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  TAIMUR TAJIK INTERVIEW

Andy Millen

andy millen

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taimur tajik

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the new single from Karachi – based rocker Taimur Tajik. This week I managed to catch up with him for an interview.

1. Can you introduce the band to us - are they the same members who played on Vice Versa?

The recording of Vice Versa back in 2010 was a very ad hoc process. It began with recording some rough demos and quickly escalated to a professional recording with local musicians Gumby and Omran Shafique. They had just set up a new studio at the time so it was a mutual opportunity for all of us to work together. Gumby (best known as the drummer in the local band 'Noori') played drums on 3 of the tracks and Omran, who was in a band called 'Mauj' at the time, produced them. Being full time musicians on Coke Studio, those guys had a lot on their plate so I needed to find a new studio to record the rest of the album. I met up with fellow musician Faraz Haider and he's been my producer ever since. For the rest of Vice Versa, I had to recruit drummers based on style and availability. I think a total of 4 drummers played on the album.

Article continues below...

 
 


Nowadays, running the band is almost a one-man operation. I do the vocals, rhythm, lead and bass guitars on all studio tracks. I only use live drums, so for the latest album I recruited Kamran Rasheed (aka Kami) from an underground death metal band called 'Karachi Butcher Clan'. He's played on 90% of the drums on the new album 'Order for Disorder'. There's a childhood friend of mine named Adnan Hussain (formerly from a band called 'Undertow') who is now based in London. Whenever he's in Karachi, I always ask him to play on at least one song. Call me sentimental.

2. Are you the only writer of the songs and music - how much input do the rest of the band and Faraz (Haider) have on the songs and arrangements?

I write music as I hear it – in its entirety. I usually have all the guitar and drum parts and vocal melodies in my mind before recording. But I'm always seeking input from Faraz and Kami. Although I write the material, these guys are the ones who help me bring it to life. And their input is extremely valuable to me. I am a shit producer. To me louder always equals better. Faraz has taught me how to strike a balance in my sound. He is the reason the new stuff sounds so good. Kami is a great guy. He's always up for a challenge and puts 110% into everything. He takes every track and listens to it and develops the drum parts accordingly. There's very little time for us to jam, so it's kind of like a virtual brainstorming of ideas. But these guys have made my music their own personal project. That means a lot to me. They are as much a part of it as I am.

3. Growing up in many different countries has shaped your musical style, where was your favourite place to live and why?

Out of all the places I've lived, I'd probably have to say Bahrain was my favorite. My family and I had just left Saudi Arabia, which was a tough place to grow up. As the new kid, it was tough to fit in and make friends. My brother and I got picked on a lot. It was a very difficult time for us so we both turned to music. In those days Aerosmith, STP and GNR were my only friends. I took a lot of my music influences from my elder brother. I'd listen to those tapes to and from school every day on my walkman. When we moved to Bahrain, life got better. People were nicer. School was better. There was a warmth which was very welcoming. I miss that place a lot. But my repertoire of musical influences exploded when I went to boarding school and then college in New Hampshire, USA. I discovered bands like Pantera, Meshuggah, Days of the New, Filter, Slipknot, Black Label Society, Nine Inch Nails and Sevendust and fortunately got to see most of them live.

4. You have toured throughout Pakistan - what are the crowds like? How easy is it to get gigs? How does the security situation affect things? (you have described Karachi as the bomb blast capital of the world)

I can't say that I've toured much. I've played a few gigs here and there. But every time I have played, crowds have been amazing. To be a rock artist in Pakistan is very limiting. To be an English rock artist is practically signing your own death warrant as you get no air time compared with artists singing in local dialects. But I believe there is a sincere audience here that appreciates the effort. Unfortunately, they're very spread out all over the country. So to pack those guys into a single event is next to impossible.

Security is a concern, but that's gotten a little better after our recent elections. You do hear about the odd show now and then, but the underground scene isn't what it used to be a few years ago. It isn't easy setting up a show and funding everything on your own. Lights and sound cost and ticket prices need to be kept low, which means bands don't break even anymore. Considering that, it's easier to wait for a sponsor to set up an event which I can participate in. Radio One Fm 91 did that a few years back with their 'Summer Jam' and we had a hell of a time playing there. The crowd seemed to be made of easy listeners, but the place went nuts after we opened. I think people here just want a release. They want to forget their everyday problems. They want to be part of something that isn't so serious. I think that's where rock n' roll has its place.

5. Are you planning to tour outside Pakistan? I know that a lot of other bands find their way to Dubai and Malaysia, (even Europe) - are their plans for you to do this?

I would love to. Considering that all my material is in English, I probably belong more out there than I do here in Pakistan. But I haven't planned anything in the near future. Not yet anyway.

6. Many of the metal bands and artists in Pakistan seem to have an interconnectivity and goodwill not observed in other music scenes - how connected are you with other bands and do you feel that the artists support one another?

I think that Pakistani artists have it rough. Our music industry doesn't lend any support to anything other than mainstream and Indian influence. So there is no diversity and hence, no acceptance of new local music. Artists invest entirely in themselves, promoting themselves online, funding their own shows etc. So it takes a lot for one band to promote another. But you find that artists from similar genres tend to do it from time to time. You find that it's more of a friendship thing than a musical thing. I have supported a lot of bands that haven't necessarily supported me in return to the same degree, but I don't blame them. I know that they're having a hard enough time supporting themselves. Support actually needs to come from our music industry. Until it does, we're going to have to support ourselves.

