Friday, February 17, 2012

Reaping the Harvest - a chat with Sajid & Zeeshan


They first conquered the music scene with their song King of Self. Now they’re back with a brand new album, and releasing it in a novel way: as a free download, one song at a time. Sajid Ghafoor and Zeeshan Parwez are the flag bearers of English music in the Pakistani music industry, and their sophomore album, The Harvest, shows just why the duo has captured the interest of listeners everywhere. Here’s what they had to say about their new release:

Us: Please tell Us about your new album, The Harvest.
Sajid & Zeeshan: The title says it all. We worked hard for this one and followed a process to bring out the good crop. Musically and lyrically this album is a step ahead of our previous album. We tried to push ourselves more this time and we’re glad the response is quite good.

Us: How were the songs made? And how did they come together to form the album?
S&Z: All the songs were composed and written the same way it happened for the previous album, One Light Year at Snail Speed. No formula was ever used. It was more like starting off where we left it. The lyrics revolve around the “self” and everything that relates to the “self” – the achievements, the losses, the acceptance, the will to keep moving ahead; thinking for and thus beyond the self. It’s about happiness, pain, gratitude, celebration…anything that moves the soul from the inside.

Us: How has your sound progressed since the first album, One Light Year at Snail Speed?
S&Z: We believe it is more mature, includes more genres, and has some interesting tunes for everyone. It is the sort of album where anybody will be able to connect to its music and lyrics. It’s easy listening and gentle to the soul too.

Us: Your sophomore album comes nearly five years after your debut. Why the delay?
S&Z: The album was ready a year back, but we had issues such as which record label to go with and why, etcetera. Finally we decided it’s best to give it out to our fans for free. Even last time we faced some distribution issues. At least this time, it’s only a click away at

Us: Why did you choose to release the album digitally and for free? Who suggested this idea, and how did you decide this was the best way to unveil the new material?
S&Z: We decided that mutually, and we only did it for one reason: to make sure our music spreads as far as it possibly can.

Us: Will the album also get a physical release? If so, when?
S&Z: In CD format? Not really, but if anyone wants to, they can easily download our music and burn it on a CD and get the printouts for the covers too, and there you go, the CD is right there! :)

Us: Internationally, some musicians choose to give away their music for free while also finding ways to monetise their work. Do you also have a particular business model in mind?
S&Z: Nothing in mind yet. We’re going with the flow of things. Though as musicians based in Pakistan, just like any other musician out here, we all rely on concerts when it comes to money.

Us: Which song(s) from the album are each of you most proud of?
S&Z: We love the whole album. It’s hard to pick just one or few of them. To us they’re all gems.

Us: You recently released the video of Start with a Scratch. Please tell us about the video.
S&Z: It’s the first song from the album and we tried something new here. It made sense to go with the first track. The video was pretty tiring but rewarding at the same time. It was a lovely experience as this time we had quite a few locations to shoot. The concept of the video is simple. The video resonates with the lyrics of the song, and gives out the same “feel” to the eyes that the song gives to the “ears”. That was our concept, to blend it well.

Us: Which video(s) are you planning to release next?
S&Z: Personal Beast, Sanity, and Everything Changes a.k.a. Out of My Way.

Us: Do you think English music has progressed since you first appeared on the scene? Do you think it now has a wider audience and/or greater acceptance?
S&Z: Comparatively? Yes. Otherwise? Not really. But still glad things are progressing. These days more people are doing music in English and that is only happening since more people are listening to English music too.

Us: What can we expect from Sajid & Zeeshan in the coming months?
S&Z: More music and hopefully concerts too.

- S.A.

Us Magazine, The News - 17th February, 2012

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