A New Dimension.
'Feed yourself with my life's work, how many 'Likes' is my life worth?' - a line from one of The Chainsmokers' songs made me realize how well perhaps new age musicians can relate to it.
Pakistan's music industry is full of people who are working behind the scenes. These people play a vital role in shaping the music which gets to us. They may not be on tours singing on stage but in one way or the other they are responsible for what we hear.
Fahad Bukhari is one such individual. He belongs to the young generation that has still not come to the fore but when I got a chance to talk to him about his work so far, I came to know that he has plans for setting up a studio besides the music ventures he would like to work on. It was also clear that he was aware of the current landscape of Pakistan's music industry.
Fahad's passion for music developed at a very young age and his father was the one who always supported him in his creative pursuits. At a young age, Fahad Bukhari is so many things. He is a musician, an instrumentalist, a teacher, an audio engineer, a music producer, a composer, a sound designer, a studio designer, an acoustician and a whole lot of other things.
"I believe in adapting to different roles with different professional requirements," he says. "My job as music producer and audio engineer is multifaceted and cannot be pigeonholed into one. I've vested myself in music in various forms, from composing music and creating background scores for films, documentaries, trailers and TVCs, to teaching students sound design, audio engineering and location sound recording".
He goes on: "In the current era, music professionals have to wear different hats. Things which were appropriate 10 years ago or so are redundant now and you cannot get into music just as a composer or engineer. Now you have to do everything and understand every part of the process. You have to give your 100% and be more than just one thing," he explains.
After completing his education from Malaysia's International College of Music and SAE Institute Malaysia, Fahad came to Pakistan and worked with a diverse group of international and national musicians, including Mekaal Hasan, Mary McBride, Haniya Aslam, Sounds of Kolachi and Yousuf Bashir Qureshi (YBQ). He has worked on designing Pakistan's one-of-a-kind recording studio, Prodigy Arts, where he honed his skills as an audio engineer, music composer and instrumentalist, and also co- produced his debut album 'Elhaam' by Sounds of Kolachi along with Mekaal Hasan and Ahsan Bari.
Fahad designs studios for musicians. He says, "Prodigy Arts is one-of-a-kind 24-track recording studio. The studio design was approved by Asif Iqbal who was a core member of the PTV studios and the only acoustician of his time." He has also worked with Sharp Image, Pakistan's biggest animation and VFX post-production house, to incorporate a mini-cinema design at their studio. "The current status of the industry only allows you to do more with less, therefore the more resilient you can be with you work, the better your chances of success," he says.
Talking about the current music landscape in Pakistan, he says, "The thing about music is that you can access it no matter where you are on the globe. Similarly if we go beyond Pakistan's borders, I see a lot of great things happening. Nowadays people are exploring and experimenting, resulting in an amalgamation of instruments and sounds particular to the region."
An all-purpose studio, Audissey is Fahad's brainchild and is a one-stop sound solution. "The idea is to have a studio where music production, composition, recording, post-production, mixing and mastering can take place."
Fahad wants a studio that can cater to the needs of diverse audiences. "We are currently involved in doing background score for short-films and sound for TVCs as we make a move towards commercial clients..
His plans for the future? "I'm inclined towards giving background scores for films as I see myself producing and exploring more theme-based audio content. Sound for television commercials is another area which is so exciting and has a lot of room for experimenting. In order to keep myself synced with the technical side, I take up mixing and mastering projects of soundtracks and albums as well. I like to compose and keep exploring difference sound formations as a way of self-development and expression."
Asked about the misconceptions that people have about the profession, he says, "There are a few common misconceptions. People think it's easy - that you'll be successful quickly and it will be all about you. Many people also believe visuals are more important than audio. I love the way a film can be enhanced by its background score. I choose to believe that soundtrack is at least equally, if not more, important as the visuals. Given that creating meaningful sound is what I live for, seeing my work enhance a moving image and evoke profound emotions is the greatest feeling one could wish for."