Recently, The Second Floor (T2F), one of the only surviving platforms for young musicians in Karachi, issued a SOS call asking for funds to help keep it afloat. T2F is perhaps the only platform in Karachi which has survived the test of time and has provided a valuable avenue for underground bands to relay their music in front of a live audience. It is quite sad to see the music scene in Pakistan, a country where the likes of Vital Signs, Junoon, Noori, EP, Call, Aaroh, Qayaas and Mizraab have emerged over the years. Pakistan has always had an audience for its local music industry. And yet, we also know that those platforms survive where money is seen to flow.
People should start believing in the talent of this nation and help provide platforms for musicians to captivate their audience. The likes of Coke Studio, Ufone Uth Records, Pepsi Smash and Nescafe Basement help give the Pakistani audience something to listen to but the industry will not be able to move forward unless there are avenues for musicians to connect with their audience face-to-face. Karachi has been completely devoid of such events since the law and order situation deteriorated and organisers have lost faith due to the high risks involved. I believe that the Pakistani audience is dying to prove its allegiance to any band which even remotely shows some talent. But how can the audience know about the band or more importantly, listen and connect with them if there are no live performances. Many veterans have started projects online but that will not make much of a difference as the best music is the one which moves the hearts of people, a feeling experienced by only listening to the band live. The emotions, the atmosphere and the ambience are equally important for the listeners to connect with the music. It is high time that the industry appreciates the immense talent boasted by this country and provides platforms for musicians to play live music. Otherwise we would delve further into the dark age of music which is currently crippling the will of the musicians in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2014.