KARACHI: Coke Studio 9 has not got people talking about the likes of Momina Mustehsan alone. Even the house band members are enjoying their share of attention and percussionist Abdul Aziz Kazi is one of them.
Poking fun at his jovial nature and choice of sunglasses, several internet memes have declared Kazi as visually challenged. Talking to The Express Tribune, he explained himself. “Yes I saw the memes. They are quite funny. Actually my eyes are a little sensitive and the strobe lights on the set were making it difficult to see what others were playing, so I wore shades,” he said.
Kazi inherited his fondness for music from his mother who is a keyboardist. “She used to listen to a lot of ABBA and Stevie Wonder. I grew up listening to acts like those,” he said.
An O Level student at Army Public School in Karachi, he developed a liking for drums. Guitar maestro Faraz Anwar once said a lot of good drummers in our society turn into guitar players because the neighbours and even their own family members cannot stand the sharp sound of the snare or the thumping of the bass drum. Luckily for Kazi, his household was nothing like that. “I got my first drum kit when I was in school,” he recollected.
Within a few years he was in college, surrounded my classmates who were themselves budding musicians like him. “I was a student of media sciences at SZABIST. My friends and I started playing cover gigs and then we got into blues. Our band was called Spoonful. We had quite a following,” he said. Spoonful had begun experimenting with blues and it wasn’t until ace guitarist Amir Zaki discovered the band, that these college hipsters started taking things seriously. “We played with him for a good year or so. That experience taught us a lot.”
After graduation, the jam sessions became less frequent and Kazi too got occupied with shooting corporate films. “It’s actually quite strange. Before joining Coke Studio, I have shot safety videos at three of their factories,” he said.
While Kazi is a drummer primarily, in the presence of his friend Aahad Nayani, himself an accomplished drum man, Kazi took charge of percussions at the show. “Actually one day Aahad had come over and we were playing. That is when he asked if I’d be interested in playing for Coke Studio.” Coke Studio was a commitment that required his full attention for several months. Kazi put all his projects aside and dedicated all his energies to it.
When a friend of Kazi returned from his merchant navy trip several years ago, he brought for his friend a darbuka. “That’s when I really got into percussions. Now I play a variety of such instruments such as the djembe, cajon etc,” he added. Seeing Kazi’s collection of different percussion instruments, one can easily make out how much his friends love him.
Things might have changed significantly after the show’s airing; they weren’t the best for Kazi earlier. “The last thing I was doing before Coke Studio was shooting free documentaries at rice factories,” he said.
As a session player Kazi has featured for acts such as Fuzon and is part of Sounds of Kolachi these days. “I also played for Sarah Haider and Zoe Viccaji recently. Things are like this only here. We do not have a lot of people who take drumming seriously. So if you are not very good but consistent, there’s a lot of work for you,” he explained.
Coke Studio sure brings talents like Kazi to the fore, giving them a good share of the limelight. “This season you will find a lot of new musicians whom you might not have heard of.”
While Khaki Banda remains his favourite song from the season, primarily because he admires Ahmed Jahanzeb, of all the music directors he enjoyed playing Shani Arshad’s compositions the most. Continuing with session playing once again, Kazi intends on venturing into producing electro-fusion music in the near future.
Courtesy : Express Tribune