Mizmaar’s Jee Loonga is playing on all local music channels/stations these days. The video is well shot and motivational with a definite storyline. On a close listen, it becomes evident that the new singer Mashhad Sharyar doesn’t have deep vocals. His voice remains sharp and somewhat sweet, much like the man himself.
Mizmaar, the band behind hits like Kash, Ab Laut Ke Aaa, Sitara and Pal has made a comeback with a new voice while guitarist/producer Kashan Admani and drummer Alfred D’Mello remain in place.
Break up and revival
There’s good news for Mizmaar fans: the band is back with a new singer!
Images on Sunday got in touch with the band as they were busy in Kashan’s Dream Station Production Studio. Why did Mizmaar split up seven years ago? “It split up after Daniyal Badshah’s expressed his inability to commit to the band due to personal reasons,” says Admani.
But, the breakup didn’t stop the music. “We have been producing albums, making music videos for other artists and doing jingles and commercials. Some of the albums we have produced include Usman Riaz’s Adventures of the Lost Boy and Aliya Chinoy’s Almost Dawn.”
What got the band back together? “When we heard Mashhad, our new vocalist, we felt that he has what it takes to be Mizmaar’s new sound. We thought we could create something unique and original with him,” says D’Mello.
The Jee Loonga video is a subliminal concept about our creating walls around ourselves due to pressures and not living life the way we want to. The girl is confined to a room and she eventually breaks out by breaking the glass wall. The song is her motivation to break free.
Interestingly, Jee Loonga has been directed by Kashan Admani as his debut music video. “I have been directing and producing corporate films, music videos/shows and commercials. The reason why I chose to direct Jee Loonga myself was that I didn’t think anybody else would be able to do justice to the song. Any other director would not have been as close to the song as I am.”
Musically, it is a stimulating and unusual mix of dubstep and rock. The guitars in the chorus of the song have been played like a synth and the live drums add the rock feel to the track. The vocals on the song have a contemporary feel and make the song sound very modern and powerful.
So far, Mizmaar says the response to the video has been decent with nearly 0.2 million views on the band’s Facebook page facebook.com/Mizmaar in a week. Celebrities like designer Munib Nawaz and Haroon among others have also appreciated the video.
An agent of revival of rock music
Mizmaar’s comeback can be termed as the revival of rock bands in Pakistan. It is pertinent to notice that the band has managed to achieve it minus any corporate backing or sponsorship. Kashan is very confident in the revival of rock music in the country. “We are overwhelmed with the response we have received so far. Bands have always dominated Pakistani music but there has been a dearth of quality new music and bands. With Jee Loonga we are confident that if the music is good then one doesn’t need sponsorships or endorsements to reach out to fans.”
For a band making a comeback, this is a tricky time with less concerts and music channels with Bollywood-dominated content. So, what do they think the current music scene is like? Is it a good time to come out with an album or singles?
“The dynamics of the music industry have changed completely. The industry has become very difficult and competitive, because now music is more or less a free commodity. You make a song and put it on the internet/social media and people see it by choice. If it looks and sounds good to them they will watch it, if not they won’t, there are very few music channels left that play local music. So, it makes it very tough for artists to reach out to the audiences. Artists still need to make music and if their music is good people will like it however, making money from selling music is a dated concept and now the major income stream for artists is live performances,” says Admani.
Regarding where Pakistani music scene is headed, Alfred says, “We think the Pakistani music scene may not be as good as it was a decade earlier but it will be back on track soon as the artists and people engaged in the music business are now adapting to the changing dynamics of the industry due to the advent of the internet and digital distribution of music.”
Mashhad, the new voice of Mizmaar
The band says it has many reasons for the selection of Mashhad as the lead vocalist. Kashan enlists, “He has a fresh and unique voice with a very versatile singing style. He is equally comfortable with eastern style of singing as he is with western singing. Secondly, he is very young and energetic which complements the band’s music and performance style.”
I ask Mashhad about his background and as to how it feels to be a part of Mizmaar. “It is a dream come true! I never saw it coming honestly and when I was offered I just couldn’t say no. I remember how I used to wonder what it would be like to be a star. I wondered what it takes to make such beautiful music and I am thankful that Kashan and Alfred saw something in me.
“I clearly remember that I was nine when I went up to my father and told him I wanted to sing for the rest of my life. He smiled and said I had a lot to learn. He bought me a harmonium and taught me whatever he knew. I never took singing lessons from a real Ustad. My mother made sure whatever I heard was good music. She brought me close to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Kailash Kher and many more and ever since I’ve been in love with semi-classical and classical music. I remember how every morning going to school I would finish one side of the album and write lyrics on my notebook during class. As I grew up I discovered Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Queen also solo acts like John Mayer, and I decided I wanted to be in a band.”
Collaboration and future plans
Social media has been the biggest platform for music releases, especially singles. Is Jee Loonga just a single or is there a follow-up aligned? Any plans of putting out an album? “Jee Loonga is just the beginning. We have been in the studio for almost a year and there are many surprises lined up for our fans. There will surely be an album after a couple of singles. We want to go one step at a time,” says Admani,
According to Mizmaar, collaborations are always great and their upcoming album has some major collaborations which they will unveil soon.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, April 19th, 2015