Beowulf - The Original Score by Robert Zemeckis

Much like the motion picture, this soundtrack is big. You need a set of big speakers to listen to it to actually do it some justice. Don’t bother with the headphones; you’ll only waste your time; this is one soundtrack that starts and ends with a bang.

Alan Silvestri has often collaborated with Robert Zemeckis; in fact it’d be hard to find a movie by this director without Silvestri’s compositions and orchestral arrangements. Having said that, this is the first time Silvestri ventures into the fray of fantasy. When one thinks of fantasy movies, the first thing that comes to mind is of course a lush 100-piece orchestral score. After all, it goes with the epic quality of fantasy; being able to tell the story of the hero and his adventures. Or if it’s Beowulf, then his flaws and failures. A particular flaw, whose motif is rampant throughout this soundtrack is Pride.

Credit should be given to Alan Silvestri, for not only tackling the ostentatious task of composing an orchestral score for a fantasy film for the first time, but for doing it so well; with a title track, which opens, nay blasts open, to heavy percussions and a chorus that roars with pure machismo. This motif carries through the other tracks in the album, primarily in What We Need Is a Hero, I Did Not Win The Race, Beowulf Slays The Beast, and King Beowulf. All of these songs are powerful, pride-ridden and loud, making this Beowulf’s motif, however, this is just one of the motifs in the album. One of the others is predominant in both versions of A Hero Comes Home of which the shorter version is sung (almost spoken actually) by Robin Wright Penn. Penn’s performance in the movie (even though it is heavily adulterated by computer generated graphics) steals the limelight from the stars and the technology. Her singing – even though very minimalist – is very appealing. Idina Menzel’s version is poppy, groovy and dare I say, almost a power ballad. But even so it still fits into the album.

Throughout the album, Silvestri brings his flair to each track, and because the movie has its share of action packed scenes (which the composer excels at scoring) this is really Silvestri’s cup of tea. The final word on this album: An edgy yet classic soundtrack to an epic tale of fantasy that will make the movie and its characters come alive as you listen to it.


Anything... but the truth

Micheal Moore makes a documentary in style, but a closer look reveals that the popular documentary maker may have been spreading only half the truth.

Documentary films have become all the rage. Ten years ago, if you had looked at the box office, you couldn’t imagine a documentary up there. That has changed and documentaries have broken box office records and won numerous accolades like the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) and Academy Awards.


Out of the top five most successful documentaries of all time, Michael Moore has made three. All of his productions combined have made more than 170 million dollars at the box office, have won an Academy Award for best picture and the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and transformed an overweight, angry American college drop-out-turned documentary film-maker, into a superstar.

Moore, a self-described liberal (which is strange, because Moore strongly criticized Bill Clinton in the ‘92 elections and doubted Al Gore in the 2000 elections) is obsessed with gun violence, big corporations, and criticism of the American Health System; one could even call this obsession, a “fanaticism”.

By definition, a documentary lets the subject speaks for itself. Things are not pointed out, they stand out themselves. Not in the case of Michael Moore. Through clever editing techniques in most of his movies, he brings out his own agenda. He dictates his views through a commentary track that often has little to do with the video being shown. And then there are the guerilla tactics. He chased Roger Smith (then Chairman of General Motors) through his first feature, Roger & Me like a rabid canine in pursuit. His malicious treatment of Dick Clark and Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine was preposterous and unlike that of a documentary film-maker. There were several instances of discrepancies through the course of Fahrenheit 9/11 which were caught by his critics and allies alike.

If one looks closely, and researches enough, they’ll find that amid fast edits and flashy animation, Michael Moore isn’t exactly telling us the truth. In some cases, it’s not even the whole truth; it’s anything but the truth, which is in contradiction to what documentaries should be.

Here’s a list of a few movies which put Moores work under the microscope.

