Coke who? Rohail Hyatt to return with Sprite

Published: September 19, 2015


KARACHI: Ever since he announced his departure from Coke Studio, Rohail Hyatt seems to have gone AWOL. Although he continued to make sporadic appearances at various speaker sessions and music festivals, those also diminished over time.

“He has achieved so much in the past few years, he could might as well be sunbathing on a personal yacht somewhere in Europe and thinking about the finer things in life,” his friend and work associate had summed up the reclusive artists’ rock star lifestyle when asked about his whereabouts.

Rohail definitely made waves with his stint on Coke Studio and with each passing episode of the new seasons, there seems to be a growing echo for the maestro’s return to the fold again. But it appears as if Rohail’s fans may have to wait longer for his Coke Studio comeback, as the music producer has another project at the top of his agenda.

Multiple sources confirmed it to The Express Tribune that Rohail will be producing a music show for Sprite. The project will be miles apart from Coke Studio. This time around, the maestro is expected to come out of the confined studio environment and is aiming to do something more organic and visually captivating.

Read: The showstoppers of Coke Studio 8

“The project is going to be filmed like a travelogue where the sounds of different parts of Pakistan are going to be captured and incorporated into a song,” says a source close to the producer.

The yet-to-be-titled project is expected to be filmed in an episodic format with each episode ending with a music video of an original soundtrack, created through the course of the show.  Some sources also revealed that the format may change overtime because the show is in its preliminary stages.

“The nature of the show is not yet decided and the format maybe tweaked over time,” says a musician, who is aware of the project. “Sprite is coming up with a very huge campaign and Rohail’s project is a part of that,” he said, while choosing to remain unnamed.

Some of the destinations that Rohail will be visiting along with his production crew include Hunza Lake, upper Punjab and Interior Sindh; whereas the team is also expected to make use of sounds created by objects in different soundscapes. They already started collecting easily available sounds like that of kids dodging a football, knives being sharpened and the juggling of maalish bottles. Even a few boxing rings were hired for this project.

Read: Coke Studio 8: Still haven’t found what they’re looking for

During his six seasons as the producer of Coke Studio, Rohail continued working with his own select group of musicians, such as  Gumby, Asad Ahmed , Omran Shafique , Mannu and Babar Khanna to name a few. However, the chances of Rohail reverting to his tried-and-tested house band members remain low, with his new project set to feature an all international set of musicians.

“The project only features international musicians,” confirmed a source associated with the project.  “It is unlikely that his [Rohail’s] latest [project] will see any mainstream or renowned musicians taking part,” says a veteran musician, who has worked very closely with Rohail.

“I think he might just continue working with international musicians from season 6 (of Coke Studio),” he added.

If the project sees the light of day, it would be the first time any Pakistani musician would be aiming for an all organic approach on a mainstream music show. Internationally, bands such as the Foo Fighters and others have produced successful albums based on ambient sounds and only time will tell if Rohail’s musical journey through Pakistan will have a huge impact.

At the same time, we can’t rule out Rohail’s return to Coke Studio as he already committed in an interview with the BBC that he would like to produce one more season of the show. Maybe Strings will be given a third chance next year so that Rohail can come back and wrap up Coke Studio once and for all in season 10?

Representatives of the Coca Cola company could not be reached for comment.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Raja Junaid
    Sep 19, 2015 - 5:10PM

    Rohail sir please do something for the real lovers of music and yours.I am a huge huge huge fan of your work since the era of vital signs,and believe me-every real and sada Pakistani loves you and loves your work,no matter whatever stupid critics wrote about you,we still love you. Coke studio till season 6 was a massive hit,(with due respect to Strings-one of my personal favorite musical band),C.S#7 and 8 was not even closer to your work.
    and whatever Meekal Hassan said about you (forgetting that he was even introduced by you in your music agency ‘Pyramid”s production ‘Pepsi-Battle of the bands),has not even produced 1 % of yours in his songs of C.S#8.He said that you have not even produced a single musician,so I think k Meesha Shafi,Sanam Marvi,The Sketches,Saien Zahoor,Fareed Ayaz,Abu Muhammad,Rizwan & Muazzam,Zeb & Haniya,Areeb Azher,Qurat-ul-ain Baloch,Bilal Khan,Chakwal group,Qayyas,SYMT,Uzair & Umair Jaswal,Akhter chanal,Tahir mithu,Humayun Khan,Zoe Viccaji,Babar Ali Khanna,Sikander Mufti,Kamran Zafar and many others (As list goes on) won’t agree with you…..
    Please come back sir,we all miss you,you are a pride for Pakistan and for all of us…..RespectRecommend

  • yoo
    Sep 19, 2015 - 5:18PM

    maybe he can save coke studio.Recommend

  • Adeel
    Sep 19, 2015 - 5:23PM

    Great news!Recommend

  • A
    Sep 19, 2015 - 8:09PM

    these cokes and sprites are ruining the music business for struggling musicians by distributing their music for free through mp3 downloads on their websites. They don’t intend to make any money out of it as for them its just marketing of a sort. The audience then gets used to the free music of such high quality and never wants to pay to listen or download any new music. Spoiled the whole pot. Therefore initiatives like Taazi are failing to help artists make money out of their content. And then their media plans and production quality is so high due to their mammoth budgets that their episodes run on all tv and radio channels and they push for social media campaigns. A solo artist cannot afford to buy this air time and is left with few options to have his music and videos broadcasted. Just a single music channel in the country playing local artists with a 4 to 1 ratio. 4 indian songs and then 1 Pakistani. I would urge all these brands to damage control and charge for their content for the sake of struggling music fraternity. Introduce a behavioral change among listeners to purchase content legally. Be it for a rupee but please do so for the sake of musicians all over Pakistan. Recommend

