Why Bu Kisha?
Bu Kisha was a name that was given to me back in university. I was running for student council and at the time there were these posters plastered around campus with the different candidates on them. A friend of mine told me that he heard one of the students refer to me as Bu Kisha (because I had a bit of an afro in my picture) and I liked the name so it stuck.
Tell us something that we do not know about you?
I like doughnuts. A lot.
How and why did you first pick up the guitar?
When I was in school, one of my best friends was getting into playing guitar and (thinking it was the coolest thing ever) I’d frequently borrow his guitar to mess around with and try learning songs but it was never anything really serious. Come 2003, I saw a band of seniors perform at one of my high-school assemblies and after speaking to a couple of my classmates, we decided we’d do the same. With what little prior experience we had with our respective instruments we decided we would at least try to play ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes. We would go to the music department during our break times and make a bunch of noise (much to the annoyance of the music teachers) practicing until we had the song down to a relatively good level. Soon after we performed at one of the after-school talent concert’s and the rest is history.
Who were your main early influences?
Zakk Wylde (of Black Label Society) was my first major influence when it came to playing guitar. The music he wrote, his presence on stage and not to mention the way he completely ripped on the guitar, I knew I had to learn how to play like him.
What was your first guitar?
I got my first guitar in 2003 (about a month after my band played the talent show). It was red Samick electric guitar and it became my pride and joy. I no longer have it unfortunately, (in hindsight it was a terrible guitar) but I’ve since built up a small collection of guitars.
Do you have a name for any of your guitars?
I have a name for all my guitars but I’m not going to list them all here. The guitars I use predominantly are called Nami (the blue Agile Les Paul), Rosetta (the red Epiphone Dot), and ‘Impulse’ (my Fender acoustic).
Where do you want your guitar skills to be a year from now?
Well, I’d like to be even better at the instrument a year down the line (obviously), but I’d specifically like to be expand my playing by learning other styles, especially jazz.
What about music gets you excited and why?
There are so many elements to music that have me in a constant state of awe that it’s hard to really pinpoint one particular thing about it that excites me. It can make you feel what you’ve never felt, it can take you on journeys of discovery of both your own imagination and your own self. It can be a complicated symphony of melody or a simple strum of a chord, but it all tells a story and can be so inspiring. What isn’t there to be excited about?
Are you thinking outside of the box? If so, are you also acting outside of the box?
All the time! Who want’s to be in a box?
Who are your top three musical influences and why is that?
Devin Townsend (The Devin Townsend Project, Strapping Young Lad and Casualties of Cool), Claudio Sanchez (Coheed & Cambria, The Prize Fighter Inferno) and Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter, The Recieving End of Sirens). They all have a major influence in how I approach my writing from both a musical and conceptual point of view. They all play very different styles of music from each other but they all have that same ability to tell a story in such a unique, creative and inspirational way that I can’t help but want to play and write music every time I hear them. They’re geniuses in my book.
How do you define success?
Achieving something you set out to do to the best of your ability, regardless of scale. Success can be so many things depending on how you look at it.
Who or what stands between you and your dream goal?
I’m the only thing that stands between where I am now and where I want to be. It’s easy to say “I didn’t get to where I want to be because of this and that” but at the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you. If you really want it, you have to go get it yourself and let nothing get in your way.
What three things can you change, reduce and eliminate to do what you really want?
The three things I had in mind all come under the same major point that is to not waste as much time as I find myself doing more often. There are so many distractions nowadays!
What is your greatest challenge?
Putting my phone down.
How would you describe yourself as a musician in one sentence?
Always happy to play.
Where the best place people can find more information about you?
My blog would be the best place to start. that being said I’ve no problem meeting and talking to people, so if you see me, come say hi and if you have any questions ask away!
Are you playing in a band? If yes… which band?
I’m currently a part of blues trio ‘Jelly Shot’, punk band ‘7oudster & The Turkish HashCats’, reggae band ‘Karrouhat’, classic rock band ‘Bar None’ and hard rock/alternative band ‘The Afterthought’ and I have in the past been a session guitarist for acts such as Mr. Fari, Coco and Fabrice.
Are you fine being the guitar player in the band or do you secretly also want to be the lead singer?
I’ve always been happy being the guitarist, but if the role of singer comes my way I’ll probably accept if no one else is willing to instead. I don’t consider myself much of a singer (seeing as the music I write is predominantly instrumental) but I’m working on changing that with my upcoming work.
How do you spend your free time?
Most of my free time outside of my day job is spent listening to, writing, practicing or performing music to some degree. All of that aside however, I spend the rest of my time seeing friends, playing video games, drawing and occasionally writing for my blog.
Who are you trying to impress?
No one. If I were doing this to impress anyone, I wouldn’t be doing this at all because I don’t feel that what I do should be to impress anyone. If people are impressed by it then that’s great, but more than anything I do it for myself and to inspire more than impress.
What do you wish you had done differently?
When I first started playing guitar I was practicing for an average of 5 hours a day and over the years that number has declined. I wish I had kept up that pace of practicing everyday.
Are you just going through the motions or are you actively participating in your own life?
I’m always participating in my own life. There are times where it feels like I’m just taking a back seat to my own life, but I’m always learning even on the most passive of days.
Do you keep running away from discomfort or do you embrace and love your fears?
They might not be pleasant, but I learnt to love them. They’re there to teach you something.
What are you most excited about in your life right now?
Now that the ‘gigging season’ has started to slow down I’m really looking forward to getting back to writing my own music more often and resuming progress on my next album.
Are you playing in the right band and with the right musicians?
I don’t think there’s such a thing as a ‘right musician’. Musicians all have different approaches to the way they play the music you hear and there’s always something to learn from playing with them. My understanding of music and my technique have gotten much better over this time very much in part to having played in the bands I’ve played in.
What makes life better or easier?
Having some sort of escape helps a lot. In my case it’s music, listening to it, playing it, writing it, it’s something I can do to get away. Even if just for 5 minutes during a stressful day, it can make a world of difference.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of how far we as musicians have come in Kuwait. I’m talking about the family of Kuwait’s local writing and performing musicians who have finally started coming to the forefront and are getting the recognition they all deserve.
Do you want to improve as a musician now or is it always tomorrow?
I’m always looking to improve in some way or another. If I’m not actively sitting down and practicing, I’m often thinking about ways I can improve musically both in practice and in theory.
Are you happy with your guitar and your sound?
I’m very happy with the sound I have however there’s always room for improvement, so I guess I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with my sound to a point that it stops changing and developing.
Where do you stand as a musician five years from now?
I honestly don’t know. I hope I’ll be better at guitar and writing music, hopefully have at least an album or 2 more out by then. The rest I’m going to leave to fate.
Any tips you can share with musicians out there?
Never let anyone stop you from what makes you happy. Whether you dream for the arena spotlights or are content with jamming in the basement, as long as you’re having fun, that’s what’s important. Also, practice, that helps.