Despite debuting with catchy tunes such as Pyar Di Ganderi and Zamana about two years ago, SYMT finally caught the public’s eye and made it into the limelight, after featuring in Coke Studio season five. Their numbers Tum Kaho and Koi Labda — which featured Sanam Marvi — became instant YouTube hits and the trio made it to the echelons of Pakistani rock music. Currently featuring on online music show Pepsi Smash, the trio has released two more tracks.
The Lahore-based pop rock band is grateful to the team of Coke Studio. “I think Coke Studio has been phenomenal in terms of exposing SYMT to a larger audience,” says Haroon Shahid, the band’s front man. “The fact is that we are now getting queries from cities we never thought we’d be playing in; we’ve been in the mainstream [scene] for just three years.” The band also features Hassan Omer as the guitarist and Farhan Ali on bass.
“With the [prevailing] security issues in the country, they [Coke Studio and Pepsi Smash] have proven to be the saviours of the music industry,” continues Shahid, about the role these shows have played. “It’s very important that these brands support music. And that role needs to be limited to being a ‘supporter’ and not a content ‘dictator’.” The presence of these brands has allowed bands like SYMT to be able to connect to a larger audience.
Experimenting and taking risks with music is what SYMT is all about. For the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) election campaign, they had composed an upbeat number called Saadi Vaari. “It [Saadi Vaari] did really well. We received an amazing response from the people,” adds Shahid. “We had the opportunity to play at large gatherings in support of the PTI. It made us feel like we had contributed to a cause.”
The band’s guitarist, Omer, sheds some light on how helpful Pepsi Smash has been for SYMT. “We have had more freedom on this platform [than others] to work on our music and we have really enjoyed it,” he says, adding that the series producer and musician, Farhad Humayun, has given a free hand to all bands to compose original songs which contain their essence.
Jeenay Do and Bhula Dena, the end products of the music show, have shown a different side to the band. “The songs have been successful because both have good music and melodies as well as lyrics which anyone can relate to,” adds Omer. “Jeenay Do is the voice of those Pakistani people who are striving for a better future and the country’s prosperity.”
“As far as the sound is concerned, I have emphasised on giving it a unique direction by incorporating synths [synthesisers],” he continues. “It’s particularly those sounds that are generally part of electronic music and are arranged in various chord progressions, which is normally not found in pop/rock music in Pakistan.”
SYMT wants their fans to enjoy their current music and will wait a while before releasing any new singles, says bassist Ali. “I think we will give these two songs some time for our fans to enjoy, before releasing another song,” he laughs, admitting they already have lots of material which is ready to be released. “We will, however, be releasing an acoustic version of Bhula Dena soon along with a new track, which is almost ready, soon after.”
“After Koi Labda, which was our first Punjabi song, we’ve explored a whole new dimension of song writing and are kind of astounded by the beauty of this language,” continues Ali, talking about the new music the band is currently working on. “Amongst them, one is a Punjabi pop rock song and one is somewhat on the lines of Koi Labda.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2013.
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