Thursday, December 04, 2014

Soch - keeping the dream alive


After the success of their contribution to Ek Villain’s soundtrack, Soch is coming back for more…  

Some artists are very visibly driven by fame, going out of their way to employ every gimmick and chase every avenue that is likely to get them noticed. Others prefer to let their music do the talking, choosing projects that focus on their musical talents, content with creating songs they can be proud of and hoping their efforts also make a connection with the audience. Soch is proud to be in the latter category.

Still as humble as they were when they first appeared on the scene in 2009, the Lahore-based musicians have managed to create a loyal fan following by making melodious and inspirational pop tunes and being true to themselves. So far, their journey has seen them release a handful of singles, participate in the talent show Nescafe Basement, and appear on the soundtrack of the Bollywood movie Ek Villain.

“Soch does not claim to be absolutely different and groundbreaking,” says Rabi Ahmed, the group’s guitarist. “We simply make music and tunes that are based on our everyday life. We try to give voice to a common man’s problems; we try to raise our voices for people who cannot raise it themselves. With our tracks like ‘Bandeya’, ‘Jinnah’, ‘Uth Jawana’, and ‘Khabar’ (which was part of the Chambeli soundtrack), we have tried to make music with the intention of not only entertaining everyone but also getting them thinking.”

“Money and fame are never on our list,” adds vocalist Adnan Dhool. “We went into Bollywood with just one purpose in mind: to promote Pakistani talent and music. The pride we felt when ‘Awari’ took the Indian charts by storm is something we can never explain. And being referred to as the ‘Pakistani’ boy band in the Indian and foreign media fills us with pride.”

Soch has since been busy making more music. They recently released their latest song ‘Neray Neray Vas’, a mid-tempo ditty about the yearnings of love. “’Neray Neray Vas’ is a melodious Punjabi track. Anyone who loves or has ever loved can relate to this song easily.” The group also recruited a fellow Basement alumnus for the project, getting Season Two singer Ruttaba Yaqub to contribute backing vocals to the track.

The duo says there was no specific reason they chose to write the lyrics in Punjabi, and that the choice just naturally applied itself to the song. “When Rabi and I get together, we brainstorm, make tunes, groove on the guitar, and simply go with the flow. We don’t intend to make songs in Urdu or Punjabi,” Adnan explains. “The look and feel of the songs always end up being completely different from what we actually start with,” Rabi adds. “We also rely on the feedback of Murzie bhai (Murtaza Niaz), our manager; we would be nowhere without him.”

Adnan and Rabi wrote, composed, arranged, mixed, and produced ‘Neray Neray Vas’ themselves and are happy with being fully in charge of their own sound. “Our approach is not always DIY,” says Adnan, “but we have had our own setup, PMR Studio Works, from the very beginning. Considering the financial and time constraints, we decided to do everything ourselves and master these arts too.”

“And believe me the DIY formula is rocking for us,” enthuses Rabi. “In fact, we have other pretty established artists and musicians coming to us for recording, mastering, and mixing now.”

A video for ‘Neray Neray Vas’ is in the pipeline, but before that, the band plans to release the clip for their song ‘Arz’. “‘Arz’ is a beautiful ballad, and we have got a tremendous response for the audio of the song. The video is going to be superb,” Adnan promises.

The guys confirm that their album is also in the works, but they aren’t sure when it will be released. “Our music industry is going through bad times,” opines Adnan, “and releasing an album at this point is actually not a very good option, not only for us but for any other artist too. We are waiting for the right time to release it. Unfortunately Bollywood is what rules our music scene at the moment. I must say, I pretty much blame our TV and radio broadcasters too; they need to be more responsible and start giving Pakistani music a major portion of air time.”

Rabi points out that this is not the only issue plaguing the Pakistani music industry. “Piracy is killing us!” he says. “And the situation right now is really bad, with absolutely no room for concerts and gigs and nothing original coming up, no genuine singers and composers. With all this, we are pretty much headed down the hill.”

Things are, however, looking up for Soch. Their imminent plans include a tour, as well as more audio and video releases. “We have Bollywood offers on hand, and a few Pakistani soundtracks and movie offers as well. Plus the ‘Arz’ video will be out soon, and it’s absolutely amazing; you really need to hang in there and watch out for that!”

- By Sameen Amer

Instep Today, The News - 4th December, 2014 *

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