Source: Instep Today
Instep Today: Why did Junaid decide to leave Call?
Xulfi: I will not really call this “Junaid leaving Call” as him not being part of the band anymore was the next logical step in what actually happened. He has a different career going for him, and I believe now he also feels that whatever he wants to do from here on, he wants to do solo. Everyone has the right to think like this. Sadly, people do
not always decide keeping those values in mind that come with working together. Otherwise they would make different decisions. But probably that is how it works for most people.
Instep Today: How do you feel about this decision?
Xulfi: Call has quite a history. It has existed since 1994. Survived the underground scene till 2002; band members came, band members left, but Call still lived on proudly where other underground bands called it a day. The band has gone through rough times but has still existed so we are used to this, and all this tough time has made me war hardened too. I have experienced band breaking up in EP, and I have also seen the same band merging back without me, their primary songwriter, and I have still braved the situation, so the future doesn’t scare or intimidate me. I will keep doing what I do best, making great music.
Also, Call went mainstream when I auditioned Junaid for the band’s vocalist role in 2002, and the band, including its individuals, have achieved a lot since then and have carved multiple careers out of their roles in the band. Now it was time to choose a primary career out of those that had risen out of Call. I picked Call, he didn’t, and I didn’t expect him to choose Call either, hence I am neither feeling good nor bad about it. Indifferent? Yes, because I really believe in the music I make, and I plan on doing that for the rest of my life.
Instep Today: Junaid actually left the band a while ago. Why was the official announcement not made till now?
Xulfi: Sultan and I had left it to him to announce because he didn’t want to be a part of the band anymore, but due to reasons unknown to me, he didn’t announce. The reason why we left it up to him was that this news breaks up very decently for him as his acting career had just started and controversy at that point might have affected that negatively. But as we saw that he is not making the announcement, even though he had informed us officially about it, and Call had to move on, rock the stage, perform shows, so we had to make the announcement. The band had missed quite a few concerts and had suffered due to this uncertain situation in the last few months and as these concerts are a big part of a musician’s living, we had to move on and continue performing again.
Instep Today: Are you still in touch with Junaid and on friendly terms with him?
Xulfi: No. And that’s natural too. I had worked hard to carve out a style for composing and arranging music for his style of vocals, and one really then expects that your band mates acknowledges that and strives hard for the band’s success. But individual motives can always take over, and they did. It’s tricky business, the music scene. I have done projects in Bollywood, but I’ve done them all under the name of Call, as that is my one and only identity when someone sees me play the guitar or sing. And these Bollywood projects weren’t different from how Call had always worked, with me composing, arranging, and writing most of the music. But when I heard there is a solo album on its way from Junaid, which the band didn’t know of, I guess that was the point where the trust was shaken, and I don’t think I want/need or feel like finding a neutral ground to retain some part of that friendship. Yes, I have had an amazing time with him, as a friend, as a band mate, and we have done some amazing shows all over the world. But now, things had been tough for musicians all over Pakistan and as a result, this was a difficult time for Call as well. This was the time when all the band mates needed to stand up for what Call has been to them, for them, and should have strived to make it even bigger. When one doesn’t acknowledge, nature has its way of balancing, one should always remember. But you know how they say there comes a time when one has to choose between what’s right and what’s easy (J. K. Rowling). I chose the former.
Instep Today: What does this mean for Call and the band’s future? And have you found a replacement for Junaid yet?
Xulfi: I would like that to remain a surprise for everyone. You know how the news spreads, and I would want to play my cards very intelligently here.
Instep Today: Call is now performing with (Roxen vocalist) Mustafa Zahid in live shows. Is he the new, permanent Call vocalist?
Xulfi: Musti and I go a long way back. We had been friends since his band recorded their debut album at my studio. I have always loved the energy and power he has in his voice, and that sits in nicely with my style of songwriting. Because of the time I have spent with Musti while recording his vocals and helping him arrange his band’s songs, he understands my style perfectly, and that’s why he has merged in very smoothly with Call. And yes, it’s not the first time Musti, Sultan, and I are on the same team. We have played cricket together, so we know what teamwork means and what it means to be on the same team. We have been performing in shows together now quite frequently, and I personally invite you to come enjoy our music at the concert and witness Call’s reenergized and intense performance.
Besides that, as I am a music producer, I have helped a lot of vocalists (both band members and non band members) to sing better both in the studio and live. So even if Call, at some point in time, needs a new vocalist, I will train him to be the best at what he does. And it’s not that I haven’t done this before now.
Instep Today: Is there anything else you want to say about the split?
Xulfi: I do not know if things happen for a reason, or without one. But I do know, once they happen, they happen. That’s the truth I want to embrace. Lastly, I wish Junaid the best of luck in his career and hope he prospers.
Instep Today: Are you guys working on any new material?
Xulfi: Yes, we are. Some of it is already on display in our concerts.
Instep Today: What’s next for Call? And for you? Future plans?
Xulfi: Another Call album. Music video. Loads of concerts. Music projects across the border. There is a lot to come. Keep your faith with Call alive. We are loyal to our fans and we respect them. These people have loved our music over the years. We acknowledge how our listeners have made our concerts the liveliest of concerts ever. The sight of our fans banging their heads to our music, screaming our names, never wanting us to stop, singing along to every song of ours; trust me, these are enough reasons for Call to keep itself connected, forever.