Bayaan is not your average band. It is the voice of dedication, ingenuity ,hope, peace and five boys chasing their dreams.
‘On the path to eventual world domination, one tune at a time.’
This is what their Facebook page bio says. They’ve only released two songs and have already become my new favorite band. So you could say that they’ve succeeded in doing so. *Time to toot my own horn*
These guys have become my favorite the first time I heard “Farda”. Bayaan is literally a product of Nescafe Basement (there, I have another reason to love it!) First off you should listen to this song then continue reading.
The thing that impressed me the most is that they actually put a lot of effort in their songs. Asfar, the lead vocalist of the band has mentioned in his latest interview that it took him around 6 months to write the masterpiece ‘Farda’. No wonder why I fell in love with it since the first time I listened to it! Here’s a brief introduction of these super talented lads:
Shahrukh – guitarist: LUMS grad (political science), born and bred Lahori, the burger bacha of the band. Mansoor: Drummer, LSE grad (Finance). A fun loving foodie, nicknamed Lazarus for reasons no one is sure of.
Muqueet – guitarist : LUMS grad. Commonly known as “choco” for his undying love for chocolates and women. Also known for showing up on gigs in office attire. Only non-Nescafe basement band member. Knew Haider, Mansoor and Shahrukh prior to Basement. Doesn’t take life too seriously.
Asfar – Vocalist: NCA grad. Imported from Chitral. Good with words. And rice
Haider – Bassist: LUMS grad. Former part of Nescafe Basement along with Shahrukh, Mansoor and Asfar. Father of the Nation.
I reached out to them fearing that they had broken up. Because they had released their last song more than 6 months ago, but to my relief they hadn’t. And when I asked them for the interview their response was highly constructive! Trust me its not easy at all to interview your new favorite band, be it an online one. *fangirl alert*
These guys have been very tolerant and considerate which makes me believe they’re just as cool as their music. Here’s the (not so) little interview that I conducted with Bayaan the Band. I kept smiling most of the time while reading their answers that mama asked me ‘Who the hell are you talking to?’ *facepalm*. So here we go. I hope you would enjoy reading this.
- What was your main target when the band was created? It was a mix of things (isn’t it always?) We had recently finished recording and shooting for the second season of the show and were really enjoying the musical and interpersonal chemistry of our little unit. We had also been toying with the idea of formally turning the unit into a tiny brand that represented music we would want to both play and listen to. Sure, we would like to be known as a band that makes “good” music or “different” music or “revolutionary” music, but the core of the band is to make music that we like.
- Do you believe in music therapy? Absolutely, music making and music listening are both profoundly emotional experiences. This, of course, does not refer to ALL music. That said, the domain of music can be intellectually stimulating and intensely cathartic on the emotional level. It may be through the escapist melodies and ideas of “happy” music or the through the somber tunes that force you to live through painful thoughts and feelings.
- If you could go back in time and meet any late musician, who would it be? Shahrukh – Right now, I’d love to meet Stevie Ray Vaughn so that he could tell me how he got that amazing guitar tone. Ask me tomorrow for a different answer. Mansoor– NFAK and John Bonham. Would be interesting to sit, chill and talk to these guys. Muqueet – Musicians I want to meet are still alive, good scene! Haider – I hope I get to meet all the guys I look up to as they’re all alive right now! Asfar – There are many but top of that list would be Mehdi Hassan.
- Do you guys ever fool around? Like do you ever get together to make music and end up doing something else? Our band is a monument to us fooling around; it wouldn’t exist if we didn’t fool around. Our modus operandi is fooling around.
- Who is the baby of the band? It depends on what you mean by baby. Shahrukh whines the most. Haider has what you would call the transcendent philosophy and timeless wisdom that 14 months on planet Earth brings. However, Muqueet is, undoubtedly, the cutie, the one we tease.
- What is your dream platform to perform at? Shahrukh – Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Mansoor – I don’t really have a specific target, I just want to follow music and see where it takes me. Haider – who doesn’t love performing for thousands in front of you? There is no specific dream platform that I can recall.
- What has been your most memorable encounter with a fan so far? Shahrukh – A fan asked me for a picture; more specifically, he wanted me to take his camera and take a picture of him hanging out with the Basement peeps. Mansoor – We have fans? :p Haider – Recently, a guy came up to me and after a few words of admiration; he told me he had been hearing that Nescafe Basement was going to give a tribute to the late Haider of Aaroh. He initially thought that I had passed away and they were giving me a tribute :p
- Who came up with the idea of forming a band? After the second offering of Nescafe Basement, we realized that the chemistry between us had graduated to another level. We decided to get together and record a track on our own with the help of our friend Usman Sheikh from Aag. That his how we realized that this can be turned into something serious, like Bayaan.
