Salim-Sulaiman: 'Music Is Constantly Evolving' (FPJ Exclusive)

Salim-Sulaiman: 'Music Is Constantly Evolving' (FPJ Exclusive)

The music duo speaks to about their love for music, their dreams, what fans can expect from them this year, and much more.

Swarna SrikanthUpdated: Monday, March 11, 2024, 03:31 PM IST
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Music lovers have their own pick of favourite songs. While some go for romantic songs, others add devotional music to their playlist and experience the calming vibe. Any genre of music you resonate with, music duo Salim-Sulaiman has covered them all with their soulful renditions. The duo who have given some beautiful and unforgettable melodies such as O Re Piya, Aashayein, Shukran Allah, and the recent 'Ankaha' from the film Main Atal Hoon speaks to Swarna Srikanth sharing about their love for music, their dreams, what fans can expect from them this year, and much more. Excerpts from the interview:

What's 2024 for the great music duo Salim Sulaiman? What can we expect as fans? 

Salim: There are two big films that we are doing. The first one is a film with Sunny Deol and South Indian actress Simran, and the next stars Manish Paul and Kunaal Roy Kapur. That's really something exciting we are doing later this year. Our flagship project 'Bhoomi' is also coming soon with its 2024 edition. 

As you have explored several genres of songs, do you think romantic beats rule the cinema industry? 

Sulaiman: Music is constantly evolving and so is the appreciation it gets. However, romantic songs are such that they go forever. Besides that, we both believe that Sufi music is one of those things that always goes on and is ever-lasting. 

Bollywood, pop, to Qawwali, what's close to your heart? 

Salim: All of it. Fortunately, we have mixed them. In the movie ‘Kurban,’ there’s a romantic song ‘Shukran Allah’ which has a Sufi vibe as well. It is a romantic song which has a devotional connect. Similarly, ‘Rab ne banadi jodi’ also is a romantic one but it talks about the Almighty. 

Do you practice together or prefer initial individual sessions? How long do you practice each day?

Salim & Sulaiman: Now we don’t really practice as we have shows lined up each day. So, it is like we are practicing every day right on the stage. That’s really fabulous. 

Studio recordings vs live performances: What brings you more joy? 

Sulaiman: Actually both. On one side there’s the birth of a child and the other side is the success of the child which we see on stage when people appreciate it. 

Could you please tell us about your recent musical experience at Goa Carnival 2024 and the star weekend at Deltin?

Salim: Goa is a party destination in the world. The carnival has been going on for centuries here and I’m so glad that the people of Goa have kept the tradition alive. Having Deltin Royale right in the heart of this beautiful city is a big boon for all those who want to enjoy ‘Deltin Life’ - the food, the casino, the vessel, and the whole experience. 

What do you think brings the magic to a beat, vocals, music, lyrics, or something else? 

Sulaiman: Without beats, there is no vocals, and without vocals, there is no beat. Without beats, there’s no music, and without music, there’s no singing. So, everything is very important to form a beautiful song. 

Salim: All of them together add magic to a song. But, they also exist independently, such as a session with only instruments. 

Considering that every artist chooses their passion with a dream, we ask you what is yours - is it on the go or already fulfilled? 

Sulaiman: When we fulfill one, we dream of the other. I wish to die like that - Without fulfilling all my dreams because we have that many. 

Salim: Honestly, I have stopped looking at dreams as there’s always a what’s next factor to it after one gets accomplished. 

You have recreated and given your versions of a few iconic songs such as Bappi Lahiri's Disco Dancer, what's your take on music recreations? 

Salim: One can’t really recreate music without a purpose. We came up with this musical as late Bappi Lahiri ji was no more there to bless it with his music. So, we recreated it. But if there’s no purpose, there is no need for recreation. 

Sulaiman: While one thing is remixing the song, the other is remaking it. A remix is adding more elements that take away from the original song. In our case, we tried recreating the original song where we were very particular in the sounds we used. 

What's your take on the usage of 'autotune' and software to fine-tune music; is that a concern/competition to quality artists?

Salim: When sometimes an amazing singer gives a great performance, but it is slightly out of tune, one can use autotune to fix that. When the performance has all expression and soul, but is not technically correct, that’s the time to use autotune. If used rightly, there’s nothing wrong with it. Autotune cannot make a singer. The singer has to first sing and the technology can make it better. 

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