Saturday, May 26, 2007

Behind the name

cover story

Ever wondered how your favourite band got their name? Well, wonder no more! This week, we take a look at the meaning behind the names of bands and how they got their monikers.

Aaroh: The word ‘aaroh’ refers to the “ascending scale in the eastern vocals”, reflected in the band’s music: a fusion of classical eastern music and rock.

Akash: “Akash means sky, that is the highest peak and we want to achieve that peak,” says the band’s frontman Sam. “Our music is all about the feel and soul and most of our compositions are of a darker mood. As we know the colour for sadness or loneliness is blue, which is and also the colour of the sky, the name ‘Akash’ kind of depicts our feelings for music.”

Call: Danish Jabbar Khan, who was in the initial line-up of the band, came up with the name and ideology behind the name Call. The term signifies the call of ones inner self, as in the Urdu word ‘pukaar’, in an effort to make one realize and listen to that call that “we all have but ignore” and that could “take us to the right path”.

Inteha: “The name Inteha came up spontaneously when we decided to pursue music,” explains Nausher Javed, the guitarist of the band. “Naukhez and I listen to very different types of music. We both are very different nature-wise also. We wanted to make the kind of music that people with all moods and tastes could relate to easily. We wanted a name that could represent our ability and range to cover all forms and extremes of music, and as musicology has no limits, therefore go for ‘inteha’. That is why this name came into my mind.”

Jal: Urdu for ‘water’, Jal was chosen as the band’s name as it “affirms the intimate connection of water to the rhythms of our lives, and how it is something to be celebrated, revered, and preserved for all times to come”. According to the band’s website “the name ‘Jal’ is the product of the band’s vision to recognize music as the artistic extension of this natural unity. Water is truly one of the most sacred parts of our existence and the band’s music celebrates that concept by orchestrating a symphony of lyrics and music that is as limitless and timeless as [water] itself.”

Junoon: According to this oft-repeated account, Junoon, the Urdu word for ‘obsession’, was chosen by the band as their name after it came to Salman Ahmad in his dream in which he saw one of his teachers saying “tumhey mousiqui ka junoon hai”.

Kaavish: The band came up with a lot of names but weren’t satisfied with any of them. How they actually came across Kaavish was totally random; Maaz explains: “We started off with quite a few different names, but a couple of years ago, Jaffer and I were just sitting in his room, thinking of a name, so I got his dad’s Urdu ki lughat and randomly turning pages, we came across ‘kaavish’, liked the way it sounded and liked the meaning as well - ‘struggle to reach the highest point’ – and from that day on we made it a point to start the struggle and till this day we are and we always will, to reach higher grounds.”

Mizraab: The name Mizraab was suggested by band frontman Faraz Anwar’s father. The word refers to “the thing that one wears while playing the sitar”.

Mushk: “The general meaning of Mushk is fragrance or ‘khushboo’, but its actual meaning is very deep,” says Farhan Shah, adding that they just came up with the name randomly. “Mushk is basically a fixating effect jis ko khushboo main milaya jata hai to make it long lasting. And fragrance itself is something you can “feel”… I mean, you can only “feel” fragrance and you cannot “touch” it, just like music.”

Paradigm: One half of the now-defunct EP, Paradigm got its name after the band members “short listed a couple of names and just selected it because the other ones were too out of the box in terms of people to understand.”

Raeth: Raeth, the Urdu word for sand, was chosen by the band as their moniker because of its significance. According to the band’s guitarist Farabi, “It’s a sufi belief that humans are made out of sand. It reflects colours if exposed to light. Sand spreads in the air and it cannot be totally gripped and so will our music. And we compose much of our music sitting on the beautiful beach near Wajih’s house!”

Roxen: Derived from the Urdu word Rozen-e-deewar, the band’s name was the idea of the band’s vocalist Mustafa Zahid (a.k.a. Musti) and his friend Kashan. Rozen-e-deewar refers to “the light penetrating in a prisoner’s cell,” according to Musti. “The reason why the band came up with the name Rozen is because the name itself symbolizes hope and freshness and this is what the band’s music is all about – liberation and emancipation”.

Rung: Rung, who announced their disbandment earlier this year, came up with their moniker after thinking of various options. The band had initially thought of a name in English: True Colours. This was later changed to ‘Two Colours’, and eventually got translated and squeezed to a simple name, ‘Rung’. The word was reflective of “verve, colour, musical energy, creative diversity and life itself”, the very attributes that the band wanted to portray in their music.


