For the love of music: Poor Rich Boy releases five-track album

Published: December 18, 2012
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The band is unwilling to compromise on music for commercial gains. PHOTO: USMAN KHAN

The band is unwilling to compromise on music for commercial gains. PHOTO: USMAN KHAN

LAHORE: 

Known primarily for its frenzy-filled and high-energy live performances, Poor Rich Boy is not a new name when it comes to underground music in Lahore. With lyrics in English, this band has created a niche and exclusive fan following for itself over the span of almost four years. After a long wait, the band finally launched its five-track extended play album, titled Old Money, with two consecutive shows on Friday and Saturday, at True Brew Records in Lahore.

“We tried to record everything as it was played as we wanted to make the music sound as real as possible; didn’t just take samples or any shortcuts,” says Zain Ahsan, the band’s guitarist. “This is why completing the album took longer than we thought it would. We recorded everything by ourselves and haven’t used any technology to alter the sound.”

However, although the album was released online via SoundCloud on December 9, the band distributed the hard copies of their work at the shows earlier this week. “We have done all the work as a team,” he continues. “None of the songs will be dominated by just one person — everyone has contributed.”

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The band is unwilling to compromise on music for commercial gains. PHOTO: USMAN KHAN

Apart from Ahsan, the band’s line-up includes Shehzad Noor who founded the band with Ahsan, Omer Khan, Danish Khwaja, Zain Moulvi and Raavail Sattar.

A collective effort

The album was a product of a collective and creative input from the band members, explains Noor. They experimented with various instruments to create music which would touch their fans’ hearts. However, with profound lyrics added to the music, which was quite sufficient on its own to begin with, listeners are set onboard an unforgettable journey. The title track, which is also called Old Money, is an interesting mix which leaves the audience craving for more.

Zain Ahsan

The lyrics in this album were penned down by Noor himself and Khan. “We come from a background where our families initially had money but now we are effectively middle class,” says Noor humourously, about what inspired him to translate his thoughts into lyrics. “What’s strange is that we are actually quite a privileged minority in Pakistan yet the funny thing is that people like us who get three square meals a day, still complain and talk about hurtful things.”

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“The theme of the album is more about people coming to terms with how things are — the realities of life,” he adds, in regard to what their music essentially stands for. “Situations that people are in vary from person to person and through this album, we hope to allow our listeners to identify the problems they face in their lives and come to terms with them — accept those issues.”

After gaining attention last year with its singles Alice and Fair Weather Friend, the band has been successful in developing an independent fan following. “There is an audience we have managed to create for ourselves and they listen to our music. This is what’s basically getting us by,” Ahsan says, giving his perspective. The band is not interested in involving itself in the mainstream and plans to stick to its limited audience. “Our attitude towards the music scene is positive but we don’t really want anything to do with it,” he adds.

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The band is unwilling to compromise on music for commercial gains. PHOTO: USMAN KHAN

Despite the growing respect of the Poor Rich Boy, the band is unwilling to compromise on its music for commercial gains. Noor feels the album is just about the experience and there aren’t any ulterior motives. “It is what it is,” he says. They create music because they love to. “We might have started working for a bank or any other company but the point is that we wouldn’t have truly enjoyed it, like we enjoy music.”

The band will start promotional activities for their new album with live concerts in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2012.          

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Ali S
    Dec 18, 2012 - 11:00PM

    Not trying to walk all over these guys, but I’ll say it again: you’ll never gain any sort of real artistic credibility in this country until you can do songs in a native language. I don’t get why these supposedly ‘great’ ‘underground’ bands don’t try to make music that might actually appeal to someone outside their little burger bubble.

    Recommend

  • Qasim
    Dec 19, 2012 - 1:52AM

    Influences my frand something you and rest of this nation fail to understand.

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  • Ali
    Dec 19, 2012 - 2:12AM

    Why do you have a problem with english!? For most people, like me who grown up belingual it is as native as Urdu or Punjabi.

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  • Salman
    Dec 19, 2012 - 2:33AM

    It’s not because these songs are in English, Ali. It’s because we always find something negative to say about everything, even something as beautiful as this.

    You speak of artistic credibility, do you find it weird that these “burger” bands are being reviewed and featured in so many publications abroad, but not here at home? What does that really tell you about yourself.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 19, 2012 - 11:01AM

    I think these guys are good and are doing great for themselves. They have laid a perfect platform for a full length album that will allow them to go out of Pakistan and play at various Indie festivals all around the world and represent Pakistan. People who think singing in English is too “Burger oye”, then I would request you not to listen to these bands then, you should stick to your Noori’s, Ali Azmat’s etc. Band’s like these are here to take the Pakistani music scene forward and to the world. Be positive. Support them.

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  • Rizwana
    Dec 19, 2012 - 11:06AM

    Why isn’t Omer Khan’s picture taken alongside others. Express Tribune exceptional coverage of the band gives our talent an exposure to the world everywhere.

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  • Farhan
    Dec 19, 2012 - 11:23AM

    Creative folks like yourselves bring balance in societies. Keep doing what you do best. You add tremendous value. And ignore the ankle biters….they will crawl from every alley that you pass by.

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  • G
    Dec 19, 2012 - 4:44PM

    If you don’t want to listen, then don’t listen. Arguing why a Pakistani band can’t sing in English/Spanish/French/Arabic/Mandarin is just pathetic.
    Great work, guys. Brilliant music!

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  • doom
    Dec 19, 2012 - 4:56PM

    @Ali S:
    By “artistic credibility” you must mean “popularity”. You can sing in Martian or spew gibberish and still be incredibly artistic. Music has no language they say.

    For me, a Pakistani band that writes it’s own songs with proper serious lyric, is instantly higher on the credibility scale than anyone who uses recycled sufi poetry or is writing these silly humorous songs that are so popular on the internet these days.

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  • rukun
    Dec 19, 2012 - 8:24PM

    by urdu you mean hindi

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  • enu
    Dec 20, 2012 - 9:54AM

    @rukun: if by hindi you mean urdu

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