We sit down with Daniyal Zafar to talk about his upcoming album, the fusion of Qawwali and Hip Hop and all things music:
1. How long have you been working on this album?
The album was made over a span of 6 months. But it wasn’t like for that entire duration I was fixated on ‘this is my album’, I made a lot of songs during this time and eventually found my sound, then hand picked the tracks I wanted to put in an album.
2. What makes the track, So Long, Goodbye – different from other singles on the album?
For starters, the song is divided into 3 phases, it has a beat and tempo switch in between that also incorporates a Qawwali. That’s not something I’ve done in any other track. It’s the most experimental track of the album.
3. What made you incorporate Qawali into the song?
A fellow friend, producer Hassan Badshah was over one day, and I was mixing the last portion of the track which initially had an english part. He was on the harmonium and out of the blue game up with this melody. We gave it a shot together on the mic and boom, the track just elevated for me!
4. What kind of audience can appreciate the fusion of Qawali and Hip/Hop?
Any. You don’t have to be a specific kind of an audience to enjoy any specific type of music. It’s a vibe, if you’re with it, if you feel it, you get it.
5. You are constantly being compared to big bro Ali Z. How has this album helped you define yourself as an artist, outside of his shadow?
The entire album is a completely different and new sound. I mean, language is a huge factor as well since all of my tracks are in english. But I didn’t make this specifically to get out of any shadow or something, I just made music true to my heart. I’ve never looked at it like I’m in his shadow in the first place, as we are very different artists. The work will eventually speak for itself.
6. What more can we expect to see from this album / and you in the future? Any upcoming music videos?
Well there are 6 more tracks, all touching a different nerve and emotion. And yes, we have 2-3 more music videos planned for the next 2-3 months to come. Right after the album wraps up I’ll also be throwing in a few urdu songs!
7. More than just a singer, you have also been titled producer on the album. Tell us a little about venturing into these other aspects of your creativity.
I became a producer not necessarily by choice, or it being a conscious decision that ‘I want to be a producer’. For starters I didn’t like an equation where I’m dependent on someone else making music or producing tracks for me to sing on. I also realised that in my head I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my tracks, how they should be produced, what instruments should come in etc. The execution part was the problem. And so I started sitting in the studio for long hours learning stuff on my own and it just sort of happened overtime that I realised I’m self-sufficient in terms of even producing music for myself now or even having a vision of where I wish to take a certain track. Production is all about vision, if you have it, that’s gifted, but to execute it is a skill you learn over time.