Busy with frequent world tours, Strings finally took out time to visit the studio. Band members Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia talk about their future plans, new sound and music.
You finally sat down in the studios for recording. What can you disclose at this point?
Maqsood: Now that making an album is out of question given the current law and order situation, we have decided that every month or two, we’ll record some new songs and put them online. By the end of one year, we want to have eight to 10 new songs. While some of these songs may end up as music videos, the rest will be just audio files to be downloaded. At the moment, we are laying down tracks for the first two songs – “Tum Hi To Ho” and “Goli Maray”.
Kapadia: The whole idea behind going into a recording studio and making a bunch of new songs is just to have fun. We strongly believe that coming out with new music helps us grow and reinvent ourselves as musicians.
What is Strings’ new sound like?
Maqsood: The addition of Ahad Nayani, our new drummer, has really changed our live sound. We have found a new level of energy in our concerts. We want to transfer that in these songs. “Goli Maray” is a fun song. Its genre can’t be defined. The closest we can say is that it’s retro-cum-rock-cum-big band. Anwar Sahib (lyricist) has dared to go in a totally different space this time. His expression and choice of words in “Goli Maray” is very filmy. Initially, he was reluctant when given the brief since he had never ventured into this direction. But once he started off, words just kept flowing in. It was sheer pleasure working on this number. “Tum Hi To ho” is a soft rock type of a song which is very String-ish.
‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’ and ‘Khud Hi Kuch Kerna Parega’ sounded different altogether. Can we expect a revamped Strings sound this time around?
Maqsood: Yes, “Tum Hi To ho” will be a collaboration with a female performer and “Goli Maray” is nothing like you have ever heard from Strings.
Any more socially relevant numbers in the pipeline?
Maqsood: Yes, we are in the process of making a song on the fragile Pakistan-India relationship. It’s a BBC and MTV India project.
What are your future plans?
Kapadia: We got a call from MTV India. They are calling us for “MTV India Unplugged” sessions. We are preparing for that.
Finally, a few words about the response to ‘Mein Tou Dekhoonga’?
Kapadia: The irony of the matter is that our political parties want to own this song. We’ve had offers from two different political parties. Our reply is always the same: “If you believe in it, you have every right to play it, but you can’t own it. This song belongs to every Pakistani.”
Yesterday, we got a call from one such party. They wanted us to sing it in one of their upcoming conventions. We laid down three simple conditions;
1. No party flags on the venue, only our national flag will be allowed.
2. No armed guards.
3. We would like to see a clear policy for the promotion of music and arts in their new manifesto.
Maqsood: We will agree to sing only if they comply with the above conditions.
Our only aim is the betterment of Pakistan, and if by going to the convention and singing this song we are doing some good to the country, then why not? Otherwise, there is no point.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2011.