What would you be if you were not a musician?
I would probably be in the army, if I were not composing music. War movies have always fascinated me and I have always had a lot of respect for army personnel. So yes, if I was not into music, I would definitely have tried becoming an army officer.
What got you into music?
Music has always been a part of my life. I have always toyed with musical instruments, especially the keyboard. But it was after my Secondary Examinations that I started taking music and singing seriously. Later on, I started working with Habib bhai as his Assistant Music Director, and I have learnt a lot of valuable lessons while working with him.
Which one do you enjoy most: composing music or singing?
I love and enjoy both. What I enjoy more is singing to my own tunes. There is nothing like composing and singing your own songs.
Who do you like most among the singers of your generation?
Oyshee, Tashfee apu and Xefer are all good singers. I like Amid's singing as well. Amid (Amid Hossain Chowdhury) has a husky, compressed voice which really goes well with his style of singing. Oyshee's flair, Xefer's style and Tashfee apu's voice make them amazing singers.
You come from a musical family. How has that affected your work?
I work on my own. My brother and I share a studio but that's as far as it goes. I prefer to have my own space when it comes to my work; my family understands this and I appreciate the professional space they allow me.
Where do you think our music industry is heading?
The times ahead look difficult. CRBT (Caller Ring Back Tone) used to be a key factor behind the success of many of our artists, but due to CRBT related complications their growth has been slow and this is affecting the performance and morale of the artists. Moreover, a lot of the artists are not aware of the existing copyright laws and are often deprived of the royalties which they should receive. This is putting our artists in a very difficult situation. They often have to struggle to earn their livelihoods.
How do you think the artists can protect their interests in view of this situation?
The artists can recruit agents who can represent them and look after their legal and financial interests. The agents help artists find sponsors and ensure the artists get royalties for their work. Legal advisors should also be hired who can ensure copyright of the music of the artists. For instance, I have a legal advisor who ensures that all my works are copyright protected and all other legal and financial matters are properly taken care of. If the artists do not start protecting themselves soon there will be very few artists left who would be willing to work in our industry. Most artists whose subsistence depends on this profession will not be able to continue in the long run.
Name the contemporary musicians who you think are producing quality music.
Apeiruss – a group of three Electronic Dance Musicians, Naved, Sajid Sarker and Chirkutt's Emon Chowdhury are all doing a very good job with their music. Their works are different and innovative and these traits, I believe, will take them a long way in the future.
Who are your all-time favorite musicians?
My all-time favorites are Habib bhai and Tahsan bhai. What I like most about them is their ability to reinvent themselves time and time again. They are always trying to do something unique and that is something I really appreciate.
What's your mantra?
My mantra is simple – to be different and to produce music that people can connect with.
Tell us about five of your good and 'bad' traits.
Let's start with the good ones. I am honest and upfront. I can differentiate between good and bad advice. (Laughs) I keep revising my work. I am always concerned with my health so I make sure to eat healthy. I also love helping others. Among the bad traits, I would include my ability to be lazy. I have the tendency to over think and I always think of the worst-case scenario in trying circumstances. I talk very little and stay alone most of the time. You could say that my music is driven by rage and hatred!
That sounds interesting! Why do you think your music is driven by rage and hatred?
My music is born out of rage – rage against negativities and criticism. I have tried to approach music with positivity but didn't like what I had composed; rage and hatred are what really inspire my music. You can say my music spontaneously flows out of hatred.
Do you have more male or female fans?
Most of my fans are male. It seems that my upbeat music appeals more to men than women, whose tastes are more inclined towards the melodious, mellow tunes.
Do you have a girlfriend?
(Shy smile) No, I don't have a girlfriend. I haven't met the right girl yet. If I like someone in the future I might go out with them, if the feeling is mutual.
Of all the songs you have composed and sung, which are your favorites?
I would say, Bhandari, Bolo Ki Ashe Jai and Maayer Kole, sung by Momtaz apa.
What kind of projects would you like to focus on the in the future?
I like Baul songs and would like to work with Baul singers to facilitate and promote their songs to the young audience of today.
What would you like to say to your fans reading this interview?
Be yourself, follow your dreams and dream big! Do not just simply take people's advice; try to differentiate the good from the bad and only pay heed to those advice which you know are good for you. And don't be bogged down by criticisms, be the best judge of yourself and do what you feel is right.
Interviewed by Rafi Hossain