Tell us about yourselves and the band. How did it all start?
Blunderware started around the first quarter of 2009. Mushfiq Hasan (of Chittagong’s metal band, Act of Defiance) and singer/songwriter Rushnaf Wadud, also guitarist of pop-punk band ‘Stitch’ based in New Delhi, India, were walking in Chittagong. They had not managed to get together musically, despite their long friendship. Mushfiq was working on a little intro he made for Act of Defiance when they realized it doesn’t sound right for the band, being heavy in nature, so they planned on a project they then called ‘HiMeSh’ (His Melodic Shyness). It was a new sound, an alternative to the mainstream and underground songs. To them it sounded like the song was a bit folksy but not folk, rock yet not rock, pop yet not pop, soul with an acoustic duet line-up. With just the two of them and their guitars, the project came to be called Blunderware. Later on before the second show they took in Syed Wadud (Drums) and Salman Zahir (Bass). Blunder, as the band is affectionately called, then played a handful of shows in Chittagong and from there came to Dhaka, where they presently reside due to work and classes. Shanto was a mutual friend and is a former guitarist of Old School, a fusion band. Rushnaf used to sing and play the guitar for Blunderware, but everyone later decided to take in Shanto as both the manager and guitarist of the band so Rushnaf could concentrate on his singing. Shanto later left Old School to give more time to Blunderware.
Who have been your major musical influences?
Rushnaf and Wadud are totally into the Indie/acoustic side like Iron & Wine, Noah and the Whale, Laura Marling, Josh Ritter, etc. Mushfiq is mostly into alternative rock. Besides the usual, Shanto listens to a lot of djent, metal-core, post-rock, and old school hip-hop. Salman is more on the heavy metal side, being a huge fan of Machine-Head, Soulfly, etc.
But overall, the band is influenced by a lot of blues and jazz like Incubus, Dave Matthews Band and Third Eye Blind.
How did you guys end up forming a B.A.R.F.I (Blues. Alternative. Rock. Folk. Indie.) Genre band, as you call it, considering that majority of you were in metal bands before?
As we have mentioned we very heavily influenced by almost anything. But, Rushnaf and Wadud mostly came up with this idea of ‘B.A.R.F.I’. It was ‘B.A.R.F.’ but Wadud later on added the ‘I’ because of his love for Indie. We basically do rock and all the other elements somehow add in.
(Off the record: Rushnaf WADUD and Syed WADUD aren’t brothers. A lot of people get confused when we call Syed Wadud ‘Wadud’, they think it also means Rushnaf.)
What are your songs about?
Nothing in particular, and again a lot of things. ‘Moshari’r Ei Din Raatri’ (Translated in English as: These Days & Nights under the Mosquito Net) is simply about bedroom politics. Some of our upcoming songs have other interesting meanings. ‘Tomar 19/5′ is about how we have an ‘I don’t care’ attitude when we are young. ‘Gowro’ is about how everyone only looks at fairer women as the beautiful ones when the complexion shouldn’t be the issue. ‘Patai Patai Aka Ghuri’ is about those who passed away, to the other side. Those who might be in their afterlife, if any. It’s depicted through the story of a boy and his favourite kite. We are inspired by life, with everyone and everything around us. Rushnaf is the wordsmith of the band, he writes all the lyrics. Everyone chips in on the compositions.
When and where was your first gig? Can you describe how it felt in that moment?
It was interesting, since a lot of people were sort of confused with the name of the band. We got up on stage wearing masks. Their reactions towards our performance were awesome.
Why call yourselves “Blunderware”?
Mushfiq and Rushnaf decided to call our fans ‘Chaddis’ and somehow the word ‘Blunderware’ came out from it, as a pun to Underwear (Chaddis).
What’s the story behind “Afim Chaash”, your most popular single?
The song was randomly written on a piece of tissue paper by Rushnaf when he was on a road in India a while back. It just came to him. Later on as Rushnaf and Mushfiq were jamming, the song came around. ‘Afim Chaash’ stands for ‘The Farming of Opium’ but we aren’t really singing about ‘Opium’ in particular. The chorus ‘Nesha to jailona, bhai amar…’ meaning ‘The addiction won’t go, o’brother of mine’ is about how we as individuals pretty much can’t let go of our addictions towards things we really like. For some it’s music, for some it’s love, for some it’s poetry, everyone has their own perspective. But this song, as it’s sometimes mistaken, isn’t about drugs.
Tell me about your upcoming debut album.
We are seriously a lazy bunch of people. Always broke. We don’t really own any gear of our own, except for Salman, the bassist. He has got 2 bass guitars and an amp. We usually jam at his place. By working the weekend, we take whatever we get to record our album bit by bit. It’s happening, that’s for sure. We have around 10 compositions or more under our belts. We hope to release it this year if all goes well.
What is “The Book of Blunder” about?
The ‘Book of Blunder’ is created by Tilok ‘Mania’ Adnan (Tilly for short, as we affectionately call him), and was named by Shanto as he and Tilok were conversing one day about regular stuff. It’s mostly about the day to day incidents in the lives of the members of Blunderware, their friends and frenemies. The dialogues are mostly inside lame jokes about the band. Some of the earlier special episodes can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/blunderbook and on Tilok’s official page: http://www.facebook.com/doodlebirdart
Have you had any previous collaborations with other bands/musicians?
We once covered a song by a favourite local band, Breach, and had the honour of Ashraf (the vocalist of Breach) perform with us for that. But officially, we haven’t had a proper collaboration as of yet. Though several artists played as special guest members with us on certain occasions including Maharuq (Bassist from Shade), Shumonto (Vocalist from Alternation), Tanshi (Guitarist from My 31st Demerit), Rakib (Vocalist/Guitarist from Effigy), Noirit (Bassist from Absent Element) and Mashfique (Guitarist from Whiplash).
Tell us about your experience(s) in India (if any).
We have never been to India as a band but have visited it separately before. India is beautiful. There is a lot to be seen, and to be explored than meets the eye. Being Bangladeshis, we can relate a lot with India, being part of the same line of history. India is colourful and there is no end to what can be experienced there.
What are your views about Emaho Magazine?
We are pretty impressed with Emaho. Very detailed and clean, bringing a lot of cultures in one page. The music section is perfectly done. We personally love your initiative towards exploring independent musicians in Asia. We are looking forward to some travelogues on Bangladesh.
Interviewed by: Mythili Chandrasekhar