Rebirth is me shedding my skin and coming clean: Asad Ahmed

Published: July 13, 2017
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Asad Ahmed. PHOTO: FILE

Asad Ahmed. PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: FILE Asad Ahmed. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: His fans in the country and across the world know how much he has contributed to Pakistani music over the last two decades. Ace guitarist Asad Ahmed’s career has involved being part of one of the first rock bands of Pakistan, The Barbarians, playing with Vital Signs and even collaborating with Junoon, forming the band Karavan, and working with many other artists. However, Ahmed is set to make his solo debut with an album titled Rebirth. Slated for July 14 release, the album consists of ten tracks and all of them are instrumentals.

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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

“The idea to release an instrumental album came to me when I was touring the US with Ali Zafar four years ago. I got some really good advice from the producers over there that the westerners don’t understand our language. Asad Ahmed is not going to fly with a band singing in Urdu and releasing songs in Urdu would limit it to our audience in the subcontinent,” Ahmed told The Express Tribune.  “And then, my fans have been asking for years for an album. They tell me my solo pieces in songs are too short so going instrumental was the best way to universalise the album.”

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Culmination of four years of writing and recording, Rebirth is not just an outcome of fans’ demands for Ahmed, but rather a personal journey. “I feel like Rebirth is me shedding my skin and coming clean. It’s about my rebirth. I’ve extensively worked for decades and while I’m proud of the work I’ve done, I feel times have changed,” he said. “I listen to Pakistani music and I listen to the music produced globally and I see ours is quite outdated. So, with Rebirth, I am saying this is the sound of the 21st century and the future.”

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

The album encapsulates all the Jazz, Blues and Rock influences Ahmed grew up with, and offers a wide variety of emotions in its soundscape, with tracks such as Animal, which delves into the primal instinct and the aggressive nature of humans, Bitter Sweet Love – about lovers who are together yet emotionally distant – and Drive All Night about his road journey across the American states.

Talking about the album’s opening track, Above the Clouds, he said, “I was on the plane from Karachi to Oslo, and I couldn’t sleep. So, I looked out the window and the terrain you see in the Sweden, Copenhagen and Denmark region, you see this pastured land with red mountains. So, I just picked my guitar and started playing. That’s how it came to me.”

Asad Ahmed: Grooving into a solo career

Similarly, the hauntingly beautiful Inside the Vortex track “makes you feel like you’re in a vortex. It starts off slow and then there comes a turning point, and you go full-speed.” Further, there are tracks like Maximum Throttle and Will You, which will interest rock and hardcore metal fans. “It’s an all-out rocker. It’s got a riff, which is all-out piledriver.”

Apart from Rebirth, Ahmed shared he has enough material for his next solo album too. “Yeah, I have 10-15 more tracks, which will be part of the next album I’m planning to release next year.”

Watch the teaser here:

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Khawar
    Jul 13, 2017 - 9:49PM

    This man is what we may want to call a true ‘Rockstar”. I very well remember the Barbarian video (Music Channel Charts, ’88 or ’89) with Asad, his signature long hair, playing the solo [or pretending to, for the sake of making it a good video – still, the rocking antics….never seen before on TV ]. Song, if i remember correctly, was “kiya howa”. He has hung around the Pakistani music scene when so many came and left, doing it with absolute dignity, utmost grace and with the amazing skills that he posses. Granted, back in the day, there were other skilled guitarist (Rizwan, Adnan Vai, that Dhun dude, Fawad?] and underground bands [Power House was good] but Asad is truly the one who introduced the audience/common man [and woman :)] to the western, Kiss/Motley Crue type, heavy metal music [completely foreign art for most of us Pakistanis back then] . He had the charisma back then and he has held onto it pretty well.

    My absolute best wishes to Asad and rest assured, i will be buying his album the day its released – and play it non-stop for a few months until my wife and kids [who are more into DJ Khaled, Wiz Khalifa, Charlie Puth] get totally fedup. They need to learn what Pakistani rock is/was all about and none better to represent that then the “rockstar” himself.

    Good luck my man, i know you are going to shred your Gibson and provide something beautiful for our listening ears.

    PS: his note on Amir Zaki’s death has earned a LOT more respect from me – truly a good, sincere, graceful human being with mad skills who seems to be raised very well by his parents. Recommend

  • Syed Hussain
    Jul 16, 2017 - 8:49PM

    In full consent with Khawer^. What a run this man Asad has had so far. Mad respect to you brother for your true love for music. We all know this ain’t about money in Pakistan when it comes to music and who’d know better than you. Heard some bits just now on Patari and and absolutely loving the harmonies and sound aesthetics.

    More power and big respect for all those years of fantastic music, brilliant guitar tunes, Gardish record which I absolutely love and most of all hats off for staying true to your art in a country like Pakistan.

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