7. I know that you are a big fan of Slash and met him recently. How was that for you? Do you know if he has heard your music at all? Did he offer any tips?

Life changing. I've been an avid prodigy of Slash ever since I got my first guitar way back when I was a teenager. I spent hours listening to GNR and Snakepit CDs, trying to decode the way he played. I saw him live with Velvet Revolver in 2005 at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and I was completely star-struck. But seeing him from the front row in Dubai and then meeting him after the show was unexplainable. My wife and I waited for about 2 hours after the show. We had all lined up to get autographs, but I didn't think he would actually show up. When he did, it was surreal. As we were approaching him, I was at a complete loss at what to say. To be honest, I didn't want to promote myself to him. I'm sure 100's of bands have done it. I just wanted to tell him how much he had affected my life. So I did. As he was signing our cocktail napkin I said "We flew all the way down from Pakistan to see you!" and he goes "Oh yeah?". I went blank again. Then after he had signed, I looked into his aviators and said "I just wanted to tell you that you have inspired me to do so much with my life and I just want to say thank you." He smiled and shook my hand and we walked away. A little while later Myles Kennedy and Todd came out as well. I doubt any of them have ever heard of me, but it doesn't matter. Validation or not, those guys are my heroes.

8. What are your favourite top 5 songs ever?

Only 5? That's tough.

'Beggars & hangers-on' - Slash's Snakepit

- 'Estranged' – GNR
- 'Suicide Messiah' – Black Label Society
- 'I'm Broken' – Pantera
- 'The Day the World Went Away' (Still version) – Nine Inch Nails


Thank you very much Taimur. The Album "Order for disorder" will be released soon, for news, please see his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/taimurtajik?fref=ts

10.6.13





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The band will start work shortly on their first full length album since 2008...

beyond forgotton shores DORMANT INFERNO & DIONYSUS ANNOUNCE SPLIT RELEASE 'BEYOND FORGOTTEN SHORES'
India's Transcending Obscurity label produces a Doom Metal double...

icon I.C.O.N SIGN TO METALBOX RECORDINGS
With a follow up album to 'New Born Lie' on the way and an extensive touring schedule, 2015 sees I.C.O.N in full flow...

soldierfield SOLDIERFIELD RELEASE OFFICIAL VIDEO FOR 'THE ONLY WAR'
The video is from the latest acclaimed release 'Catharsis'...

serpentine SERPENTINE ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF THEIR ALBUM 'CIRCLE OF KNIVES'
The new studio album contains ten brand new songs from the melodic rock quintet...

rival sons RIVAL SONS HAVE RECORDED EXCLUSIVE RECORD STORE DAY TRACKS
The limited edition 7" contains two previously unreleased songs...

styx STYX RELEASE 'LIVE AT THE ORLEANS ARENA LAS VEGAS'
The definitive live show is available on DVD, CD, Blu-ray and digital formats...

electric wizard ELECTRIC WIZARD CONFIRM FULL SUPPORTING CAST FOR HEADLINE SHOW AT THE ROUNDHOUSE IN LONDON
The Cosmic Dead, Purson and Moss are added to the May 15th bill...

mike porcaro MIKE PORCARO OF TOTO DEAD AT 59
The rock world was shook again on Sunday morning, March 15th 2015...

sick of it all SICK OF IT ALL LAUNCH NEW VIDEO FOR 'GET BRONX'
"This video serves to show people across the world that as gritty and unpretentious as hardcore music is, it still translates to the big stage and doesn't need a tiny, intimate atmosphere to work..."

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT LAUNCHES 'THE WHEEL'S TURNING' LYRIC VIDEO
"In contrast to the primal and gothic nature of much of the album, 'The Wheel's Turning' has a fun and nostalgic vibe..."

corbitt WARBEAST'S BRUCE CORBITT ISSUES UPDATE FOLLOWING HIS HEART SCARE
Bruce has been undergoing tests and has an important message to share...

enter shikari ENTER SHIKARI ANNOUNCE INTIMATE DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL WARM-UP SHOW
Catch the band at Bristol in June before their slot headlining Download's second stage...

tony iommi TONY IOMMI, NAPALM DEATH AND LAMB OF GOD APPEAL TO INDONESIAN PRESIDENT FOR BALI NINE DUO CLEMENCY
All artists are hopeful that their words will be persuasive and encourage President Widodo to grant clemency...

serpentyne MEDIEVAL FOLK ROCKERS SERPENTYNE UNLEASH NEW VIDEO FOR 'VALKYRIES'
Over the last few years their live show has become quite the spectacle...

tank TANK REVEAL ALBUM ARTWORK FOR 'VALLEY OF TEARS'
"He's injected so much new energy and inspiration into the band since joining us in 2013..."

mike portnoy MIKE PORTNOY IN MEGA "DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM" MOMENT AFTER HAVING TO WAIT AT HOSPITAL
However well intended, the post comes across as though he is expecting to jump the queue due to his "status"...

armored saint ARMORED SAINT TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM THIS SUMMER
"There's everything from classic Armored Saint rocker songs to epic songs and we all dug deep deliver something special..."

david gilmour DAVID GILMOUR ANNOUNCES 2015 SHOWS
The dates will coincide with the release of his as yet untitled fourth solo studio album...


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