Manufacturing Dissent (MD): Originally, intended as a tribute to Moores work, two Canadian film makers, Debbiemanufacturing_dissent.jpg Melnyk and Rick Caine, were shattered to discover Moore’s award-winning documentaries were riddled with inconsistencies and in some cases, fabrications. For instance, Melnyk and Caine discovered that although Moore stated he had not met Roger Smith during the course of Roger & Me, he quite clearly had. During a 1987 shareholder meeting at General Motors, Moore and Smith had a lengthy discussion with Smith which never made it into Roger & Me. This movie however, shows that exchange between Moore and Smith, clearly proving Moore wrong.

What’s refreshing about this movie is that it is not made by Moore’s critics, or even Americans for that matter. Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine are two Canadians who chased Moore down in the simple quest to get some answers. And as the subtitles of this movie implies, it has never been so hard to get Michael Moore in front of the camera.

mmha-poster.jpgMichael Moore Hates America (MMHA): Directed by Michael Wilson, this feature represents what documentaries are about: an objective and honest view on a subject. In this case, it’s about how much Michael Moore hates America. Wilson has a disarming quality about him, the way he questions people, whilst traveling across the country, chasing Moore. Along the way he meets people from all walks of life, who are also wondering why Michael Moore hates America and what his motivations are. Wilson also visits the bank from Bowling for Columbine, and asks them about their gun issuing policy; the results are surprising (and vastly) different from what was shown in Moores work. A good thing about this feature is that Wilson lets the people do the talking and doesn’t answer for them. There are no jerk edits or ominous voiceovers. Award-winning film-maker (even referred to as the godfather of American documentary films) Albert Maysles shares his own views on Moore’s style of documentary, “His way of working is completely detestable.” This movie is a powerful experience of a man who goes to great lengths to defend his country from a donut wielding, fanatical film-maker.

FahrenHYPE 9/11 (FH 9/11): Writer Dick Morris’ answer to Moores magnum opus about the War against Terror clearly attacks Moore outright. Again, much like Manufacturing Dissent, this documentaryfahrenhype_911.jpg answers nearly all of the accusations put up against the Bush administration. Why didn’t the President react about the second plane hitting the World Trade Center? Well, what kind of reaction would you want? Asks this movie, “Would you rather have him jump out of his chair, rip off his shirt and command his troops to war?” What you see in the film are democrats, republicans, politicians and media personalities asking reasonable and common sense questions relating to Moores work. Of course this movie is a stark contrast to its original namesake, for one: you don’t have a commentary track over it. What you see are just the subjects talking for themselves, by themselves. A completely objective view on the work of Michael Moore.

Of course Moore has rebutted all of these movies on his website, and Moore has staunch supporters throughout of Hollywood and even in the echelons of power. But even that doesn’t help the fact that his latest release, Sicko was a box office disappointment (earning about 35 million dollars, after having the second highest opening for a documentary) compared to his earlier release Fahrenheit 9/11, which made nearly a 130 million dollars at the box office. He is currently working on Captain Mike Across America, a collection of footage leading up to the 2004 U.S. Presidential Elections.

In the end, this isn’t about who is right and who is wrong or even about truth and deceit. It is about freedom: the freedom given to Moore to question his government, to his critics to question his movies, and to the people who look for answers.

Living in a world bred by deception, censorship and suppression, it is no wonder we find such documentaries interesting. It’s like gazing through the glass, darkly… to a distant land that we may be headed towards or an idealistic future that will never come for us.

Let’s hope it’s the former and not the latter.

(This article was originally published in the 27th January, 2008, edition of DAWN Images)

Some Kind of Monster

“It’s a monster movie for the YouTube generation” said director Matt Reeves about Hollywood’s latest high-profile release, Cloverfield. Marketed in an unconventional manner, here is a look at the story behind Cloverfield and more.

cloverfield_theatrical_poster.jpgIt seems that the more we get to know about Cloverfield, the less we know. The movie, once titled “The Untitled J. J. Abrams Project”, had a trailer which although was ambiguous, started a wildfire of speculation, hype and paranoia since it aired before the Transformers movie.

And what was the trailer about? A group of friends gathered to say goodbye to one of their own. We see the party getting started, through the eyes of a digital camera. Soon, the friend arrives and it is time for the toast and it is then that they hear the rumble. The lights go out. Someone screams. They panic and towards the roof where they see an enormous ball of fire on the horizon, near the Statue of Liberty. Hysteria erupts as the same digital camera, the eyes and ears of the audience, runs down onto the street, only to have its path blocked by the head of the Statue of Liberty which crash-lands through the streets. Here the trailer ends ominously with the numbers “01-18-08coming up on the screen.

