Tariq is a Juno nominated songwriter and recording artist with a music career that spans over two decades. Born in rural Quebec to parents from Pakistan and Fiji, Tariq grew up on a healthy diet of Bollywood soundtracks. Then, in high school, he got his hands on a guitar and started writing songs which sounded more like Cat Stevens and Neil Young than Mohammed Rafi.
By the end of the nineties, Tariq had released two full-length albums, Splat, and The Basement Songs. The Basement Songs, which came out on EMI Music Canada, earned him national radio play as well as a Juno nomination for “Best New Solo Artist.”
Photo by Rachel Pick
Into the early aughts, Tariq went on to release more music—two albums and one EP—independently and through small imprints. In 2009, he joined the ranks of the Vancouver based band, Brasstronaut. Since joining, this critically acclaimed act has been putting out music and touring extensively in both Canada and in Europe in support of their records.
Tariq’s latest offering is Telegrams, his fifth full-length album and follow up to the 2013 Moonwalker EP. On Telegrams, the songs feel a bit like short stories, hence the title—three-and-a-half minute snippets of fictional lives. A fan of short fiction, Tariq found characters in stories by some of his favourite authors, like Lorrie Moore and Roberto Bolaño, and cast them as leads in his songs. Written in his apartment on an acoustic guitar, the songs were eventually shaped by a band who helped him envision fresh tempos, feels, and arrangements, adding layers of texture and melody. The result is a ten-song album with thoughtful lyrics and singable melodies reminiscent of artists like The Mountain Goats, and John K. Samson.
Sometimes though, those Bollywood soundtracks still play for him somewhere in the background.
Sam Davidson CLARINET, EWI (ELECTRONIC WIND INSTRUMENT), SAXOPHONE + MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS
John Walsh BASS
Skye Brooks DRUMS
JP Carter TRUMPET
Jesse Zubot VIOLIN
Micajah Sturgess FRENCH HORN
Leah Abramson BACKGROUND VOCALS
"Walking Dead"–Official Video
In 2006, Tariq moved to Vancouver to sit in the host’s chair for CBC Radio 3. Over the next three years, he would write extensively about music, host a live show as well as a podcast (The CBC Radio 3 Sessions Podcast), and conduct interviews with Canadian and international musicians about their craft. A few years later, Tariq earned his MFA from UBC’s Creative Writing program where he now teaches lyric writing. Tariq’s essay on how to write a hit song was published by The Walrus magazine in March 2018, and he is currently working on a creative non-fiction work (memoir) about growing up as a first generation kid who feels an undeniable pull towards pop music.