Getting Frank with Faakhir

  • 14 Oct - 20 Oct, 2017
  • Shahzeb Shaikh
  • Interview

With a soulful voice and a great sense of music, Faakhir Mehmood makes sure he remains active in the music circuit. Be it singles or OSTs, Coke Studio or patriotic tracks, one finds him engaged in one activity or another. As I contacted him recently, he was travelling to Africa, a somewhat alien place to Pakistani artistes. Upon his return, Faakhir sat down with MAG for a detailed interview. Excerpts…

What's up with you recently?

There has been a lot going on. I am engaged in many OSTs and video projects from various clients. Also, I have been touring a lot.

Why haven't you released an album in a long time?

Frankly speaking, there is a lack of business feasibility with regards to release of albums. An artiste works an entire year on production of an album only to find it getting downloaded immediately. In the past, there used to be sale of CDs, which has also decreased owing to the impact of social media. Royalty has never been given to Pakistani artistes so, nowadays, artistes prefer to release singles. Hence, I don't see any album coming out in the future unless some artiste wants to make a mark by releasing an entire album.

You recently travelled to Africa for a concert. How was the experience? How was the audiences’ response to Pakistani music?

My recent visit to Africa, where I performed in Mozambique, was very successful and well-received. It is always merry to witness Pakistani diaspora receiving local artistes so well. Pakistani expatriates form a major fan base for an artiste like me who doesn't channel from India and solely rely on them; it has opened more avenues for me in Africa.

Afreen Afreen, which was produced by you, has been labelled as one of the biggest hit of Coke Studio. How do you see Coke Studio this time?

Afreen Afreen was definitely a super success. I would like to share that there were certain disagreements regarding the tempo. Originally, it was a qawwali number with mid-tempo. It then changed into an unplugged version with a low-tempo. I am glad that my intuitions proved right and it turned out to be exactly the way I wanted it to be. Also, I am very glad that the composition I composed for Momina (Mustehsan) proved to be a major success for her career. I am very happy that I played a little role in the success of a new artiste’s career.

Tell us about your upcoming song in four languages?

This project is related to the Thar Coal Power Project, which is a song in four languages: for Sindhi, I’ve discovered a singer from Thar named Zawar, Mai Dhai sings Dhatki, a Chinese singer has been on-board for Mandarin while I sing in Urdu. The song is about how the project will transform the fortune of the region and positively impacts on the prosperity of Pakistan.

Are you working on OSTs of drama?

Whenever I find a good project, I am always up for it. I have done OSTs for many recent dramas like Tishnagi Dil Ki and Tum Meri Ho to name a few.

How technical is production of music?

I think music production is pretty technical. Technology has become pretty advanced in music. With high quality equipment and gear, high quality music can be produced. It was this love for gadgets that I began to produce music. I still think we need time and investment to reach where India is currently, but we will get there with time.

Tell us about the Defence Day song you sang?

The song was produced and composed by ISPR; I simply had to sing it. They are very professional in their matters. They’re investing on music and singers, which is a very positive sign for progression of music in Pakistan. It is always a pride to sing songs based on patriotism.

Are you planning any collaboration?

Collaborations are very important for music. I am in the process of doing serious collaboration, which will be revealed to you in due course of time.

What are your thoughts on the present Pakistani music scene?

Pakistan’s music scene is pretty confused. Unfortunately, there have been no concrete efforts to sustain the industry. There have been violations of code of conduct with regard to music, for example, airing of Indian content more than 10 per cent of the time. Frankly speaking, not many have been honest to music in Pakistan.

How important is social media for the promotion of music?

Social media is a new reality. It is the most important vehicle to promote our music worldwide. This is especially because the channels have been closed down and there are hardly any albums coming out. It is also true that people like to spend most of their time on social media.

How challenging is survival for musicians in the current scenario?

Well, challenge is always there, however, I do see good times for Pakistani music. Music is required in every art, be it drama or film or a jingle. The only thing is that musicians should be paid well. The better they are paid, the better is the output.

Tell us about your future plans?

I don't plan much. I don't plan and organise my music. This is the discipline that makes my life interesting, but yeah, I do plan vacations well. •