#FridayFlashback Do Or Die – For The Freedom Fighters
Review by Nandeep Singh in Conversation with Skillz Inc
March 23rd is a date that is synonymous in Indian history, 3 freedom fighters were sent to be hanged all because they fought for a free India. That is the reason for today’s #FridayFlashback, slightly different as it is not strictly speaking a Bhangra album you can dance to, it is more an in-depth look at an album called “Do or Die” This went against the grain in both subject matter and music. If you enjoy “Immortal Productions” then this is the prelude “Do Or Die” and this was no band wagon jumper.
The Dakuz, were later known as Skillz Inc, the two guys were J-Skillz and Chat, “hang on” said the two guys ” we were never The dakuz, we have always been Skillz Inc”.
J “The album concept was Dakuz, Skillz Inc was our name, it is on the album cover, freedom fighters are not Dakuz, but we were highlighting the plight of freedom fighters fighting for land and what they saw as just”
Chat “Listen to the intro it makes sense”
A little known fact, well I just discovered it today, as you listen to the intro, picture the scene the guys tried to re-create, close your eyes and imagine the Raj or the Moguls prizing open the gates to Punjab. Then to be confronted by a land full of martyrs ready to fight for freedom, as the gun shots are fired, you are reminded that this is Punjab, a united land that has been fought for many times, and we are not going to give up lightly, “Do Or Die”.
I just thought it was a dope intro! Blown away here and into track one we go.
Shera Da Raj – Khalsa Fauj
The guys explained that they had to pay homage to the Khalsa fauj, yet did not want to use the word Khalsa on a non Sikhi album, hence they changed the word Khalsa, to Sher. People need to understand what a battleground Delhi was, and how the army of the Khalsa ruled it, the guys mindset back then was and still is today “we did the track, now it is your turn to read up on it and educate those younger and around you, as to who was the Khalsa Fauj”
Khoon Da Badla – Uddam Singh
Straight from the intro, they wanted to give people an insight to how Uddam Singh was fearless in his approach, hence the use of the sample at the start of the track and the “If you come the battle with a shotgun” was the message sent out to the general from Uddam Singh. This was the first time Narinder Manak-e had ever sang on an album, and even he loved the lyrics of the song. The lyrics are what inspired the music, the lyrics are still as hard hitting as the first time I heard them. I can’t see how any Punjabi would not be inspired by the lyrics in this song, verses 3 and 4 stand out for me.
Shaheedi – The Unknown Freedom Fighters
We wanted a song that was an ode to all freedom fighters, we wanted it to be generic, as so many had died for the cause, and unfortunately their stories will never surface due to them being buried. The journey to the gallows can be fearful yet; these guys and women took it as a badge of honour for our freedom. Mindi was the singer, he was from Luton, a fellow Roma stable mate, and a fantastic singer, he smashed this track, really made it his own.
Gora Judge – Bhagat Singh
We wanted to highlight how Bhagat Singh in his last few hours was still not letting anyone weep for him, be brave, believe in yourself. One thing we wanted to bring to the attention of all was the story about Bhagat Singh’s chacha Ajit Singh, hence we dangled the carrot to see if people took it upon themselves to learn more about him, and they did, listening to this I’m still moved today as to the calmness shown by Bhagat Singh in the face of death.
Azaad – Bhagat Singh
After a sombre track like “Gora Judge” we wanted to celebrate Bhagat Singh and what he had achieved, we wanted to drive it home with passion and power, he was Azaad, we as a nation were closer to being Azaad, his actions should inspire. Mindi preferred to sing slower songs, but fcuk that we told him to just belt it out, and damn he did!
Putt Fauji – Everyone Fighting For Justice For 84
The song was due to be called Putt Jina De Kharkhu, but again out of respect to those Kharkhu freedom fighters who would not want to be on a non religious album, we decided to change it.
The guys broke down the start of the track and the thought process behind it, “All of us, are one people, singing our music, pumping our finger, let’s give ourselves a big round of applause.” That was our dig at the Indian government, and how they had acted since 84, like nothing had never happened, and patting themselves and others on the back for a job they deemed as well done.
The song is about the battlefield, the battlefield being Punjab, and how sons were leaving there homes to fight, not to foreign battlefields but to battlefields in Punjab, letters were sent back to their parents and whilst members of the Indian army got medals for the attack on The Golden Temple in 84, our brothers were dying for the Kaum.
I’ll just let the guys explain this:
The start of the outro is what we deemed to be those who were opposing us prior to 84 and after, they had the media and everything, we had no voice, we got mad and shot, we were getting frustrated with no justice!
Skillz Inc – Roma Music Bank, and especially the legend that was Pritpal Singh, saw our vision when others totally missed it and were scared to push such an album, “where is the dance song?, where is club banger?”, only Pritpal saw our vision, the album would never have got the released had it not been for him, he fully grasped the idea of “The Concept Album” and we as Skillz Inc will always be grateful to him and all those who picked up books or learnt about our history as a result of this album.