“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.