Time Out talks spontaneity, style, and success over a lovely hot cuppa with the Dubai-based band as they prepare to hit the big time.
We are Faraz Khan, aka Fooman (vocals), Randy DeSilva (lead guitar); and Ross DeSilva (drums). Mix us up and we’re Universal Rogue. We’ve been around for five years now, and we were brought together by our passion for music.
Our name defines us. ‘Universal’ because we want our music to be heard without any discrimination, and ‘Rogue’ because, even though people never talk about it, there’s a revolutionary movement inside everyone. We took ours and jammed it into a musical journey that became Universal Rogue.
Our inspirations come from the 60s, the 80s and the 90s. Randy is a hardcore Robert Plant and Jimi Hendrix fan, Ross is dedicated to Queen, and Faraz is into Jim Morrison, Chris Cornell and Layne Staley.We just blend all of that together to make something new, though you could say it’s a mix of hard rock and the 80s rock sound.
In one sentence, we would describe ourselves as hard-hitting, head-banging, soul-filling and humanly uncanny. We were asked for one sentence – it never had to make sense.
Our biggest achievement is that we were offered complete financial support for a music video a long time ago. But we lost the guy’s contact details at a beach party after a gig. Other than that, our best achievement has been personal satisfaction, which isn’t easy to accomplish.
We’ve been recording an EP for the past six months and we plan to release it at the end of summer. It’s titled Theory For All Seasons and it’s going to be pretty varied, though with a harder sound than our previous stuff.
Some of our songs are about faith, others about angels, most about life. Some of the lyrics are semi-biographical. We’ve been in Dubai our whole lives and it’s been a tough ride. We weren’t born rich, we live in a country where it’s hard to get permission to play and, worst of all, we don’t know how long we’re going to be around here. So you’ll see a lot of those feelings and emotions being reflected in the lyrics.
We would love to win awards, play across the globe and be featured on MTV Cribs, but we don’t know if it’s possible for a Middle-Eastern band, because the market’s very limited. So we just want to make music that we can look back at, 30, 40 or even 50 years from now, and feel good about. None of us want to look back and think, ‘Damn, we didn’t even try.’
We were offered complete financial support for a music video, but we lost the guy’s contact details at a party
The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that you have to treat the band like a family and stick together. A lot of bands break up because someone wants to take the lead, so we all make decisions together. It’s not just about playing the music, it’s about keeping the band together.
Our plans for the future are to release a few albums, do some videos and eventually some gigs. It would be good to be one of the few bands from the UAE that made it. Besides that, we don’t really plan anything because plans never seem to work out. Eddie Van Halen said that and we believe it. We live for the moment, take things as they appear and try to be as spontaneous as we can.