Be it on stage with his delicately grungy voice or on TV screen (occasionally) with chic outlooks, Jon Kabir just never ceases to amaze people. Venturing into the local rock scene with “Black” in the late 90s, Jon successfully paved his way to be an iconic rockstar in the country and is continuing his unparalleled musical voyage with “Indalo” since 2012.
Collaborating with director Safayet Mansoor Rana, Jon has also provided the local audience with an unconventional and extraordinary taste of satire through projects including the likes of “Like and Share,” “Like and Share Reloaded,” and “Award Night.”
A humble man of many talents, Jon recently paid a visit to the Dhaka Tribune and sat down with Showtime's Nasir Rayhan to talk about his music, acting and life, among other issues.
How is it going on the music front?
This could be answered in many ways. But to me, music is a quintessential aspect of life and I am always around it. Even when I am not doing music, I am still listening, keeping myself updated with the global music scene. So, I can say I am living in it.
How are things going with Indalo?
Indalo is what I always wanted to do. It is so good to be in a position where all of your fellow musicians are on the same line. From writing a song to composing it, we do it all together. It's not like I always write the song or Zubayer is always tuning it, rather we take the inputs of every member to create a song. I think I am blessed to be in Indalo.
Let’s hear the story behind Indalo’s formation
After leaving Black, I wasn't exactly looking to form a band or pursue a solo career. I was just going to concerts and listening to music most of the time. In turn of events, I met Zubayer after a long time and learnt that he was jamming with “Aashor.” Then, I joined them in one of their jamming sessions. After almost a year and a half, listening to their jam, I felt that this is what I miss. It was so beautiful.
We started to hangout frequently. Besides, our taste in music was almost the same. I was always into Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and so was Zubayer. So, we started to jam together and quite liked the outcomes. It was not only the songs but the music overall we used to create made us planning to record a song or two. But to do so, we needed a bassist and drummer. Titu used to play bass with both Black and Aashor, so we had decided to bring him in. And I have known Dio, who is a very musically sound drummer, for a long time. So, without any doubt, his name came up and we started jamming together, which eventually resulted into Indalo.
Now we have Zubayer on vocal and guitar, I am also on vocal and guitar, Dio is on drums and Bart is our bass player.
When is your second album coming?
I don't know whether it is considered as a work ethic or not but we don't do music targeting albums. This is not how it works for us. Basically, when we find out that we have a few songs in store, then we think of releasing an album comprising these.
We don't think that we have to release an album within a certain period of time. When there are few good songs that we like very much and feel the audience will love them too, maybe then we might decide to go for a second album.
Aside from music, you now also have a career in acting. How are things over there?
To be honest, I don't like to tag it as a career because I am not that good of an actor. I feel so little when someone calls me an actor. There are so many talented actors in our country who are doing good work. I think the directors want me maybe because they think I will be able to add more value to their productions. You know, I used to really hate it at the beginning. But, gradually, I started to cope up and enjoy what I was doing. This is another reason why I very much respect professional actors. Because this is really hard.
When I get an offer to play a character, I try to see myself as that character and do my best to give what it deserves. But this doesn't mean that I am the best. When it comes to a public figure or a celebrity, there is a tendency in our industry to assign them in the most pivotal roles. But I don't enjoy being the centre of attraction or being the main protagonist. However, to be able to venture into different arenas is certainly a matter of great satisfaction.
You and director Safayet Mansoor Rana seem to have quite a satirical chemistry. What's the secret behind that? What are you cooking for the audience next?
Few years ago, we had a project titled “Like and Share,” the idea of which came up when Rana was dropping me home one day from a shooting spot. We were just talking about the inside scoops of shooting in our country. At one point, I pitched him the idea that we should bring out some of these secrets from behind the scene to the audience. Then, he started talking about what we can do and can’t. He took it quite seriously without thinking how the other actors and directors might react to it. That's a thing we have in common - we don't stumble over what people might think about it, and surprisingly, the project turned into quite a successful one. After that, we went on to work on a sequel and several other projects and the response was somewhat satisfactory.
Rana and I have another thing in common. We both like to work less. It is understandable that he prioritises his teaching over directing. Nevertheless, I think he should direct more.
So, I don’t know when the next project will happen, as I said earlier we don't work like this. Maybe we will do something once we come up with a new idea or story. When? We don’t know. Also, it has been 10 months since I worked in a drama. See, that's why I don't see acting as a career for me.
So how does it feel being the Jon Kabir people love?
It feels great and I am really grateful to Allah and the people who shower me with their love. I don't like being called a celebrity or famous. But witnessing people's adoration and respect makes me feel that I have done something meaningful with my life. Love is the most beautiful thing ever and I’ve got plenty of it. I am again grateful to all the people out there who make people like me, whom you often tag as “celebrity,” what they are.