Salim-Sulaiman: People today are almost afraid of making good music

Music composers Salim and Sulaiman Merchant talk about the need to create good music, without getting worried about its fame, and feel that musicians today are scared are doing something out of the box.
Salim-Sulaiman have released their track Maangi Duaein recently.
Salim-Sulaiman have released their track Maangi Duaein recently.
Updated on Jul 27, 2020 05:34 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | BySamarth Goyal, New Delhi

Music composing duo Salim - Sulaiman are quite excited to see the rebirth of indie pop or non film music. Yet, the duo feel that majority of music, being created today, is done in order to make money, which invariably then tends to follow a pattern. “There’s this word these days that people talk about these days and it’s ‘content’. I don’t like that word, content,” says Salim Merchant.

“ My point is that in that aim to create ‘content’ people are trying to make hit songs rather than making good songs. I am not saying good songs means they are boring songs, or anything like that. But I mean it’s good to create music that has a commercial feel to them. But a song should be created so that it can last,” he says.

But, instead of “pointing fingers” at anyone, the duo want to bring that change on their own, and focus on creating music that brings in the money but is high on artistic quality as well. “We feel that instead of expecting things or industry to change, it’s better to do it yourself and bring that change. In fact, we are at that stage in our career, where we can inspire people and bring about a change,” says Sulaiman, the other half of the composing duo who are known for their songs in films such as Kaal (2005), Chak De! India (2007) and Ladies vs Ricky Bahl (2011) .

The duo also feels that the urge to create more commercial music has also led musicians move away from their traditions. “People today are almost afraid of making good music. I mean they feel it won’t be as popular. Who is producing ghazals these days? I mean I am happy that our country is opening up to western and international pop, but we have to retain our tradition and our culture as well. And it’s not as if it’s not good, you know. We created a track like Ainwai Ainwai Lut Gaya (from Band Baaja Baraat, 2010), a really fun number, with clean lyrics and everything. It is still such a big party number, yet it has a very Punjabi-folksy feel to it and, it became so popular,” says Salim.


All this, and a number of other reasons, led the duo set up their own label, Merchant Records, and the released their first single, Maangi Duaein, on it. “ Through this [label] we want to help musicians be fearless and have that freedom in what they want to create. Art has to always be for art’s sake first, and then it can be for any other purpose. That’s the idea behind it. Its great to see so many artists, these days, especially the younger ones, first making a mark in the non film or indie pop space and then coming to films. Its a great time to be fearless and create music that’s long lasting,” says Sulaiman as the duo sign off.

Interact with the author on Twitter/@sammysamarth

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Sunday, November 28, 2021