Jehangir Aziz: Pakistan’s first grunge musician

Published: September 15, 2012

Jehangir won three major awards for his single “Pretend to Be” at the Indie Music Channel Awards 2012. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY

Jehangir won three major awards for his single “Pretend to Be” at the Indie Music Channel Awards 2012. PHOTO: PUBLICITY Jehangir won three major awards for his single “Pretend to Be” at the Indie Music Channel Awards 2012. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY
PESHAWAR: 

Born to furniture designer Nilofar Aziz and former Chief Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khalid Aziz, 23-year-old Jehangir Aziz Hayat has always been a passionate music buff. The release of his debut track “Between the Lines” in 2005 made Jehangir the first ever grunge musician in Pakistan.

He shot to widespread fame and his track “Pretend to Be” then led him to win three awards at the Indie Music Channels Awards in 2012 — Best Male Alternative Artist, Best Alternative Record and Best Alternative Video Under $5,000.

Lined with influences of Nirvana, Pantera and Megadeth, another track “Never Change” was released in 2005 and left many dazzled in Pakistan. In the first week of its release, the National Music Chart got a feel of Jehangir’s melody and nominated him for the Best Debut Award at the MTV Pakistan awards.

Jehangir is currently in Pakistan for his upcoming new releases, and in an interview with The Express Tribune he shared insights on his work and future plans.

What inspired you to turn to music?

Music is a medium of self-expression where I am able to voice and reflect on some of the apprehensions instilled in me. It allowed me to recognise the discernible differences between my perception and actuality.

What led you to play guitar? Why not any other local string instrument, such as the rabab?

I think the versatility of the overall genre and its main instrument, the guitar, made it all the more appealing. In my opinion, the composition that I had to deliver was better suited to a low-tuned guitar. However, I’d love to have the rabab incorporated into one of my tracks someday.

How do you feel about your experience of fame after the release of “Never Change”?

In hindsight, I believe I was not fully prepared for the release. Abruptly being in the spotlight after total obscurity did not help me get a better perspective on things. However, I am grateful for the opportunity.

What about remixing your compositions to fuse with your native tunes?

It would be interesting to combine the elements of grunge with Pashto folk music. I will probably end up making some tracks fusing the two genres once I get a better understanding of their integration.

How do you see the local Pashto music scene?

Our music scene is full of incredible talent. People like Sarmad Ghafoor, Sajid Ghafoor and Zeeshan Parwez have come up with some amazing work despite the limitations faced by local musicians due to the unavailability of opportunities and proper institutions.

You are completing your Bachelors degree at the moment, what career path do you hope to follow thereafter?

I’d love to continue the family furniture business of M. Hayat and Brothers (PVT) Ltd. if circumstances permit. Recently, I have been very interested in the development aspect of economics. Hopefully I’ll have a better perspective on things once I have completed my degree.

What are your upcoming projects?

I am currently working on the drums for the new album. The sound of the new album is influenced by some of the grunge and alternative bands I used to listen to back in the day. If I compare this record to the previous one, I’d say this one has a better sense of direction as far as songwriting is concerned. The album will have twelve tracks altogether and will be released sometime during this year. Hopefully, it will more aptly capture my identity and individuality.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Sep 16, 2012 - 12:00AM

    On the question of “Local Pashto music scene” the musician should have also mentioned the names of young talented artists like Naseer & Shadab, Ismail & Junaid, Yasir & Jawad and Fortitude.

    Sarmad, Sajid and Zeeshan mostly release songs in English Genre while the younger ones mostly release stuff in their native Pashto language, which is now also popular among many Pakistani Music Listeners.

    Jehangir Aziz is definitely an artist of international level, but we(fans) expect with him to have a little more knowledge on “local music scene” as well :)

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  • Zalim Singh
    Sep 16, 2012 - 12:02AM

    who is he?

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  • Sep 16, 2012 - 1:17AM

    Good luck Jehangir!

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  • Pakboy
    Sep 16, 2012 - 11:09AM

    cool

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  • Ali S
    Sep 16, 2012 - 1:09PM

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Burger kids who write songs in English, no matter how supposedly “talented” they may be, will never achieve any sort of success out of their little elitist bubbles in this country.