- Since when are you guys making music together? Not counting the show, we’ve been making music since 2014. Counting the show, we’ve been making music from the first season, back in 2012. Some of us were friends before the show too.
- What artists inspire you the most? Shahrukh – The Seattle Holy Trinity: Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam. Also Steven Wilson, Mastodon and Gojira. I am also heavily inspired by Justin Bieber; he inspires me by providing me a template of how I DON’T want to be. Mansoor – Steven Wilson, Noori, Gojira, EP, Dave Matthews’s band, Strings, Opeth. Bands like that. Muqueet – Iron maiden, Hans Zimmer, Junoon, Dream Theater. Haider – Mostly into progressive music with artists like Haken, Dream Theater and the likes. Recently, I’ve been exploring ambient stuff and film scores a lot. Asfar – Plenty; Mohd. Rafi, Mehdi Hassan, Mannaday, Kavita Krishnamurthi, Nandni Srikar, Sonu Nigham, Dhaffer Youssef and Sigur Ros to name a few.
- Who wrote Farda? What did you have in mind at that time? It’s really interesting how we made Farda. Initially, Muqueet came up with idea and short intro for the song. He shared that with other group members and they agreed to build further on it. While this was happening, Muqueet, Haider and Mansoor were in Lahore, Asfar in Chitral (with poor internet) and Shahrukh in London. With our songs, we aim to express our feelings through music and hence, at the very core of the song lies the feel. ‘Farda’ was based on hope and we communicated all of our abstract ideas/feel through a Whatsapp group. We didn’t jam as a band at all, we made parts, ideas and exchanged them on a Whatsapp group, that’s how it was made. Once the boys in Lahore made some music, they forwarded it to Asfar, who then took sometime to absorb the feel of the song and wrote lyrics and melody from it. It took him some months but it came through, again on Whatsapp group. In the end, we did manage to see it through without any jam at all.
- Any upcoming projects? Song number 3 is being worked on as we speak (we’re speaking, right?). When that gets done, we’ll see what else we can cook up.
- What has been your best gig so far? Shahrukh – GIKI always has a fun crazy crowd. Mansoor – Bahria University with Basement. It began to rain during our open air concert so we shifted everything to the first floor of the multilevel parking. We performed surrounded by screaming and jumping students, struggling to control the reverb and tones. It was far from perfect but easily the most fun I’ve had performing live. Muqueet – Bayaan’s Royal Palm gig for the revival of cricket alongside ‘Call’. We got Chacha cricket to join us for Jazba-e-Junoon, that was a great moment! Haider – Have had great experiences with gigs along the process! But the ones in GIKI have been the most fun. Asfar – The CMH University gig was great!
- Whom would you call the mentor of ‘Bayaan’? You could consider Mister Xulfi of Call as our mentor since he’s the one who originally recruited us for the show through which we became friends and a band.
- What do you think is the most essential element for making good music? The most essential element is being good at making music. Glib and to-the-point, but true. You need an ear for catchy melodies, you need lyrics that resonate not just with you but with the audience that you want your music to resonate with.
- Are you inspired by the early 2000’s music? Shahrukh – Hell yes. Some of the most epic contemporary metal bands made their mark in the early 2000’s as well as some of the true inheritors of the 70’s prog scene. Haider – Definitely! This time period boasts a good number of memorable albums, which I always revisit time and again.
- What do you think has been the best era for Pakistani music? Shahrukh – It might be this era, you never know. Mansoor – A few years ago, I would say the era when bands like Noori, EP and call were active and performing. The era has changed, but good music is still being born. Muqueet – Early 2000 -2008 era was great but the amount and quality of talent coming through at this time is amazing, which makes me believe that the best is yet to come. Haider – The 2000’s era saw numerous artists and bands blooming and making a mark in the music industry. Personally, I got into music roughly around the same time too. It has a large number of nostalgic tracks and bands that I still really enjoy! In my observation, the talent that is emerging right now is more promising than anything we have heard before. If all goes well, we are yet to witness the best of this country! Asfar – Definitely the early 2000’s. It was then when I started taking music more seriously.
- Are you going to release an album anytime soon? We’ll get to that when we feel like we have enough decent material. For now, the general music trends show an inclination towards singles rather than albums, which may be due to an acute dearth of record labels to cater for this. We aim on releasing one single after another along with music video to it.
