Tag: Music

Pakistan’s truest rock star Farhad Humayun, the lead of the loudest band of Pakistan ‘Overload’ has come up with yet another amazing platform to grow the music scene of the country.

We sat with the hunk in his cosy Lahore studio to discuss Levi’s Live, him, and Pakistani music.

Pakistan Today (PT)- First of all, I’m sure our readers would like to know as to why are there so many gaps between your releases?

Farhad Humayun (FH) – I take gaps because any work that I put out needs to be perfect. I do not want to be apologetic about it.

I put out three to four songs a year because I want to associate them with good music videos, I want them to become events in people’s life, and hence, most songs have included social or political messages.

The catch 22 situation is if I make 100 songs a year what difference will it make? Nobody is buying it or sponsoring them.

When I play live it is only at corporate events because they are the only ones paying me and when we make that money we reinvest that into our music videos and equipment.

Every time we put a song out there, we are giving the audience a gift. People, who criticise, firstly shouldn’t as they aren’t in that position; they haven’t been urged, forced, or paid for it.

People, who criticise, firstly shouldn’t as they aren’t in that position; they haven’t been urged, forced or paid for it.

PT: You recently started Levis Live; tell us more about it?

FH: Levi’s has wanted to associate itself with music for a while now; their campaign is about individuality and authenticity. Levi’s itself is an attitude and rock music sits well with it.

I think Levi’s has been able to identify certain people with attitudes. They have worked with some people in the past, some haven’t worked out but those who have, are people with a certain confidence in the way they live their lives

We hope to develop a substantial culture of like-minded people who have an outlet. We are starting a once a month music club where people can come, enjoy music and relax.

farhad humayun

PT: What exactly is your role for Levi’s Live?

FH: I head Levis Live. I am not the producer, I designed the venue, but basically I am a consultant.

My job is to select artists. I do that by going through the demos sent to me by various artists on social media platforms.

We help them collaborate with various artists if needed. Every artist is being paid.

We have also asked senior artists to subsidise their rates; because of the limited budget. We are also making videos along with the audio content. Levi’s is advertising and sponsoring so the performers get the most coverage.

I will mix and master the songs after the gigs for the final videos. All the songs that we actually put out on radio and video will be originals only.

PT: Levi’s Live is held once a month to a selected audience. Why not more of a commercialised approach to music?

FH: Levi’s like others is a multi-national company that wants to advertise through music. What artists do is that they give in entirely to the wishes of the company. Levi’s as a brand has a different mandate. It isn’t for people to come in and sing covers or jingles; we want only new and original pieces.

I feel everything in Pakistan is being done on the surface. With Levi’s Live we want to create a new trend, invite people actually interested in listening to music, invite bands that have the capacity to become something.  We want the artist to engage with the audience, something every artist should do. Music isn’t something to be done at home, it is for the masses. Music is the theatre that always needs an audience.

Opening acts will be by newcomers with their own band and songs or promising talents or junior artists, also the ones who have been working for years and are in need of a break. The headlining acts, which will be people who have a following and are veterans of sorts.

But the intention is not to make it Desi – that’s not the image of Levi’s or my kind of work. We are encouraging pop, rock, and funk. If someone wants to do Sufiana Kalam they will have to pen it down themselves.

PT: Do you perceive yourself as a successful musician?

FH: What is the measure of success? Let’s decide that first. Is it being on TV on every morning show, on billboards, on all plays and events in the front row seats, being all over the place? Maybe to some but if you have got any benchmarks or standards set for ourselves there are certain things that you just won’t do.

For me, art and music are about being real. First put your music out there, your image is secondary. When people are very inquisitive about your work, that is being successful.

farhad-levis

PT: Although there is a lot of new talent coming up, but they vanish rather easily from the scene too. Why is that?

FH: I know many people who are struggling, but have had a couple of major hits, they couldn’t become session players as they weren’t good enough, and they couldn’t become music producers as they didn’t have the technical knowledge.

People who have given a minimum on 10 years to a single music instrument can become sustainable musicians, sadly even in the biggest TV shows based on music at the moment; if these people are put in a live environment and told ‘acha gana suno’ 90% of them will fail.

If you can sing NFK or Zuhaib Hassan, it doesn’t mean that you are an artist. You may have a talent or a flair for it but needs to be polished. One needs to have a skill, as a composer, lyricist, and musician. You have to be able to write and compose your own songs to keep breathing.

Here artists record two songs, one would usually be a cover the other a mediocre self-written song. They think they’ll get overnight fame because of ‘sirf dehknnae ka culture agaya hai’. Even the audience is confused about what they want and artists need to understand that to be one you have to become intellectually strong which would reflect on your work.


