Idealistic, pacifist rock musicians, like John Lennon, have always appealed to the youth to choose love and peace over war and strife. Junaid Khan is one such peace-loving high achiever who believes in following up his words with action. After making his mark on television this year starring in the hit drama serials Silsilay, Ishq Tamasha and Khasara as well as creating a stellar rock track for PSL (Pakistan Super League) and an upbeat anthem for the Pakistan cricket team, this September, he collaborated with Indian band Spunk and Bangladeshi music production house Glitch on the brand new pop rock track titled Talaash. The song’s lead vocals have been rendered by Junaid. With this track, the group of talented young musicians seeks to heal the wounds and bring India, Pakistan and Bangladesh closer together in harmony
By Haider Rifaat
Your songs always seem to convey important social messages. What are you trying to send across to the listeners with your new collaboration titled Talaash?
The hashtag movement is #TalaashforPeace. The title of the track is Talaash and we have used this particular hashtag because we, as artists from the Subcontinent feel that there has to be unity between India and Pakistan. It is a collaboration with an Indian band named Spunk. Creative individuals and artists belonging to both these countries are very much united. We are always in search for opportunities to work with each other.
Indians want to collaborate with us and we want to work with them, be it in music, television or films. Unfortunately, the political scenario does not allow us to team up for creative peaceful pursuits. We need to have political integrity as well as cultural, artistic and business exchanges to create a healthy, communicative and peaceful environment in the Subcontinent that will be conducive to prosperity. That is the songâ€™s main purpose.
Why is this song important to you?
As artists, we are the ambassadors of our country. It is our responsibility that we convey a positive message to the audiences and around world through our art, music and voice. Since our voices matter and reach out to people, we are able to inspire. Both countries, India and Pakistan, have conveyed similar messages in the past about peace and unity. I would say Talaash is important because everyone in the world should know that people from India and Pakistan love each other and want peace.
How were you approached for the song? What drew you to the collaboration?
The band Spunk approached me for the song. They had prepared the trackâ€™s demo and I really liked it. Spunkâ€™s genre is entirely in sync with my kind of music and we are aligned creatively. We share the same sentiments about its message.
India loves our music and we love their songs and films. The song Talaash itself is a very happy, pop rock song. We took the track on another level and added the lyrics. The band and I co-wrote the song and recorded it together. The music video will be out soon. I love the track!
Having worked with an Indian band, do you think it will bridge differences between both countries?
Of course! The purpose of collaborations is to bridge the differences between individuals and artists. It is simply to overcome atrocities and strengthen the communication process for the benefit of both parties.
What response are you hoping from the listeners in and outside of Pakistan?
I am hopeful for a good response. It is a very sincere effort to do something creative and reduce the prejudice between India and Pakistan. As I said earlier, we, as artists love to collaborate with each other and bring people closer. Indians enjoy our creative output just as we fondly watch their films in Pakistan. I hope Pakistanis, Indians and those who keep a close eye on both will hear our collective voice.
â€œAs artists, we are the ambassadors of our country. It is our responsibility that we convey a positive message to the audiences and around world through our art, music and voiceâ€
How is Talaash different from your past musical ventures?
In terms of genre, it is the same from what I have done before. It is mainly alternative rock but the ideology is different. The concept is unique for sure. I believe every song I have written in the past has a story linked to it. There is a thought process behind every track. Talaash is a concept we not only needed to express as artists but also collectively as nations.
What is the genre of the song? What theme(s) are you tackling?
We have created an alternative, progressive rock track. The theme is to live for the moment and forget about the past. It is all about bringing people together.
Can we expect a new studio album from you or the band Call anytime soon?
Yes, Call has been working aggressively on creating new tracks. If you check out our recent singles such as Zalmi for PSL (Pakistan Super League) and Pakistan Zindabad, the official 2018 anthem for the Pakistan cricket team, they are great tracks. There are a few others in the pipeline. As a band, we are passionate when it comes to making quality music. We are performing in and outside of Pakistan and the overall pro\cess of making tracks is quite fulfilling. Like before, we are planning to release four to five tracks and later working towards compiling an album.
Will you plan to experiment with genres other than rock in the future?
Yes â€“ we, as a band love experimenting with different genres. What we did with the track Zalmi, was unique direction wise. It was still under the rock banner but it was a fusion of traditional Pashto music and rock instruments. As a solo artist, I have worked on many OSTs (original sound track) for my drama serials. They are quite different from what I usually do as a rock artist. They are more mellow tracks. Experimentation is always something to look into. There are basic lines you have to work within but we love to experiment and stretch as much boundaries as we can, keeping our integrity intact.
Apart from singing, you are acting in several drama sertials. How do you simultaneously manage so many things?
It is a tough job but I am very passionate about my work. My creative outlet is music and acting is something I love doing too. I keep myself busy with the things I love because that is my work. That drive motivates me to manage everything simultaneously. It boils down to drive and passion in the end. If you are not driven, you could probably not manage multi-tasking to this level, but since Iâ€™m highly motivated, it works out for me. I am at a point in my life and career where I feel extremely motivated to progress and work towards improving myself in both fields.