No strings attached
Members of Pakistani band Strings say their primary goal is to please themselves
PHOTO: G. KRISHNASWAMY
In tune Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia of Strings
When Bilal Maqsood and Faisal Kapadia — the founding and only remaining members of Strings, the most successful Pakistani band on the pop/rock scene today — walked in for the press meet at the conference room of the IIPM that held their f
irst concert in India following the release of their new album ‘Koi Aane Wala Hai (KWAH)’, it was clear that they were excited.
Faisal admitted the same in the very beginning, pointing out that Chennai was special to the band because they played their first ever concert in India here, two years ago. Both Faisal and Bilal agreed that playing live concerts is the way to connect with their target audience — college students and young people in general — since the omnipresence of Bollywood songs on Indian TV channels has made it impossible for other stuff to be noticed.
They consider music videos a thing of the past; it’s the internet which they consider to be the future vehicle of musical acts. They released the video for the song they wrote about Beirut two years ago, only on You Tube.
When asked if they were planning to write more anti-war songs such as the one about Beirut, Faisal immediately pointed out that they preferred to take things as they came.
Even the song that they recorded for “Spiderman-2”, ‘Na Jane Kyon?’ just happened and they were not making a conscious effort to cross-over. That has been the way since they began playing music together.
They got their first opportunity to play on Pak TV due to the fact that Bilal’s father was a famous TV playwright, as Bilal candidly admitted, and there was no looking back after that. Their success in India was also not the result of a long struggle — their song ‘Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar’ from their first album hit big-time in India of which they were not even aware; when they wanted to release ‘Duur’, their comeback album after eight years ‘the music companies’ — as Faisal said smilingly – ‘asked us if we were the guys who did ‘Sar Kiye…’. (it was Magnasound who launched them in India ; they are currently with Sony-BMG)
Regarding their evolution as musicians and how it has shaped their new album, both were of the opinion that there was a certain change in the sound but it was not deliberate.
They see it as part of the artistic process where it’s necessary for all artistes to constantly re-invent themselves. Also, they compose their songs with the primary goal of pleasing themselves first.
They continue to cite U2 as their biggest influence — both musically and the way they carry themselves. Locally, they do give credit to Junoon for paving the way for other bands from Pakistan, both in India and abroad although they have chosen to stay away from their style of Sufi-rock since it doesn’t appeal to them. Their message to their fans is — ‘Buy and listen to our new album. Download it only if you can’t afford it’.
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