Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The return of Mizmaar

interview: music mix

In an exclusive interview with Instep, the rock band introduces their new vocalist Mashhad Sharyar

The turn of the century saw an influx of new talent in our pop music industry with a number of bands and artists gaining mainstream recognition in the 2000s. One such group was Mizmaar, the Karachi-based pop rock act that rose to prominence with the release of their debut album Kash in 2003. Their sophomore album, Sitara, followed in 2007, but their musical union proved to be short-lived and the band parted ways soon after. Now, the group is all set to make a comeback with a new vocalist, Mashhad Sharyar.

“Mizmaar split up because our ex-singer Daniyal Badshah couldn’t commit to the band for personal reasons,” shares guitarist and Mizmaar frontman Kashan Admani. But despite the band’s break-up, music remained integral to Kashan and drummer Alfred D’mello’s lives.

“Our journey, even without the band, has been very musical,” he continues. “We have been producing albums for other artists and have also been doing jingles and commercials. Some of the prominent albums we have produced include Usman Riaz’s Adventures of the Lost Boy and Aliya Chinoy’s Almost Dawn.”

Meeting vocalist Mashhad Sharyar prompted the duo to resurrect Mizmaar. “We first came across Mashhad when he came to our studio to record with his band Kashmir last year,” Alfred recalls. “We were very impressed by his vocals and overall personality; hence we felt he would be the right person to add to Mizmaar’s line-up. We thought we could create something very distinctive and original with him. Not only does he have a fresh and unique voice with a very versatile singing style, being equally comfortable with eastern and western styles of singing, but he is also very young and energetic which complements the band’s performance style.”

For his part, Mashhad is over the moon to be a part of the band he once admired from afar. “It is a dream come true to be a part of this great act!” the vocalist enthuses. “I never saw it coming, honestly, and when I was offered the part, I just couldn’t say no! I remember how I used to watch Mizmaar’s videos and wonder what it is like to be a star and what it takes to make such beautiful music. I am thankful to God that I got this opportunity at such a young age and that the two stars from Mizmaar, Kashan and Alfred, saw something in me.”

The singer says he became interested in music as a child, and told his father he wanted to become a singer when he was just nine years old. “I went up to my father and told him I wanted to sing for the rest of my life,” Mashhad reminisces. “He smiled and said I had a lot to learn. He bought me a harmonium and taught me whatever he knew. I never had a real ustaad, so for me my dad will always be my teacher. My father was the sole person who gave me the confidence.”

Mashhad credits his mother with shaping his musical taste by developing his interest in the works of Ustaad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kailash Kher, and many other artists. “I have been in love with the semi-classical and classical music since my childhood. I remember how every morning while going to school I would finish one side of the album and write the lyrics on my notebook during my classes.” As he grew older, he also discovered western music. Bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Queen as well as solo artists like John Mayer inspired him, and he decided that he wanted to be in a band. “I took part in all the competitions at school,” the singer continues. “Back then, winning meant everything, and I did that countless times for my school.”

The band is now all set to treat fans to their brand new sound with their comeback single ‘Jee Loonga’, which will be released today. The song is about living life the way you want and not giving in to the pressures around you. “The ‘Jee Loonga’ music video has been directed by Kashan and Alfred,” Mashhad reveals, “and it reflects the meaning of the song through an abstract concept of freeing yourself from your confines.”

Mizmaar have also been busy working on their new album, and while the record is almost ready, the band plans to release it single by single throughout the year instead of going for a full length album release. The changing dynamics of the music industry have surely played a hand in this decision. “The industry has become very difficult and competitive, because now music is a free commodity,” says Kashan. “You make a song and put it on the Internet and social media. People see it, and if it looks good to them they will watch it, if not they won’t. There are very few music channels left that play local music, so it makes it very tough for artists to reach out to the audience.”

With a whole album worth of material awaiting release, there is clearly a lot in store for Mizmaar fans in the coming months. “You can expect a lot of great music and surprises, for sure,” Alfred promises.

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 25th March, 2015 *

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