Nescafe Basement brings challenge for Coke Studio with season two

Published: November 1, 2013
The platform is all geared up, here to stay. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The platform is all geared up, here to stay. PHOTO: PUBLICITY


The euphoria surrounding Coke Studio’s season six, which started out with Fariha Pervez’s unimpressive performance, is in no way stopping Nescafe Basement from becoming bigger and better. After just one season, the platform has seen significant growth as the number of interested participants grew from 98 last season to 1,300 this season. And with a larger pool of talent aboard, Nescafe Basement season two promises swagger, style and freshness.

Despite having a popular brand name attached to it, Nescafe Basement had a rather low-key release last year. However, this year the team seems confident about leaving a mark. While small-scale projects like Uth Records have previously tried to enter the Coke Studio league, one can safely say that Nescafe Basement is probably the only forum in direct competition with Coke Studio.

“We are very confident,” says Nescafe’s brand manager Maha Khawaja. “This has always been for the youth and by the youth. We believe young people should have the opportunity to express themselves.”

“Last year was sort of a test year but this time around, we have added a lot of new things,” she adds. The team aims to make it more than just another music show by building local networks, and connecting musicians on a local level.

With growth on their mind, Nescafe Basement will have eight weekly episodes, each showcasing two songs with behind-the-scenes documentaries which will highlight the journey of hidden musical prodigies. Apart from television broadcasts, the show will also have a digital component that includes their website, Facebook page and Twitter.

“We are here to stay. I feel that this is just a scratch on the surface considering the potential of our platform. We want artists to be part of a broader support network and continue as mentors and brand ambassadors,” asserts Khawaja.

Considering that an artist like Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan aka Xulfi, who we loved for his heartfelt and soulful voice back from the days of EP, is leading the mentees, it is not too much to expect something substantial from the platform. And it seems that the participants are also enthusiastic about being part of such a team.

“This has brought us all together as one. We are [very] different from Coke Studio, which has established individuals. We are all new, so our sound will also be new,” says Sameen Kazim, 21-year-old marketing major at Lahore School Economics. She has predominantly done Western vocals and is now flexing her vocal chords to cover Nazia Hassan’s famous Boom Boom.

Shahrukh Aslam, a political science major from Lahore University of Management Sciences, who has not played in any real gig or show, feels Nescafe Basement will have a more abrasive and original sound based purely on growth and experimentation.

“It seems that Coke Studio has become comfortable with a particular formula and has more of something that connects with the middle-aged sensibility. This [Nescafe Basement] is slightly more abrasive and tries to push normal musical labels,” says Aslam.

“Really, I was surprised at first when I saw this year’s marketing budget. I think people are starting to believe that we have potential and this should be done on a bigger level,” he adds.

Though the youth element and freshness is something that everyone is taking pride in, majority of the songs will be covers of classics and popular Pakistani songs with only a few originals. It seems that Nescafe Basement clearly distinguishes itself from Coke Studio for being more youth-appropriate, but only the audience can decide whether this is really the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • AB
    Nov 1, 2013 - 10:23PM

    TET don’t be this partial, music is for everyone and both CS6 and NCB are enriching the Pakistani cultural, although being sponsored by corporate interests who would like to sell more of their products. Everyone’s taste in music is different and some people may like one programme, some the other and some perhaps both. It is encouraging the Pakistan cultural scene is vibrant.Recommend

  • Saad
    Nov 1, 2013 - 11:05PM

    Farieha Parvez’s unimpressive performance in coke studio? I stopped reading after that. Kindly don’t bring your personal opinions into articles. Thanks Recommend

  • RJ
    Nov 2, 2013 - 1:38AM

    Great piece. At least good to see that not everybody is going all gaga over Coke Studio. All platforms like these need recognition. Coke Studio has actually become a bit monotonous and it will be refreshing to see what Nescafe Basement has to offerRecommend

  • reformer
    Nov 2, 2013 - 2:36AM

    Parvez’s unimpressive????? Im sure you are super unmusical mind on the existence of earth !! Sure you don’t have taste for good music.


  • Muhammad
    Nov 2, 2013 - 11:54AM

    My suspicions are confirmed after reading this article. ET is gaining in notoriety. I’m not comin to this website because I like it but I come here to pour scorn over their heavily biased articles like these. Now I dare you to publish this comment!


  • Besharam Khan
    Nov 2, 2013 - 2:25PM

    oh so you haven’t heard “Rabba ho” or “Laili Jan” yet?? ET,coke studio is not all about “Bo Kaata” girl!!


  • Don
    Nov 3, 2013 - 3:06AM

    In extremely poor taste. You really did not need to trash Coke Studio or any other program for that matter to inform us of Nescafe Basement’s 2nd season. You did not like Fariha’s performance- fair enough. Write another piece independently reviewing CS. Not here buddy not here. CS and NB have both had their share of crappy songs/performances. And both shows have their awesome moments too. Recommend

  • Fahad Hafeez
    Nov 3, 2013 - 8:07AM

    Both the platforms are great launchpad for current and new talent , its really nice to see that we are riving the deep musical culture we had, Awari from Basement season 01 is amazing so are tracks from coke studio s06 like lali jaan and rabba hu, it depends on ones taste what they like or not , for me both shows are amazing ! , Nescafe basement is for like somewhat under 25year aged public while coke studio is more for the 25y+ people, In the end Pakistani talent is winning ! all an all good news for musicians and audiences !


  • Aadil
    Nov 3, 2013 - 12:35PM

    Nescafe Basement and Coke Studio have entirely different personalities and it’s small-minded to compare the two. Music isn’t about competition.


  • Nov 4, 2013 - 1:31PM

    Dawn must have something against CS ,its second article within a weak . Extremely opinionated and no credibility whatsoever . dawn can do better.


  • Bilal
    Nov 4, 2013 - 4:25PM

    What a terrible article.. so misinformed and so narrow minded. the writer should consider opting a new profession.


  • Zia
    Nov 4, 2013 - 7:08PM

    Yay! Coke Studio, except this time with YOUNG PEOPLE! Which is kind of like Uth Records… But this time they’re not making original music they’re producing COVERS which are SO much better! I really wish these big companies would sponsor shows like Lussun TV that showcase major underground Pakistani talent with a focus on original music rather than one monotonous cover after another.


  • Anum
    Nov 5, 2013 - 8:45PM

    Competing? Coke Studio and nescafe? you gotta be kidding me. Coke Studio has set the benchmarks that Nescafe is being measured against. uth records would be a better comparison… and as it stands uth records and what it put out stands heads and shoulders above this


  • Khurram
    Nov 19, 2013 - 12:31AM

    NCB & CS….both are good for already thriving pakistani music industry…youngsters will get more platforms like this to come forward and show their talent…


  • Nov 30, 2013 - 6:07PM

    hi i am zulfiqar ,(LIBRA) i am also singer and computer operator n graphic deziner,
    how i enter in Nescafe Basement for singing , i record my fav song beena tera naam of A. Nayyer’s hit song… is any performing chance for me in this platform…
    if yes thn plz contact wth me 0346 – 5121795Recommend

  • raja shahid zahoor
    Dec 2, 2013 - 10:32PM

    Dear coke studio I’m a good singer and want to sing. Can you plz try me once. I’m sure you’ll never be disappointed.


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