In the following weeks and months, there was a deluge of speculation. Was it a monster movie? Was it a new take on Godzilla or King Kong? Was it a Voltron re-make? Did it have anything to do with the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and his stories about Cthulhu? It was then that the true marketing of the movie began, as websites started popping up, which although seemed to be completely unrelated to the movie at first, but careful investigation revealed that it was indeed the Cloverfield viral marketing machine at work. In truth however, the marketing of this movie began with the trailer. In an unprecedented move, the Motion Picture Association of America approved a trailer without any titles but only the release date of the movie. Last weekend, that date had arrived and cinemagoers finally saw what the hype and hysteria was all about.

J. J. Abrams is best known to his fans as the creator of diverse TV shows, such as Felicity, Alias and LOST. At the heart of his creations are character-driven stories: strong characters facing even stronger obstacles. He’s also known for establishing a modern-day mythos to each of his creations, where each and every single character plays a pivotal role in the story. It was such attention to detail and dedication to character, that attracted the attention of Tom Cruise. Abrams made his feature film directorial debut with Mission Impossible 3, and although it was a lukewarm box office hit, it is here that Cloverfield was born.

director-matt-reeves-and-producer-jj-abrams.jpgOn his Japan tour of promoting MI3, Abrams went toy-shopping with his son. He was astounded to discover a plethora of toys depicting Godzilla-like monsters, he told the audience at 2007 Comic-Con, “I’ve always wanted to do a monster movie. I thought, we need our own (American) monster, and not King Kong, King Kong’s adorable. I wanted something that was just insane and intense.”

Abrams got in touch with director Matt Reeves and writer Drew Goddard, both alumni of LOST, Felicity and Alias. They quickly got the essence of the movie down on paper and approached Paramount Studios, who although loved the script, assigned a budget of only 25 million dollars and agreed to launch it only during January, a potential box office dumping ground for movies that are considered risky.

Undaunted, Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot Productions began to cast actors for the film. They were given no script or indication of story, and the audition process was highly secretive and casting complete unknowns merely added to Cloverfield phenomenon of secrecy. Special Effects Supervisor, Phil Tippett was approached because of his ability to work with a minimal budget and yet create effects that are intensely real. Filming started in February2007, in and around Coney Island, New York and a soundstage in Downey, California.

With a minimal budget and an unknown cast, it would seem that things were set against Cloverfield from the start. But that is not the case; movies like Open Water and the infamous Blair Witch Project have proven that even things at their completely minimalistic level evoke the strongest reactions from the audience and the box office. But is that merely a reaction from audiences or is there more to that effect? “Cloverfield very much speaks to the fear and anxieties of our time, how we live our lives. Constantly documenting things and putting them up on YouTube, sending people videos through e-mail — we felt it was very applicable to the way people feel now,” says Director Matt Reeves in an interview to an internet website. This is why the entire movie is shot with a handheld digital camera. He went on to describe the presentation, “We wanted this to be as if someone found a Handicam, took out the tape and put it in the player to watch it. What you’re watching is a home movie that then turns into something else.”

director-matt-reeves.jpgHence the look of the movie, a Cinéma vérité style, made famous in documentaries but used extensively in movies such as The Blair Witch Project and TV shows like The Office. Even the story aspect has a very natural, it-could-happen-to-you, element. Writer Drew Goddard heavily drew inspiration from real life, “The thing that was most helpful, the stuff that I watched that really informed the aesthetic, was a lot of YouTube videos. Then I looked at footage of terrifying events. I just wanted to see what happened when people were in the middle of these terrifying events and how they were filmed. There was this one clip in particular that I found absolutely terrifying where some troops were in a tent in Iraq and their camp was being mortar shelled. As the bombs were falling, they took the camera and put it on the ground. The shot itself was absolutely horrifying.”

