I caught up with progressive meets world music giant Mustafa Khetty to chat about musical influences, his latest release and what’s in store for the rest of 2021.
To anyone new to your music, name 3 words that best describe your sound.
Transnational, Bohemian and Unbounded by Rules.
What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?
Music is first in most tracks and the lyric melody is hummed to design the harmonies and textures to support it. The full track is completed with lyrics and vocals recorded over it. Our approach is to enrich the track as an instrumental and experiment with the diverse range of synth sound samples, guitar sounds and both analog and digital keyboards. For example, if we consider a bell sound, we would listen to over 50 from Bali to Western Samoa, almost every bell on Earth. Each has its own tone, mood, ambience and what sounds right in a particular passage is then selected. But, it is not simple, the bell sound module has to resonate with the other instruments. By itself it could be appropriate, but not so when it is morphed. The track Mozaick is probably the extreme example of over 34 instruments and excess of 140 tracks.
Who are your main musical influences and why?
The Classical greats from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Ravel to modern and contemporary Arvo Part, Georges Enescu, and William Vaughan. Choral music and three and five part voice harmonies are stimulating. It resonates exceptionally well in an acoustically pleasing room. Classical genre is timeless and from, structure, instruments, composition theory and the orchestra is the backbone of contemporary music. Each composer innovated and contributed to the body knowledge with their particular signature. Moving on to the 20 th and 21 st Century, in the last 40 years, the prog rock genre with Yes, Deep Purple, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Carlos Santana, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Mike Oldfield, Andrew-Lloyd Weber, Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens and Joan Baez. The groups and individuals were icons and the experimental limits explored in song, lyrics melody, guitar and synths innovation were enthralling. The 70’s was an explosion of creativity that went berserk. The era of omnipresent guitar music with electronic instruments taking front stage. To add to this, my Asian and Middle East roots from early childhood and living extensively in both US, Europe, Mid-East and Far East absorbing the music and culture merged and morphed with both West and East.
What’s in store for you for the rest of the year?
Expand on meeting producers, promoters and record labels. Plan concert tour in 2021 and 2022. Design the live stage with light, sound, multi-media and storyboard. A second album for latter part of the year, a Turk-Irish fusion album of folk songs in a contemporary style and compose music to commemorate Michael Collins’, the famed Irish Independence leader’s 100 th death anniversary in August 2022. The theme is based on the tragic love story with Kitty Kiernan. The album would include a narrative and perhaps this could be a foundation for a musical theater production.
Tell MoggBlog viewers about your latest release! What’s the inspiration behind that?
Cry for Freedom is neo classical and was included in the album as a short musical rendering about the tragedy of the Bosnian conflict, which affected women and children the most. The Bosnian war story has not been told from the eyes of women and children. It captures the cry, anguish, pain, suffering, hopelessness and enduring tears that are shed for loss of loved ones and broken families. It is a teaser…in a prog rock album to include neo-classical. A reminder to the listeners on prog rock roots and key influence in my musical journey.