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  • Ayesha khair.
    Sep 16, 2012 - 3:22PM

    Firstly Mr. Ali S, it’s burgher and not Burger that we eat. Secondly music is a form of expression be it in any language. It’s not a source of earning your income and trying to be famous through it. For jehangir it was a way to let out the pent up emotions which he best could through this form.
    And Danish Mughal need to start a propagdist movement to promote the Pashto talent he longs to be spoken of by Jehangir. This interview is about Jehangir. He is brilliant and beyond the level of mediocre music we tend to be satisfied with.
    The reviews people in other countries wrote about him are a complete proof of how on a global level he is able to touch soapy hearts.
    A brilliant musician. Despite of some stupid comments here which reflect the level of oblivion in our country, I believe Jehangir will make it big and do so with a language he feels comfortable with. His music makes sense, his compositions cannot be matched.
    All the best for your endeavours. You will make it really Big in no time
    :-)

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  • Nevermind
    Sep 16, 2012 - 5:39PM

    Ali S Who you refer to as a burger boy speaks the language of genuineness. All of us have our own way of expressing ourselves and sometimes expression varies with every language . A little exercise for you ,try translating “have a nice day” to Urdu. Now let us know if the phraseology applies the same way. Know that every language has a flavour that has a unique experience when you use it.
    Jehangir’s experience of profundity in music speaks the hearts of many who find comfort in the art of words to soothe their inner struggle with the perceptions about the world and themselves.So as far as success is concerned he’s already had it there!

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  • Never mind
    Sep 16, 2012 - 6:00PM

     Ali S who  you refer to as a burger boy speaks the language of genuineness. All of us have our own way of expressing ourselves    and sometimes expression varies with every language . A little exercise for you ,try translating “have a nice day” to Urdu. Now let us know if the phraseology applies the same way. Every language has a  flavour that has a unique experience when you use then. 
    Jehangir’s experience of profundity in music speaks the hearts  of many who find comfort in the art of words to soothe their inner struggle with the odd perceptions about the world and themselves.So as far as success is concerned he’s already had it there! 

    Recommend

  • Ayesha khair.
    Sep 16, 2012 - 6:22PM

    Music is a form of expression be it in any language. Jehangir had no intent to make it a source of income or for that matter fame. ^btw, Mr. Ali S, it’s burgher which isn’t the same as a burger which you eat. It’s so sad to see how people are so oblivious to why music actually is supposed to be. A way to express yourself and Jehangir does it brilliantly through the exemplary music he composes.

    This is an interview on Jehangir thus in no way makes him bear the responsibility of heading a propagandist movement trying to promote Pashto talent. We need to open our minds and refrain from pointless posts just so we can appear under an article.

    Jehangir is an exceptional talent, a very rare prodigy our country needs to know about, respect and have confidence in. How many times do you see reviews pouring in from pter counties for our singers? Not that I would know of. Jehangir thus proves to unite people from all over the globe in his own unique manner. True, the majority in Pakistan deviates from this genre or for that matter language when it comes to music but then again minorities also have all rights to be catered to. The language you sing in should the be the one that makes you express yourself better. Sad how people feel musicians should match the expectations of language and not the passion that should be the driving force behind good music.

    Jehangir aziz Hayat is an idol for many and is truly inspiring for the 90,000 plus fans who support him. May God bless you and may you succeed in your future endeavours. You have a lot of support. Some negativity cannot take away from the brilliance that you personify.

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  • Dr Omar
    Sep 17, 2012 - 12:42PM

    Although certain types of music (due to language barrier or by not being commercial enough) will be more confined to certain niche markets, but that doesn’t mean that such genres shouldn’t be explored or given airplay!

    There was a time people laughed at the thought of bands doing something innovative. There are bands out there who have dared to do something different & have succeed (inspiring a generation of musicians to follow them!)
    Junoon introducing live drums in studio recording, MBH (Meekal hasan Band fusing eastern and western music), Sajid & Zeeshan (English lyrics and fusing rock with electronica) are few examples one can quote. Variety, versatility and innovation should be encouraged. Only then we will ensure good music will flourish.

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