And with that we come to the movie itself. First and foremost, it is indeed a monster movie. A monster of the new age, Cloverfield primarily explores the human psyche’s reaction to fear and terror. The latter of course is more important as this movie indirectly deals with terrorism. Often while watching the movie, one can compare the monster to the terrorists of 9/11 crashing into the World Trade Center. As the story progresses, each scene is a stark resemblance of news footage from ground zero during that ill-fated September day. Abrams and co. basically give modern day terrorism a face, that of a vicious inhumane, inhuman-like, monster.

Secondly, even while being a monster movie, the focus and the main propagating factor in the story is the action. It can be best described as a claustrophobic intensity (thanks to the hand-held cameras) surrounded by a background that is continuously crumbling. The cinematography is such that we don’t get to see anything in its entirety, everything is rushed and views are blocked or incomplete.


Finally, the cast are fresh, energetic and sharp. Michael Stahl-David recently discussed the characters in an MTV interview, “(My character) is someone who’s not a big risk-taker or somebody who’s very spontaneous,” Stahl-David revealed. “And then there’s Hud, the man behind the camera (played by T.J. Miller), Then there’s Lizzy Caplan (as Marlena), who randomly gets stuck with us and she’s not in our close circle of friends — she’s the outsider in our midst. Then there’s Jessica Lucas (as Lily), who is the caretaker of my brother Jason (Mike Vogel), who is wild and reckless.”Cloverfield is a new kind of monster movie. Whereas Godzilla and King Kong both ravaged and destroyed cities, Cloverfield is all about terror. Believe the hype. Something is alive. Something has found us.

(This article was originally published on the January 27th edition of DAWN, Images.)


Fuzon 2.0: The Return

They began sometime in 2001, as a band with a contemporary rock sound but with a traditional eastern vocalist. The name of course depicts the style, which is a dichotomy of the two sounds and its fusion at the same time. Fuzon was met with tremendous success with their first album, Sagar. Critics lauded the blending of the two sounds, the compositions, melodies and the lyrics. Their success and critical acclaim soon spilled across the border like a tsunami, assimilating fans amid the Indian masses and even its film industry.But whilst they gained fame and amassed this huge following, they also gained expectation. Four years after they had burst on to the scene, there was talk of a second album. Material had been made, songs had been written and amid a constant delaying of the album, things didn't appear as they truly were.

"It was around 2005, after Khamaj, that the issues had started," Emu says, referring to the time that the group started working on their second album. Emu went on to say, "I think it arose from all three of us being insecure. But it quickly became into more of an insecurity between Shafqat and the two of us. And it was beginning to limit us as musicians." So does that mean that they feel liberated now that Shafqat has left? "Its complete freedom," states Emu, "the freedom to try out new sounds and music without being restricted." Shallum adds to the thought, "We've always wanted to experiment, so with that vision in mind and the need to grow musically, him not being in the band has given us a lot of opportunities."

Emu (Imran Momina) and Shallum Xavier are of course very eager to clear up what has been revealed before, albeit from Shafqat Amanat Ali's point of view. And whilst talking, it's apparent in both their tones that there is not one hint of malice towards their former singer, it's more of a disappointment. "I feel so embarrassed talking about it, but I have to," Emu went on to say "it took us just 11 days to get 8 tracks down in 2005 and we waited for Shafqat to come in and sing, but all we would get were excuses and excuses; either in the form of critiquing me or Shallum and our work, or his continuing insistence to record the album in India. I had to take a stand and say that I would not do any shows until and unless this album got recorded. In the end, it took him nine months to sing all of those tracks." During this time of delay and false starts, how did they react to the fact that Shafqat was also working on solo projects and even an album of his own? "The thing is," Emu recalls, "we didn't have any problem with him doing his own album or work but he didn't even tell us he was working on an album, and he got extremely self-defensive about when we confronted him about it. I had even offered him time to complete his own work before he could work on Fuzon, but it seems he wasn't even ready to talk on that issue."

