Saturday, August 07, 2004

The evolution has begun


Since they first emerged onto the music scene, EP has managed to carve a niche for alternative rock in the Pakistani music industry. With a critically acclaimed album under their belt, the band has established a solid fan following in the country. We caught up with the guys to find out what's been happening in the Entity Paradigm camp...

EP is:
- Ahmed Ali Butt - Rap/Backing Vocals
- Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan - Lead Guitars/Composition
- Fawad Afzal Khan - Lead Vocals
- Hassaan Khalid - Rhythm Guitars
- Salman Albert - Percussions/Backing Vocals
- Sajjad Ali Khan - Bass
- Waqar Ahmed Khan - Percussions

Us: Your debut album has done quite well since its release. Were you guys expecting the success?
Hassaan: Initially everything was a bit uncertain, as we were trying to bring a revolution in the music industry. We were not quite sure if people would be accepting our music or not. We were not expecting that much, but in the end things turned out to be quite satisfactory. The evolution has begun.

Us: Is an international release of 'Irtiqa' on the cards?
Sajjad: Yeah definitely, we are in the process. You will soon hear about the international release InshAllah.

Us: Do you plan to go down the same path next time round or try something different?
Hassaan: You guys might see a huge change in the next album. I won't be telling you much about it; just wait for the blow.

Us: Now that you have an album out, do you think that the Battle Of The Bands has, in any way, shaped the sound of EP or affected 'Irtiqa' in any way?
Hassaan: BOB did not shape the sound of EP or affect the stuff; it is based on our influences and what we actually wanted to do in the album. I think there is no doubt that the band rose through the Battle Of The Bands, which we consider one of our achievements so far, along with our debut album 'Irtiqa'.

Us: EP went from the original eight to seven members last year...what happened?
Ahmed: Well it wasn't something we planned on; there was some debate over this issue and people's priorities towards the band. Anyway Ali (Khan) is still a good friend and we wish him all the best toward his future projects.

Us: Give Us one word to describe each member of the band...
EP: According to the making of 'Aghosh' and Ahmed Ali...
Xulfi: Endogenous
Fawad: Tool
Hassaan: Romeo
Sajjad: Dear
Waqar: Must
Salman: Cooler

Us: EP's sound is very different from the others. Did you intentionally set out to do something different? Or is it natural?
Hassaan: I would not say that the sound emerged naturally. A lot of work has been done on the production. I guess that's where we have spent more time while doing the album. As I said already, it's based on our influences and we actually produced exactly what we had in mind.

Us: What do you think about this latest inclination of our music industry towards more experimentation?
Hassaan: During the past two years, quite a number of bands have emerged in the music industry. Some of them have been seen experimenting and maturing with time providing a wide variety of music as compared to the past. Bands are coming up with good sounds, high quality productions, and interesting concepts, which means increased competition. New music channels have been launched, providing a platform for the upcoming bands to show their work, which was missing previously. High budget and good concept videos are also being seen lately. As I said the evolution has begun, the music industry has, I think, made its way to a respectable level, and will soon be making its way to the top.
The entire scene depends on our audiences. We need all the encouragement to get to the top. I think now people are more aware of the fact that music is not just entertainment, it's also a form of expression, a way of communication, a way of educating people.

Us: You guys have been performing at various venues all over the country. How do you like the experience?
Waqar: It's really great! Mostly we have fun performing and going to different places, hanging out. But yeah we have had our good and bad experiences. But the most important thing with different venues is different kinds of crowd. So it's interesting performing in front of all types of audiences. Up till now, we have been touring just Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. But we are looking forward to performing in other places as well, so...organisers/promoters, do something!!

Us: Is there any performance that stands out from all the others, something that you all will never forget?
Salman: Well, we've had loads of good experiences but I think that none of us can ever forget the Battle Of The Bands. I mean, it was our first experience together and the first ever EP as a new band, and especially a 'hard to digest' band, we enjoyed on the stage, performed to our extreme, and lost by 0.5 points...hehehehehehe...

Us: EP has been at many shows with various other bands...any band that you particularly like performing with?
Waqar: Well, performing along with other bands is great. Not just about having fun there but you actually learn a lot. And this learning applies in every way, not just playing and performance but other things as well like management, sound, etc.As for bands with whom we like to perform, I think that would be Noori. Every time we have done a show with them, the crowd is always on their feet, screaming and going bonkers. It's like a 'vs.' sort of thing! (Laughs) So it's a jam-packed full hyped up sort of scene with them. And, not to mention, Noori is a great band, and Gumby, is one of my all time favourite drummers. Other than that we recently did a show with Fuzon in Islamabad. That was great.

Us: Are there plans to release any more videos from 'Irtiqa' after 'Waqt'?
Sajjad: We have just released 'Waqt'. It's exclusively on air on The Musik. 'Hamesha' is in the pipeline now and is going to be directed by Kamran Yar.

Us: Comparisons to Linkin Park and Tool: flattering? Or do such comparisons tick you off?
Ahmed: Well I don't know about the others, but I find it very flattering. I look for inspiration everywhere and yes some of these bands have inspired me in a lot of ways but at the end of the day what we make is our work alone which comes from the heart.

Us: What can we expect from EP in the coming months?
Salman: You can expect a lot of energy, a couple of new videos, some nationwide and international tours and some head bangin'...and maybe tattoos on my body! :)

Us: Any message for your fans?
Ahmed: Sure, why not! Respect and tolerance is the key baby! Learn to give it to others and do your best.

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 6th August, 2004

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