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Soundcheck: Aaroh on new singer, video

Updated August 18, 2013

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Aaroh has seen its share of lows and highs with old band members leaving, a new one coming in, the band shutting down operations for four years and now most recently trying to jump-start its affairs.

In 2004, the band’s guitar player and keyboardist left and were replaced by Haider Hashimi. End of 2009, the band decided to quit operations as Farooq Ahmed (singer) was migrating to the US and Haider had to move to Lahore. Aaroh remained dormant till 2013 when Khalid Khan, Jason Anthony and Haider Hashimi (the longest survivors of the band) decided to put themselves back on track with a new vocalist.

After an extensive auditions process, Rizwan Anwar from Lahore was crowned as Aaroh’s front-man and the good news now for Aaroh fans is that the band has released its comeback music video this Eidul Fitr with their new song, Mera Pyar, airing on music channels and the social media. Images on Sunday caught up with the band to talk about the new video.

The track

Mera Pyar starts with a melancholic arpeggio on guitar followed by perfectly matched bass intro and percussions. On a signature Aaroh tune, the band’s new singer, Rizwan Anwar, has done a splendid job with the vocals. The best thing that I liked about Rizwan is that he doesn’t try to emulate Farooq’s style or voice here, rather he carries his own vocal tone throughout with a lot of fluency and ease.

The video

The video of Mera Pyar revolves around a strained relationship between a husband and wife. It kicks off with percussions, which are supported by artistic visuals of the couple who are incognito; the follow-up shots of the band are also kept mysterious making the first 20 seconds of the video very interesting.

What I found noteworthy was that the root cause of the couple’s estrangement is left unclear and entirely upon the viewers’ judgment. The storyline is simple and well-crafted, and keeps one riveted to the seat till the final outcome. The video is mainly directed by Fabi Khan (Faisal Khan), who is Lahore-based and co-directed by Parmesh Adiwal from Karachi. Lahore-based models Ahsan Najam and Hannah play the central characters.

IoS: Why two directors?

Jason: This is a unique video in the sense that the entire band is not filmed in one location. Haider and Rizwan were filmed in Lahore whereas Khalid and I were filmed in Karachi. Hence, we required two directors.

IoS: Congratulations on Aaroh’s comeback. How was your experience recording an original song with a new frontman and how did you come across Rizwan?

Haider: We had a lot of fun. Rizwan is a talented vocalist who was short-listed as Aaroh’s frontman out of many other individuals we auditioned. By the way, in order to provide a level playing field, the final five potential frontmen were given Mera Pyar to record in a recording studio.

Khalid: We were looking for someone who has a good command over his voice and a unique vocal tone. Rizwan has both, which works for us.

IoS: Future plans.

Jason: The band is in the process of recording and releasing more songs. We have around 6-7 songs and just need to lay down the vocal tracks and we’re good to go.

IoS: What about a studio release?

Haider: Like Jason mentioned, we already have 6-7 songs. If we decide not to release all as singles, we would definitely add to that list and compile an album which is on the cards. How soon is yet to be decided.

IoS: (To Rizwan) How did you feel when you were offered to be Aaroh’s frontman?

Rizwan: I couldn’t believe my ears when I was told that I had been chosen! When I saw Aaroh’s ad on the social media, I thought to myself that I stood no chance as I didn’t know these guys and I had no sifarish. With time I realised that the band means business and the fact that I was chosen is proof enough that the entire process was transparent.

IoS: How does it feel to fill Farooq Ahmed’s shoes?

Rizwan: Farooq is a very good singer. I know I have to shoulder a huge responsibility and it may take some time for Aaroh fans to accept me as the frontman. I respect that. My job is to give my 100 per cent to the band whether it is in the recording studio, on stage, in front of the camera or in creating more music.