It’s true that a majority of people prefer listening to what is popular, more often than not ignoring the lesser known, emerging bands. However, these challenges have not dampened the spirit of the Islamabad-based rock band Malang Party, who released their first nation-wide single “Dil Jalay” last week. Additionally, the underground band known for their high-energy live shows, intends to release an extended-play (EP) album during the summer.
“Dil Jalay” is a catchy song with impressive guitar solos and beautiful lyrics which hit a chord with the younger audiences almost immediately. “‘Dil Jalay’ has grooves which are not typically used in our music,” says Zeeshan Mansoor, the band’s founding member, who is also the guitarist and songwriter. “We’ve tried to explore the traditional melodies and in this song, we have a Balochi sound that’s not very common in Pakistan as bands typically play the same rock beat which gets overdone after a while.”
Meanwhile, when asked about the concept behind the band’s rather unique name, Mansoor replies, “I don’t know if it’s true or not, but people say that malang was this Robin Hood type of guy from around this area [Punjab]. But, in everyday life, malang is a person who is completely lost, and is very often considered an outcaste. Therefore, we represent the people who are considered malangs. They are the oppressed ones in society,” Mansoor adds.
The band’s tongue in cheek lyrics and funny titles have also been a staple of their music. With song titles such as “GPO” and “Bare Metal Door”, Malang Party’s humour and politically-charged lyrics (albeit subtle) have made a profound impact on audiences.
Producing music in an unconventional way
Apart from Mansoor, the band includes, Zain Ali on bass and vocals, Asad Zafar on guitars, Ibrahim Akram on drums. The band stands out not only because of its members’ distinct looks — long hair, grungy-looking, rough beards, Bob Marley hairstyle — but also for the unique music they produce. Their trademark style is the reggae-cum-indie sound, quite different from what the market generally offers.
Mansoor explains that the band’s unconventional philosophy towards producing music. “We’ve tried to structure the band in such a way that each member has excelled in all the processes required for producing a song. So instead of one person focusing on vocals, another on guitars, the way we work is ‘each person does everything’,” explains Mansoor, while pointing out that in other local bands, members have a very restricted approach as they only focus on one aspect of the whole process.
Hence, in a nutshell, the band is providing a new frontier of rock music defined not only by their fresh sound but also by their overall philosophy towards connecting with people.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.