Faisal Kapadia is “celebrating right now”. The singer of the iconic rock band Strings, which last week announced its break-up after going strong for 33 years, reveals a bittersweet tone of voice as he speaks. It wasn’t an “easy decision” for him, or Bilal Siddiqui — the other half of the original band — to “end the journey”. But, as Faisal puts it, the timing couldn’t have been better.
“Bilal and I have had this discussion of when do we finish it. Of course, we could have gone on to play till we were 65-year-olds but then we didn’t really want it to come to a point where it started feeling like a chore, or we started getting bored. We didn’t want it to come to a point where we just didn’t enjoy music anymore,” he adds.
Hence, the decision “to pull the plug” was taken, not just because the band was worried about getting to a point where they would stop enjoying making music, but also because they realised that there’s a lot they were missing out on, and it was time to go “beyond concerts, music and Strings”.
“Pandemic in a way helped us to get that perspective. It wasn’t as if we didn’t enjoy our tours and concerts. But for the last 30 years that’s all that we did, and we missed all our kids growing up. They are now about to graduate and go to college, and suddenly we realised there’s this whole other life that we are missing out on,” he says.
“The decision to pull the plug, when there is life in it is very difficult. I am celebrating right now, but a roof that was there for 33 years is now suddenly gone. But we had to do it someday, and this was the best time I feel, because there’s much to life beyond just concerts, music and Strings,” he says.
The reaction of people, ever since the announcement, been “overwhelming and so surprising to see”, Faisal says. Many have signed an online petition asking the band for one last performance.
“Usually the kind of love (we got after announcing the break-up) people get after they die. But we got to see it while we are alive and I am just so thankful and so grateful for all of that. It has been the most overwhelming and the most humbling experience (to see the kind of reaction we got). It was something we did not anticipate at all,” he says.
One of the many memories during this “journey” that lasted more than three decades that Faisal has, is the amount of love the band received from across the border in India — especially since they released their third album “Duur” in 2000, after the band’s seven-year hiatus.
“I am still speechless when I think about the kind of love we got from India. They never ever made us feel like we were outsiders or we were from Pakistan. In fact when they learnt that a Pakistani band called Strings was performing, they started making more noise and they started enjoying more!” he recalls.
“And then we got to work with some amazing human beings and some awesome musicians like Hariharan, Indian Ocean, Sona Mohapatra and so many others. It was just beautiful, the entire journey,” he recalls.
While the band journey ends here, Bilal and Faisal’s individual journeys go on as musicians.
“I haven’t spoken to Bilal honestly about what he is going to do, but I think he wants to explore the world of music production,” he says.
“As for me, I am yet to go to that bookstore and pick up the book about my life where I can know what my next chapter is going to be. I am still processing all this as of now, and I have to yet figure out what I want to really do. Of course I have been doing music for over 40 years now, so I won’t just stop doing that,” he signs off on an open-ended note, just as the band’s timeless songs often do.