Latest Interview of Faraz Anwar for The News Instep
By: Asra Pasha
Published: Friday June 12th, 2009
“Guitar Idol requires us to travel to UK for the live performance. I tried to figure out a way of visiting UK this month but it wasn’t possible.”
Faraz Anwar speaks on the Guitar Idol experience and why he had to pull out of the show
Faraz Anwar, the man behind alternative rock band Mizraab, has become the only Pakistani guitarist who has made it to the finals of Guitar Idol. But despite making the cut, Faraz had to pull out of the show due to visa issues.
“Guitar Idol is an online talent search to find the hottest ‘undiscovered’ guitarists in the world. Staged over 3 online Heats and a final online knockout round thousands of guitarists will battle for 12 places to perform live on the main stage at the massive London International Music Show in June 2009 and be crowned Worldwide Guitar Idol 2009,” states the website, guitaridol.tv where fans get to vote alongside judges.
Even though, Faraz Anwar eventually had to pull out, his entry into the competition has brought him in the spotlight. From online forums and blogs to Facebook, the buzz around this particular gig has been rising.
As Guitar Idol gets underway today in the UK, Instep Today catches up with Faraz Anwar to find out more about the Guitar Idol experience, the reasons for pulling out and more…
Instep Today: Tell us about the Guitar Idol experience?
Faraz Anwar: I am a self-taught guitarist and belong to a country where there is no understating of my work, which is progressive rock whatsoever, let alone any appreciation. In this contest I secured the third rank out of some over 150 participants form across the world. Every level of competition tells you something about yourself.
Instep Today: Why did you pull out of the show that is being held in the UK?
Faraz Anwar: I had earlier applied for student visa in UK, which I received just recently but before the voting closed for Guitar Idol. This visa is valid from September 2009.
The tour for GI requires us to travel to UK in June for the live performance. When the results came out, I tried to figure out a way of visiting UK in June before my first visa, but the embassy told me that it wasn’t possible. Legally, an individual can hold only one visa at a time. Either I had to withdraw from the previous visa or this. Since the former means a professional music course in the UK and that too under a firm and approved scholarship, I had no other option than to withdraw myself from the final contest.
But GI and I are both confident, that the next year when I’d still be in the UK, I will contest and let’s see if I am lucky again.
Instep Today: You haven’t enjoyed commercial success too much…
Faraz Anwar: Not every person out there is producing music to churn money. A true artist only creates without the fear of rejection because he knows that what he knows is recognizable by those few who are capable.
I can safely say that I don’t stand there alone as an artist who has failed to produce music which is commercially viable.
When you know something you grow a gut to show it off, regardless of the fear of rejection and imbibed with the spirit of competition.
Instep Today: The general perception about you is that you are not interested in releasing your work here…
Faraz Anwar: When I went to Czech Republic last for a live performance, I was greeted with fans more than 70 years old. It’s surprising if they come and appreciate me and say that I made them “recall days from their youth”.
And when any Eastern classical album is released there, the audiences show equal interest in them. This is how our artists are encouraged to go and perform there with equal zeal, even more.
This is only possible because western record labels encourage newer forms of music too. The only way to introduce the audience to any art form is to release it for them.
In an attempt to get my work released in Pakistan, I showed my work to several record labels, but they all rejected it while the same was released in the US and Finland and it remains a successful venture.
Mizraab’s album Maazi, Haal, Mustaqbil was also accepted with much reluctance but the public did purchase and heard it and that’s how Mizraab is known.
Instep Today: What about record labels like Fire Records or others?
Faraz Anwar: I was in negotiations with The Musik but it became clear that it was not going anywhere. The terms of contract are often such that a true artist would rather remain unknown than sell his work like that.
Three years back Fire Records were considering my solo work. After sitting on it for eons, they called me one fine afternoon during Ramazan. It took me more than a good half hour to find parking space there, just to go upstairs and meet my host and hear him say, “we loved your work, but we have actually considered to release it after one year”, which never happened. This could have been done through a simple email too.
On the other hand, the foreign record labels keep a little more in mind more than the ethics of business they have in mind.
The one record company that has released my album from Finland, you would not believe that often they have run out of funds to pay their staff but they have never violated the contract that I have with them. My royalty share has never been missed.
The bottom line is that it’s a stark contrast and one cannot ignore it. Also when you have worked with people who are so fair and professional in their way of working, it’s extremely difficult to appreciate people on the other extreme.