Call has managed to gather a large fan base over the years with its edgy pop-rock sound. After rocking in Pakistan, it made its way across the subcontinent to India where it gave the crowd songs such as “Laree Chooti” and “Yeh Pal” and left them spellbound.
In an exclusive interview regarding his latest project Nescafe Basement, guitarist Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan, more popularly known as Xulfi, disclosed some shocking news: Junaid Khan, the lead singer and guitarist of Call, will no longer be a part of the band. As a replacement, Mustafa Zahid from Roxen, has been playing with the band instead.
“He [Junaid Khan] is very busy with his acting and personal commitments,” said Xulfi, expressing disappointment about Junaid’s solo career on the rise. He also said that Junaid is recording his own album. “This was news to us. He is busy doing his solo stuff.” Expanding on the rift, he added: “We have lost our common ground. When that happens, the band cannot survive. I have done other projects too, but they have always been under the name of Call. You have to pick one identity.”
When asked how different things would be after losing an integral member, Xulfi said that as long as he was a part of it, the essence of the band will remain intact. He added that unlike other countries, bands in Pakistan face the dilemma of making a living solely from their music career. According to him, bands such as Entity Paradigm (EP), Overload and Jal also lost members and had to reform their line-ups and they ultimately did survive.
He further revealed, “Junaid was recording his album and we didn’t know — it was the way he wanted to go and we didn’t want to stop him just so we could continue to perform as a band.” He did not wish to share further details.
Junaid’s manager Hadi Imran confirmed this development, saying “This [Junaid’s departure from Call] had been decided a while back; it is being released to the media only now.” However, when The Express Tribune contacted Junaid for a comment, he said he would prefer not to make a statement.
Speaking about current projects, the introverted yet talented Xulfi express confidence that Call would continue to perform and remain alive as long as he was a part of the band. He talked about a project called Nescafe Basement, which aims to bring together skilled musicians from lesser known backgrounds on to one stage to perform together. “For me, promoting young blood is not about pleasure but about intent — if we don’t promote music amongst the youth, we won’t be able to create a positive future for the Pakistani music scene,” said Xulfi.
“I have this belief that the best music comes out of a jam. When I say ‘best music’, I am not talking about the audience or myself; I’m talking about the feel music creates,” he continued. “I was not a mentor that was forcing them — I was a mentor that was guiding them.” The project has brought together 15 ambitious artists who have recorded a total of 24 tracks.
Support from the industry
Xulfi explained that the biggest challenge for the music industry is to ensure that every entertainment medium provides unconditional support in promoting Pakistani music, whether it’s the TV/drama industry or cafes across the country. Appreciating TV shows such as “Humsafar”, he said: “I am so happy that our dramas have soundtracks which contain pure Pakistani music and lyrics. Everyone has the right to play anything they want in cafes or even on TV but industries are made when every other medium [sector] lends out its support allowing the industry to develop and prosper.”
Meanwhile, Xulfi remains excited about the future of his band Call, despite having lost Junaid. He hints at an upcoming video, which will be a surprise for his fans, along with the possible production of music for an Indian movie which releases next year. “It’s not about the number of songs you are doing there, it’s about what you are doing,” he said, referring to his contribution to Bollywood. “If you’re just lending your voice to their [Bollywood’s] music, they are using you. But if you’re giving your own music, then that’s another thing.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2012.