With the loud basses and the heavy riffs, we can’t help but bang our heads in concerts and let our bodies rock with the sound waves. Even when we’re sitting alone in dismay or distress, shedding tears or running into nostalgia with the headset on, it’s the music that navigates our emotions. But how often do we notice the factor in music that causes our adrenaline rush? What makes the basses louder or the riffs heavier? How often do we think about the person with tempo-controlling wands or the one behind the audio console giving soul to the music? This write-up explores the journey and thoughts of Bangladeshi musician, sound engineer and music producer Md. Anamul Hasan.
In the world of music and audio production, Anamul stands as a luminary, a versatile artist who has made an indelible mark on local music scene. With over 16 years of experience under his belt, he is not just a musician, but a sound engineer, and a music producer. His journey, which began with a simple passion for music, has evolved into a multifaceted career that has spanned across various domains of the music scene.
Right now, he is the drummer, composer, and music producer of his band Arohi and live sound engineer of the famous Bangladeshi band Shironamhin and band Shonar Bangla Circus. He is also the senior sound engineer of Cholpori Technologies Ltd and is responsible for all sorts of audio production for cholpori.com a TechEd platform for young learners. Besides all that, he is into speaker designing and audio electronics as well as building DIY projects.
A journey rooted in rhythm
Md. Anamul Hasan’s early years were filled with the melodies of pop western music, gradually paving the way for his infatuation with rock and other genres. The rhythm section always beckoned to him, even during his school and college days when he couldn’t resist ‘shadow drumming’ on classroom tables.
“In my last year of college, I got to meet Tanim (the drummer of band Metal Maze back then and later Arbovirus) and decided to get some drum lessons. After a month of ‘shadow’ lessons, I carried on with my personal research and kept growing as a drummer. Back then we would pick up songs from cassette tapes mimicking the drum hits on air and feet,” he said.
However, his musical journey truly began when he and a group of fellow music enthusiasts decided to form a band 2001, practicing the iconic tunes by artists like L.R.B, Feelings, and Metallica. This marked the genesis of his musical odyssey, which would later encompass not just drumming but sound engineering and music production.
Being asked regarding family influence in getting in touch with music, Anamul replied, “To be honest, not really but I would see my uncle and cousins listening to Michael Jackson and rock bands like Europe and Scorpions. That might have an impact on me. Electric guitar sounds used to excite me as a kid and later I became a rock drummer.”
In a musical journey of over one and a half decade, Md. Anamul Hasan has played as a drummer with bands like Satanik, RadioActive, Shonar Bangla Circus, GrooveYard The Band, Furomon and Bhanga Murtir Kichirmichir. For the last couple of months, he has been working on his band Arohi’s upcoming album and is now into the studio, giving drum takes.
Anamul’s foray into audio production was a natural progression. He reminisces about his school days when he fixed cassette decks, fine-tuning the tape head and calibrating motor speeds. His early interest in multitrack audio recording and mixing led him to experiment with digital audio workstations (DAWs). He dedicated countless hours to understanding audio processing, gradually mastering the intricacies of sound engineering.
Passion or profession: Learning through experience and self-improvement
For him, music was always more than a profession; it was a passion. “I always wanted to stay close to music so I chose sound production as a career. Music is something I have to do, almost like breathing or I feel anxious and depressed,” Md. Anamul Hasan said.
Formal education in sound engineering came through a diploma from the Music Planet School in Dhaka. Subsequently, he ventured to Singapore, where he worked at Radio Masti 96.3 FM (now Radio Masti 24×7), gaining valuable experience in sound engineering. However, the bulk of his knowledge and expertise came from hands-on experiences—working in recording studios, producing albums, and managing live sound for bands.
“In Singapore, I worked as a Sound Engineer in a Radio Station called Radio Masti 96.3 FM. There, I would produce station sound content. But during my time there I experienced many international acts and Iron Maidan live is the most memorable.”
