Having recently truimphed in the Pepsi Battle of the Bands competition, Bayaan has become the hottest band in the country, apprearing on everyone’s radar. Soulful and lyrical, the band’s music touches both hearts and minds. Afshan Shafi catches up with members: Muqeet, Mansoor, Haider, Shahrukh and Asfar, for an insightful interview

How does it feel to be the Battle of the Bands champions?

Muqeet: We fill privileged, lucky and immensely gracious to our supporters who have brought us to this position.

Mansoor: I feel humbled and elated!

Haider: It feels great to be acknowledged as the winner in the pool of immensely talented bands. We feel that all the bands are winners due to their invaluable contribution to the industry.

Shahrukh: It still feels a bit unreal, like I’m divorced from it and it happened to someone else other than us.

Asfar: It still hasn’t hit me yet. It definitely feels good to get all this recognition and gigs haha!

What was your favourite moment from the whole show (apart from the moment of winning, of course)?

Muqeet: Playing Azadi while in the bottom two against the brilliant Tamasha. It was a very emotional performance for all the band members and we are glad the emotions were reflected in the performance.

Mansoor: The whole experience was great! Not only did I learn a lot but I also made some amazing friends along the way

Haider: The performance of Azadi in Episode 6 was one of the best highlights for us in the show.

Shahrukh: My personal favourite moment was playing Azadi during our final Danger Zone performance.

Asfar: Standing ovation after we performed Azaadi!

Which judge’s critique do you think helped you the most?

Muqeet: Bilal from Strings was really helpful. Not only did he give very specific comments on stage, he also gave us more detailed comments off stage that gave us more clarity in our shortcomings

Mansoor: I respect and appreciate all the judges and their helpful critique. However, Bilal’s advice resonated most with me.

Haider: Bilal Maqsood

Shahrukh: I feel like both members of Strings, Bilal and Faisal, gave us very good advice that was related to something perhaps even more important than songwriting — band communication, organization and how to maintain a healthy work dynamic.

Asfar: Bilal! His critique has always been very constructive.

What was the least pleasant aspect of your Battle of the Bands journey?

Muqeet: I will go with Episode 3. After our first performance in the Top 8, we were absolutely grilled by the judges and sent to the Bottom 2 straight away. We managed to escape into the top 6 by just a hair’s breadth.

Mansoor: Getting used to going in the Danger Zone since we went there thrice!

Haider: Going into the Danger Zone in most of the episodes.

Shahrukh: I don’t want to sound like I’m whining but the hours were sooo long sometimes.

Asfar: The fact that our favourite bands had to leave,

 

“It’s just about the feels”

Muqueet Shahzad”

“I am the most direct member of the band, to a fault perhaps”
Shahrukh  Aslam

Rapid Fire:

Celebrity Crush?

Muqeet: You

Mansoor: Alison Brie

Haider: Several (international and local)

Shahrukh: Ezra Miller

Asfar: Deepika Padukone

Favourite Musician?

Muqeet: Hans Zimmer

Mansoor: Gumbi and Benny Greb

Haider: Hans Zimmer

Shahrukh: Koi scene hee nahin hai, can’t answer this question rapid fire!

Asfar: Zafar Yousaf

Love or Money?

Muqeet: Love

Mansoor: Love

Haider: Love

Shahrukh: Love

Asfar: Love

Fav. holiday destination?

Muqeet: Hunza

Mansoor: Northern Areas

Haider: Europe

Shahrukh: Wherever! As long as the right people are with me

Asfar: Europe

Top three qualities you look for in a partner?

Muqeet: I guess it’s just about the feels.

Mansoor: Is this a question by a rishta aunty?

Haider: Compatibility

Honesty

Empathy

Shahrukh: A business partner?! This is an interview about my band, this question is irrelevant.

Asfar: Ambitious

Spiritually driven

Empathetic

Top 3 turnoffs in a partner?

Muqeet: I guess that’s also just about how the feels.

