release it on his page.

Will we see you perform in India sometime soon?
India is the next stop for XD! We are currently working on many projects and gearing up to go on tour very soon. 

Who are the other Punjabi musicians youd like to collaborate with?
We believe it’s only a matter of time until we work with these artists, but we would love to collaborate with Diljit Dosanjh, Jasmine Sandlas, Jaz Dhami and JK to name a few.

Listen to the track here