Sheikh Ishtiaque, the guitarist and the vocalist of Shironamhin, talks about music, life and miscellaneous.
How has the year 2020 been treating you?
2020 as a year has not been as bad so far! I got a chance to be closer to my family and spend more time with them.
What if you wake up one day and find yourself to have become a musical instrument. What would you want to become, and why?
I would obviously wake up as a guitar. For someone whose life is about creating melodies and the following music, I feel guitar has endless potential to produce a diverse array of different tunes.
What was the first band that you started with? How did it all start?
There was a band called Protiddhoni, and I was the bassist of the band. It was a show at Chittagong University, by Arpagio Music School, where I learned to play the guitar. With that, I started performing commercially in the industry. In 2013, I came across a band called Cry My Name. We did a number of shows in the underground scene, mostly performing rock at that point. I also joined another brand called Aconyte. We released a few singles. But, I always felt a pull towards folk music. I met Bassbaba Sumon while trekking and we became travelling buddies. He got to know about my love for folk music during one of those trips. In 2015, I was offered to cover Khachar Vitor Ochin Pakhi by Bassbaba Sumon. After Rafa Bhai left the band in 2016, I started performing live with Orthoheen. The last album that we worked on was Cancer er Nishikabyo.
How does your family react to your stardom?
It was 2016, and I was 24, performing with Orthoheen at M A Aziz Stadium. My family came to know about the show and my musical career, which was six years old already at that time. My father surprisingly, was very supportive of me pursuing music.
How many of your tracks have been released so far?
Four albums and more than 40 songs.
According to you, what was the golden era of music, and where do you see the industry now?
The 70s and 80s were the golden time for bands. The world has updated ever since, and the change has been positive in our country. Music is easily accessible to everybody. We are in a fix in picking the suitable platform to release music. Changes are inevitable, and we are in the middle of a transition period.
Where do you see the future of bands in Bangladesh?
Bands are coming back; institution based listeners are leaning towards band music.
Tell me about your audiences’ response towards Nonta Biscuit?
It was an unusual time, and more than 2000 copies of CDs were sold when we released it in 2017. We were happy with the response we got.
What plans do you have for your music in the years ahead?
I want to remain alive in my songs for the next 100 years. My music and my guitar would be my vessel of existence, and it gives me sheer delight to be able to share my music with my audience.
What are good music and lyrics to you?
Music is life, and when a story is being woven in a lyrics; that is sure to steal my heart.
How do you feel when you get on a stage to perform?
To be honest, when I get on a stage, I only consider myself as a performer, and I forget about everything else behind me. I try to feel every note, every beat, and all the instruments around me.
If you have to advise the young musicians out there, what would it be?
As a musician, loving the music is prerequisite. If you are dedicated, nothing will come in between you and your desired goal.
Who are your idols in the industry?
Steven Wilson, Bassbaba Sumon.
What is your mother’s favourite track of yours?
Ei obelay…my mother, claims that this was her favourite. This is probably also my most viewed song, too.
Where has your explorer side taken you to recently?
I went to Bilaichhori, Muppochhora, Dhuppani recently. I am a trekker by nature. I have trekked in Sikkim, Ladakh, Nepal and Pakistan. I also walked to Kewkradong in 2010. It took me two days to reach there.