In every epoch, the Pakistani music domain has witnessed talented artistes trying their luck with western music in genres like blues, hard rock and heavy metal. Though quite versatile, it is a bitter fact that not many of these aspirants have been able to make their mark or have been a hit with a cult following.
Taimur Tajik realised this imminent risk. But, the love and passion for music and inspiration from the likes of Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne) and Slash (Guns ‘n’ Roses) were good enough to release his debut album, Vice Versa, recently.
He decided to fly solo for the launch performance and transcribed all the songs down to a single acoustic guitar. This was to give the audience a much more personal and intimate experience of each song, as well as a unique perspective of the album.
“Vice Versa represents me and everything I’ve gone through in the past seven to eight years, so I wanted to make that connection with everyone. I think the arrangement worked out pretty well,” he says.
Taimur started the proceedings with Cover Me that has a simple bluesy rock vibe that everyone can relate to. The song is catchy with meaningful lyrical content: “I look inside, but there’s nothing I see/long forgotten, like a promise should be/wherever you are, cover me…” The sophomore track Drown seems heavily inspired by material off Black Label Society’s 1919 Eternal album. In the studio release, it is filled with heavy guitar riffs, harmonics and dynamic vocal melodies. For the launch, Taimur completely rearranged it and played an acoustic version instead. After seeing the response, I am sure he is considering recording an acoustic version as an upcoming release.
Let it Burn is about embracing apathy and wanting to separate oneself from the things (or people) that make cause disillusionment. With a haunting chord melody and chorus, Tajik played straight into the chorus and capped it off with a bit of the main guitar riff towards the end.
On Somebody’s Son, Taimur shows his more personal side. He wrote this particular song for his mother who passed away in 2009 from cancer. He then launched into Far From Here, a homage to Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Estranged, off their Use Your Illusion II album. It was one of the highpoints of the gig. It is a challenge to play an eight-minute track on acoustic, but the manner in which Taimur managed to execute the guitar riffs and vocal chops is worth praising.
The gig drew to a close with Disappear, a track performed as on the album. It is a somber number about what the world would be like with verses like: “It’s better than nothing/but it’s nothing like anything we knew/it’s more like something I’d do, without you.”
Taimur also debuted his music video for his single, Just like the Rest, directed by Mazhar Raza. “I originally wasn’t interested in doing a video, but when I started working with Mazhar, everything changed. I wish I could have done a video for every song on the album.”
Speaking to Images on Sunday about the album, Taimur said, “Vice Versa is a project that has been over two years in the making. It’s been through three studios, two producers, four drummers, three bassists and countless hours of editing, mixing and mastering. But in the end, it has all been worth it and I’m hoping my fans will hear all that effort in each and every one of these songs. Everything from the guitar tones to the compositions have been meticulously scrutinised and tweaked over and over again until it was exactly the way I imagined it in my head.”
When asked whether the Pakistani market is ready for an all-English album, he said, “I’m not a marketer. All I know is that there are loyal hardcore fans out there who listen to the masters (Pantera, GNR, Metallica, Megadeth, Black Label Society and so on) and there is a real shortage of that type of music here. I want them to know that music like that can be made out here too. Whether it’s in English, Urdu or Chinese is not the issue. Music is universal.”
So, how confident is he about the success of Vice Versa? “I am not expecting everyone to praise this album because I know it is not mainstream, nor was it ever meant to be. In the end, I know that this is something that only the true rock and metal fans will understand… that is, if anyone understands it at all.
“This album was never meant to be a money-making venture. Nor was it meant to be a claim to fame. It’s a statement… a statement directed towards a very specific crowd of individuals. That’s why I’ve uploaded it for free and refused any commercial sponsorship so far. I want this album to go forward on the basis of its own merit. I want it to reach the true rock and metal fans of Pakistan. If others like it in the process, nothing like it. The way I see it, I have achieved what I wanted to do and if anyone thinks they can do better, I welcome them to either join me or put me in my place,” says Taimur Tajik.Print This Post