With the release of their new album, Beyond Kismat, the South Asian Canadian fusion band JoSH seek to push the boundaries of modern music in Pakistan. The band is now affiliated with McDonalds and the album will be available for free at the franchise from May 30.
Sitting at the Pearl Continental sipping a cup of green tea, the band spoke candidly with The Express Tribune about the launch of their new album and what music they have in store JoSH fans around the globe.
“We have sort of taken out the record company, there a lot of guys who have already done that by going sort of independent, we have taken this to another level this album will be available at every McDonald’s and its going to be free,” said “Rup” (Rupinder Magon). “ This comes from the understanding and working with the fact that music is not sold anymore, taking that into account and trying find a way to make that beneficial to us we decided to make a deal with one of the largest retailers in the country.”
It’s the perfect match, as the people who eat McDonald’s and listen to the band’s music tend to be a ‘Gen-x’ population. In the arrangement now whoever orders a meal at any local McDonald’s will get the album for free. The whole deal and planning for the album release took almost three years in the making, to give music to fans in the manner there used getting music while also providing them with the authentic CD with the album art work.
“Also this way you can get the whole album, for people downloading songs they usually end up running after singles and that’s why there has been such a big emphasis on releasing music videos,” said “Q” (Qurram Hussain). “This way you get more song and it’s mutually beneficial.”
JoSH’s new album, which is aptly titled Beyond Kismat, has an upbeat and modern sound which the band hopes will provide positive energy for the listeners. The title of the album also promotes this attitude, that “destiny is in your own hands”.
“We have had these experiences within our own families and friends’ circles where people use kismat as a sort of excuse,” said Rup. “We want to spread the message that you can dream all you want, but until you get up from your bed and work at your dream nothing is coming to you.”
Musically the album, for the band, has been challenging as the band itself has been touring regularly all over the world. Touring meant that much of the creative input and planning had to be coordinated during travel and thus the delay in the release after working out that the album would be self-released meant that the band had to go back and redo several tracks to ensure the level of perfection that they wanted.
“By the time we were done with 25 songs and we ended up choosing eight songs from that which we put on the album,” said Q. “This album will be more upbeat than our other album, of all the songs we made there were a few slow songs which have not been included in this album. We felt that we should put the faster songs together and then possibly have supplemental release with slower tracks.
The band’s first single, which will be “Pyar Hogya”, uses the approach that less is more by including an intricate and fun melody for the listener. The music video for the single has been shot in Bombay, and shows the band in an underground studio where the audio line runs to a large speaker where a flash mob ensues.
Another single on the album will be a song called, “Achi Ajeeb Hai Tu” and is another upbeat romantic twinged song which speaks of somebody who is unique in their style and mannerisms, sort of celebrating the ‘weird ones’.
The music process for the band remains true: First it gets a vibe that essentially brokers the start of an idea or even in some cases leads to the humming of the melody. In some cases where there is a Punjabi vibe occurring they call on Kumar, their lyricist, but a majority of the songs written in Urdu are penned by Q.
The band’s manager, Taha Sadaqat, said that the touring actually meant that the music was created from the moods that the band was in a variety of locations. He said that 3-4 songs had a distinct Pakistani influence and was something that listeners in the country were going to relate to.
The global viability of JoSH has been recognised as their songs have also made it to some Hollywood films. Bollywood remains another outlet for the band which has signed with Universal Records in India. But they aren’t confused about staying true to their south Asian sound.
“Every album comes with this responsibility of treating each region with the love it deserves,” said Q. “Right now we are doing this in Pakistan, this is the busiest time.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2011.
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