KARACHI: The Kominas’ drummer Imran Malik, who is currently in Karachi, spoke to The Express Tribune about a possible Pakistan tour, giving away music for free and his take on the Pakistani music industry.
How has your experience in Pakistan been?
The reception’s been really good, there is a lot of curiosity about us, because we sing in English and Punjabi and do songs which no one else would ever touch like “Manji Vich Daang” (a cover of a Naseebo Lal song). We’ve never played a Kominas show in Pakistan and that would be the real test. We’re laying the groundwork for that, getting our name out there, getting our video on the airwaves.
Do you have plans for a Pakistan tour?
We do have vague plans. It’s a matter of logistics. We need sponsorships for a tour since we’re not based here.
The Kominas gave away the Escape to Blackout Beach EP for free - why?
It’s important for us for people to listen to our music, we want to get people interested and the EP is strong enough to stand on its own. Also music is now such a strange thing ... people download music for free all the time and put a price on it - iTunes decided that a song should be a dollar each. Where did they get that number from, did they pull it out of thin air, you don’t know how much it should cost ... so we said that lets try it this way. We’re struggling musicians, we’re trying to do something artistic and that is always a struggle. People did buy the album later. Obviously the greater portion of people downloaded it for free, but it’s important for us to offer these things and it’s something we wanted to do and we felt that the album was really different from our first album. It wasn’t like a full length album, it’s a seven song EP and had an interesting group of songs that we all recorded in one place in a span of three days. That’s basically why we did that, I’m not sure if we’ll do that in the future.
What’s your take on the Pakistani music industry?
My take on the music industry here is that there are very few live venues here, one in Karachi and now one in Islamabad. But there is no place with proper sound and light that’s dedicated to just being a proper music venue. Also, there are around six music channels but they don’t seem to promote new music or do stories on bands that are just forming. They’re not really like taste makers, they’re just going with what sells, I find that kind of frustrating. I think it can be changed, and it’s one of the things we’d like to see through.
We started a record label called Poco Party and the idea was to show all the bands that we love. We’re establishing an aesthetic.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2010.