The Musical Duo: Salim-Sulaiman
FHM: How is Coke Studio bringing about a definite change in music following in this country?
Salim: I think Coke Studio is a great platform for artists to express themselves in the purest way. It connects us with our roots and fuses our tradition with the present. Music in our country is a very integral part of everyone’s life, but sadly it’s largely connected to films. Coke Studio breaks that barrier and gives the music its own voice in a very beautiful way. We’ve composed 6 songs that reflect our personality and taste (I wish we could do more). We always wanted to do a qawwali, which we’ve done as one of the tracks. We also wanted to feature a classical bandish that we’ve composed in Raag jog. We felt like doing this, as our classical music has immense power and reach and it touches one and all. There is a cinematic percussive track depicting the tradition of Sati as well. It’s a ritualistic, dramatic piece. Then there’s a Gujarati folk song talking about Krishna’s flute, a funky cool track called Namaste and a bhajan from Saurashtra.
FHM: What attracted you to Coke Studio this year?
Salim: We had recorded a folk album in 1999 called Bhoomi. This was a collection of folk songs featuring folk artists from different parts of our country, which was produced in a very contemporary way with drums bass and guitars. A few years later, I heard something similar in Pakistan’s Coke Studio series. This paved the way for our inclination towards this year’s Coke Studio. I think indie music makes us feel free. After so many years of working on movies creating music connected to scripts and stories, its time to tell our own story through MTV Coke Studio 3.
FHM: How does your usual day start?
Salim: I’m a late riser. I like to spend my mornings in silence with my cha, then I workout for 20 mins and am off to the studio. Once I’m in the studio, I always preview what we’ve done the previous night and then take it from there.
FHM: You’ve been working as a duo for more than a decade, how does everything fall in place for you two?
Salim: It’s fantastic. We grew up listening to it. to music, learning music and then playing music, and now we are inseparable.
FHM: If not a musician what would have you been?
Salim: I was sure of the fact that I will become a musician.
FHM: You were brought up in a family that has a direct inclination towards music. Did this eventually pave the way for your careers or was it your own inclination?
Salim: Our father was our idol and was the key reason for us becoming musicians. He was a fine keyboardist and saxophonist and would play the guitar as well. He started composing music later in his career and then got into manufacturing musical instruments. When we were growing up, we had musical instruments as toys. It was a very natural progression for us to learn music and make it our passion and profession.
FHM: You both started out making background scores for advertisements years ago. What path do you suggest young talented people who are looking to make a big mark in the industry take?
Salim: I would say before choosing a path, it’s important to learn music. I see a lot of young people these days who have half knowledge and rely a lot on loops and software. It’s a great time for one and all to compose and produce music, but learning music is extremely imperative. Of course, you learn each time you take an assignment but formal training especially classical music is a must.
FHM: You’ve been making background scores for big banners for a long time now. Have things changed with respect to listeners and producers… Have their expectations changed?
Salim: I don’t know about producers and listeners, but we’ve certainly changed! We are constantly pushing the barrier for ourselves. Music is a very big spiritual force for me and it’s very important for me to be in it religiously. We always make music for ourselves and I keep saying it’s important to make a good song rather than a hit song, as a well-balanced song can turn into a hit most of the times.