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The story behind the drummer's departure from the band; Jafar's take on the  musicians who've played in their  upcoming album, Gunkali, and what to  expect from Kaavish in the near future.
“Kaavish as a band has always been very close to my heart,” said Raheel as we sat down for a chat in a local café a couple of days after I heard he wasn't a part of Kaavish anymore. Although he was quick to establish that his 'break up' with Kaavish was amicable — there are no hard feelings involved — and that he wished his ex-band members well and hoped to see Kaavish grow into a successful music act, he seemed to have taken the split with a bitter pill.
The original Kaavish lineup had been around for four years or so. With Jaffer Zaidi as the predominant vocalist and songwriter, Maaz Maudood on guitars and Raheel Manzar Paul on drums, the band had launched itself with the Umar Anwar-directed video of Bachpan. Although the song reminisced about — no points for guessing — childhood, the video immediately snared the viewers' attention since it revolved around the death of a family member and had detailed shots of the burial and the family trauma.
 
Later, in an attempt to 'lighten' their image, they released a video of Choti Khushiyaan directed by Umar Amanullah, showing a bunch of friends enjoying a day at the beach. Their third and most recent video had been that of Tere Pyar Mein by director Umar Anwar and featured Arshad Mahmood and violinist Javaid Iqbal.
 
Beautifully shot, Tere Pyar Mein showed the behind-the-scenes version of the video being shot complete with a messy set and crew all over the place, the director making an appearance with the DoP (Ali Muhammad) for several seconds showing them giving directions to the band members and then footage of the 'actual' video that was being filmed, within the video. In short, it was a music video of shooting a music video. Kaavish's climb within the Pakistani music industry had been slow but steady, with the band taking time to refine its work and subsequently releasing the material.
 
In between when Kaavish first came on to the scene to now, Raheel moved abroad for several years to finish his studies and began working with his father in the family business while also attempting to balance the time he devoted to the band.
 
In a conversation with Jaffer he mentioned how it was completely understandable for Raheel to have a full-time day job, but had apprehensions about the time and energy he would be able to give to the band. The question that came to one's mind was Why now? Why just before the launch of the album, especially since they've done quite a bit of promotion for it as a three-member band? Also, Jaffer allegedly planned to ask Raheel to leave several months ago, so why implement it now?
 
Jaffer said that he wanted to give Raheel time to adjust back into playing for the band, but that it wasn't working out. He was adamant about the fact that the decision for Raheel to leave the band was not personal, it was mutual and that he was glad Raheel took it 'so well'. Plus, he wanted it to happen before the album was launched because most bands release the first album and then break up. The fact is that the original Kaavish lineup couldn't even survive the
release of its first album!
 
Does the band plan to hire session drummers in place of Raheel, and if so, who would Jafar ideally like to have to
perform with them? According to him, the ideal choice would be Gumby, since he also recorded Gunkali with them, and that it would be great if the drummer could take time out for the band. He added that Maaz, even though he started playing the guitar about a year back, has been working consistently hard, has recorded on the album and has brought his skills up to a decent mark. He added that Kaavish planned to perform with a live orchestra but he had apprehensions about whether or not event-managers/interested bodies would support a very large lineup for a live act. The core band for Kaavish, however, would have five musicians drummer, bassist, violin player, lead guitarist and vocalist/keyboardist.
 
The upcoming Kaavish album, Gunkali, has been long overdue. Having painstakingly been recorded and produced by Faisal Rafi, the album features quite an ensemble of artistes including Gumby (drums), Khalid Khan (bass), Javed Iqbal (violins) and Omran Shafique, Shallum Xavier, Abbas Premjee, Aamir Zaki and Maaz Maudood on guitars. The band has just finished filming its launch video with Sohail Javed.
 
Bands break up after attaining a measure of success — it isn't anything new. Where there are people, there are bound to be conflicts and any front-man will tell you there are times when it becomes very difficult to keep those conflicts from blowing out of proportion. The art of keeping a band together over a span of several years can be very tricky indeed. Having said that, one can't be sure what the impact of this breakup would have on Kaavish as Jaffer doesn't seem too concerned and wants to concentrate on the impending launch. As one-third of Kaavish, Raheel's visibility in the band was very strong. For the time being he plans to return to his roots as a drummer for the budding underground scene, but not without promising to return when the time is right.—Madeeha Syed