What are you up to right now?
I have recently shifted studios from Moghbazar to Niketon. I have been a lot more productive in this new studio. Even though the studio isn't complete yet, I have composed six songs within one and a half months of shifting. That is incredible considering that it used to take me a year to make six songs!
Why did shifting studios make you more productive?
There are a few factors to this. I used to work from home, and that induced a bit of complacency knowing that I was at the comfort of my own house. The new studio is more of an office and furthermore, the studio isn't complete yet, so I haven't taken up advertising gigs yet (laughs). That gives me more time to focus on my own music.
Tell us about your current projects.
I am currently working on my solo album, which I plan to release next year. I'm already done with five songs. I could release it this year, but I'll take some time with this because I have to think about the music videos of the songs as well.
Do you want to specifically concentrate on music videos because of the changing landscape of the industry? Physical discs are becoming a thing of rarity nowadays.
To be honest, albums are more of a landmark to a musician now. People want visual content to go along with the songs that are being released. People's primary medium of listening to music is YouTube now, and we have adjusted accordingly. I have a primary fan-base, and I make the videos for them. They don't have to be very high-budgeted videos, but something that would complement the song well.
You are a full-time musician. How difficult is it to sustain this profession in Bangladesh?
I'll be honest here. I'm doing this because I can't do anything else! (Laughs) I tried to do business so many times, but failed. I tried to sell so many things, but failed. The only thing that I can sell right now is music. Besides songs, I also do a lot of jingles, commercials, etc. It sometimes becomes hard to focus on my own creative work because of these, but I have found a balance. There was a time that I used to work on 300-350 adverts a year, and I will say that I was a bit immature back then.
Tell us about some of your favorite Bangladeshi artists.
My all-time favorite artists are James and Miles. The musician that I most admire is Jalal bhai, he is an extraordinary flute player. Among the upcoming musicians, I like Pritom Hasan and Tahsin Ahmed.
Band music is arguably on the decline. You yourself used to be in the band Mohakaal, which was very popular among the young generation. Could you fill us in with your thoughts on the band industry?
We couldn't continue with Mohakaal because I wasn't really feeling it anymore. Everyone in the band had their own aspirations and destiny. On that note, I will say that change is inevitable. The sale of musical instruments themselves has gone down by quite a bit, and electronic music is on the rise. We have to adapt to the times, but I am still publishing my album because it is a landmark to me.
What do you like to do besides music?
I am a crazy fan of wrestling. My favorite wrestler is CM Punk, but ever since he left it has been AJ Styles. I follow WWE regularly.
Do you have any message for your fans?
I would like to thank them for being with me, and urge them to keep up their support. I am always updated on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Soundcloud, so if anyone wants to listen to my music, you are most welcome to visit!
Sadi Mohammad Shahnewaz