Thursday, January 28, 2010

The decade long affair with pakistani underground music finally pays off

Wednesday, January 27, 2010    09:51 PST

Mobile Phone starts beeping.

I wake up cursing the developers that I told them that I am going to sleep at 6 a.m.  Can’t they just let me sleep for few hours? As I see the cell phone screen, the call is coming from an Indian number not in my phonebook. Yawning, I take the call.

Friend: “Hey, Rafaeel there?”
Me: “Yes, who’s this?”
Friend: “Dude, I am ******** (name not being mentioned deliberately). How have you been bro? Seem busy with your new ventures.”
Me: “Hey, whats new? I am good. What about you?”
Alah Blah Talking ……..
Friend: “Hey, I called you because I need a favor.”
Me: “Ofcourse, I know you have some work. Else tum itne achay jo you’ll give me a call.”
Laugh (both ends)
Friend: “So now that you have figured out, can you tell me when we can have a talk on Skype?”
Me:  “At anytime convenient to you. I am not that busy guy. BTW give me an idea what’s the issue?”
Friend: “I have now joined this Media Group, (name not published) as an Associate Producer and we’ll be doing an underground battle of the bands here in India.”
Me:  “Oh! Great!”
Friend: “Well there are large numbers of entries, like 200+ and I want you to be part of our International Screening Panel to shortlist them.”
Me: “What?  Me?”
Friend: “Yes.”
Me: “Dude, I am not the right guy for this. First of all, I am not a musician. Secondly, I don’t have time. However, I can refer few good people to you whom you can contact for this.”
Friend: “Listen! I don’t need them. I need you. Regarding you not being musician, I don’t care. All I know is that you were the first guy from whom I got to know about Noori, Jal, Roxen, Call and the band of your close friends, The Rising. BTW where are The Rising people? :D    Its been quite some time that you are promoting underground bands and I know your opinion would not be biased because if I only take in musicians, they’ll be inclined towards their own genre. I know you listen to all types of music, so you are perfect to be part of our panel. Your second excuse is quite lame. I know you always have time for good music. Hope things get better and in coming years we'll organize Indo-Pak Battle Of the Bands. Any more questions?”
Me (reluctantly):  “Fine! Details?”
Friend: “On Skype. I’ll ping you. Amongst the 8 screeners, 4 are outside India. You all would have to judge the bands on the basis of music maturity, lyrics and image etc. I’ll send you the evaluation sheet. We’ll either upload all the 209 demos or courier you the DVDs.”

I woke up analyzing why God is pushing me back into the underground music scene one way or another while I have kept quite a distance from it for last couple of years. There were few other signs in last few days as well which led me to go into my old room (now a store) and open the things that I abandoned long ago. I captured few shots with my camera few of which I am uploading to show my craze for music in my teenage life. At that time, internet was all on dialup and CD’s market was still emerging. Also PMR, J4Jumpy, UMR and other music promotion sites were just starting up. I used to download the songs from some local website at 2.3KB/s :P and then manually record them via "Line In" on empty tapes so that they can be played on home and car music systems. I marked every cassette with the RMC number. RMC stood for “Rafaeel’s Music Library” but now these audio cassettes filled in almost 5 bags RIP due to my busy schedule and the new gadgets & computer systems.

Audio Cassette Line In System - 1 (Speakers still used. Cassette playing abandoned)

Audio Cassette Line In System - 2 & 3 (Totally Abandoned)

Music CDs

 RMC Collection Image -1

RMC Collection Image -2

RMC Collection Image -3

RMC 8: Indus Music Album featuring Ahmed Jehanzaib's first song

RMC Collection Number 5:  Top Underground Songs (perhaps 2003) including Noori and EP 

These things took me back into the memories that how SHODA I used to be after making people listen “Ali Noor and Ali Hamza” songs in early 2000.  Aadat by JAL was actually released in late 2004 and I remember how me, Hamza (Aitchison, Hammy’s friend) used to sing it during A-Level days on Acoustic in Summers of 2003. EP’s “Hamein Azma” and “Kahan Hai Tu” and then how I used to make people listen “Yaadein” by Roxen in 2005 before its release. Basim in the college life used to say me that “Tu wohi ganay sunta hai jo koi naheen sunta and baad mein wohi 2-3 saal hit ho jatay hein and har koi sun raha hota hai”. :)  Also few of my friends used to say “Why you do all promotions for free? You should charge for such promotions and making us hear this crap. Nothing is FREE in this world. There are always strings attached.” So I feel today I have been paid up for promoting these underground bands (now the stars).

Lets see how things turn up in future. I have listened to 7 demos and 2 of them are covers of Pakistani songs  :D.