In the vast subversive sea of musical genres, Talal Qureshi is no ordinary fish. He’s the deep-ocean variety, taking to the darkest, unexplored musical depths to churn out the electronic-dubstep beats that make waves and ripple across Pakistan. For those who don’t know better, the dubstep genre is a bass-heavy and fragmented style with repetitive drum patterns, electronic textures and sporadic vocals.
The Express Tribune sat down with the edgy producer for a first time interview to discuss his music, what makes him unique and the fate of dubstep in Pakistan.
When did you get started?
I started off making music when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I used to bug around with softwares at that time, playing some riffs on the guitar, making a pattern on a casio keyboard. Yeah. That’s how I started.
Why does this genre appeal to you? Do you think it can take off in Pakistan?
I have the soul of a research professor — I keep experimenting with tunes, samples I make on Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) etc. I was just really inspired with this style and wanted to mix it up with electronica. I think it’s extremely hard to come up with a balanced tune where you want to showcase so much. I try my best to keep my flavour, which are the beat patterns that I create from scratch.
As far as your question about whether this genre can take off in the country, I feel it’s too early to say anything. People do like to listen to dubstep here, but you should also not forget the amount of time it took house music to register here. I guess slowly it will take off. That said, I’d like add that I am purely producing (particularly dubstep/electronica) for the international market. I want to collaborate with the likes of Skrillex, Zedd, Coven, DeadMau5, Trent Raznor, DJ Lethal and Chase and Status.
How’s your extended-play coming along? Are you hunting for a label?
The EP is turning out to be a cracker! It has been produced solely by me, from every synth (synthesiser) to every beep to every beat, it’s me. I am trying to release it as soon as possible. And no, I am not looking for labels locally but I have some very tempting offers from International record labels to do a full-length album.
Please tell us about your released tracks; the concepts and sound you worked with?
I produced my first track “Sketches” with Faizan Riedinger of the band Mole. We had no concept behind it, we just added a bunch of stuff and created this experimental tune. For “DeadMasi”, I had a concept of a masi (maid) trying to steal money of the owner and how she ends up in a situation where all she can see is death. And for the track “Guetta Kaun?”, even though I like David Guetta, I hate him for recycling his tunes over and over again. That explains the title of the track.
Can you tell us about some of the official remixes you’ve done? How do you work on these; what’s your process when you’re mixing/adding?
Recently, I did an official remix for Adil Omar’s track “Off The Handle” and got a great response from people. I think remixing a song is much easier for me than producing a track.
I had to change my style for Adil’s album to make it sound more hardcore hip hopish, but we still are experimenting and right now it sounds pretty good. It’s a bit hard to score a movie, but when you have Shahbaz Shigri and Aisha Linnea it gets easier to work. We share the same taste in music.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2012.