BLOG TALK RADIO with Garrett Miller
Interview Transcript -more or less
Garrett: Please tell us about yourselves...
We are a multi-cultural duo. We have been playing and creating music for a very long time.
Fontain's M.U.S.E. is describe in a San Francisco Review as:
"...psychedelic, exotic grooves, world tribe, raga-tronic, infectious dance beats, spicy vocals in many tongues, sitars, guitars, percussion...soothing yet invigorating like a taste of raw ginger"
Bay Arts and Music, San Francisco, CA
Garrett: How did you meet?
Fontain: I have been in several jazz bands and national show tours by the time I went back to school and I was ready to create my own band so while at Cogswell I took Jazz Ensemble and formed a school band~
We met in a class at Cogswell College, well actually, we had about 4 classes together, we met first in Photoshop Class. He did not have his homework that day; a self portrait sketch, so I quickly did a drawing of him and noticed that he was really cute. He scanned it in and the rest of the day we were to edit in 12 different styles in Photoshop. I told him I was starting a Cogswell band something like Mahavishnu Orchestra with multi-cultural instrumentation.
He said "I play guitar, I told him I have the guitar part covered. Do you play an instrument from your culture, Pakistan?
He said, "Sitar, it is in my blood."
Well it is true, because that day he went to Berkeley CA, bought a sitar and had his uncle, Ustad Habib Khan (a very well known artist in the Indian community) give him a quick lesson and he showed up for rehearsal, could play a few notes on the sitar and I said, "OK You are in."
Classes we had together: Music Engineering, Photoshop, Jazz Ensemble, Web Design
Garret: When did you decide you wanted to play music?
After he passed an audition for my Jazz Ensemble.
We have been officially playing music together since that day 1998
Garrett: What inspired your musical style?
Fontain: I have grown up listening to Indian music played LIVE in their living rooms with families who were friends of my grandfather who played sitar ragas, sarode, singing kirtan (prayers) >
Also I have been influenced by Classic Rock and Folk including David Bowie, Led Zepplin, Bob Dylan, Beatles. Jazz influences include-Coltrain, Theloneous Monk, Joannie Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald. I also like soul music, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding
Old Blues: BB King, Howlin' Wolf, Big Mama Thronton, Little Walter, Koko Taylor, Muddy Waters. For a while I was really into Laurie Anderson (the modern violin and eletronic looping artist, she invented the genre)
Contemproary Artists who inspire me are: Prince, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lady Gaga, Lorde, Florence and the Machine, White Stripes-Jack White, Sound Garden, NIN (especially Downward Spiral)
Farhan: I liked American Rock and Glam Rock, when I was a child growing up in Pakistan. STYX, Poisen, KISS, Queen. We came to America and my Uncle Ustad Habib Khan is a music teacher, he teaches sitar, tabla and voice. I listend to him but was not interested at the time. Now I play more Sitar than I do Guitar.
Fontain: Farhan has a music degree and went to the Musicicans Institute in Hollywood to learn rock guitar.
Garrett: How would you categorize your music?
Fontain: Multi-cultural, Spiritual, with a strong sence of hooks, dance grooves, melody. The lyrics are in a pop Format: Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Verse, Chorus but deal with a variety of issues other than pop cultural "hook up" themes.
Most of the LYRICAL themes have to do with Sacred Geometry, Spiral Dance, Metaphysics, POSITIVE MESSAGE. I have written a few anti-war songs and a few comical songs, and working on the Chakra CD in 432 hz tuning, a few other colaborations with dancers, yoga instructors, and other performers.
Garrett: How many albums have you put out?
Flash and Fontain's M.U.S.E.
We do instrumental music and music with vocals. Vocals can be in several languages: Urdu, Spanish, Persian, French, Uzbek, mostly English.
Garrett: Where have you played music before?
Farhan: From San Francisco to San Diego.
We have performed Center Stage at Burning Man, Burning Man Decompression- San Francisco and LA, Lucidity Festival-Santa Barbara, East West Studios- Grammy Party, hosted by LA Records. In San Diego we have performed for DANCE JAM, Ecstatic Dance, San Diego.
We have performed a big show with my brother who is a famous magician Majinga the Magician aka Michael Stroud at the Warner Grand. We had dancers, acrobats, and a of course magicians. I started creating this style of music to go with his variety show "the Magique Bazaar". We perform live music synchronized with his magic acts.
Garrett: What do you have in store for the rest of '14, plans for '15?
Fontain: We are working on a Chakra Tuning CD, designed in the Harmonic Tuning of 432. It is time that humans awaken and realize that we do not need to pollute the earth, wage war, fight with our neighbors and let the poor suffer. I feel if more people are aligned with the consciousness of compassion, in time we will evolve. There are many lighter spirited people who walk the earth who do great deeds, if there are more, we can evolve as a species and create a better quality of life for all. the link to the work in progress Chakra music is here.
Garrett: How do people find out MORE about you?
All of the links to social media and music links are at the top of the page.
Garrett: Do you have a FAVORITE song that you've recorded that has really resonated with fans?
"Fountain of Light" it is a joyous song about enlightenment that is less preachy, and you can dance to it.
Garrett: What was one of your BEST experiences playing music?
There are 2 East West Studios in Hollywood for the Grammy party where we shared the stage with LA Legond- Ozomatli and Burning Man Decompression San Francisco 2012 and 2013. On 2012 we shared the stage with David Starfire and our major influences Cheb e Sabbah (who is now passed away~ may his spirit forever rest in peace)
We also had another interesting couple of gigs at the Sacred Grounds in San Pedro with J.R. Richards, he wrote "Counting Blue Cars" he was a founding member of Dishwalla. He showed up in his car and we helped him with the PA and we all set up and rocked the Sacred Grounds with a few other solo performers, violinists. Then later we were honored to perform with him again at the Warner Grand in October for a memorial for Ryan Rossi hosted by his family.
Garrett: Do you you have a "horror" story about a concert, event, time of life in music - how did you deal with it?
A long time ago we played a Hollywood Music Showcase. They kept moving our time slot to later and later. There were about 300 bands, we had to set up in 1 min and play. They insisted we use their system, it was crackely and obviously damaged. We played 3 songs. Between songs I talked to the audience while one of our more tech savvy members re-routed the sound system to our own sound system and we sounded much better. The audience was mostly musicians. We got them going and singing and dancing along. It was pretty stressful, but we did our best.
Garrett: Where would you like to play in '15? Do you have a favorite type of venue or event?
Any Festival from San Francisco to LA County to San Diego.
Garrett: Anything else you'd like listeners to know about Fontain's Muse?
We are a small duo and if you have eclectic taste and are throwing a house party, please call us. We do instrumental music, sound tracks for Independent film and if you have a theatrical performance or dance troupe who needs a specific score, I do this too.
Yes we create our loops and groove in our studio, it is all us. So this is why we have named Farhan- DJ FLASH- Because he does the live looping and plays the sitar. All the vocals, sitar and guitar are live and real. I had to proove that a few times. People do not think it is LIVE, it is not a recording, NEVER!! would I ever lip sync. I have tried it when we were doing a studio video shoot, I kind of suck at it because i never sing a song the same way twice because I improvise (Jazz background) quite a bit and I let the music take me with my moods so...bad lip sync.