It’s been a while since anyone has heard what Mahmood Rahman, the ex-guitarist of Overload, has been up to. Rahman, who got involved in the rather tumultuous break-up of Overload, is now back in the music scene and is focusing on producing music on his own. The guitarist has recently set up his own production house called Pocketwatch in collaboration with singer and music producer Jimmy Khan.
A new beginning
A state-of-the-art music studio with the assistance of several architects and designers has been installed in the basement of Rahman’s house. Now, apart from making music for most of his singer-wife Meesha Shafi’s tracks, Rahman is also working on his own creative identity by working with some local musicians such as Jimmy Khan and DJ Shahrukh.
While commenting on his own evolution as a musician, he says that he has had to struggle perpetually to get to where he is today. “I taught myself how to read music and learned the keyboard as well. As a guitarist, I went in the opposite direction I allowed simplicity and beauty to take over skill and technicality,” says Rahman.
Rahman has been predominantly known as a freelancing guitarist touring with the likes of Noori and Overload. He, however, stayed away from the limelight last year because he was busy fulfilling responsibilities that came with the birth of his child and with his infant production company.
Despite being swamped by responsibilities himself, he played a critical role in helping his wife’s musical career and continues to do so to this date. Rahman will not only feature in Shafi’s tracks for the latest season of “Coke Studio”, he will also be producing several other tracks with her. “Meesha’s solo work is all about her. What she wants to do and what she wants to sound like is entirely her decision,” says Rahman. “It makes my job easier if I produce for her, she is an exceptionally talented person. I may be a full-time musician but she is gearing for ‘Coke Studio’ and working on three films simultaneously, which is a skill.”
Trouble is boiling
Rahman has high hopes for the burgeoning music industry of Pakistan and he wishes to make quality music and help it grow at a faster pace. “Despite all odds, I think Pakistani music is certainly growing as an industry,” says the guitarist. “Previously we were just restricted to pop-rock music and desi music, but now I think everyone has branched out into his or her own genres of music.”
However, Rahman, who is excited to launch his solo career, still refuses to comment in detail on his highly publicised split with Overload. He does, however, share that the debate of song ownership is still being talked about. “Every musician or artist in Pakistan is lamenting the fact that they don’t have rights but when one does stand up for their rights like Meesha did, this is what they get,” says Rahman. “The entire debate of who sang which song is still under discussion which is why I can’t comment on it.”
In the jukebox
These days the musician-cum-producer is working on a three-way collaboration with DJ Shahrukh, Shafi and himself. The track is an electronic dance pop track, which has been written and sung by Shafi with Rahman on the guitars. His first major project as a producer is Jimmy Khan’s album which is still being recorded. The album will include around 10 to12 tracks along with collaborations with Shafi. “Jimmy has a very strong personality. He makes a different genre of music altogether. He has got this desi-country music vibe to him and that’s what he wants to bring forth in his album,” says Rahman. “My job is to enhance Jimmy’s signature style and so far we have completed three to four tracks for the album.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.
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