This week’s #AzCreativeFridays features the amazing Raja Farouk. I remember one of our earliest conversations together years ago at a small gig in the Bukit Bintang area. I was performing solo and we talked before my set. Since then, I’ve been seeing his prolific music career develop leaps and bounds in his own band Fazz as well as his session work.
Let’s learn more about Raja Farouk:
Raja Farouk (RFB) Occupation: Arranger,Music Director,Touring Sessionist Multi Instrumentalist
Raja Farouk .Multi-talented strings smith. Plays anything in front of him. Tackle any style of music with the sole purpose of serving the music . Regular sessionist for bands and artists around KL and touring sessions with Dato Mokhzani Ismail (head of RTM Orchestra) , SalamMusik ,Zee Avi and a permanent Music Director/Arranger for the band Fazz and collectively have been touring in Europe, Japan, Korea , China , Indonesia , Singapore to name a few.
Being one of the most sort after and dynamic sessions player in Malaysia, Raja Farouk can take you on a whirlwind of sound with his instrument of choice.From atmospheric montages to heavy hitting shredding to beautiful ballads to funky groovy notes. Be mesmerise as he takes the stage.
Now, let’s go on to the interview with Farouk. 🙂
1. What’s your latest project?
My band Fazz was recently signed , we are officially under Warner Music Malaysia (Int’l) and managed by Toybox Projects . With them we have recently release our debut album “Passage” which an be found in Itunes, Apple music, Joox , Deezer , Spotify .
We have recently release our debut Music video as well for our single call “Chesire Cat”.
We are currently heavily working our 4th annual tour , this year we have Korea and Japan planned up . We will post more on that soon.
I am also playing for a musical under Pan Production , its a musical comedy entitle “Company” by the infamous Stephen Sondheim . Opening night will be on the 12th of July till the 14th .
I am also playing for Zee Avi band, where we will be touring China, Bali and Kuching this year. More dates to be confirmed.
2. What inspires your music?
Texture. I see the world in a slightly different perspective , for me music is not just a form of expression as what most of us do, but its always intrigued me how layers of notes, and sound can be pile up creating this complex texture of intricate phenomena , its just music yes, but when you dissect it, harmonically , melodically, rhythmically it just excites me and I get quite addicted to wanting to know how does something sound and feel like that.
And with that I usually take what i learn and understand and apply it with my band.
3. What’s your 5 Desert Island Albums?
Tokyo Jihen – Adult
Dream Theater – Scenes from a memory
Akasha – Karakoram Highway
Tempered Mental – Pax Automata
Fazz – Passage ( cause i really love it )
4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
Oh there is just too much, but mainly for me it has to be Tokyo Jihen, a Japanese band that I was heavily influenced by in term of organically creating a fresh arrangements and musical direction from. Its pretty much what i do with my band Fazz .
Here is a song that uses a very unique interpretation to what dated swing music can be
Tokyo Jihen- Himitsu
5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
- Express yourself, don’t impress . One will always get distracted being in the scene, and we tend to be want to impress , but we forgot the reason we did this in the first place.
- Keep your publishing .Always keep it, with the changes we go thought in the mainstream music, we all know eventually we either evolved to survive or fade out into history, this is a fact and it has been proven for years and ages. But one thing that is always constant is, your intellectual property, people get scared about this matter because its a legal business . But its actually very easy (especially when google is just a click away, and you will save up lots of money too.
6. As a multi-instrumentalist, sessionist and all around busy musician, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
- Staying on top of my game and being relevant, thats the hardest thing to do, i used to play for a lot of people for the experience , and then realised i wasn’t really growing musically , that was my first road block in the scene. Staying focus to my strength and nurture it is what i did, it keeps me focus on what i needed to do rather than what i wanted to do.
- I spend most of my time (when I’m not our touring or doing shows ) at home by myself, contrary to what we all do as a musician / artiste , i enjoyed spending my free time in my home studio where i experiment and practice and make music. Im not really a social butterfly and it was a problem because as an artiste , you must be able to socialise and market yourself. Technically i haven’t actually fix this part yet but, slowly and surely I’m sure I’m able too.. one day.
7. How do we reach you?
Instagram: www.instagram.com/r.f.b and www.instagram.com/fazz_official
Other Website(s): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPoOPHiJAt4
Thank you for reading this week’s instalment of #AzCreativeFridays. Please do check out the past interviews (22 so far, including this one) and come back next week for the next one with sound designerKho Chia Wen Sharon. Till next time! 🙂
Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist
[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer
[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina
[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims
[Creative Fridays] #20: Gabriel Lynch
[Creative Fridays] #21: Rizal Tony
Jazz Guitarist and Educator
[Creative Fridays] #22: Raja Farouk
Multi-Instrumentalist and Sessionist
[Creative Fridays] #23: Kho Chia Wen Sharon
Coming up September 7 2018
[About Creative Fridays]
The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.
This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?
Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!
If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.
Thank you! 🙂
[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.
[Creative Fridays] #1 : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)
[Creative Fridays] #2 : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)
[Creative Fridays] #3 : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)
[Creative Fridays] #4 : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)
[Creative Fridays] #6 : TragiComedy
[Creative Fridays] #7 : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)
[Creative Fridays] #8 : Pete Teo
[Creative Fridays] #9 : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)
[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)
[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)
[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)
[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]
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