We wanted to share Pakistan's rich musical heritage: Shallum Xavier on Fuzon's latest album
Fuzon has released its third album, Ik Ranjha, in which the rock band repays a debt of gratitude all musicians owe.
Introducing today's music listeners to the legends of the yesteryears, Ik Ranjha reminds us of classics long forgotten and gives us a sense of where Pakistani music stems from.
Dawn Images talks to Fuzon's guitarist, Shallum Xavier, about this album and more.
What’s up with Fuzon lately?
After releasing our third album Ik Ranjha, Fuzon left for a US tour last month to support TCF in their endeavors to raise funds for educating underprivileged children of Pakistan. We are doing our best to raise awareness for the necessity of basic education for all. Expatriates in the U.S. have always been very encouraging and supportive for such causes and that’s the reason why we wanted to partner with a very credible organisation to further motivate people in the US.
Tell us about your new album Ik Ranjha?
The new album is a tribute to some of the legendary artists of Pakistan. It is our rendition of some old classics and some forgotten tunes. We wanted to share the rich musical heritage of Pakistan with this generation, which unfortunately has not heard about the incredible songs and performers of yesteryear.
The soul and the passion that was there in these old classics inspired us to create contemporary structures and progressively design the sound to support the melodies and make it palatable for the all demographics, especially the younger generation who don’t know much about these gifted performers.
Is it feasible to launch albums when every band is launching singles?
It completely depends on the artist. Sometimes singles can do the job, but sometimes albums can elevate an artist. For established bands, especially in Pakistan I think it’s imperative to put out albums in order to revive the industry and create content for the craving listeners. The young and the upcoming should concentrate on singles and gather experience to eventually produce their albums.
Where else is the album being released?
The album has digitally released on iTunes, Saavn and other popular platform so it’s everywhere wherever there is Internet.
How many videos have you planned?
We have planned to shoot at least three to four videos from this album.
How does a video affect the value of the track?
The video of a song can either elevate a song or completely ruin it. Good songs with bad videos can affect the growth and popularity of a song. On the other hand, average songs with great videos can drastically increase the acceptability, the value and the fan base of the artist.
Is Fuzon working on collaborating with another musical act?
Music has no boundaries hence its crucial for musicians to explore and experiment with their preferable music styles and gain maximum knowledge through collaborations.
As far as collaborations are concerned, we just worked with an amazing drummer Dennis Harvey from Austin, Texas. We are planning to once again bringing modern and traditional musicians together for live performances in the winter. We will also be working with our trusted Norwegian friends and some American artists in 2016. Fuzon is also working with quite a few international musicians to produce a multi-cultural album.
Why does Fuzon keep getting new vocalists?
Fuzon loses its vocalists because we believe all individuals in the core line up should always give first priority to the band and not take up tasks and projects that can hamper the progress of the band. The focus should be the band not solo ventures and daytime jobs. Majority of the vocalists in this country are short-sighted and have very little patience.
Tell us about the experience of playing at the I Am Karachi music festival. How important is music for a peaceful Karachi?
It was fabulous. Music festivals bring people together, which is the need of the hour in the diverse metropolis of Karachi. People showed up to watch their favorite performers demonstrate their skills and share their passion for music. Festivals also create an opportunity for aspiring artists to get maximum attention from a very large audience. Music is a unifying force and positive energy created at such festivals always helps people to understand, appreciate and immerse in the power of the universal language.
How do you see the present music scene?
The people of Pakistan and the expatriate community must give first priority to Pakistani music. Our industry is being plagued due to the massive influx of Indian content. We have exceptional talent, however, TV channels operating out of Pakistan and owned by Pakistanis sadly promote only Indian content. I have confidence and faith that our musicians will overcome all such obstacles.
Tell us something about your solo projects?
My brother Simien and I are trying to bring groups and individuals from Karachi representing different religions cultural and ethnic backgrounds to create a series of events showcasing the vibrant diversity, history and contributions of all these resilient forces. Both Simien and I will be heading to different parts of Pakistan to record and preserve the indigenous music of our land.
I am also starting a radio show with a new and patriotic radio channel. The show will feature Pakistani tunes from the 1950s till the present time, explaining their production, the way the society has an effect on the creation of music. This show will also feature upcoming musicians who will perform live on radio. Also, Simien and my team are planning a mega live Christmas music festival.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, September 25th, 2015
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