Interview: Shumaun’s Main Man, Farhad Hossain

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The debut album from Shumaun is one of my favourite records of the year, with its sophisticated rock and passionate technicality.  Therefore, I was super excited to be able to interview singer/guitarist Farhad Hossain from the band.  Farhad gave Decibel Geek an insight into influences, plans and why music is being dumbed down!

Adam Cox: I started the interview by congratulating Farhad on the fantastic debut album and asked him how he would position the band in terms of genres as it is a very diverse record.
 
Farhad Hossain: “Thank you so much! I’m really happy that you dig it. We get the genre question quite frequently. Honestly, I really just think we’re a hard rock band with some progressive tendencies. We have been labeled prog rock/metal, heavy metal, alternative prog, and, oddly enough, power metal, just to name a few. We don’t really focus on what genre we might fall under, but we embrace them all because our influences are coming from a variety of genres in and out of hard rock/metal.”
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AC: The Shumaun record displays a maturity of lyrics, which is refreshing and I wanted to know which lyricists Farhad rated and why.  I was also interested in understanding whether any of them had inspired him on the album.
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Farhad: Thank you, it’s great to hear that you’re attentive to the lyrical content of the album.  The lyrics are never an afterthought for me. They’re just as important as the music in my opinion. There are several lyricists that have inspired me immensely, and I am sure it comes across in my own writing in some shape or form. Just off the top of my head I’d cite Peter Gabriel, Fish, Roger Waters, and Maynard James Keenan as huge influences. I’m also very much inspired by the writings of legends like Rumi, and Hafiz. All of these people have inspired me enough that I have no doubt that their influence comes across on the lyrics on this record.
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AC: I went on to ask Farhad what plans Shumaun had for 2016 and whether there were any special events he would like to call out to Decibel shumaun_longGeek readers.
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Farhad: “Our plans for 2016 is to play out as much as we can really. We are a brand new band so we really want to get out there and present ourselves to as many people as we can. We’d like to do a few short tours on the east coast of the US. If we could make it out to the west coast in 2016 that would be fantastic. There are no plans for any overseas traveling at the moment, but if there is an offer that’s financially viable for us than we would certainly take it. We plan to start writing for album #2 early 2016 as well.
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 shumaun_collageAC: As the band is relatively new, I was interested in what Farhad saw as the goals for the band in the longer term and where they would like to be in five years time.
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Farhad: “We are currently an independent band, and plan to be for a while unless there is a viable record label that’s interested in signing us where both parties involved could benefit. We want to continue to release great records and play our music live to everyone that connects with it. Our goal is to get our music heard by as many people as we can on our own terms. In five years, it would be great to have two or three albums out, and a supportive label with great distribution backing us.
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AC: In terms of touring, I asked Farhad which two other bands he would have on his wish list to tour with.  I followed this up with asking whether there are any bands who are no longer around that he would have liked to have toured or recorded with.
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Farhad: “Personally, to be able to tour with a band like Rush would be a dream come true for me, and certainly for a million other bands as well.anathema_band  Another band that I’d love to tour with would be Anathema. I have been listening to a lot of Anathema lately. Their music just captivates me like no other contemporary band has been able to. Regarding bands that are no longer together, it would be amazing to have toured with a band like Genesis with their classic lineup. I can say the same for Pink Floyd as well. Not sure how our music would go over with the fans of these bands, but since it’s a fantasy I’d say that they’d love us!
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AC: It is always revealing to know what other interests (besides music) musicians have and I asked Farhad about these and whether they had helped shape his musical creativity.
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Farhad: “I went to university and got my degree in art so that’s something I am interested in outside of music. I wouldn’t say that it shapes my musical creativity so much, though. If it does, it’s not something I am aware of. My creative itch is scratched more with writing lyrics and music over graphic design and fine arts, though.
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shumaun_outdoorAC: Finally, I put it to Farhad that people have the perception that music and culture is being “dumbed down” across the world, yet his band shows that this is a generalisation, not an absolute fact.  I asked whether he had a view as to why people perceive this to be happening.
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Farhad: “I would say that there is a degree of truth to this. I’m a fan of pop music, but I find that I can’t really listen to 99% of the contemporary pop songs out now because of the lack of substance and/or honesty in the music. I think the majority of information that is delivered to us via mainstream media is made to make decisions for us. There is a majority of us that allow the media to dictate what clothes to wear, what foods we should eat, what’s in fashion, as well as what subgroup of people we should hate.  A dumbed down society is very beneficial to those who are trying to push these agendas on us. There are several musicians and artists that are not having any of it, though, and it certainly shows in their art and music. I think people just have to search a little harder for music that has a level of intelligence that supersedes the comprehension of a toddler.”  Take that, Adele!
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AC: I thanked Farhad for his time and wished him and the band success for the record and for future ventures.
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Farhad: “Thank you, Adam, it’s been my pleasure. I truly appreciate you having me here to talk about Shumaun, and I look forward to talking to you again in the future.  I wish Decibel Geek all the success in the world as well, cheers!
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A great interview with a profound musician…I look forward to Shumaun touring and recording their amazing music for years to come!
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Buy album: Shumaun

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