It has been said that the single most vital element of virtuosity is the ability of the musician to display feats of skill well above the average performer. Instrumental rock guitarist Arqum Iqbal exhibits that trait, however; there is much more beneath the surface of this valiant virtuoso’s vision quest.
What makes Arqum stand out from the other virtuosi of his generation is his uncanny ability to keep the substance, style and artistic attitude alive in his work. “It’s not simply about being a good player and having good technique, it all must be packaged carefully into an artistic work,” Arqum explains. He continues, “There should be an inherent balance between technique and artistic expression – you can’t express yourself if someone else is telling you how you should sound.”
Arqum was born in Doncaster, England. By the age of seven, Arqum and his family had moved from England to USA, to settle in Ohio. His one true love was always music. Steve Vai was just one many influences on Arqum as he developed as a musician. Arqum’s own rebellious spirit drew him to other artists as well, such as Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and Marty Friedman. For Iqbal, it was the timelessness of the works of these artists – to him they were the masters, he was their apprentice.
After decades of practice and performance, and relocating to Los Angeles, Arqum Iqbal launched his solo career in 2008 with his debut album, Jam Session. His debut album was titled Jam Session by no accident. He elaborates, “In the end, it’s all about the music, and there is nothing more enjoyable than the creative flow of a live jam session – I wanted to try to capture that feeling.
Jam Session was followed by an EP release entitled Polished – which also featured an additional acoustic single called “Trouble Maker.” In 2010, Arqum released Controlled Chaos, which featured twelve tracks of high-octane instrumental rock, including “Destroyer” which featured his first music video.
In 2013, Arqum released It Is What It Is – a ten-track album filled with powerful rock and attitude – all centered directly on Arqum’s goal of creating timeless rock music. As all of Iqbal’s past albums, it was produced and engineered by Joe Rullo of Imperial Square studios in LA. The title track, “It Is What It Is” stands as a lighthearted, non-conformist rock anthem. The album also features “Beaten” which exposes the horrific suffering of the family of Kelly Thomas, whose life was taken by what many consider police brutality. Both of these tracks feature music videos giving Rullo and Iqbal an opportunity to put a face and personality to their music.
From Arqum’s first release in 2008, he has stayed true to his mantra of displaying the highest possible performance skills and techniques on his chosen instrument. Arqum’s has become a natural extension of his muses. He pushes himself to excel with each latest song. Iqbal never sacrifices substance and emotion for his raw technical talent.
Arqum Iqbal – It Is What It Is
Arqum Iqbal – Beaten
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Band location – Los Angeles California
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