Interview with SHUMAUN’s Farhad Hossain


Shumaun initially started as a solo project by Farhad Hossain (ex vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist of the Sensory Records progressive metal outfit Iris Divine). After recording a few demos, he decided to recruit a few friends to help build the project into a full-fledged collaborative band.  This is what led to the debut record that will be released on November 13th.

Hossain talked with Prog Sphere about the upcoming album.

Thank you for having time to answer some questions. First of all, introduce us the band Shumaun. What does the band name refer to?

Thank you for having me! Shumaun is a 4 piece band consisting of me on guitar and vocals, Jose Mora on bass, Tyler Kim on guitar, and Tanvir Tomal on drums.

The name Shumaun comes from the Sanskrit word “Sumon,” which means calm mind.

Would you mind telling us about your musical background, as well as education?

Ever since I was a child I loved music, and would always make up my own songs. I have old recordings of me singing random songs I’d create on the spot as far back as when I was 4 years old. They’d usually follow melody lines of popular songs that were on the radio at the time. You could say that I was raised on radio. It’s funny, I recall a song I did when I was maybe 8 or 9 called “I want my Nintendo.” I was angry with my parents because they didn’t buy me a Nintendo gaming console and that was my way of venting… I don’t know if I still have that classic though.

I started playing guitar when I was 14 years old and have played in bands ever since. As far as formal education, I took a year of music theory at the university level and have a degree in art. Guitar wise, I am self-taught.

Shumaun - Shumaun

Your self-titled debut album drops out on November 13th. How was the creative process for “Shumaun”?

Since Shumaun initially started off as a solo project, I did all of the writing on this record. Lyrically I wrote about half of the album outside of the US while traveling, so inspiration came from all kinds of places. Sometimes I wrote the music first, and at other times I would fit music around certain vocal melodies. A few of the songs started with me programming drum patterns first, and then later writing music around them. It’s a very strange way of writing but it seems to work for me.

“Shumaun” is a very eclectic release. What do you think I should describe Shumaun as to my friends? The real question here is, what do you guys consider the music of Shumaun to be?

I get this question a lot. I would say that Shumaun is essentially a hard rock band with progressive tendencies. We don’t really think about what genre we fall into. Honestly none of us are really bothered by whatever genre people want to lump us in with.

This eclectic music must have a wide range of influences and inspiration. Would you guys mind enlightening us as to some of the influences you haven’t mentioned already?

We all have very eclectic taste in music. There are only a few genres that I really can’t get into. For this particular record, I’d say that some of the more transparent influences are bands like Rush and Tool, and there are also tastes of my pop and world music influences. I really like artists like Nitin Sawhney, Ofra Haza, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ravi Shankar, Paban Das Baul, Sevara Nazarkhan, and a whole slew of world music artists.


Can you think of some moments where musical homages have been included in Shumaun’s tracks?

Definitely! There is an instrumental segment in the middle of the song “A New Revolution” that really has a Fates Warning feel to it. I am sure Mark Zonder’s drumming really lends itself to that. The verses of the track “Ambrosia” have a very Tool vibe to it. I was going through a Muse phase when I wrote the verses to the song “Miracles of Yesterday,” so maybe that might reflect that as well. There are several nods to our influences throughout the album.

What’s the live experience with Shumaun like? Any plans for a tour somewhere down the road?

We love playing live. It’s where we get most of our joy from. Our live show is really simplistic, just four guys doing what we do and giving it our all with hopes that a connection is made with the crowd, in order to complete the circle of what we feel live music should entail…The connectivity of the audience and the performer. For the moment we are planning on staying local in the DC/VA/MD region of the US. However, we do want to do some touring sometime in the spring of 2016.

What have you been listening to recently? Also, would you tell us what your all-time favorite albums are?

Lately I have been listening to lots of Anathema. They are such an amazing band. I obviously prefer the latter era of the band when they became more melodic. Hmm, some of my all time favorite albums off the top of my head in no particular order would be.

Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
Queensryche: Operation:Mindcrime
Rush: Signals
Def Leppard: Hysteria
Metallica: Ride the Lightning
Raoul and the Kings of Spain : Tears for Fears
Pet Shop Boys: Very
Nitin Sawhney: Beyond Skin
Enigma: Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!
Peter Gabriel: (Melt)

What kind of advice would you impart to other musicians? Do you have any words of wisdom or inspiration for other artists trying to make their mark?

I’d say to really practice your art and don’t be afraid to acknowledge and face your shortcomings. We all have them, and sometimes all it takes is a bit of practice to overcome them. Or if you are like me, you can just write around them at times.

Thank you again for agreeing to do this interview. I think I’m out of questions, so feel free to add anything you like.

Thank you I really appreciate the chance to talk about the band. I really hope that people can connect with the record. It’s one that is very honest and authentic, and we are really proud of it.

“Shumaun” is available for pre-order from the band’s website. Follow them on Facebook here.

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