A 25 year old musician based in Lahore, Awais has been playing guitar since 2006 and is completely self-taught, having taken only a few guitar lessons at school. Having deep appreciation for Instrumental Rock, Jazz-Fusion, Metal, and Classical music, Kazmi has produced many originals among which ‘Downside Up’ has received notable recognition.
Awais has also made several TV and Radio appearances and won multiple music competitions across the country, the most recent victory being the instrumental competition at BNU Bestival 2017. He has also been invited to various music competitions as chief-guest and judge and has worked with notable artists and platforms such as Walnut Studios and Kuch Khaas.
Kazmi recently collaborated with Alhamra Arts Council to become a part of ‘Alhamra Unplugged Season 1’, a musical platform promoting young talent from across the country, and is playing Guitar, Leads, Rubab, Bass and Banjo is the season, aiming to become a catalyst in raising awareness and introducing “Jazz Fusion” to the masses of Pakistan.
- Hey Awais how are you doing?
hey m doing good and well, thankyou
- Today, you have deepened your roots in the field of music, playing guitar is not easy and playing it with such a perfection is very hard though, can you please sum up your journey of music uptil now for your fans?
I started playing guitar in 2006 when I was 14. I was in the ninth grade at that time, first year of my O Levels. When I started out, I used to play for hours on end, paying close attention to articulation and making sure that all the notes I played came out clean. With the passage of time, I got better and better and it was in 2009 when I got my first gig. After passing college and entering into university I found a bunch of like-minded fellows and formed a band with them called ‘Naqsh’. This was at the same time when I started writing and recording my original instrumental compositions as well. Soon after we formed the band, Naqsh started getting invites to TV and Radio shows, touring offers, and it’s been busy ever since.
- There is always some inspiration, that helps a person to achieve his or her goals and face the hardships with a potential hope, what was that particular inspiration which led you become a musician?
Music written on a piece of paper is what always appealed to me. I loved the idea that you can write music on paper using some weird notation and then share it with other musicians who would totally understand that. I wanted to learn the language of music and how it all worked together to result in what we call music. That has always been my inspiration and once I started to understand it, I dug deeper and deeper only to find out that there is so much more to music than just its language. It amazed me that a million people could play the same thing
using the same equipment and yet sound completely different from one another, which is clearly something way deeper than just notes and language.
- Awais why only guitar?
Ah I wish I could play every other instrument there is, because I love expressing myself through music. But to answer your question, I don’t just play the guitar. I can play bass, banjo, rubab, and bansuri to a certain level of competence as well.
- What are your views on the present music industry?
I have not much to say about our present music industry. The true essence of music started slowly fading in the nineties especially after the advent of internet, which resulted to mediocre music gaining much popularity, leaving behind the real music. But things are progressing gradually. I see a lot of young musicians working extremely hard to revive the music industry which once boomed, and hopefully in the near future we will see a huge positive change.
- What do you think is lacking in the present music industry?
The phrase ‘quantity over quality’ best answers this question. The fact that almost everyone now owns a computer, and has a decent recording setup in their bedrooms, it’s very easy for people to record whatever they like, upload it as music, and the word gets out on the social media almost instantly. This is why most people don’t even know what music is really all about and there’s a huge lack of exposure to quality music in the present music industry.
- Who was particular support system of yours in your family?
My immediate family, all of it. I have been fortunate enough to have had a family who has played and continues to play an important role in making me who I am today. Their only concern was whether I’d be able to manage music with studies, because everyone in my family was a high achiever and I had to live up to their expectations, which thankfully I did. My dad brought me my first ever guitar, for which I can’t thank him enough. My elder brother, Zain, always had new and exciting music to share with me, and it was through him that I heard Joe Satriani for the very first time, which was a defining moment in my life and I started to explore the world of instrumental guitar music.
- What kind of music you are into much, like if you have to choose between jazz, pop, classical etc.
I try not to restrict myself to any specific genre of music. To me, it’s all good. Having said that, I’m largely a blues rock guy, and like to incorporate all the different styles of music such as jazz, country, metal, eastern classical, and western classical in to my playing altogether.
- Being at a position, where people know you for your immensely beautiful work, winning multiple awards and serving as a chief guest in many music competitions, how do you feel?
I feel honored, really. The love and support that I have received from my fans is overwhelming, and knowing that my music is uplifting the community, it feels really good.
- Recently you shared national anthem’s beautiful melody with some mashups of multiple tones and it was really appreciated. How did this idea pop up in your mind?
Since 14th of August is a very special date for every Pakistani, the day when Pakistan came into existence, everyone around me was busy in preparations for celebrating this wonderful occasion. Likewise, I wondered ‘How should I celebrate such an auspicious event?’, and eventually decided to cover our national anthem. But unlike other covers, I wanted it so sound different. I experimented with different musical styles and came up with this interesting arrangement which I then recorded and released on to the social media.
- Have you been seeking musical lessons? Or it is a god gifted talent?
I’m completely self-taught, having taken only a few beginner guitar lessons at school. All I’ve ever learnt is by listening to music and trying to copy the sounds that I hear onto the guitar.
- Any message for your fans?
I’d like to thank all my fans for their love and endless support. Nothing makes me happier than you guys appreciating my work and it is only because of you guys that I am what you see today. I’d encourage you all to step forth into the world of instrumental guitar music, learn this art form, and keep supporting me for together we shall bring instrumental music to the mainstream and take it to the next level!
- Few lines for FABASIA?
The team at FABASIA is doing a wonderful job in promoting Asian culture and helping the community grow altogether. I’d like to extend my heartiest congrats for your amazing hard work and dedication, you guys are doing amazing. More power to you!
Thankyou awais for joining us, team fabAsia wishes you good luck for a bright future,keep up the good work.
–interview by Hina Awan.