It all came down to their last show together, on December 21st, 2006 where it finally ended. "It was my decision in the first place not to work with him. Then I spoke to Shallum and then we decided that we were just plain tired of it all, so we told him (Shafqat) that, what was the point in doing music in the first place if we're not happy as a band and are being held back?" They are adamant that there was no ill-will between them and their former singer, and that it was a decision reached on the fact that they were simply headed in opposite directions.

So as the new year of 2007 rolled in, Shallum and Emu went back on track, very quickly. They had recorded an album (which remains untitled) but what they needed now was to unwind all of restrictions added within in it and get it jumpstarted after all those false starts. First and foremost they brought in a friend and a relative unknown (at least to Fuzon fans), Rameez Mukhtar, as the new singer for the band.

Was Rameez aware of the troubles of Fuzon? "I was in the loop generally and I had an idea because I was in contact with Emu and Shallum, but I never would have thought that I'd be stepping in," he says. Of course, he steps in to some pretty big shoes, those of a vocalist who had a strong establishment in eastern classical music. So what experience does he bring? "I've trained under Ustaad Nisar Bazmi and I was working with Sohail Rana for a long time," though his tone is slightly tense and anxious, it's pretty clear Rameez would rather have his singing speak for him than him for his singing. He does however speak of the importance of riyaz and how he's been practicing it for the past two years. "Emu and Shallum knew about my range, so they've kind of composed these melodies around it," Rameez says. Did the two musicians have to work hard around the new singer? "Me and Shallum, being producers, we've worked and composed in such a way that it enhances his singing, if anything," Emu states. But if they've done all the hard work, what has Rameez done in terms of contributing to the band and the new album? "Well, I think my singing is a contribution unto itself and the fact that I satisfied Emu and Shallum with it is all that mattered to me."

Having said that, Rameez was always the first person for the job in the eyes (more particularly the ears) of Shallum and Emu, but had they asked anyone else? Both of them say that Rameez was the only person on the list and it seems that it wasn't just because he was a great singer, but also the fact that he was first and foremost a friend. Emu admits however that there were a few local musicians, "big name solo artists, who shall remain nameless," who had approached directly and even indirectly for the job.

Now onto the album, this has been described by all three members of the band, as a fresh start. They're excited because this time around they have a myriad of different tracks to perform for their fans, including two Punjabi tracks and a song that was specifically written for an upcoming Indian movie by Sudhir Mishra called Mumbai Cuttings. The movie boasts many Pakistani artists on its soundtrack, including Ali Azmat and even Shafqat Amanat Ali, and even Indian artists like Sonu Nigam and Shaan. Fuzon have already shot a music video for the track, to be aired in conjunction with the movie's release.

Which such anticipation that gets associated with a band; fans eagerly await any sign or speck of new material. And if you're a fan who wants to get his hands on a new Fuzon track or a track that is unreleased, you'll find a way. Hence, a lot of unreleased tracks found their way online and were quickly distributed amongst message boards and websites. The band has mixed feelings about fans getting to hear these unreleased tracks – which were in some cases very early stages or in the case of one particular track, was when Shafqat was still in the band. "We did a lot of TV shows before Shafqat left, and somehow or the other, they found their way online," Shallum states. But the band has essentially reached a stage of catharsis with these particular tracks. "They're not part of us, the new album is a part of us now," Emu proclaims. Shallum quickly adds, "We'd prefer if our fans and critics look at the new album and listen to it very carefully."

But with the album being as late as it is, would they prefer releasing it aboard before they release it in Pakistan? The band remains indifferent, stating that it would have to depend on the political climate of the country at that point in time to make such a decision. The release date for the album, however, remains sometime after the elections at this point in time.

It would seem that it was only band issues and falling out with their singer that was the main hindrance of late to Fuzon, but that is not the case. Having earlier worked on an animated video (Suno, Suno) with Sohail Javed, the band were looking forward to getting up to speed earlier on with their fans, but due to some problems on the production end of the video shoot, that too was side lined. But the band was resilient even in this instant (not to mention that they had re-recorded an entire album with a new singer) they still found time to record another video (Neend Na Aye) just to get it on the air as soon as possible, but due to situations that are totally out of the band's control (i.e., the current political climate) they were forced them to even wait on this one.