Mansoor: If Clucker doesn’t approve of you, I’m sorry…

Haider: Dishonesty.

Exorbitance

Unenterprising

Shahrukh: Not interested in answering this one either.

Asfar: Not respecting each others personal space

Dishonesty

Poor hygiene

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would it be?

Muqeet: Bruce Wayne

Haider: Someone from the lowest strata of the society

Shahrukh: A cat

Asfar: I’m happy as myself

Your dream collaboration with another musician?

Muqeet: Hans Zimmer

Mansoor: One of my favourite bands, Haken

Haider: Hans Zimmer or Steven Wilson

Shahrukh: That’s a tough one. At the moment, I think it’d have to be someone like Devin Townsend.

Asfar: Abida Parveen or Nayaara Noor

All the band members pick love over money

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians across the country?

Muqeet: Keep working on improving your skill. Practice as much as you can. Put as much passion in your practice as possible.

Create original music. Don’t shy away from what you want to express through music. That’s what will make you a true artist, help you explore the impact of music and also push our industry forward.

Don’t rely on music to be your source of income. Pakistan’s music industry is not in a position to support indie artists yet. Have another income stream to keep fueling your passion.

Mansoor: If music is really your passion then go for it and don’t be discouraged by the struggle that accompanies it. Try to balance a day job with it.

Haider: Stay true to your art.

Be as original as possible.

Focus on original music mainly.

Perseverance and patience is the key.

Shahrukh: Never give up.

Don’t do it for the money.

Always have a day job.

Asfar: Just keep playing and making music as things take time.

Be loyal to your work.

“Clucker Faheem is too loud!”
Asfar Hussain

What are the most major differences in personality between the group members?

Muqeet: Never thought about this actually but I guess the differences are as normal as between you and your friend.

Mansoor: We all have tiny differences but we are all very similar on a broader scale. I guess this is the reason we have been best friends and band members for so long.

Haider: All group members have very contrasting personalities and they add their own unique flavour to the band, onstage and offstage.

Shahrukh: We all have our own approaches to life, especially to problem solving and work. I suppose I am the most direct member of the band, to a fault perhaps in terms of clearly stating how I feel about something, especially when I have concerns or issues.

Asfar: Clucker Faheem is too loud!

Who gets along the most from the group?

Muqeet: I think we all get along really well. Never felt there’s a difference.

Mansoor: Haider has a bromance with Muqeet. Asfar has a bromance with everyone. Sharukh has a bromance with Clucker. It’s too confusing!

Haider: Probably Mansoor

Shahrukh: We all get along. We’re friends. That’s why we do this.

Asfar: As a group we have different dynamics. We all get along very well, but our one on one dynamic is different with everyone.

Who fights the most with each other from the group?

Muqeet: Hmm there are no fights but I think there have been equal proportion of disagreements between everyone.

Mansoor: Clucker

Haider: No one

Shahrukh: Exchanging a few heated words or disagreeing with someone is not the same as fighting. Breaking someone.

“Haider has a bromancemwith Muqeet. Asfar has a bromance with everyone. Sharukh has a bromancemwith Clucker”
Mansoor Lashari

Name the best and worst aspect of being in Bayaan?

Muqeet: I feel blessed to be following my passion with some of the best people I know. There can be nothing bad about that but yes, there are pitfalls just like in any other human relationships but that’s part and parcel of it all.

Mansoor: The best is that we have the opportunity to get out music out to so many people. We can express ourselves with complete freedom and honesty. I don’t think there is a worst part.

Haider: The best aspect is definitely being a part of the new generation of musicians and bands in the country as well as being able to express and make original music. No worst aspect.

Shahrukh: Best aspect – I get to help create what I consider good music knowing people will listen to it

Worst aspect – I have very little to no time for anything other than work and Bayaan

Asfar: Best aspect is that the worst aspect doesn’t exist!

Photographs by Ali Agha

“The performance of Azadi in Episode 6 was the highlight”
Haider Abbas

Good Times

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