Monday, August 31, 2015

Call reunited: our friendship is stronger than ever, says bandmate Xulfi


Differences in opinion split them up, but their fans brought them together again

Whenever bands announce that they are parting ways with a prominent member, splitting up, or simply retiring and calling it a day, it’s hard not to cynically start the countdown to their inevitable reunion.

So it wasn't exactly shocking when Junaid Khan, who left pop rock group Call amidst a burgeoning acting career in 2012, announced the band's comeback. Call is back to its pre-split line-up, with Junaid on vocals, Xulfi on guitars, and Sultan on rhythm guitars. Also accompanying the trio are session musicians Farhan Ali and Ken Zeerick on bass and drums respectively.

“A band is a relationship between individuals with opinions and differences. At times, when these differences go beyond a certain level, the relationships break,” says the vocalist, explaining why he parted ways with the group three years ago.

“No relationship is ever [always] smooth,” Xulfi elaborates. “There are ups and downs. And that moment in 2012 was one of the down moments. Our personal busy schedules didn’t help, but that is not what matters anymore. What matters is that the friendship amongst the three of us is stronger than any number of infinite moments that can bring us down.”

So what prompted the reunion? Junaid says their decision to reconnect came about because of one main factor: their fans. “The love from our fans made me come back [to the band]. Everywhere I used to go, people would ask me where Call was and why [nothing new was] happening. The fans used to request that we keep our differences aside and come back for the love of music. It was then that I realized how much the fans wanted our music, thus the reunion,” he says.

Call hadn’t been very active since Junaid left the group and didn’t do anything of note in his absence. An attempt to revive the band with Yasir Jaswal as the vocalist also didn’t pan out. “Yasir Jaswal is a great friend, has an amazing voice, and he’s an extremely talented songwriter and now, as you would know, a movie director too,” says Xulfi. “Since he got busy with his debut dream project, Jalaibee, it became very difficult to carve out time to jam.”

The trio now seems excited to be back together. Their issues and differences are behind them, the group assures us. They have all grown as individuals and have a better understanding of what a partnership means, and they plan to make the most of this second chance. “Music bridges distances between people,” says the guitarist. “Once you share the melody, the music in you with like-minded people, there is a connection that is formed. And that connection makes people remember each other. So we could never forget our great journey together and hence today we are more pumped up than ever to give the biggest reason of our reunion, the fans, our heart and soul through our music once again.”

Along with working as a band, the entertainers are still going to continue pursuing their individual endeavours and passions. Junaid is busy with several acting projects; he currently has two dramas on air – Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai on A-Plus and Dua on Geo – with a third serial, Kuch Ishq Tha Kuch Majboori, set to be released next month on Hum TV. His solo album, meanwhile, is “parked till Call gets back on its feet”. Xulfi, too, has a number of projects on his plate, including the talent show Nescafe Basement and the score of the upcoming film Yalghaar. “Call is my soul, Nescafe Basement is my mission, and I love doing scores,” he says. “I can’t be unfair to any of them. Music is my priority.”

As for the band itself, “loads of exciting stuff will be revealed with time,” Junaid promises. Among this will be Call’s cover of a popular ‘90s English track. “We are jamming regularly now and you’re going to hear a lot from us,” Xulfi reveals. “In fact, the first day we jammed, we reinvented an iconic English song in our own flavour and you are going to get to hear that very soon!”

- Sameen Amer - 31st August, 2015 *

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