We just might have a Nigerian version of Rob Halford on our hands here guys. Pretty bold ass statement coming from us but we’ve actually thought this thing through. Sometime you find the strangest gems in the weirdest of places. But hey, you know how these dramatic stories play out. We had a sit down with the latest discovery in Nigerian rock music, Arum. Yes, that’s his name. But don’t take our word for it. Thing is we are pretty excited by thing guy, he deals with Heavy Metal and I can’t think of someone more excited about that than our own AxlPif. He’s been waiting on someone like this to pop up. Now then, let’s hear from the man himself.
AudioInferno.com: OK!!!! We really have to ask this here, Is ARUM your real name or a stage name?
ARUM: It is my Tribal name.
AI: It’s also your stage name, so tell us what does it mean and what inspired it?
ARUM: I have chosen it as my stage name because it means “Wealthy man”.
AI: When did you start making music?
ARUM: I started making music 16th September, 1994.
That’s a really long time ago. If we recall, that falls into the MTV years. Great time really. Rock bands finally had a channel to play the sort of music they loved. Great year for rock albums also. It was pretty much a great year.
AI: What inspired you to start making music?
ARUM: I wanted to become a doctor, but towards the end of my O’Level, I realized my phobia for blood. But then in school, we used to party and I was good at singing. Back then, we used to mime Boyz II Men and Michael Jackson songs and I was good at it. So it wasn’t difficult for me, to begin making music as I concluded my O’Level.
AI: What would you call your genre of music? (Heavy Metal or Hardcore)
ARUM: I’m all around, but I tend to love hard metal or whatever you call it, I could sing them very well.
The man makes a fine point there, having listened to his songs, he does have a kind of flexibility to his style but if we were to pick what genre he falls into it has to be Heavy Metal, which will make him the very first Heavy Metal act (known anyway) in Nigeria. But we doubt he cares about that sort of milestone.
AI: Do you sing Pop or Alternative music?
ARUM: I can sing alternative, but I’m into heavy metal, death metal and grunge rock. It may surprise you to know that I can also sing worship songs, I see it as an edge I have over other rock musicians. Many metal rock bands cannot do that so I see it as the edge God has given me over other rock bands/acts.
AI: Do you do gospel rock or secular rock?
ARUM: I’m into gospel, that’s the simple truth, but my kind of music is the type everybody can listen to. It cuts across all classes of people and if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics, you won’t realize its gospel.
He kind of got us there. The very first song we heard from ARUM was Diagnose Me, and we knew it was a Heavy Metal song but we were baffled with the lyrical contents. It’s a kick as song and you should hear it here:
AI: Are your lyrics distinctively gospel or just inspirational?
ARUM: Come on brother, if I tell you that I’m a gospel singer, it means that my inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit, I cannot deny that fact. The music I make is solely inspired by the Holy Spirit, so I get the inspiration to make music from the Holy Spirit. That is the truth, this is something I cannot hide, and when you listen to my music, you can tell. I want to cut across all classes of people with my music.
So, with that, we have a Heavy Metal cat that deals in Christian Rock. We are sure there’s a name for this genre.
AI: What are the challenges you face while making your music?
ARUM: A lot of challenges. Firstly, my parents are not in support of me going into music, which makes it very difficult. Secondly, the environment and the community was not receptive when I started. Then rock music was not well known as it is well known now. People around you see you like a joker when you mount the stage to perform. But I knew what I was called to do, so I started and now I’m happy that now when I sing, people are happy to listen. Lastly, the major challenge has been funds. Rock music you know is not like other kinds of music. Rock music is live music. It is very capital intensive, you need a lot of money to produce good rock music. I thank God who has helped me to come this far and I’m glad that organizations like AudioInferno, RockNationNg are starting to recognize people like me.
Bless him for the shout out, means a lot to us here.
AI: How do you perceive the growth/progress of the rock music industry in Nigeria and Africa? (Good, steady or slow progress)?