Originally Published in Pakistan Today

Read More about Farhad Humayun :

‘Live Music’ to become a way of life                              When Texas was OVERLOAD(ed)

As Lahore welcomes spring, Al-Hamrah was host to the Lahore Music Meet (LMM) 2016 amid tight security measures.

Barbed wires encircled the entrance while loud music played inside presenting a bizarre scene, for two days, April 2 and 3, from 12 noon to 10 pm.

LMM’s goal was simple and clear – to provide an open space for people from all walks of life to enjoy music, listen to various genres, learn something new and to give them an opportunity to meet other music enthusiasts.

A stage set in the middle of the main ground for live performances kept the music lovers engrossed for two days.

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“Music is important for the well-being of a person’s mind. It helps people remain sane,” said Tamoor aka Mooroo while talking to Pakistan Today.

The two-day event consisted of over two dozen sessions talking not only about the enjoying of music but the making of it. Some of the sessions talked about the technical aspects of making music, while special workshops showed people how the various instruments are played.

“Such events encourage people to pursue music both as performers and listeners, making art more relatable,” said Ali Sehti while talking to Pakistan Today.

The event was not overshadowed by any particular genre, instrument or just the lead. LMM showed the audience that a lot of things make up a good song, from the bassist to the producer, from the drummer to the writer and the singer – everyone plays an important role. One without the other cannot succeed.

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Natasha Noorani, one of the founders of LMM, feels that it is only through music that all class and social boundaries are bridged. The main idea behind LMM was to give people a space to meet their favourite musicians and talk and enjoy music.

“We have everything, from Sufi Qalam, Pop Rock, and Classical to Indie Rock, so that everyone can find their own voice and move out of their comfort zones and experience new things,” Natasha said.

With informative sessions like “Believing in yourself by Noori” and “Listening for Success by Aaron Haroon Rashid” the attendees were kept enthralled and wanting more for two days.

Sessions like “Scoring Manto by Jamal Rahman” and “Classical Music Appreciation by Tina Sani” would dissect the layers of a song and teach the audience how to appreciate it more deeply and enjoy it more intimately. They attempted to teach the music lovers how to listen between the lines.

Tina Sani believes that such events are immensely important for the youth, “The youth need to learn about music and such events promote that in them,” she told Pakistan Today.

“Composing from scratch by Ahsan Bari” and “Spaces between Music” taught students of music how to produce their own pieces from scratch with various instruments.

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The crowd was thin but just right. These people were musicians, artists and supporters who wanted to be part of a musical revolution in the country.

“I wanted to see what other musicians are doing. I am getting into some production too so I wanted to learn, and talk to the experts,” said Fati, a violinist, guitarist and cello player at the event.

Platform

When Aaroon Haroon Rashid was asked that if LMM strives to provide a platform for musicians. Does that mean Pakistan lacks opportunities for artists, he was all praise for the event, “I haven’t seen an event solely dedicated to music like this in Pakistan.”

He feels that back in the 90’s, he was lucky as there were only a couple of TV channels which gave him and his band a lot of exposure.

“The incredible amount of musical talent has no platform in Pakistan,” Rashid said.

He also feels that the media has to play a larger role in bringing to front these artists.

“The local media, radios all play Indian songs which make it difficult for the newbies.”

Many of the guests felt the same. They said that artists in the country aren’t given the support or motivation to move forward. “On the international level, you do not only represent your country through education and politics but also through art and culture,” Nasir said.

The live performances kept Al-Hamra alive and abuzz. New and old talent would perform and take the audience by storm.

The highlights of the event were Red Blood Cat and Mai Dhai performances on the first day, as well as a conversation between Ali Zafar, Ali Sehti and Zoe Viccaji during one of the sessions.

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Ali Zafar during his session talked about what the country is going through and how it fuels his music, “During my happiest periods I haven’t produced any music of essence,” Ali Zafar said, he along with Ali and Zoe thought that the darker side of an artist is the most creative. Though living in negativity for prolonged periods puts an artist through a deep depression.

On the lighter side, Ali Zafar talked about his music, his growth and how the occasional ‘poondi’ is good for survival.

The event concluded with a live performance by Sounds of Kolachi and Attaullah Esakhelv during which the crowd danced and let out some steam.

“Musicians need a driving force which is their audience. It takes a lot of time to create music and they deserve appreciation,” said Furqan Shayk, a comedian while talking toPakistan Today.

While the event was not glitched free – there were many last-minute changes to the schedule, the halls weren’t really full – there is hope for a better and bigger LMM next year which could bring together more people and more musicians.


Originally published in Pakistan Today