The importance of music in people’s life in undeniable still it faces a lot of hurdles. Thanks to commercial outlets that use the art for their marketing, we are not deprived of musical luxury.
Be it Coke Studio, Nescafe basement or CornettoPopRock; these try to in cooperate music into their brand ideologies. Another one joining the club is Levis, with Levis Live, who will kick-start their project on 24 September with their first live gig.
The project promises to hold live music sessions every month for a whole year (minus the two holy months), and will be followed by videos and audios of originals from the live performances of each session. They have partnered up with Riot Studios in Lahore, owned by Farhad Humayun who is also their creative consultant for the project.
Pakistan Today talked to Farhad Humayun about the projects aims, Pakistani music, sustainability and the need for such a project for the youth of Pakistan.
Bring Back Rock and Live Music
Though the project like all other is a commercialised approach to music, this new venture has some unique feature i.e. a live rock music platform.
“In Pakistan when people want to unwind, they go for movies or dinners. There is no other option, we do not have clubs because that is not our culture, fair enough,” Farhad Humayun explains the projects gimmick, “but that does not mean we kill the art of music. Hence, when Levis approached me, I spearheaded the idea.”
“They wanted to associate with a certain type of music; given the ideology behind the brand itself, which is a certain attitude and charisma, rock music suits it perfectly,” Humayun says, “The live platform will not be limited to rock music only, but the key to a successful live set is rock music.”
Another reason for promoting rock music is the unfairness done to it in Pakistan or South Asia for that matter, “People do not understand what rock music actually is, they listen to pop music with an electric guitar and think that this is rock. It is their lack of exposure and we can teach them through this project.”
Describing more about the type of music welcome on stage, he adds, “We are encouraging pop, rock, and funk, jazz; you can also do fusion if you like. But the intention isn’t to make it Desi somehow; we already have a brand doing that.”
Trying to bring about contemporary music back to the scene he also places a condition for those still wanting to perform the Desi style, “If someone wants to do Sufiana Kalam’s then they will have to write their own according to the current mindset,” he strictly adds.
During the live performances the artists will play a mixture of originals and covers, “But all the songs that we actually put out on radio and online video will be originals from the artists,” he insists. Humayun will also be mixing and editing the videos himself which are to be released.
Being a rock star is cool and performing it even better, but according to Humayun the culture of live music is dying in Pakistan, musicians are thought of as background musicians and are taken for granted, “They are either not paid enough or do not get good platforms,” he suggests, “Not all of them are great but those that are we are ready to give them a place to showcase their talent.”
He also believes that a true musician is one who can deliver to a live audience, “Music was not made to be played within the four walls, rather it is a way to communicate and engage with people. It is easy to record songs and become a star; but the real test is performing to a live audience, taking the stage by storm and giving out unique vibes each time,” Humayun who has a flair for stage performances says with excitement.
Who all can avail this opportunity?
The headlining acts will be by established artists but the opening acts will be for newcomers.
Humayun, whose job is to select these artists and set the stage for them, lists certain criteria he is looking for.
- Demo’s sent should be filmed: I should be able to see the artist singing or playing his instrument. Visuals are very important for connection. It would also tell me how confident he is, what techniques he uses among other things.
- How they play a certain instrument: the way they play their instrument would tell me how much time they have given to it and what all can they do with it
- Singing technique: they should preferably send me originals by them because with covers I can only judge their skill, not their talent.
- The tone of voice: I will determine the quality of singing; shouldn’t be over singing, as I want people with a certain charisma and personality in their vocals.
- I am looking for the WOW factor!
Interested candidates can contact him through his Facebook page.
He also wants to clear that he will not be producing any music, “The bands will have to do their own thing. I would guide them if someone doesn’t have a band I can fix them up with certain people. They can also perform but it has to be original.”
Music lovers in the country are forever in need of such platforms to showcase their talent; Humayun is trying just that, “I actually want to create artists out of this generation that will live for many to come. But people need to utilise these opportunities to the fullest and be true to their art,” he concludes.