Saturday, March 22, 2003

Radical sound, raw energy


[eP], an innovative band from Lahore, took the country by storm during last years Battle Of The Bands. Comprising of eight multitalented lads, [eP] was able to win a place in the final of the show (finishing off as the runners up) as well as the hearts of fans around the nation. We caught up with the guys for a tête-à-tête to find out more about the band and what they have planned for the future…

The members of [eP] are:
§ Fawad Afzal Khan (Lead Vocals)
§ Ahmed Ali Butt (Rap/ Backing Vocals)
§ Xulfiqar J Khan (Lead Guitars/Composition)
§ Hassan Khalid (Rhythm Guitars)
§ Salman Albert (Percussions/Backing Vocals)
§ Sajjad Ali Khan (Bass)
§ Waqar Ahmed Khan (Percussions)
§ Ali Khan (Keyboards/Sound Effects)

Us: [eP] is actually two bands (Entity and Paradigm) merged together. Tell Us how this set up came about.
Hassaan: The two bands, Entity and Paradigm, had been separately playing music for quite some time now. Entity had been in the scene for 8 years, in fact they are the founders of the Lahore Underground scene. Paradigm had been consistently performing in Lahore since 2K. Entity and Paradigm made the soundtrack for the sitcom "Jutt And Bond" and from there [eP] came into being.

Us: How did Battle Of The Bands happen?
Hassaan: The Battle of the Bands was a project by Pepsi to promote young talent. It all happened early in the year 2002. We got registered in the contest and in about a week our band got selected.

Us: Were you guys expecting the enormous success you had in BOB? With all the tough competition, being the runners up is no mean task…
Hassaan: BOB was totally a different experience. We had no idea that we would actually reach the finals, as there were so many tough competitors, but we had one thing in mind that our music has the potential to be the best.

Us: [eP]’s sound seems like a blend of rock and hip-hop. How would you classify [eP]’s music?
Xulfi: If you look at it that way, then [eP]'s sound is not just a blend of rock and hip hop, it's basically alternative rock which is just quite a huge category in its own right.
I do not classify (it) as such, but yeah, I am inclined towards a certain range of sounds that I like…I love the 'guitar' sound the most, so [eP]'s music basically comes out as Rock, but then it has a softer touch to it as well, cuz I am quite fond of the keyboard oriented sounds and then I like all kinds of weird sounds (footsteps, nature, traffic, azaan, etc) as well. The 'blend' that you are talking about is quite spontaneous; it’s not intended to be that way. It just comes out that way during the process of composing the song.
But I would surely like to add here that [eP]'s music is not only what u have heard till now. Right now, the two new tracks that we have just completed, "Waqt" and "Rahguzar", both are more experimental than the previous ones, we just felt the need to open up a bit more in order to express ourselves in a better and a more personal fashion.

Us: There’s a unique fusion of English and Urdu in your lyrics. How did you guys come up with this?
Ahmed: Well to be honest, it was nothing we planned on; I just didn’t like the fact of forcing Urdu rap in a song. When we were recording "Hum Ko Azma" and the rap was done in English we were aware of the fact that it was new and different mixing the two. But it sounded good and worked.

Us: Any personal influences that reflect on the band?
Xulfi: There is a side project of mine by the name of ‘Silence’, (I) had been working on it quite before [eP] came into existence. But its shelved right now, but, the music I made during the time I was completing my instrumental album for Silence, I learned a lot about composing music, and how to relate my moods to the music I create. That process that I went through during that phase influences the way I make music for [eP] as well.
The kind of music I listen to is quite diverse if you start categorising it. I don’t hate any kind of music. But even my favourite ones are quite different from one another. Some of the music I like is of Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Filter, Disturbed, Peter Gabriel, Linkin Park plus many other rock and alternative bands (Linkin Park cuz I love the way their instruments sound on the album, it’s one of the most perfectly produced sound that they have on their album, for the rest of the bands in the list, the music speaks for itself).
With influences so diverse, the music is bound to get experimental, and so it does! And both me and Fawad are really willing to visit that side of music and ourselves in our next tracks.

Us: Which song are you guys going to make the video of? Has it been decided yet?
Hassaan: We recently released the video of "Kahan Hai Tu". It’s been aired on Indus Music. The video was an effort by the entire band. Ahmed Ali directed it while Xulfi and Ali contributed in the postproduction along with Ahmed. We’ll soon be coming up with the video of "Hamaysha".

Us: When will the album be released? And what kinda stuff can we expect off it?
Hassaan: The new millennium has brought new sounds to listen to; electro-folk, pop-country and last but not (the) least, alternative rock. Our goal since we've been a band is always to fuse our different influences together as symmetrically as possible so that when you listen to an [eP] song, you're not listening to something, which is not of your type.
Basically our aim is to cater a wide vista of listeners, so that all sorts of music lovers like our work. [eP] is in the studio these days. Inshallah in a month we'll be ready with the album.

Us: Any message for the readers of Us and for all your fans out there?
[eP]: WOW! We have fans (out) there too :) We are glad that you people are listening to [eP] and liking it. Inshallah we hope that one day we will perform for you guys too and rock the hell out of ya! :)

By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 21st March, 2003