Friday, August 09, 2013

“'Koi Rokey Mujhey' is the roar of an individual who believes he can achieve anything if he wants to.” - Junaid Khan gets back to where he once belonged

interview: one on one

From hard rock to television, the hunky lead singer of Call is all set to release his single right after Eid and the album at the end of 2013

After beginning his solo career with two mellow songs, singer Junaid Khan is back in rock star mode with his new single 'Koi Rokey Mujhey'. A guitar-led rock track that brings to mind some of the early material he released with his former band Call, the song and its accompanying video are set to be released very soon. In a chat with Instep, Junaid discusses the new track and video, and also tells us about his latest acting projects.

Instep: You have finally made a heavier rock song after releasing two mellow tracks in a row. How does it feel to return to the sound/genre you initially gained recognition for?
Junaid Khan:
It feels great to be back to the sound that I always loved and began my musical journey with. Rock is my passion and my drive and always motivates me to be progressive in life, so that is something which was waiting inside me to burst out and I am finally letting it out in the form of 'Koi Rokey Mujhey'.
I believe any message has to be conveyed through its unique sound. What I communicated through 'So Close So Distant' and 'Keh Do', I needed that mellow sound behind it. But in this case, when the message is about aggression and struggle and motivation, it has to be done through a heavy rock sound and 'Koi Rokey Mujhey' is the result of all those emotions.

Instep: Please tell us about 'Koi Rokey Mujhey'.
The title describes the song completely. 'Koi Rokey Mujhey' is the roar of an individual who believes he can achieve anything if he wants to. He challenges the world to come in the way of his struggle and also he challenges himself so that no matter what, no matter how many obstacles make him fall, he rises back strong and fights harder and will keep on doing so till he succeeds. This is the message that I strongly believe in because in today's world, no one is going to make our lives any better; we have to achieve things ourselves, we have to improve ourselves, only then we can stand tall in front of the world. It's time we stop depending on our so-called leaders and make ourselves strong.

Instep: When will it be released?
The song will be released right after Eid.

Instep: What was the inspiration behind 'Koi Rokey Mujhey'? Did you write the song yourself?
For a musician, the world is an inspiration. The happenings around are the inspiration. I seriously believed at this point in time we all need to stand up for ourselves and our rights. What happened post elections when people stood up together for their rights is a clear example that people are believing in themselves and the power of one. But this journey shouldn't end there. It's not just politics, it's way beyond that. We as individuals should have the courage to make the impossible possible. Whether it's for ourselves, or for the country or for our family or friends, we should know that we can do what's right; we can fight for the right. Gone should be the days when we complain and play the blame game. It's time we admit our shortcomings and improve them and work hard to get over them. And yes, I wrote and composed the song myself.

Instep: Please tell us about the video.
While writing the song, I was thinking about the ideal character which should be the center of the song. Keeping the current situation in my mind, I think Pakistan Police is that department of the country which is struggling at the moment. The department has always been blamed for its shortcomings or its lack of sincerity. But I believe the whole bunch shouldn't be blamed because of a few bad fish. We should acknowledge the sacrifice they make for our security. They have families like us, friends like us, but still they give their lives for duty. This is to the bravery, the strength, and the patience of just not police but all those individuals who struggle in daily life and fight for their cause, and fight for what's right. Though the bad fish might be a lot in number, I would still like to believe that they should also come under that framework that we should follow as ideals for law and order. The video will have me playing that character on duty.

Instep: Who came up with the idea for the video?
I was discussing the idea behind the song with my two dear friends, Waqas Qureshi and director/producer Jawad Bashir after I recorded this song. Waqas devised the character details and Jawad executed the whole story board.

Instep: How was the experience of working with director Jawad Bashir on the video?
It is always fun working with Jawad. As he is my friend, I can easily exchange ideas with him, and also as he is a musician, our communication becomes quite comfortable. I have already done two TV serials with him a few years ago so already have that working chemistry, but this is our first video together and looking at the shots and the ideas, I am really hopeful and Insha'Allah the end result would be great. We had to shoot this video under a strong and harsh sun, but still we managed to survive and finally were able to complete the shoot in three days. Trust me, shooting under the sun made us realize how difficult it is for the security department individuals to stand all day under the sun and make efforts to enforce the law. It's not easy and we should acknowledge that.

Instep: How is work on the album coming along? Any chance it will be released this year?
The album is almost near completion and it will probably be released this year. The album is a journey and I am compiling it as I go along expressing myself and I already have enough tracks for the compilation, so the album is near release.

Instep: Working as a solo artist versus being in a band - how different is it?
A band is a relationship which has its ups and downs. Sometimes people compromise, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they help you succeed, sometimes they pull your leg and pull you down. I have had my share of a relationship that went through for a decade, and I am glad that happened to me as they were the best days of my life and I learned a lot from it. But now it's time to take those experiences and explore more of me as an individual and I am loving it too so far.

Instep: Which musicians have you been working with to record your new songs? Are there musicians you regularly work with?
I am working with a lot of musicians as I want to explore new sounds as I go along in my musical journey. In 'Koi Rokey Mujhey' I worked with guitarist Umair Nadeem. The boy is just 18 years of age but has those raw skills, which can take him a long way. Plus he has also played with bands like Overload. He did the whole guitars for this and I must say he did a fabulous job. The sound that I needed for this particular track, he translated it on the record perfectly. I needed loud crisp guitars for this track and he did the job well. Alongside him, the track has been produced by Sami Khan at Black Mug Productions and mixed and mastered by Afzal Hussain at Stylus Studios, both stationed in Lahore. Plus I am working with another fabulous guitarist Mahmood Rehman (Meesha Shafi's band) for my next track, which is also near completion.

Instep: Are you planning any live performances soon?
Yes, alongside local performances in Pakistan, I will also be doing an international tour later this year.

Instep: You've also been acting in various television dramas. Could you please tell us about your current acting projects?
Yes, television has been keeping me quite busy lately. My latest TV release is Ranj-e-Aashnai that comes on air every Saturday on A-Plus network. Other than that my next project for Hum TV Qadoorat was released on the 17th of last month. Un Suni has also been shot but the network hasn't been announced yet. Plus my new serial Kabhi Gumaan Kabhi Yaqeen starring me, Arij Fatyma, and Neelam Muneer, is being shot and will be release on Geo network in the coming few months.

Instep: What can we expect from you in the coming months?
A few more scripts that I am going through for the upcoming projects, plus my next track that I am looking forward to complete and release in October this year. You can get all the updates regarding them from my Facebook page ( junaidkhanofficial) from time to time.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep, The News on Sunday - 11th August, 2013 (printed on 9th August, 2013)

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