KARACHI: The past month has seen the music industry in Pakistan come close to a halt with more challenging times ahead. Despite the harsh realities, it is still refreshing to see artists, especially the lesser-known release new material against all odds.
In the past four weeks, Pakistan's Djent/Progressive Metal ensemble, Takatak has managed to release two new tracks accompanied by sleek music videos.
Earlier in April the band which comprises Isa Najam on bass , Daud and Yusuf Ramay on drums, Zain Peerzada, and Luke Azariah on guitar, along with Mohammad Ali Suhail and Altamash Sever on vocal duties , released the song The Whale. Shot before the countrywide lockdown, albeit still employing necessary social distancing, the video much like the previous track Fault Lines is performance-based however with a grim post-apocalyptic aesthetic.
The song meanwhile sees the band showcase more of its technical prowess while keeping the core melodic motif intact. Despite it being more palatable for the casual listener compared to the heavier Fault Lines, it somehow didn't garner as much response.
According to Peerzada that mainly has to do with the novelty associated with the debut song from the album. "We were pretty stoked on the response, it has been positive through and through. Fault Lines somehow did quite better than The Whale on YouTube but I attribute that to the fact that we were coming back with a new line up after so long, that it sort of took everyone by surprise," Peerzada told the Express Tribune.
About the video going well in line with the song, Peerzada credits the director sharing the same musical sensibilities as the band. "Working with Amar (Director) and Hybrid Imaging is always a blast. Amar, being a metalhead, gets what we're going for, and it's a very easy relationship that we've formed with him and Umair Khawaja. As soon as the lockdown lifts, we're doing a third video with the Hybrid boys so watch out for that," he exclaimed.
Aside from The Whale, the band released another track, Voyager earlier this week. Instead of a full-fledge music video, the song is released with a playthrough video shot by Peerzada himself.
Though not as technical as the previous two tracks, the song still sees the band flirt with complex rhythmic arrangements, something it has come to be known for. Additionally, it shows a more mellowed out and introspective side to the band's sound that instead of making one headbang would have him or her, still in contemplation.
"Initially, we were supposed to release a song called Flash Your Bones after The Whale, with a kick-ass music video to boot with the Hybrid boys, that's going to have to wait since we're in lockdown," Peerzada said. "That's when we decided to release Voyager, which was meant to come later, with a playthrough. It is one of the first songs we wrote for the record, along with another song called Phantom."
Metal is not just a phase, Takatak is proof
On the album's release, the band intends on stretching it out as much as possible. To put it simply there will be more singles before the album is released in its entirety. According to Peerzada, the strategy is purely a business move to maximise audience growth.
"We're hoping to release the record by June, but by that time people will have heard most of the record. In an ideal world with PR budgets and label spends, we could've dropped the album after a single or two, but it only makes sense for us to stretch it out and milk every single with a video," he added. "Otherwise, two years of hard work, and the amount of production value we've pumped into the record sort of goes to waste."
From a global audience perspective, the singles approach also helps the band increase its presence online. "We've chosen to go down the singles path because that way our individual songs get considered for these curated playlists and give us a shot to stand next to bands of international acclaim and fame," he said.
Peerzada highlighted that the debut single from the album did exactly that. "Fault Lines was picked up by two of the biggest Spotify editorial playlists catering to metal; New Metal Tracks and Got Djent?, both of which feature top tier bands such as Periphery, Monuments, Tesseract and even massive arena selling acts such as Avenged Sevenfold, Megadeth and Five Finger Death Punch," he concluded.
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