Welcome, welcome one and all to another jam packed Beneath the Surface feature. This time I am joined by the wonderful London based indie, alt-rock band Redhanded. Comprising of 4 members, Sohail Ajaz (Vocals), Faizan Baig (Guitars), Adil Azim (Bass) and Saif Malik (drums). We chat all things music alongside their newest single ‘Bottom’ and upcoming, debut album ‘Retrograde’!
What would you say first sparked your interest in music/who inspired you to make music?
Sohail: Music has always been a part of my life. I had access to a bunch of 70’s and 80’s vinyl and mixtapes growing up. So even as a child I was listening to a varied selection of music from the Beatles and Michael Jackson to ethnic and folk music. But it wasn’t until I got into the likes of Metallica, GnR and U2 that I really thought about being in a band.
Adil: My first exposure to music was through the Bee Gees and ABBA from my father’s old cassette collection – but it wasn’t until high school when I discovered classic rock, grunge and Britpop that I was inspired to make and play music. One of my favourite albums of all time is The Verve’s Urban Hymns, and Sonnet was the first song I ever performed live at a high school talent show.
Faizan: I had older cousins who were serious rockers, and through them I was exposed to a lot of classic rock and grunge from an early age. My dad bought a Guns N Roses album when I was ten and I listened to it until the tape was worn out. As I got older I started exploring the roots of this style of music and ended up listening to a lot of 1920s delta blues, which continues to be an underlying inspiration behind a lot of my guitar work.
How would you describe the music you are currently creating?
We’d describe it as the 21st century version of what used to be classic rock or rock ‘n’ roll – with undertones of other sub-genres of course like metal, pop and blues. As you can probably tell, we have a diverse set of influences between us and it’s reflected in the music we create!
What does your creative process look like?
We really don’t have one single approach as it depends on the project. For the first Redhanded record most of it came about from the jams, bouncing ideas and responding to what was going on in the room. There was one song which started with a vocal line, but by the end most of the songs had been through multiple iterations of us playing them over and over and seeing which ideas stick.
Who would you most like to collaborate with? (let’s send it out to the universe and make it happen!)
Sohail: I’m an avid listener of music and would rather just let my heroes do their thing without getting in their way! But since you ask, I’ll go with Trent Reznor. Also, I’d love to collaborate with visual arts or gaming studios at some point.
Adil: I’m completely willing to get in the way of my heroes if they’ll let me – so I’ll put it out there: I would love to collaborate with Stevie Nicks. She’s the undisputed queen of rock ’n’ roll in my eyes – as a performer, songwriter and composer, and that voice…
Faizan: I have plenty of guitar heroes I’d explore working with, but artists like Joe Satriani and Slash certainly come to mind.
What is the one message you would like to send out to your fans?
Firstly we’d like to thank everyone who’s streamed our music or come out to support our live shows. It’s extremely difficult to keep doing what we do unless our audience is visible to us and engaging actively. So if you like the work of independent musicians, please support them as much as you can!
What’s your top tip to rejuvenate your creativity/get over a writer’s block?
Sohail: Sometimes I need to just get away from it. My inspirations often come from other mediums such as movies, video games and books I consume so at times I distance myself from the music and come back to it later.
Adil: For me, it’s nothing more complicated than linking creativity to your emotions. In the last six months, my grandmother passed away and I almost lost my mum to COVID, but I also met a beautiful soul who supported me, helped me heal and most importantly, allowed me to reimagine what ‘happiness’ means. Those parallel emotions of despair, reflection, gratitude and joy are the starting point for my creativity at the moment.
Faizan: It’s impossible for me to separate music from everything else I do. I get inspiration from the sounds of everyday activities and if I could find a way to successfully channel all of that through my guitar, we would end up writing a lot of songs!
What’s next for you, what do we have to look forward to/ what are you currently working on?
We’ll be playing a number of shows once the album drops, but we’re already thinking ahead and working on new material. We’re all quite keen to eventually get back into the studio and start tracking the next record!
Keep up with Redhanded below: