Fahad Khan: The beat goes on

Drummer Fahad Khan talks about his journey into the music scene, his struggles and upcoming ventures.

Sher Khan March 14, 2012


“I’ve always opted to be away from the limelight — I believe that my drumming should do all the talking,” says veteran drummer Fahad Khan, explaining why he prefers to keep a low profile. And he was spot on with his philosophy as Khan, who has been in the music scene since 1995, has certainly forged a unique place for himself in Pakistan’s music industry. He has played for most mainstream bands ranging from Mekaal Hasan Band (MHB), Najam Sheraz, Fuzon, Club Caramel, Noori, Ali Zafar, Jal the band, Call the band, Ali Azmat, Farhan Saeed and SYMT among others.

How his journey started

“I started getting into session playing because that was the only way to get a regular gig. Being in a new band was quite risky at that time; it was similar to a business — you never knew whether it would be a hit or a flop,” says the 33-year-old drummer.

Working through the mid 90s, Khan honed his skills at the Mekaal Hasan Studios, where he was introduced to Pakistan’s ace guitarist Faraz Anwar, who was recording an album there. It was that fateful meeting with Anwar that later paved the way for him in the relatively more alive commercial music scene in Karachi. After featuring in a couple of his songs, Anwar introduced him to Sheraz following which Khan became one of the most sought after professional drummers in the country.

“I realised that there weren’t any good drummers even though they’re such an essential part of a band. Back when I started, people did not even notice the drums and the drummer,” recalls Khan.

Dearth of drummers

Lamenting the lack of interest for percussions in many youngsters, Khan has been actively trying to encourage new people to take up the drums. He feels a great sense of satisfaction when drummers like Kami Paul and Aahad Nayani show utmost dedication and passion towards the art.

However, he points out the structural issues — such as the emphasis of vocal based bands and lack of musical equipment available in the country — which have led to the dearth of drummers in the industry. “Over here, most youngsters who want to take up music either want to be singers or guitarists, so drums and bass have always been in the background,” says Khan. “That’s why I’m trying really hard to get some new kids in the scene.”

What lies ahead?

Meanwhile, Khan, who is currently working with SYMT, Ali Azmat, Roxen, Farhan Saeed to name a few, may branch out with his own projects in the future. “I am still trying to figure out whether I should make a band or record a solo album. I could come out with a single to see how it goes,” adds the drummer. “For me, the most important thing is that music should be kept alive because the audience is deprived of entertainment; there is nothing for them. Hence, I’ll keep on playing till I can.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2012.


Dr Omar | 9 years ago | Reply

Heard Fahad with MHB! He definitely packs a punch! I agree that Percussions/Drums and Bass as instruments are not so readily taken up like vocals or guitar and till sometime back, recording live drums was a tall order (something taken up by Junoon for the first time, I think)

It must be highlighted that vocals or guitar riffs are only as good as the beat or bass-line that support them. And our aspiring musicians must be exposed to the recordings of prominent drummers (Phil Collins, Don Henley John Bonham and Steward Copeland, etc) and bassists (Paul McCartney, Sting and Roger Waters) in-order for them to understand the impact of these instruments on Rock Music!

Dr Omar | 9 years ago | Reply

Heard Fahad with MBH, he definitely packs a punch! And yes getting people to take up percussions is difficult, especially in a country, where at a time, recording live drums in a studio was an uphill task( something taken up by Junoon for the first time)!

But now things are different, and kids should be told that drums & bass form the rhythmic backbone of any good rock band. The vocals & guitar riffs are only as good as the beats & bass-lines that back them.

In the west, the work of bassists (Paul McCartney, Sting and Roger Waters), and drummers (Phil Collins, Don Henley and John Bonham) have imparted major influences on the way Rock Music has progressed and the works of such artists should be introduced to our youngsters as well!

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