Regarding speaker design and audio electronics, he said his foray into speaker design and audio electronics harks back to his school days. After years of research and development, he has started building projects in this domain, eager to share his creations with the world.
When it comes to his dream sound setup, Anamul has distinct preferences for different scenarios. For music listening, he envisions a high-fidelity setup with a DSD streamer, vinyl record player, class A amplifier, and full-range bookshelf speakers. In the studio, he aspires to work with Avid Pro Tools HD, an SSL-4000 series analog mixing board, and a rack of analog equipment. For live events, top-of-the-line mixing boards and line-array systems would be his choices.
Memorable events and experiences
Throughout his career, Anamul has had numerous memorable experiences as a drummer as well as a live sound engineer. Some standout moments include events at Cox’s Bazar Sea beach, extreme metal gigs, live performances with bands and live sound for bands like Shironamhin, The Seesaw Quartet and Shonar Bangla Circus.
Md. Anamul Hasan recalls events like B&H star search audition with the band Shapno (2002); with the band Radioactive at the Michael Jackson tribute organised by BAT (2009); Cox’s Bazar sea beach with ‘Prometheus’ (2009); GaanPagol live at Charukola with live choir, orchestra, and Eastern instruments (2014); extreme metal underground gig Primitive Invitation (2017); Control Room live 1 and 2 at Shilpokola Academy with Karnival (2021-2022); Hyna Express Experience live at TSC Auditorium with Shonar Bangla Circus (2022); The Seesaw Quartet, grand wedding Shenakunjo (2022); and 25 years celebration of Shironamhin (2022).
His dedication and creative flair are palpable in the albums he’s played on and produced. Some of his noteworthy works include Grooveyard The Band self-titled album, “Hyna Express” by Shonar Bangla Circus, “Dhenga” by Furomon and “Bhabcho Ki Eto?” by Bhanga Murtir Kichirmichir. These albums reflect his ability to capture the essence of diverse musical genres.
Live sound mixing scenario in Bangladesh
Working as a live sound engineer in Bangladesh comes with its own set of challenges. The most prominent among these is dealing with venue acoustics and the lack of high-quality sound reinforcement systems within budget constraints. He laments the absence of top-notch gear and adequate production time for sound checks, a luxury often reserved for big-budget shows. Moreover, the industry still lacks professionalism, knowledge, and experience. Despite these challenges, he remains optimistic about the industry’s growth and the emergence of a new generation of talented and passionate professionals.
This sound engineer identifies several pros and cons of pursuing sound engineering as a profession in Bangladesh. On the positive side, there are ample learning opportunities, particularly for those starting with no prior background. Working with favorite rock bands and access to affordable labor and resources are also advantages. However, the industry suffers from a lack of professionalism, knowledge, proper performance venues, and an overall deficit in experience, thinks Anamul.
Local bands in Bangladesh have the potential to attain global standards with their unique sounds, he said, adding, “A few examples are already set from bands like Bangla, Train Wreck and Dads in the Park. I believe, soon more talented bands and artists will reach the international audience.”
The road ahead
Reflecting on his musical journey, Anamul considers various moments as achievements, including auditions, tribute performances, and live shows with different bands. Looking ahead, he says, “I am a strong believer in planning and reaching goals but also aware of the fact that life is uncertain. I would look for the same thing, be it tomorrow or many years down the road, which is well-being and happiness. So, I would want to see myself growing as an individual and fulfilling my life goals. Playing more music, traveling to favorite destinations, becoming more empathetic and peaceful.”
Anamul offers sage advice to young individuals aspiring to tread the path of sound engineering. He emphasises the accessibility of learning resources today and encourages continuous learning through hands-on experiences.
“Always focus on the fun part of the production process so you can overlook the stress and enjoy life. It’s always a hard job to deliver satisfactory results. So be ready for anything and learn from experiences. If you love it enough then it’ll come to you.”
Programme Coordinator, Management and Resources Development Initiative