Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Day It Aired

So if you missed it, here's our performance of Sultanat on Coke Studio. This song is dedicated to Imran Lodhi.

What did you think?
I thought we did pretty well :)
The response has been overwhelming. I know Coke Studio is a huge platform and it's watched by millions of people all over the world, but I never fully realized it's incredible reach and massive appeal. Our twitters, mailboxes and facebook pages got flooded with comments the day the episode aired. The feedback was largely positive, most people had never heard of us before and were pleasantly surprised, our die hard fan base felt vindicated, and the people who didn't like us before, grudgingly admitted that we had done well. With the extra publicity, we of course attracted the attention of extra haters and critics, but I guess it's all part of the deal.
So what's it like? I went through several stages. The weeks leading up to the episode were maddening. I'd have dreams about us bombing on Coke Studio and everyone hating us. I woke up 3 nights in a row in a cold sweat (how dramatic! But totally true..) pacing the room. I got reassuring messages from Adnan Malik, (one of the directors along with Zeeshan Pervez) and the band also got a message from Rohail Hyatt himself a couple of nights before the episode telling us we were great and had nothing to worry about. More importantly he told us to prepare for criticism and not let it get to us.

The night of the episode, you would have thought we all watched it together but instead we all watched it separately with our own friends and family. I think when you're under that much stress, it's important to have your best and closest support around you.

My best friends came over to watch the episode with me. They're not huge music fans, in fact this was the first time most of them were watching this seasons Coke Studio. I was being a complete Nazi, banning them from speaking during any of the songs, nervously flipping through all the channels to see where we'd get the best sound quality.

When the moment arrived, I was numb. Once the opening guitar notes started playing, I began to relax, the sound was loud and clear and just...fantastic. Everyone held their breath right up until the end, watching my face to deliver the verdict. I was beaming. It was fantastic.

Thats when the phones started ringing off the hook. My parents who'd been watching in another room were excitedly fielding calls from my relatives all over the country who were watching at the same time. I couldn't speak to all of them because there were suddenly too many phone calls and sms's everywhere, just complete chaos. I called up Ali, jumping up and down, yelling “yay!! We didn't suck!!”

Then we immediately got on the internets to read the comments on youtube and the facebook pages. All my friends sat around me while I read out the comments that were overwhelmingly positive. I even read out the mean ones for fun. It was complete elation.

I sat up the entire night reading every single comment posted. It continued well into the next day, where my inbox was flooded with well wishers and messages from fans both new and old. It was all just completely overwhelming to the point where I had to make the conscious decision to get off the internet and stop being so obsessive.

After the initial positive response, there was suddenly a surge of mean comments from people. A couple of days after the episode aired, we started getting all sorts of criticism. People were singling me out for the most criticism, being the vocalist and lyricist. This is something I was expecting, as the frontman and singer, I know I'm going to be a lightning rod for haters. This coupled with the fact that my columns in the tribune have earned me a fresh batch of OBA-specific haters means I'm going to come in for a lot of flack. This culminated in our first Facebook hate page, where a bunch of people actually took the time out to create a facebook group called “WE HATE AUNTY DISCO PROJECT AND OBA”. Naturally my friends and the rest of the guys in the band found this absolutely hilarious and gleefully joined and started posting comments on it, confusing the shit out of the original members.

This of course is all balanced out by the people who loved my guitar playing, especially the solo I did in Sultanat. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that this pleased me to no end. I've never been the kind of guitarist who aspires to be a virtuoso with long, epic, solos, complete with shredding and lightning fast runs. But I was particularly proud of the solo on Sultanat, since I don't really play big solos on the other songs. It was nice to be recognized for something other than the vocals. (Besides, who secretly doesn't want to be a guitar god?)

A couple of days after, I went through a minor phase of depression after Coke Studio where the constant reading of the comments began to take its emotional toll on me. Every positive comment means so much and every single negative comment would just ruin my day. I suppose when you come down from such a euphoric state, things come crashing down to reality pretty quick. I also felt slightly lost. It seemed like we had been building up to this big moment for the last 2 months, and now that it was over, I felt what? During that time I also got message from Imran's mother telling us how proud she was of all of us and how she wished Imran could have been around with us. It got me really emotional, thinking about us 4 years ago, when Imran, Omar, Yasir and I first went in to record that song and how different things were. It was a beautiful gesture from Imran's mother and it meant a lot to me.

I left the country on a short business trip right around then and being removed from everything helped a great deal. By the time I got back, the fluctuation between the positive and the negative comments got balanced out and the critical response declared us to be a hit on Coke Studio.

That's all that anyone could ask for really. I was so proud of the boys and their hard work. I know all of them deserve all the praise they get because each one of them worked their asses off for this performance and truly gave it their all. I don't know whats next for us, but right now we're just going to sit back enjoy it all for a little while.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


 So we're performing live AND appearing on Coke Studio this weekend!!!!

While I am aware that this poster makes us look like avid rapists, I'm hoping you guys will look past this and come to our shows this weekend. We're doing something highly ambitious and playing 2 nights in a row at the PACC Auditorium in Karachi, on Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 4th of July. Then of course Sunday July 4th at 10pm, we'll all be gathering around the tv set waiting for Coke Studio.

So please tell all your friends and family, we're really excited about this gig, we've got some new songs to debut, some new covers and as a special treat, we'll be playing the recorded versions of our album tracks, for the first time ever in public!

Also please check out our website for more could win stuff from BOSE