But all of that will change, come late February when the band expects to launch their new album, some seven years after their first. It would be an awe-inspiring achievement for a band, even for Fuzon's caliber, so are they ready to do it? For one, they are armed with three music videos now (they will be re-shooting with Sohail Javed), they have a new singer, they have a new sound. Secondly, their new album is an unexpected departure from their last. Musically, both Shallum and Emu have now come miles from where they were. That is saying a lot since they both were extremely talented to begin with, but what they had insisted on earlier – their want for a freedom to try out new music – definitely comes out in this album. So instead of answering my question, they decided to give a little preview. The first track, Suno, Suno, was supposed to be the first single from the album, almost immediately one can understand why. The song starts off with a chorus of Rameez's vocals that almost build up throughout the song and carry it through. It's clear why this was probably chosen for the first single, because it addresses the issue of Rameez's capabilities as a singer straight out. Granted, you have Shallum's and Emu's melodies and compositions, but essentially this song sets out not to disprove their previous singer, but a showcase of Rameez's own talent on the band.

Next, Neend Na Aye, this track is perhaps an example of what has made Fuzon popular so far. It can be best described as a powerful ballad, which enraptures the listener from the very first chords of the guitar and the notes of the piano. This is the one song that will probably be most compared to all of Fuzon's previous tracks, perhaps because this sounds like the old Fuzon the most. But this is the new Fuzon, and the next track proves that fact straight out. Tere Naal is a Punjabi track with a catchy groove that is sure to get your foot tapping, if anything else. Another highlight from the album is the Mumbai Cuttings track, La Gay Na Gee Yeah, "We originally was doing this just for the movie, but it kind of grew on us as well, so we're putting it on the album," says Shallum. The track itself is a deluge of raga and choruses of Rameez's voice and has already garnered praise from the movie's director to the record label's head.

Overall, the album indeed sounds fresh, but it cannot be compared to Sagar, simply because they're from two different time periods of the same band. Whereas the former album was an experiment into starting a trend within Pakistani music, the latter can be described as bold fray into music; both for them as a band and as musicians.

So as the timer, once again, starts to countdown towards the album and video release, the band are all set to set ablaze the music scene. It is perhaps Emu's statement that encapsulates of what the fans could expect, "We are and have been the trendsetters." And this album is sure to start some trends.

Photography: Fayyaz Ahmed

(Originally published in the January 22nd, 2008, DAWN, Images.)


Will the Real Aunty Please Stand Up?

When Yasir Qureshi and Imran Lodhi decided to attend a jam a local coffee shop, little did they know that it would be the beginning of a long journey. That night, they met up with fellow musicians, Omar Khalid and Omar Akhtar (who were also performing as part of a different group). Whereas all previous associations were lost that night, another was formed. That entity also had a name, Aunty Disco Project was alive. They are electrifying on stage: with tunes that are catchy and make you think. If you're new to ADP and you'd like to hear more about them, you've come to the right place. They still have a lot to answer for. Do they still hate record labels? Did they bite off more than they could chew? Were there members of the Third Reich within the band? They sat down with Images to answer and reveal all.

ADP started mainly as a jam band, a group of musicians gathering together to play live music. And after only 5 months of playing gigs, both big and small, they took on the ostentatious step of releasing an album. The talk of the town was how ADP had come about to release this album, completely by themselves. Their critics panned them for doing so, but the band remains adamant about their reasons. "We can't wait for 5 or six months just so that we can get a large distribution of our album," Imran says. He – and the band – also adds that the labels have simply lost their relevance in this country, and that courting studios and their services is not worth the wait. But that isn't their only beef with the labels, as Oba (Omar Bilal Akhtar) tells me, "This was our first album and we were (and are) very close to these songs and these people [labels] tell us, Okay these are your hit singles and you need to re-work these songs and just didn't want to do that, simply because we knew these songs, all of them, were perfect."