ARUM: Yeah, it’s gaining ground little by little, compared to when I started back in 1994. I tell you, very soon, Rock music is taking over. Though I read some news on the internet recently that making rock music is like building castles in the air, but rock music is a force, like a rushing water, a hurricane and very soon, that force would be reckoned with.
AI: What’s your opinion on the progress of Rock music in Nigeria compared to other African countries?
ARUM: To tell you the truth, S.A is ahead of us. There is this awareness of rock music in S.A that you can’t even begin to compare them to Nigeria. I tell you though, once we get better, you’ll popular rock bands coming to Nigeria. One thing about Rock music is, you’re either good or bad, and there is no cutting corners.
AI: What inspired the genre of music you make?
ARUM: Actually, I started with hard metal because I wanted to sing aloud. I just felt it within me that this is the kind of music I want to make after listening to James Brown, Michael Jackson and Montrose.
AI: Do you have a band or are you a solo act?
ARUM: Mehn, I once had a band in Jos, but you know, the other band members did not have the kind of mindset I had back them and they were not as serious I was, and maybe basically because of the current situation of the country, you know everybody wants to make a living and have a steady source of income, so I think that was what contributed to the dissolving of the band and I’ve been on my own since then. But I am still looking forward to having a band of my own.
AI: So what kind of music did you and the band make back when you were together?
ARUM: We were making hard metal music, though I was the one trying to put them through and I had a godfather, Professor Kingsley Abbey, who is also into rock. He is a guitarist and was very glad I had a band, he used to come around to teach us one or two things about rock music. He is now the provost of Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN).
WE NEED TO LOOK FOR THIS MAN PEOPLE!!!!
AI: Are you signed to a record label or are you an independent music producer?
ARUM: Nah, I’m independent for now, hoping for something to happen, because, I can’t do it alone.
AI: Who produces your music?
ARUM: My producer is in Jos, he is the one that produces my songs. Even though I don’t have a band, he still makes do with his computer software to produce the songs. They are not perfect yet, but they are good to go.
AI: DO you have any album or EP released?
ARUM: I have not released any album yet. Diagnose is meant to be my debut album which I just concluded and I’m looking forward to pushing it out there.
AI: How do you balance your music with other obligations?
ARUM: My music takes the greatest part of me. I don’t compromise my music. That’s why I refused to take any job, I have a place where I make a living for myself and I am okay with that.
AI: Are you a full time musician or still part time?
ARUM: Yes. I think I will die singing. I want to be singing even when I’m 90 years old. That’s how passionate I am.
AI: What bands inspire you to make the music you make?
ARUM: Actually, that’s my problem. I don’t listen to so many rock bands. This is because I needed to have my originality. I did not want to sound like anybody, so I just keep to myself and I know that I’m called to do this stuff.
So, at this point it’s safe to assume he doesn’t know about the comparison between he’s singing style and that of the great Rob Halford of Judas Priest? Wow.
See what we mean?
AI: How often do you practice music?
ARUM: Every day. When I started, I used to train for like 5 hours a day, but now I’ve cut it down to 2 hours per day. But when I have a band, they’ll have to work every hour, because I’ll be working 6-7 hours.
AI: Do you play any instruments?
ARUM: That’s the funny part, I don’t play any instruments, I channel all my power on my vocals, because I know that’s my strength and I did not want anything to divide my attention and I was advised to develop my vocals before going into playing instruments.
AI: Have you ever performed in public?
ARUM: Yes, back in Jos, I perform in churches. Rocktoberfest was my first public performance in Lagos.
AI: DO you write your music?
ARUM: Yes of course I write my songs.
AI: Any words for Rockers looking forward to meeting you and hearing your music.
ARUM: Let’s just keep rocking those heads, I’ll set that stage on fire whenever I am called on to do so. Every rock band/artist should get their acts together and put up a good show whenever they are called to do so.
Well there you have it! We’ve met with Arum and asked him all we wanted to know about him. We feel our rock scene in Nigeria is growing and we’d like to thank Arum for doing this awesome interview bit, fun stuff and you should go to his music page on Reverbnation and give him the support he deserves guys. So expect to hear from the man when he has new materials up. For everything ARUM you are at the number one place already.