While we definitely recognize and acknowledge the talents within our country, music has no boundaries does it? We have proven that language is no limit; for the number of bands featured have sung in a range of languages. However, I am obliged to prove my initial statement where it knows no nationality either. Hence, we will feature guest bands that are based outside the Indian border. Fun I know!
So, what’s better than having our first guest band from our neighboring state? This month, we feature Fuzon from Karachi, Pakistan.
The Musicians behind the Music
Shallum Xavier and Imran or Emu were the founders of Fuzon back in 2001. Followed by the addition of Shafqat Amanat Ali, who was the lead vocalist for almost all the tracks in Fuzon’s first album; Saagar back in 2002. More on that later…
Shallum is practically married to his guitar. Besides performing with Fuzon, he also has his solo act coming up – A collaborative effort with a range of musicians across the globe. Emu, from what I gathered is a “multi-dimensional” pianist. That’s fancy already.
Fast forward a few years, Fuzon has a new man behind the mike who goes by the name, Rameez Mukhtar, a well known name in the Pakistani music scene.
Theyhave been around for ten years and have made quite a name for themselves both within the nation and abroad. They started performing internationally about 7 years ago and with the number of fan following they have; these performances are bound to continue for long.
Tell us about the band?
Fuzon is a trio and has been playing and recording for the last ten years based out of Karachi, Pakistan. Emu is the keyboard player, composer and producer. Shallum Xavier is the guitarist, composer and co- producer. Rameez Mukhtar is the lead singer. We were the first band to introduce Fusion music to the masses and received tremendous appreciation.
What genre does Fuzon consider itself to be? Major influences?
Basically, we are a band who likes to experiment with several different forms of music and eventually shape it up to incorporate the sound and the structure of all those musical ideas into a song. We believe in producing powerful melodies and the musical structure revolves around the melody line. Hence the name: Fuzon.
There are several influences that we share as a band such as Queen, Van Halen, Toto, Police, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mehdi Hassan, Ghullam Ali, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, R.D. Burman, Randy Rhodes, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and several others.
How has Fuzon’s compositions evolved since 2001?
It’s quite evident that with time people evolve. The direction and focus changes and so it obviously effects your creative cycle in a good way and music becomes more mature. As far as Fuzon is concerned we have managed to extract sound scapes and structures from musicians and bands that we collaborated with internationally and have learned through different experiences while performing and recording.
Biggest challenge as an Indie band in Pakistan.
In a country like Pakistan where the music industry does not have a form or a structure and considering the instability, primitive and extremely conventional thoughts and ideas of the majority, surviving as a professional musician is like fighting against the tide day in and day out.
But self belief, passion, determination and a positive vision has always made musicians, individuals and people shine even in the most adverse of situations. I guess, the negative energy around us sometimes gives us the fire to go higher. Record labels are incompetent and unprofessional. They are more like releasing companies which means that the artist ends up doing all the work. So it is quite clear that the amount of responsibilities on each and every artist and band is enormous and hence it takes longer to get your point across and get your message heard.
Where have you guys performed so far?
Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, U.A.E., Norway, Italy, U.K., and U.S.A.
How different is the audience response compared to back home in Karachi?
Our fans have always shown us a lot of respect and appreciation wherever we have performed. Be it Karachi or New York. Be it Bombay or Bahawalpur. We have been fortunate enough to receive love from music fanatics all over the world. Most memorable experiences that we remember have been in India, Italy, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, U.A.E., Norway, U.K. and America.
Which song from your released albums would you recommend for one who has yet to hear of Fuzon?
“Khamaaj” (Mora Sayian) and “Neendh na Aaye”.
A decade has passed since Fuzon’s emergence. What has changed?
The color of my hair and Emu’s hair and our lead vocalist.
How/Where do you find your inspiration for songs? Be it lyrics or music.
Life. People. Situations. A certain environment. Solitude.
Which is harder? Writing a song, creating the music for it or performing live?
Well, professionally speaking I would say it totally depends on one’s approach, mindset and experience. Nothing is hard if you are involved from deep within. But if you are not involved then even strumming a C chord can become a daunting task.
What’s the ultimate goal for Fuzon? Has it been achieved?
To perform for astronauts in space.
In all honesty, as a band and as individuals we would want to see Pakistan progress, prosper. We want to see people live in peace and harmony. We would like to see a liberal, tolerant, educated Pakistan.
People who love_____will love our music.
I managed to get hold of both their albums, listen to all their songs and am officially a Fuzonite. I just coined the term by the way. Anyways, 10 years of experience of making music, two albums to their name, various performances around the globe, numerous accolades and of course thousands of fans all over.
They made their mark with this album. One whose tracks were nothing short of amazing! A particular track that I think should be on repeat mode for a long while is “Ankhoun Ke Saagar”. The vocals were so intriguing given the background training the vocalist had. I loved the fusion of the classical vocals slowly backed up by guitars. If I had to imagine this, I’d be whining as to how diverse the electronic guitar is from traditional Indian vocals, and that it was probably real absurd for one to even visualize that sort of an accompaniment. And later I would be proven wrong for, this great track worked beautifully. My favorite track and bound to be yours once you listen to it and soon enough begin to agree with me.
“Madhbanti” had a mysterious piano prelude followed by guitars. Shafqat is capable of putting on a great show. Shallum is no newbie to the guitar and he really maximized his skills. The one bit of guitar solo was as if he wanted to prove the guitar was no less than any other stringed instrument. I found the overall aura of the song a little sad. A good kinda sad if you will.
Other tracks include “Dooriyan”, “Khamaaj”, “Nadaniyan” and by now, you probably figured I am just gonna go on. Why not do yourself a favor and listen to the entire album.
“Neend Na Aaye” is undoubtedly the highlight of the album! A crowd favorite I’m assuming. Journey marks the debut of Rameez on vocals with Fuzon. I love his voice and the way he sings. Period.
“Dholna” was an interesting track. I can’t exactly place my finger on how it should be received except it didn’t fit into any particular genre. It certainly lived up to their motto: Fusion.
“Jo Dil Ne Kaha” was a sweet, slow ballad. Loved it.
My opinions are biased of course, they are my personal favorites remember. I have to say both albums carried awesome tracks that will have a place in your Ipod. Certainly did in mine. However; Journey takes the crown for my favorite album from Fuzon. Its grandeur is revealed in a simple way and that would appear to listeners of all kind.
They may be a border away, but we have our means…
Eva Dowd, their uber nice publicist is in the process of setting up The Official Fuzon Fan-site for fans to access both the musicians and their music. For other Fuzon friendly sites you might wanna turn to, to access their tracks together with a profile write-up, I recommendLastfm and Reverbnation.
Besides being the founder and part of the Fuzon gang, Shallum the guitarist is also in the midst of pursuing his solo acts. More information on that, can be found on his site.
Note: Images courtesy of Roydon D’mello and Fuzon.
Born in Singapore and currently pursuing Medicine in China, Usha Amudhan has to her credit Indie Rhythms series in GingerChai. She also dabbles with various other genres of writing.