On the other hand, just exactly what did the fans think of the album? I asked them the one criticism that they got the most. "Our fans say that the album doesn't justify our live performances," Omar says. "However, we recorded it a year ago and we've come a long way since then." The band refers to the lesser time the spent recording the album than the greater time they spent playing the songs live. "We also hadn't gotten [the songs] down either; we were still making last minute decisions in the studio during the recording process." And indeed, if you do happen to stumble upon a copy of the album or hear them on the radio perchance (and if you've heard them live before), you'll find a stark difference. The album sounds rushed, incomplete and often very amateurish. However, if you see them live you will see a totally different act on stage which will make you realize that the band has indeed come a long way. "All the critique aside, I'm still terribly proud of what we did, and thankful of the people that helped us at New Shadab Studio," Imran says, with Yasir adding, "And we also got some help from our friends who are musicians or in the industry."

The band accepts that criticism wholeheartedly and has learned their lesson, so to speak. "We definitely learned the importance of a proper producer," Yasir says, referring to album being produced by all four of them. "And as musicians ourselves, we've only learned just the basic producing skills, the bits and pieces for the refinement process," says Omar Khalid. But having accepted most of the criticism, the band still defiantly stands behind the album. As do other bands. "I belong to this little group of underground musicians who think that we've done a great job." But the band is incredibly wary of getting an established producer to work with them, "Just because if you do get someone established and he works with you, he'll bring his own approach to the table and it will sound like his thing rather than ours," states Omar Khalid.

As for the fans getting a hold of the album, Imran adds, "If they like the music, they will get to it, whether it's through the internet or friends passing music along to each other." Omar says, "I have cousins in California, who've I've never even met that are listening to our music!" It is true; a music fan will always find a way to get to his music. Just ask Napster.

The creative process for a band is very crucial, and whereas there are no two bands that are alike, the fact remains the same is that when you have extremely different people working together for long periods of time, there will be volatile moments indeed. "I think I was the Nazi at times," Oba admits, figuratively speaking of course, referring to his role in the band and the making of the album. And it just goes to show as he discusses his meticulous nature that the other members in the band do not mind at all. "I think my dynamics with Oba work out really well," Yasir says. Imran is of course the impatient one, repeatedly stating that he, "Just wanted to get the music out as fast as possible." Omar Khalid's encapsulates the nature of the band very simply, "We're incredibly fluid as a band, that we've now learned more about the music and about each other too."

And what band, upcoming or established, doesn't have its fair share of rumors? It's been speculated that prior to the release of the album, Aunty Disco Project was on the verge of a total meltdown. Comments? Every member had similar comments to that, which was: Yes, we do have fights, but that's all part of the creative process. Oba says, "When you have diverse people like us of course there will be tension." Yasir quickly adds, "I don't remember a point in time where we actually fought over a song, because we have a strong chemistry as a band. Having said that I think every band has bad days and fights and the rumor just got started because someone had just caught us on a bad day, at a bad time." They also speak of their learning to accept creative criticism, from denial at first to then accepting it as a part of album making. It seems that though they have come a long way, they still have a long way to go.

The future for the band remains very interesting, besides releasing an album and getting extensive airplay on the radio, the band had also released two videos, Sultanat and Is Tanhai Ko. Would they now get another video out, after the album? They had in mind a few songs, notably Such, Sheher Key Aansoo and Nazar, but planned on concentrating more on touring rather than releasing videos at the moment. And whereas Oba has stepped back from tackling any future video directing opportunities, Imran is eagerly looking for that opportunity. But present company excluded, according to the band, they've been approached by many famous faces for the chance to direct their videos. "Saqib Malik and Babar Shaikh have expressed their interests," Yasir states. "Zeeshan Pervez was really interested, he's a fan of our music," Oba adds, saying, "And there was Fasi Zaka who talked to us about directing something." But not being in the same city would be a factor to consider for the band. The fact of the matter remains, the band would actively seek out a director rather than indulging in it themselves.

And with that statement one would realize that through their criticism and their journey, they know what they're capable of and what not. They've admitted their flaws and falls, but they're still standing proud and anxiously looking forward for what the future holds for them, as do their fans.--Khaver Siddiqi (Originally appeared / printed January 13th Edition of DAWN Images. )

Photography: Amean J.

Artwork: Sarah Pirzada @ 18% grey.