  • shukar
    Sep 19, 2015 - 8:13PM

    Rohail save us from StringsRecommend

  • Shazia Bangash
    Sep 19, 2015 - 8:29PM

    Coke owns Sprite.Recommend

  • TD
    Sep 19, 2015 - 9:22PM

    LOL. I’m all for Rohail Hyatt returning to CS with a bang; he started it, and knows how to run it. But all these hipsters dissing Strings have no knowledge of music, and are just bandwagoning over Rohail. They’re just people who cannot accept change and diversity.
    Ali Sethi, Ali Azmat, Mulazim Hussain, Nabeel Shaukat, Sara Haider, Mai Dhai have all been great finds of this season. While Atif Aslam, Atif Lohar, Ali Zafar, QB & Uzair Jaswal have lived up to their expectations yet again. Wish Noori returned again too. But some things will never change, and you’d always find that one person commenting on a fine music video, “Rohail, pls come back”. Strings are doing a fine job, and if not all, then MOST of their work should be praised. Last season had Zohaib Hassan & Aamir Zaki. This season has its newcomers and greats.

    Anyways, wishing Rohail’s show with Sprite success, and hoping that he DOES return to Coke Studio for that one final season. Recommend

  • Aslam
    Sep 20, 2015 - 12:13AM

    Finally visiting Hunza. Our culture and music has been kept away from Coke Studio :(Recommend

  • Shaikh Mustafa
    Sep 20, 2015 - 12:50AM

    @rajajunaid, pls allow me to disagree with your comments regarding mekaal Hasan. While I don’t exactly agree with mekaal:s views regarding rohail Hyatt, what I agree though is his point that during his, 6-7 “years with cs he worked like a dictator bossing around musicians who were much senior and accomplished than him. It was a one man army situation, everything under him was so regulated and controlled that you could actually tell that the musicians weren’t given the creative license to play out their way. As regards your take on mekaal Hasan band performance in cs, i respect your view but his songs were nicely performed. Nothing overdone. You see cs doesn’t n necessarily mean that you have to have 30 people playing in one song all at the same time. A good example is cs India especially season of 2013 produced by a r Rehman, i always ask people to listen to the piece soz o Salam which a r Rehman re produced to perfection. He kept it simple yet the production was good it hit home right away. Recommend

  • Sep 20, 2015 - 8:20AM

    Allah hooo akbar alllah!

    What a news! I hope it is true
    Rohail didnt make any waves in cokestudio dear writer. He institutionalized the sound without creating an institution that runs on stupid protocols that hamper the sound. Pakistan should be thankful to him. I hope this news is true and he is given autonomy to give us something that is organic, free and melodious.
    Cannot wait!
    Love from India

  • Jamal
    Sep 20, 2015 - 9:19AM

    What is the point of Coke Studio? I don’t get it.

    It features already established artists. Where is the platform for new artists?Recommend

  • Thriller
    Sep 20, 2015 - 2:42PM

    Sprite also belongs to Coca Cola company. Means he is still on board but in a different corner. Recommend

  • Ali
    Sep 20, 2015 - 2:56PM

    Rohail pull some “Strings” and come back…Recommend

  • Awais
    Sep 21, 2015 - 3:53AM

    I am big fan of Rohail, he was the one who introduced regional flavour in coke studio and made it more locally diverse but string guys are not working upto the mark.. By inviting one singer thrice and by calling their family members.. sufism is the factor which is highly missing.. sanam marvi is missing, sketches is missing and all those singers are missing wo can sing sufi… if these guys want to achieve next level they have to add more sufi songs..Recommend

  • Sep 21, 2015 - 7:36PM

    Thank God, he came back!
    Strings ruined Coke Studio. Hope we will see something amazing in Sprite Music!Recommend

  • Sep 22, 2015 - 1:05AM

    As it was first experience of Coke Studio for Strings all they came up with is Old ones, hope they will do something better in next season, if stayed.Recommend

  • sohail gillani
    Jan 12, 2016 - 9:11PM

    If it is true. Then it’s great news for real musicologists. Well most of the people doesn’t deserve rohail hyatt’s caliber. Maybe our next generations would be ableRecommend

  • Lisa DeRenard
    Feb 9, 2016 - 6:12AM

    Rohail Hyatt should do whatever he wants to do with his wisdom and talents. I love Coke Studio but it is not the only platform on the planet for exposure of new sounds, ideas, and listening. If the platform is too confined and restricted sometimes a new platform has to be created because what good is a vision if it can’t be put into action. Rohail is a genius. A genius must breath in order to envision and manifest ideas. I have listened to most all the seasons of Coke Studio he produced, outstanding work to the extent I would think he would want to step away and take a breather for a while if nothing more than to refresh his ears, his senses, his schema. Otherwise one isn’t doing music, the music is doing them.. Recommend

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