State Of Bengal is one of the Key Dj / Producers to have emerged from the innovative British Asian Music scene in the late 90’s that gave birth to the ‘Asian Underground’ movement. His reputation as one of the most pioneering artists continues today as he pushes the boundaries of music.
State of Bengal was set up in 1987 with a sound system, which included rappers, Dj’s, dancers and musicians. The team mixed Bengali and Western street style dance to create a look and sound that was diverse, full of energy and new in the UK at that time. State Of Bengal was born. Two of the Rappers / Mc’s to emerge from the sound system were Mc Deedar who went onto Asian Foundation and Mc Mustaq who became the lead rapper for Fun^Da^Mental.
His reputation was projected further at the cutting edge Anokha club nites where he was one of the key Dj’s. His music and unique Dj style of weaving an eclectic mix of Indian Classical, breakbeat, hip hop, tabla driven beats, with melodic vocals to smashed up beats and funk was instrumental in Anokha's highly acclaimed club nite. His eruptive tracks Flight IC408 and Chittagong Chill, featured on Talvin Singh’s Anokha compilation. It became the anthems of the scene.
The music hailed the tracks as groundbreaking and they still have the power to explode onto the dance floor today. SOB’s respected reputation ensured him to be courted by several major labels, culminating in a deal with Indie Label, One Little Indian in Sep 97.
It was at Anokha; Björk discovered and fell in love with SOB’s music and unique Djing style, She was so inspired that she asked him to open for her world tour and remix the track ‘Hunter’ for her Homogenic album (end of 97) and a musical friendship was struck. Their mutual respect as artist developed that led to Björk pursuing Sam to sign up to her label One Little Indian.
SOB became highly sought after by numerous club nites around the Uk, he finally took up residency at the infamous Off Center club nites hosted by respected veteran Dj, music critic and radio host Patrick Forge. 1997-2001 proved to be hectic years, which saw Sam produce his debut album Visual Audio, taking time out the studio to play at several international festivals, tour with Apache Indian in Kenya as well as Sob’s own Live interactive Dj tour. During the production of Visual Audio, countless remixes came in by various artists.
The next few years saw State Of Bengal come in and out of India, including a British Council sponsored tour of Bengal, were State of Bengal live band played to crowds of 5000- 8000 in Calcutta, Dhaka and Chittagong. All the events in India have accompanied by workshops for aspiring Dj’s / producers and have been inspirational and instrumental in setting up the platform and creating a market for the ‘British Asian’ sound. This was taken to another level in a series of 3 big campaign gigs organized by Sweety Kapoor in 2001, which saw Mumbai covered in huge Billboards with the slogan Asian underground, A step into the future.
State Of Bengal continued to be in high demand and played non-stop at various clubs and festivals around the globe whilst also developing his Live band. State Of Bengal Live did a 30-day tour of China in 2002 while Sam worked on several collaboration projects including composing music for commissioned productions of dance and theater organisations.
Having worked on and off over the years with Paban das Baul thru Sam’s love for Baul music, this musical relationship came together in the Album Tana Tani (Push Pull) released 2004 on Real World Records. Tana Tani has been a labor of love and has been nominated Best Global album by Song lines magazine 04 and XLR8R mag voted it no.2 in their Global Breakbeat chats 04.
At present Sam AKA State of Bengal continues to tour with his band and as a DJ. His new album SKIP-IJ, a dance music concept is gaining new audiences globally.. He is working on a new album and has several other projects in the pipe line for 2010 and beyond.