Bayaan — Shifting musical perimeters | Pakistan Today

Bayaan — Shifting musical perimeters

The music scene in Pakistan is fast evolving. Music in its various forms is deeply embedded in Pakistani culture and is noted to be a popular way to connect with one another. The music industry in Pakistan has seen various shifts and the mere fact that Coke Studio made it to its 10th season is proof of how widespread music is in the country.

Social media has enabled artists and musicians to share their works with the masses and this has not only resulted in more artists coming forward, the quality of music has also seen tremendous improvements.

One such band which has come forward and made a mark in the industry in such a short period of time is Bayaan which traces its roots back to 2015. The band has released two singles, Nahi Milta and Farda in the past with another one, Din Dhalay, to be released this weekend. Their first song Nahi Milta was featured in the Pakistani action film, Yalghaar.

In this interview with Pakistan Today, Bayaan talks about their musical journey, upcoming song and future plans.

PT: Tell us a bit about the band and its members.

Bayaan: Formed in 2015, Bayaan’s story can be traced back to the very first season of Nescafe Basement. It was during the jam and recording sessions for that season that the future members of the band, all college students at the time, met and became fast friends; their musical chemistry and mutual love for horrible jokes and horror movies meant that their coming together was inevitable. The band consists of Asfar Hussain (on vocals), Haider Abbas (on bass), Shahrukh Aslam, Muqueet Shahzad (on guitars), and Mansoor Lashari (on drums). While Asfar Hussain has an undergraduate degree in Musicology, the rest of the band members are self-taught.

PT: How did you come up with the name Bayaan? What was the thought process that went behind the name?

Bayaan: Coming up with a band name involved quite a lot of head scratching. Asfar Hussain came up with the name Bayaan, which translates into a narrative. The name perfectly resonated with the band’s ideology of stating and describing human experiences and emotions in relation to different life situations.

PT: What type of music does Bayaan produce?

Bayaan: We try not to confine ourselves to any specific style or genre of music. With every composition, we try to explore a new musical and lyrical direction. Till now, Bayaan’s music has seen a range of genres, including pop, ambient rock, progressive and alternative.

PT: Who/whose music is the band’s biggest inspirations?

Bayaan: Each band member of Bayaan comes from a different background, musically. Asfar has been an avid follower of eastern classical with names like Mehdi Hasan while the rest of the band members have been following progressive and metal artists like Dream Theater, Iron Maiden and their likes. With inspiration coming in from all corners, Bayaan’s music presents a mix of different styles and genres.

PT: What has the band achieved till now?

Bayaan: Bayaan has released three original music videos so far — Nahin Milta, Farda and Din Dhalay. Bayaan’s debut song, Nahin Milta, was recently featured in the Pakistani blockbuster Yalghaar.

PT: What is the best thing about the Pakistani music industry?

Bayaan: The best thing about Pakistani music industry is the wide range of artists it offers. With an increasing number of music shows providing budding artists with a platform, we see new faces, willing to take up new musical directions, entering the industry each year. Music shows like Nescafe Basement and Coke Studio have instilled values of collaboration in the music industry. We would like to see the current generation of musicians and bands flourish in a manner Vital Signs, Junoon and Strings did at one point.

PT: How has the Bayaan journey been so far? 

Bayaan: Bayaan’s journey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. We are always looking forward to collaborating with new creative minds in the fields of music, visual arts and video production. The band has performed at a number of venues across Pakistan with a very heartwarming response from the audience. The process of songwriting and music video production has been very exciting for us, as we always like to work in a collective manner with input coming in from all band members.

PT: What was the most special moment for the band?

Bayaan: Out of a number of several special moments for the band, one instance that really touched us was when a native German musician covered our song Farda and sent a video of her performance to us. Despite the Urdu language being alien to her, she did a vocal and guitar performance of the song. It felt great to see our music transcending all languages and geographical borders and affecting people on a personal level. We frequently get messages from people saying how our music has been helpful to them in their lives. Reading each message is a special moment for us.

PT: Tell us about the new song that you are releasing. 

Bayaan: Our latest single, Din Dhalay, empathizes with the state of mind of being stuck at one point in time. There are times in life when we are haunted by the ghosts of yesterday and are unable to do anything because of apprehensions of the future. In such a situation, we are not able to live in the present. The music video of Din Dhalay and its lyrics showcase human experiences such as social cohesion, sense of creation, heartbreak and anxiety.

PT: Where does Bayaan see itself in the future?

Bayaan: With new music in works, Bayaan hopes to straddle the fine line between artistic authenticity and reaching as many people as possible. We see ourselves creating meaningful compositions and affecting people on personal levels. We also hope to collaborate with prominent music producers and musicians from the country in the future.

Listen to Nahi Milta here:

Saman Shafiq

The writer is a former member of the staff and holds a BA.LLB Degree from the Lahore University and Management Sciences (LUMS). She tweets @saman_shafiq7

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