Acclaimed musician Tanzir Tuhin, former vocalist of the popular Bangladeshi rock band Shironamhin, is now the frontman of Avash. The band released their third song and video, Bastob, on February 23. Shortly after, Avash announced that they were launching a lyrics contest. In an exclusive interview, Tuhin sits down with Dhaka Tribune Showtime’s Sadia Khalid and shares details about the ongoing contest and the dire condition of lyrics in our music industry
Can you tell us a little about the rules of the lyrics contest?
Let me say first, all of us, at some point or another, have attempted to write down our feelings, dabbled at poetry. Keeping that in mind, we launched the Lyrics Contest.
Now there are no hard and fast rules here. A person might send more than one song lyrics. However, we would like to request the participants to send lyrics that resemble the work we, as a band, have done so far.
So, is there a central theme people should try to address?
It will be easier for us to compose songs that share similarities with our already released songs in terms of language and imagery, or with the kind of work I have done throughout my career.
You can write about love that is fierce, about people who revel in their quirks, about your country and people. So, no, there is no central theme.
How has the response been so far?
Production company ‘Platform’ is arranging the contest in cooperation with our band Avash. The contest will remain open till March 31. As of now, people seem genuinely excited. So, yes, it is going great, I would say.
We know that people will get to vote and select the best lyrics in the end. What if their choice diverges from your own?
In that case, I am lucky that acclaimed lyricists Prince Mahmud and Tanvir Alam Sajib, are serving as jurors. They will select the top ten song lyrics. As a result, they will make our job much easier.
What served as the inspiration behind your last three songs?
All our songs are meant for the people: we want to resonate with them on an emotional level. The last three songs reflected the moral responsibility that we feel about opening new windows in our society. We want to help our viewers navigate through their lives with compassion and lift them out of today’s stalemate.
What quality or value do you think sets your band apart?
We are not that different from other bands, to be frank. Maybe in terms of our voice delivery or the genres we explore, there are a few minor differences. However, we continuously inspire each other.
One thing Avash tries to stay consistent about is that we want to stay true to our language and preserve its sanctity. We are quite serious about this as a Bangladeshi rock band.
Do you think there is a lack of quality lyrics in today’s music industry?
All in all, yes. I mean, there was a time when we had legendary singers like James or seminal bands like LRB who completely changed the game with their profoundly insightful lyrics. But I am hopeful. I have great faith in our people’s creativity. What they need is a platform. If we are successful, we are going to hold this contest every year.
Apart from arranging such contests, what else can we do to find better lyrics?
We need to stress on the importance of education. We need to nurture our children’s talent from a very young age. We need to make them believe in themselves.
What about the fact that writers often don’t get paid enough or at all?
You are right. This is true, especially in our country’s context. We have a tendency to squeeze as much effort as possible out of people for a cost as cheap as possible.
When is Avash releasing the fourth song?
We will release our debut album by the end of this year. And another of my new solo songs will be released next month.