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Interview: Shumaun's Farhad Hossain Talks New Album, Immortality and More

Interview: Shumaun's Farhad Hossain Talks New Album, Immortality and More

Virginia-based prog-rock act Shumaun will release their new album, ‘Shumaun,’ on November 13. So we caught up with Frontman Farhad Hossain to talk about the debut album, moving away from solo work, immortality, and more.

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REVOLVER How did this solo project turn into a full-fledged, collaborative band?
FARHAD HOSSAIN It was during my time in my last band Iris Divine that I decided to do a solo project. I wanted to incorporate my non-hard rock/metal influences and just write everything on my own. I had no intention for it to be a real band and was content with it being a studio only project. When I started writing the record I’d say that music related close to bands like The Shins, Young the Giant, and Pink Floyd, with electronic and world music influences as well. As time proceeded I was feeling a bit distant to Iris Divine. The collective atmosphere in the band at the time was not very inspiring due to some internal personality issues. I found myself in the middle of it all, and after a while I think I just checked out. This eventually led to my departure from the band, which left me band-less. It’s at that point when I felt that I needed to morph my solo project it into a full functioning band.

I asked a few friends to join me to help take my ideas and bring them to life in a live setting. We had Tyler Kim on guitar, Jose Mora on bass, Nouri Hacene on keyboards, and Tanvir Tomal on drums. Tanvir left Iris Divine a couple months after I did so I knew this project could benefit from his unique style of drumming. Nouri eventually left the band to pursue music in Los Angeles. This left a big void that we needed to fill since the music was very synth heavy. After a year of searching for a replacement and having no luck, I decided to scrap the whole project and started over again with all new material.

By this time I had left Iris Divine for a year and all of those hard rock, metal, and progressive rock influences started to come back to me again. I used that inspiration to write all of the new material that is now on our debut record. All of the music and lyrics for the record was written by me since the idea began as a solo project, however the band has since become much more collaborative.

MORE SHUMAUN: Shumaun Premiere New Album, 'Shumaun'

Let’s talk about “Miracles of Yesterday.” What’s the real story behind this song?
“Miracles of Yesterday” is one of those songs that has metal, progressive, and world music influences in it, but somehow came out as a nicely wrapped pop song. Travis Orbin (Darkest Hour, Periphery) is the drummer here, and his approach to the song was very creative, especially on the verses.

In a nutshell, the song is about breaking away from all of the boundaries the physical world has in place for us, and experiencing enlightenment through meditation, self-discovery, and the abandonment of the ego to reach a higher state of consciousness. It’s about experiencing a place where time is not linear, so the word “yesterday” has no implication to what has past or what is behind us. The “miracle” is referring to the concept that everything in this universe is connected and a part of a single source. I relate my understanding of these concepts to how we can interact with our physical world beyond the limitations of the tangible nature of our bodies in order to make the world a nicer place.

Let’s do the same for “Ambrosia,” the first single.
“Ambrosia” is probably the heaviest song on the record. It also consists of Travis Orbin on the drums, and just happens to be one of my favorites. Lyrically the song is about the internal conflict of the self, or in ways the battle of the id, ego, and super-ego. It’s about trying to make sense of a spiritual path by eliminating all aspects of human innovation that tend obscure those paths. However the path does not have to be spiritual in nature, it’s all up to interpretation.

In ancient Greek mythology “ambrosia” is referred to as the drink of the gods that provided immortality to those who drank it. Its Sanskrit equivalent is “amrita,” which translates to “immortality.” I use the concept of this drink as a metaphor for spiritual enlightenment that we sometimes try to attain, especially at times when we find ourselves at our lowest, when everything around us is falling apart.

What are Shumaun’s plans for 2016? Will you bring the band to the road or is strictly a passion project?
The plan for 2016 is to continue to support our record by playing out as much as we can. We are definitely a live band, and we get most of our joy from playing live. We plan to hit the road in the spring or early summer with some short regional tours on the east coast of the States. We also plan to start writing for album No. 2, and I’m really looking forward to that.

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