Lahore-based band Aag released its latest single last week — a contemporary pop-punk track which portrays the band in a whole new light. “The Break-up Song (Phir Se)” explores the conflicted feelings and tumultuous thoughts that one experiences during the process of a tough break-up with a significant other.
“It’s about a break-up I experienced a while back, and the song sort of expresses the mixed feelings that one feels in the process,” says Haroon Sheikh, the lead vocalist of the band. “It shows the battle that is taking place on the inside of wanting the relationship on one hand, and letting it go on the other,” he adds.
Aag has come a long way over the last year by featuring in Junoon’s 20th anniversary music album while also developing a reasonable live performance reputation. The band consists of brothers Haroon and Usman Sheikh, who are both willing to experiment in musical terms and try whatever feels appealing to them.
Having made their name in the underground music scene, the band was best known for its covers of Imran Khan’s “Bewafa” or the heavier sounding cover of the song “Pehla Nasha”.
Haroon, the elder of the two brothers, explains that the song was not done with a commercial intent but that the pop-punk feel seems to match the mood of the song. “The lyrics were written a while back,” says Haroon. “I usually start out by writing a random line on whatever I am feeling at the time and sometimes I finish the song in one go, while other times it takes a while,” he adds.
The band is currently working on fixing a record deal and is in negotiations with several interested parties. For now, Haroon says that the band is looking to release singles to keep the hype going and keep their name on everyone’s minds. Aag’s approach to music seems simple — experimenting with different sounds and ideas.
The younger brother, Usman, has also started to show his own vocal aptitude by appearing in the band’s first English single, “Place We Used to Know” and “The Break-up Song” as well. “‘The Break-up Song’ is based on personal subject matter that everyone has gone through and is relatable on a human level, so listeners can connect,” says Usman.
“The idea of having two vocalists fits the lyrics very well which aims to show the split personality of the singer, whether he should go through with the breakup or hold back. It’s that Romeo-wishful thinking or stern Stalin-thinking,” says Usman elaborating on the new single.
Speaking about the current music scene, Usman says that the music industry in Pakistan has failed to grow into a proper industry. He described the music industry as a “semi-permeable membrane” in which anything that’s been there before has been replaced, but nothing new has been able to grow.
“If there were 200 artists before there are still 200 artists today, the industry is not growing,” says Usman. Speaking about how Aag, coming from its underground roots, sees itself placed in the current music scene — Usman explains that they are doing music for the sake of growth in which different types of genres are appreciated.
“We have always looked at ourselves as the kids that are picked last but score the most,” adds Usman. The band expects to release another single in the next one month.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.
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