Saturday, May 20, 2006

Roxen - shining through


Roxen stepped into the spotlight with the release of the videos of their songs 'Yaadein' and 'Sapnay'. The band's debut album is now ready for release and is scheduled to be out this summer. We caught up with the band's vocalist Mustafa Zahid to ask him about the band's music and their forthcoming album.

Current lineup:
* Mustafa Zahid a.k.a. Musti - Vocals, Lyrics and Compositions
* Jawad Muhammad a.k.a. Jodi - Guitars
* Haider Haleem - Guitars and Compositions
* Omar Haleem - Bass


Us: How and when was Roxen formed?
Mustafa Zahid: Roxen was formed in 2004. I used to perform as a solo artist on different gigs and events. I met up with Jodi at a concert and we synchronized together as artists. Then I asked my friend Haider to join the band but since he was occupied with some other projects, he offered his elder brother Omar to be a part of the band. Omar joined the band as a bassist and now Haider himself is a band member too and is on guitars.

Us: Why is the band called Roxen? And who came up with the name?
MZ: Roxen, actually pronounced as Rozen, is derived from the Urdu word Rozen-e-deewar. It refers to the light penetrating into a prisoner's cell. The reason why the band came up with the name Rozen is because the name itself symbolizes hope and freshness and this is what the band's music is all about - liberation and emancipation. The name was decided by my friend Kashan and me.

Us: How would you describe the music that you guys make?
MZ: Frankly speaking, our objective is not to aim at one genre only. The word music and the totality in its range are varied. And this is what our band is determined to achieve. We want to reach out to people with our music on a day-to-day basis. If you see our compositions, they are related to what people go through in life. Music ought to be diverse, and that is what the listeners will get to hear from Roxen.

Us: Some people think that many of the new bands have a very similar sound and aren't offering anything new to the listeners. Any comments?
MZ: We believe that music goes through a timeline, an era. For example, the 70s had a different trend in music in each genre. Similarly, this age features a trend which everybody seems to follow, and especially when you're beginning and taking a start, you like to experiment less, and then, in later stages, you tend to explore your diversities. But it doesn't mean that new bands don't have anything to offer. We think a couple of albums from the new bands will make it clear where everyone is heading.

Us: Tell Us about your upcoming album.
MZ: The album is all set to reach the masses and will hit the market in May, InshAllah. It has been recorded at Xth Harmonic (Xulfi's place). It'll be a blend - with a tint of pop and some shades of rock music as well, and when we say rock, then it's the harder side of rock.

Us: So far, you've released the videos for 'Yaadein' and 'Sapnay'. How was the experience of working on those videos?
MZ: It was great. We learned so many things, and the kind of professionalism both directors showed along with all that friendship was amazing. Can't thank Xulfi and Ahmed enough for making such nice videos for Roxen.

Us: Which video will be released next? Anything you can tell us about it?
MZ: We have another video in the pipeline which is 'Tau Phir Aao". It will be out very shortly with our album, so all our fans out there watch out for that.

Us: How important is the music video medium for any band?
MZ: The music video for any band is the most significant medium. Apart from music, video portrays the vision of the band and their ingenuity towards their intention - to produce good music. For instance, webzines are the best medium for a band when it's underground; likewise, video is the only way to gain the attention of the masses whilst coming to the mainstream.

Us: How hard is it for the new bands to establish themselves in the industry?
MZ: A lot of new and very talented bands are emerging and are trying to etch their way into the mainstream. The stakes are high and everyone is competing to reach the number one position. The only possible way to establish ourselves as a band in the industry is to get out there, be true to ourselves and the music we create, and lastly leave it up to God Almighty.

Us: Were there any difficulties you guys had to face as an upcoming band?
MZ: It has been a great journey so far. Mashallah, we have achieved a lot of things since last year or so when we started. We won't say it was a smooth ride because you have to work hard to achieve something and yeah, there was a lot of leg pulling and useless propaganda against us, but see, here we are, all set to rock the market with our album soon, Inshallah.

Us: You guys are based in Lahore. Do you think location influences or hampers a band's success in any way?
MZ: Success comes from hard work, that's for sure, and that's what we have learnt, too. We would definitely say that yes, Lahore based bands have to suffer because all of the media is located in Karachi, but then again EP is from Lahore, Noori is from Lahore, Jal is from Lahore and now Call is from Lahore too. It's totally up to what you offer to the general public. If it's worth listening to, then even if you are jamming in Afghanistan, people will come and listen to you.

Us: Do you feel that people treat you guys differently now that you're members of a well-known band?
MZ: Funny question actually, we think we've just started the journey and we have a long way to go, Inshallah. Yes, sometimes we receive surprising reactions from people who listen to our music and it makes us feel really good and makes us work even harder to satisfy them with our album.

Us: What kind of music do you all listen to? Does it influence the music that you make?
MZ: We listen to all kinds of music. The music field is vast, even the sounds of fingers tapping can be music to the ears. As far as the international acts go, we listen to Bryan Adams, Vertical Horizon, Joe Satriani, Iron Maiden, Dave Mathews Band, name it. Locally, we're into Junoon, Fuzon, Hamid Ali Khan, Karavan and Call mostly. Yes, the music we listen to tends to influence the music we make, because they inspire us to create good music - music that can be heard by anyone and everyone.

Us: What can we expect from Roxen in the next few months?
MZ: Our debut album will be out soon. We have been working hard and have put in all out efforts to create some good pieces of music for the listeners as they will be the ones deciding our fate and will mark our niche in the market as entertainers, so watch out for our album and expect something fresh!

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 19th May, 2006

1 comment:

Edward Ott said...

Great article and thanks for the link to the website, wish you could have put one of the songs on your blog.