Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Kehna Chahta Hoon


Lahore based band Inteha, comprising of brothers Naukhez Javed (vocals) and Nausher Javed (guitars) recently released their debut album. We got a chance to talk to the band and find out more about their musical ventures:

Ink: What distinguishes Inteha from other bands?
Nausher: I think our music distinguish us from other new bands as we believe in giving our own identity to our listeners, not copying the music or style of top artist. Though being influenced is not very wrong and we ourselves are influenced by a lot of artists, but we don’t believe in copying their style.

Ink: And what would some of these influences be?
Naukhez: Umm, like, we are heavily influenced by Nirvana on one hand and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on the other. So you can sense that our mood is our inspiration and our influence horizon is broad.

Ink: What is it about being a musician that you guys enjoy the most?
Naukhez: I always enjoy when I jam with different musician; in that way you can learn more.
Nausher: It’s an old quote that “mosiqi rooh ki ghiza hai”, so listening to music is like peace of mind, and if you are a musician you can let your emotions out easily.

Ink: Is it difficult for new bands to establish themselves in Pakistan?
Nausher: Well the system of our music industry is totally different than that of other countries, because overseas people come on the screen with a whole package – album, video and their sponsors. There is no band that comes up with a single in USA and because of that they are pre-established by the record label, whereas in Pakistan you have to produce your own video, you have to record your own album at your own expense, and whether you have an album or not it’s always about one hit wonders. So yeah, there are difficulties for every other artist in Pakistan to get established.

Ink: Why do you think some albums fail to get noticed in Pakistan?
Naukhez: Several reasons – bad production, bad promotion, lack of good strategies to promote artists, channel wars and so on. Any minor issue can disturb the album.

Ink: Do you think being a two-member band (as opposed to, say, a five membered band that includes more musicians) has its downside?
Nausher: It’s a duo. We have a separate band set up for live performances, and I think two members have an advantage that as a band you can play with anyone, and everyone has a different style of playing and adds to the diversity of the music.

Ink: Tell us about your debut album.
Nausher: Our debut album Kehna Chahta Houn was released a few weeks ago and features ten tracks. Some of the best musicians from across Pakistan have worked with us on different tracks, including Javed sahib, who is the best violinist in Pakistan; Shabir sahib, renowned tabla player from PTV; Hassan Badsahah on flutes - an underground gem; Waqar Ali Khan (EP); and Fahd Khan (Meekal Hassan band) on drums. The album has been produced by Xulfi at Xth Harmonics studio.

Ink: How has the reception to the album been so far?
Nausher: We’ve received an awesome response so far from our beloved listener, which motivates us even more to give our best in our music, and by the grace of God ‘Kehna Chahta Houn’ has been on the top of the charts ever since it was released.

Ink: Do you think it is difficult to promote the album?
Nausher: I think it’s a mutual collaboration between the record label and the artist. And I believe that in Pakistan, an artist can go to any level because we are so dedicated to our albums, and if the record labels facilitate artists then it’s easy to promote the album. But unfortunately the labels in Pakistan do not even know the definition of promotion.

Ink: Tell us about your latest video.
Naukhez: Our latest video is for our song Pyar, the main concept of which is that love is blind and it’s a mystery and no one knows what it really is. The story revolves around a protagonist who is a serial killer.

Ink: What inspires you to make music?
Nausher: Feelings. Expressions should be strong to make good quality music; without them you cannot make anything.

Ink: What has been your most memorable live performance so far?
Naukhez: The most memorable live performance for me so far is my first live gig at Alhamra Cultural Complex in 2005 along with Ali Zafar and Jal. Our first single Dastaan really got a tremendous response.
Nausher: For me, when we performed live at Aurangabad, India in 2008, that is the most memorable performance so far. We were very surprised that even though our album had not been released at that time, people were still very aware of our music and our two songs ‘Dastaan’ and ‘Anjana’ were very popular with them because they were singing along with us.

Ink: What are some of your achievements so far that you’re most proud of?
Naukhez: There are a lot of achievements which have made us proud, like having our debut single at the number one slot on all FM and music channels for approximately six months, Inteha being voted as the most listened-to debut band of the year 2005 on all FM station, and most recently our song Pyar being declared the most wanted song of the week by BBC’s Asian Network which is another feather in our cap.

Ink: Do you think television channels or the print media influence the success (or failure) of a band in Pakistan?
Nausher: They do majorly, but in Pakistan it’s all a PR thing, which should be abandoned because do to that a lot of artist suffer though they have mass appeal.
Naukhez: It’s all about talent. If you have it, you get it and you get noticed by media, but the Pakistani media needs ‘pakki pakai kheer’, otherwise they go with their personal contacts.

Ink: What about the radio? How important is that medium for our music industry?
Nausher: Radio is the backbone of the industry. Music needs to be heard and radio is the medium through which anyone can established himself as an artist – it’s the first step. Without it you are not an established artist.

Ink: What is your take on the Indian music market and Bollywood?
Naukhez: Bollywood is a big market for music, but they know nothing about genres of music. Whatever is popular around the globe, they copy their style, earn money and search for another style. I don’t think they have their own identity.
Nausher: But promotion-wise they are much, much better, and provide a lot of exposure for artists. They know how to promote an artist. I remember one of the renowned directors telling me that if you focus on 16 crore people (he meant Pakistan) then hardly 60 thousand will notice you, but if you target 1 billions people (India) then you will be noticed by at least 1 million people, along with the 16 crore of your own nation, and I think he was right. We have so much talent but we have to follow the Indian industry just to get fame and recognition.

Ink: Do you guys plan to release the album internationally?
Naukhez: Yes, it will be release in India soon; just waiting for the tension to ease between India and Pakistan. As far as the release overseas is concerned, that will be in a month’s time.

Ink: What can we expect from Inteha in the coming months?
Nausher: We will release another video in a month’s time to promote the album, along with launch shows in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and Dubai, and we plan to go on a UK tour this summer. A couple of our songs will appear in Indian movies, and we are working on some projects for the corporate sector; all the details will be disclosed later with time.

- By Sameen Amer

Ink Quarterly, May '09

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