Band name: to have or not to have?

Some, like Sajid and Zeeshan, prefer not to have one. As Sajid explains, “we didn’t keep a 'band' name because people didn’t know us that well and we wanted to market our individuality as musicians as well as our working together as a band.”

But others think it’s important to have a moniker. “I guess it’s extremely important to have a band name,” says Somair Rizvi, “coz the name brings all the different musicians – no matter what they play – under one umbrella, so they are no longer singers or guitarists or drummers, but just musicians, bringing out a collaborative combined art which is music”. Somair and Tahir are currently trying to come up with a name for their band. “We never really thought of doing music seriously and the three projects we did were totally for fun and experience, but now that we feel we might do something, so we are thinking of naming the band.”


How (not) to come up with a name for your band

The proper way of coming up with a band name would involve rational thought and analysis, but that would, of course, be the boring approach. Inspired by the very innovative monikers of bands all over the world, here are some alternatives you could try:
  • Go the Cheap Trick way. Refer to the Ouija board for assistance. On second thought, don’t!
  • Choose word. Ruin spellings. Attribute it to coolness. Probably won’t work, but it’s worth a try.
  • Green Day, Deep Purple, White Stripes, Shocking Blue, Black Sabbath, Maroon5, Silverchair, Vendetta Red, Yellowcard … enough said?
  • Learn from Panic! At the Disco, Oh No! Oh My! and !!! – use punctuation marks and visit typographical extremes!
  • Simply use your name. It worked for Bon Jovi and Daughtry … might work for you too.
  • Or use someone else’s, a la Travis (named after the main character of ‘Paris, Texas’), Orson (Orson Welles), Pink Floyd (Pink Anderson and Floyd Council).
  • Seek inspiration from poetry, (like Our Lady Peace, who took their name from a poem by Mark Van Doren), or prose, (like Collective Soul - a term used in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, and Savage Garden - a phrase from Anne Rice’s novel ‘Interview With The Vampire’).
  • Misuse the umlaut. If Mötley Crüe can do it, then so can you!
  • Use an online band name generator. Choose from gems like Cynical Axis, Neverending Barbie And The Chaos, Defiant Head, and Face Of The Detox Agony.
  • And if all else fails, ask someone else to pick a name for you. You will, however, need to remember that Fall Out Boy is already taken.
- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 25th May, 2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Young Modern

album review

Album: Young Modern
Band: Silverchair

After an almost four year long hiatus and seemingly endless speculation about the future of the band, Silverchair have returned with their new album ‘Young Modern’, not only putting an end to the break-up rumours, but also proving that they are still one of Australia’s finest exports. Since the release of their debut album ‘Frogstomp’ in 1995 (when the band members were in their early teens), Silverchair has come up with a string of hugely successful albums. Along the way, they have traded some of their post-grunge sound in favour of more psychedelic flavours; in doing so the band has appealed to a whole new audience, but has ended up alienating some of its original fan base. So while the album continues to reside atop the charts, ‘Young Modern’ is likely to garner as much praise from critics as it is disapproval from old school Silverchair fans.

The album kicks off with the rather uptempo ‘Young Modern Station’ which showcases frontman Daniel Johns’ vocal ability while displaying the new direction the band is taking on this record. The very catchy first single ‘Straight Lines’, along with tracks like ‘If You Keep Losing Sleep’, ‘Reflections of a Sound’, ‘Mind Reader’ and ‘Insomnia’, make ‘Young Modern’ an interesting blend of alternative rock and synth-pop. The highlight of the album, however, comes in the form of the three-part track ‘Those Thieving Birds (Part 1)/Strange Behaviour/Those Thieving Birds (Part 2)’, which goes for epic, and doesn’t fall short. The album does take a few missteps with songs like the somewhat disconnected ‘That Man That Knew Too Much’ and the bland album closer ‘All Across The World’, but the majority of the material on the album (even when it harks back to the sound of The Dissociatives) is exciting enough to more than makes up for these shortfalls.

So while this reviewer has nothing but praise for the album, here’s what it really comes down to: if you’re looking for ‘Frogstomp’ part two or a remake of ‘Freak Show’ or ‘Neon Ballroom’, then ‘Young Modern’ is bound to disappoint you. ‘Young Modern’ is an ambitious record, worthy of being praised for what it is instead of being put down for what it isn’t.

– Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 18th May, 2007