American music producer Berry Gordy Jr is often credited for bringing acts like the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder to the fore through his label Motown Records. A similar sentiment can be associated with veteran music producer Arshad Mahmud, whose studio served as the happy place for many new comers-turned-maestros in Pakistan.
Having produced some of the most definitive and iconic musical acts such as Nazia & Zoheb and Vital Signs, Musician-cum-actor Mahmud has provided several musicians with their first break.
With Pakistani music industry’s current struggles well-documented, the seasoned Mahmud has decided to put all of his experience and knowledge to start his own record label MoUSICi.
While the primary reason behind the start-up was to give a boost to the industry, another objective on MoUSICi’s agenda is to bring forth new talent. Despite the lack of quality musicians coming through, Mahmud believes that there is no dearth of talent and that the new crop of artistes lack proper guidance.
Terming the growing trend of performing covers a worrying sign, Mahmud said that his record label would be concentrating more on releasing new songs.
“Most of the music being made by musicians these days is either a remixed or cover version of classic songs. Musicians like Vital Signs and Nazia & Zoheb made a name by doing original songs and not remixes,” Mahmud told The Express Tribune.
Having worked with EMI Pakistan as a music producer for the majority of his career, Mahmud believes that his experience with the company would greatly benefit him in his new venture. “The main aim is to bring forward new musicians, producers and to provide them with the facilities to make music.”
When asked whether he would be implementing the same model being used by EMI Pakistan to MoUSICi, he asserted that both of them were two completely different entities. “EMI has a completely different philosophy. We, on the other hand, want to make new music and create our own music catalogue at the same time,” he added.
Elaborating on the model, he explained that audience these days mostly comprise of youngsters. “Eighty to 90% of our music would be catering to the popular choice but we also want to have music for the remaining audiences,” stated the music producer.
“It is also important to cater to the 15% to 20% that wants to listen to different types of music such as classical. So we will try and accommodate all genres of music in our catalogue.”
With album releases becoming virtually non-existent over the course of the last five years, Mahmud is hoping to release them in a physical format as well given that they receive a good response online. “We would release music online and through that we can gauge what the audience response is like. If it is favorable then yes we would look into proper album releases as well,” he noted.
With music streaming portals like Saavn, Soundcloud and Patari all the rage these days, Mahmud is also looking into the possibility of creating a MoUSICi online portal.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2015.