- What is the best thing a fan has ever said to you? Shahrukh – “Oye, guitar waalay, tum bhi fit ho”. Thank you, stoned UCL lady! Haider – “For our generation, you are one of the bassists to look up to!” Thora zyada ho gaya lekin chalo theek hai, acha laga! :p
- Do you think you get the attention and support that you deserve? Well we really don’t know what we deserve and what we don’t. All we know is that we are here to create music, something that connects us and binds us, and we hope that our message through music gets through to people. And the support we have got for that so far is over whelming, inspiring and something that pushes us to do more – so a big shout to the amazing people who support our work!
- What do you think we can do to promote Pakistani music individually? Listen to it, share it, get people to sponsor and host more shows and eliminate this rather vapid Pakistani idea that “out of the house leisure” means food. It is also important to make people realize the role music has in anyone’s life. When in a social gathering, people turn up to music. When not in their best spirits, they turn to music. When happy, they turn on their favorite track. But when it comes to pursuing music professionally or seriously, they label it as the biggest social crime. We need to change this perception. It will take its time, but it will surely happen!
- Any message for the people reading this? Shahrukh – Never be afraid to have no idea what the hell you want from life. Also, eat fewer carbs, eat more protein and exercise about 5 times a week Mansoor – None. (? ) Muqueet – Whatever you do in life, be passionate about it! Haider – Follow your heart! It misleads you at times, but it will land you in a place with peace of mind, eventually. Also, life begins where your comfort zone ends. Asfar – Do only what you are passionate about. And be consistent.
- Do you think it’s a good idea to adopt music professionally? It’s a gamble and not everyone wins when they play this game. In Pakistan, this is not a profession that is taken seriously or treated as a real one. Internationally, the market is saturated with so many new musicians trying their luck that it ultimately is a mix of talent, luck and perseverance. Monetization is also not very easy especially when it comes to monetizing one’s recorded music because of the ease with which people can acquire and listen to music for free.
Then again, it’s proven to be worth it for many people.
- Does any of you possess a musical background? Asfar’s academic focus in NCA was musicology.That’s pretty much it. Mansoor has gathered a few musical traits from his home planet, Lazarus 3401.
- What makes your music so special? It’s special to us because it is ours and no one else’s. Why it’s special to someone else is a question someone else can answer. But we mainly address themes that can resonate with any individual in our society.
- Would you call your music a breath of fresh air among the cheesy repetitive songs? We would like to believe that, yes, haha.
- How would you define music? We Googled it: “vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion”. That sounds pretty cool.
- What is nescafe basement to you? The start of our journey and a bundle of memories; memories of hard work, anger, laughter, friendship and goofiness.Quite a lot of goofiness.
- What is your favorite music genre? Shahrukh – In case it wasn’t evident above, I’m the burger angraizi gaana liking one. Rock, metal, grunge, love. Mansoor – I just like music that’s progressive and has some good meaning to it. No specific Genre. Muqueet – I’m exploring all sorts of new music nowadays and I think Mansoor has put it really nicely – music that has good meaning to it. Haider – As mentioned earlier, I’m really into progressive material. I’ve been working on the piano and keyboard patches recently, so have been into film scores and ambient music a lot. Asfar – No specific genre. I just like mellow stuff and progressiveness thrills me.
- What is the best part about being a musician? Shahrukh – All the cool toys, gizmos and gadgets that let me be loud. More seriously, I can express how I feel in a language that is all emotion. It’s mind boggling how versatile this language is. Mansoor – Studying in the UK right now,I have truly understood how music is a universal language. Amazingly diverse. Muqueet – For me, being a musician is defined by Bayaan. It’s the people in Bayaan, we have really grown to be brothers and to be involved in such a creative and personal process such as making music with these people, it’s a blessing and I hope to continue it for a long time to come. Haider – Being a musician, music consumes a major part of who you are. It becomes very easy to channel out emotions through a guitar or a keyboard. And nothing is better than being surrounded by like-minded individuals and musicians, which I am absolutely blessed to be! Like Mansoor said, music is a universal language, which anyone can relate to without saying much. Asfar – You can listen to your own songs! How awesome is that. And also, you get the power to influence and make people think about the things you find worth pondering over.
Thank you Haider, Shahrukh, Asfar, Muqueet and Mansoor for your time. I’m sure you guys are going to dominate over the world if you keep going on like this. Keep making great music for us! Good luck. 🙂
And thank you guys for reading this super long post. Until next time. Much love. x