“‘Alice’ could be about the friendship between America and Pakistan, a page from a book or even Alice from Alice in Wonderland. It really depends on how you interpret it,” exclaims Omer Khan, one of the vocalists of Poor Rich Boy.
The band, comprising of Shehzad Noor, Zain Ahsan, Omer Khan and Danish Khwaja, has been performing for nearly three years and sing primarily in English. Although they have been around for a while, “Alice” will be the band’s first single from their currently untitled album. The song is a nostalgic and soothing ballad sung by Khan and uses folk instruments such as ukulele played by Noor. The lyrical imagery in the song provides a catchy hook for its listener. Poor Rich Boy’s upcoming album will be released by the end of the year and includes 11 tracks, from which the band intends to release five videos.
Poor Rich Boy is well known in Lahore’s underground circuit and has received recognition for their energetic and pulsating live performances. “We feel sane when we make music,” says Khan who is a new addition to the band. Speaking about their upcoming album, Khan explains that the album has varied sounds and the lyrics aim to explore “hard realities rather than dreams”.
Noor, who founded the band with Ahsan, has had a close association with Hamza Jafri and The Guitar School. Known for their live shows in which they have long-periods of raucous frenzy, Noor and Ahsan are trying to explore their music’s vision in its most basic form. The essence of Poor Rich Boy revolves around the idea that today’s youth is ungrateful. “We all have so many things but are still going to whine. One may have an iPod but it doesn’t function or a Civic that is old and beat up,” remarks Noor.
Noor’s lively behaviour onstage has contributed to a strong stage presence. In fact, he has made an effort to ensure that the raw form of music is witnessed. For instance, during many of their shows, Poor Rich Boy launch into long-periods of unplanned rowdiness, which they describe as portraying the reality of music that is really just ‘noise’ at the end of the day.
So far, the lyrics for their songs have been written in English. Regardless of how small the market is for English music, the band has still turned heads and some local studios have asked them to record with them. However, Noor and Ahsan say that it just never felt right to do so.
“We decided that the only way to record the way we wanted was if we produced our own music, we couldn’t give it to someone else because the music was in our heads,” says Ahsan, who has led the majority of the production process for the album. Speaking from his own experience, Ahsan says that for him, a song is complete only when he feels that there is nothing left to add and at such a stage, there is no reason for a production company or studio to step in as the song is already complete.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 30th, 2011.