As the most happening musical event of the year, Pepsi Battle OF The Bands was ended two weeks back, its echoes are still surrounding and fans want more to now about the winner and runner-up of the race.
The two-month long journey was an intense competition and hard work, and the final battle was narrowed down to Auj and Aarish.
Auj took home the crown, along with Rs50 lac, an album contract and lifetime royalties of the original songs performed during the course of the season. Aarish, the ever-competitive runner-up, took home Rs25 lac and an album contract.
During the last episode, entire Pakistan voted to make their favourite band to be crowned the Pepsi throne.
Here’s to Auj, Aarish, and most importantly, the rise of original music in Pakistan!
AARISH: The Runner Up
Six teenagers from the city Islamabad formed AARISH, meaning ‘the ray of sun’. According to band, these six fellows loved doing music from their childhood and wanted to do it for the rest of their lives. The current six members of Aarish are Nosherwan Mehmood (Vocalist), Haziq Ali (Lead Guitarist), Ali Sohail (Guitarist), Nehal Azhar (Keyboards), Fahad Sikandar aka Grooveshark (Bassist), Humayun Mir (Drummer), who is also all in one combo and a backbone of the band as he is a singer, guitarist, drummer, bassist, keyboardist at the same time.
Aarish applied in season 2 but got rejected. After that they made their first original and tried their luck in Season 3, but it was hard again. Then they went back and worked harder for the whole year and applied in Season 4 with a little change in line-up.
“So yes, Pepsi has a huge hand in making us what we are today. Pepsi Battle of the Bands came back after 11 years out of nowhere but we saw it as our only chance to shine”, the band says.
When growing up, they all had been following the old western and top Pakistani bands. Each member of the band has different inspiration and when these diverse tastes come together, it creates the sound of AARISH. But, the mutual following of the band is, ‘COLDPLAY’. The band has made its own niche in the genre of Ambiant pop/rock. They have produced six originals out of which five were made in Pepsi BoB. Aarish is also working on a new album.
AUJ: The Winner
Auj was actually formed in between 2008 and 2009 by Nasir Zaka, guitarist and Syed Hasnani Ali, bassist. They both are constant part of the line up since its inception while the other two places/members were changed two times in the 10 years history of the band. The current vocalist of the band is Abdur Rehman Sajid while Muhammad Kashif plays drums. The band initially called it ‘Crackdown’ and then ‘Shabih’ (reflection). The name Auj was given just three years back by their ex drummer Asif Iqbal. The literal meaning of Auj is ‘the top most point anyone can achieve’. According to Nasir, “The name depicts each member’s passion and ambitions for the music”.
Who Are Auj?
Auj is consisted of four members. They are;
Nasir Zaka is lead guitarist and co-founder of Auj. He also works as the lead composer of the band, which means the finished product comes out from his hands. Nasir works more on western influences but a little bit on eastern melodies as well.
Syed Husnain Ali is the bassist and one of the co-founders of Auj. He has a strong and interesting stage presence as well. Hasnain can work on different genres from rock to eastern classic and never let the band stuck anywhere that is why called the backbone of band.
Muhammad Kashif is the drummer but also has a grip on various other instruments. He completes band’s groove department along with Hasnain. By groove in music means the overall feel and theme of a song. Kashif also takes inspirations from western bands as drum itself is a very western instrument to play.
Abdur Rehman Sajid is the vocal powerhouse of Auj. The young and talented Abdur Rehman, who is still studying business management at University of Karachi, is the last inclusion to the current line-up of the band. He got all the pressure from the rest of the members of the band at joining but tried hard and gave a unique voice to Auj. He is a versatile and can us his vocal chords to sing like from Robert Plant to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Nusrat Saheb is the biggest and all time inspiration of Rehman.
What inspired each member to be in this field?
Auj takes inspirations from all pioneers bands in the history of Pakistan like Vital Signs, Junoon, Karavaan, and Mizraab, and then later in the new millennium from EP and Aaroh.
“We are their fans from our childhood and teenage. These Pakistani bands set the trend of band culture in Pakistan. They all made us to believe that to be a musician is a blessing. Wherever you are, you have to look into the local music first.”, Nasir Zaka says.
How and Why Pepsi Battle Of The Bands
As Auj, they were making music for last 10 years, and producing many songs as well that they put up on different digital forums, but couldn’t find any platform to show and promote their work in big way. “So, when Pepsi Battle Of The Bands Season 2 was announced in 2107, it was a hope for us. We decided to take part in it but two years back our singer Abdur Rehman had just joined us, and we were working with him to create a new sound of the band. It was actually the period of season 3, when we made about 14 songs to get into the Season 4 of Pepsi Battle Of The Bands”. Nasir Zaka tells.
What makes the sound of Auj?
Nasir explains, “As far as the musical inspiration is concerned, the band is heavily influenced by both east and west. Collectively, the band’s sound is locally inspired by Junoon, Vital Signs, Aaroh, and of course Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan while internationally, we are influenced by Metallica, Alice in Chains, U2, Cocubine Tree and some of grunge rock. So, these are the forces which are behind the sound of Auj.”
In which genre the band wants to work most?
“Basically we are defined as a rock band but have added up different other genres as well. It cannot be called fusion but has a touch of classical, pop, a little bit of alternative and hard rock all in a same song or any specific genre dedicated to a whole song. So, root is the rock but is connected with other branches as well. That is how it goes.” Naisr Zaka further explains
The work produced till now?
Auj is currently in studio, recording a lot of stuff. They already have made many songs. “Some of them are almost finished while some are in the middle of completion, but we will select the best from them as our each album will be consisted of 9 or 10 songs. So, stay connected”, concludes Zaka.
Steps towards a Plastic free Pakistan.
Have you been wanting to go plastic free or at least reduce its usage but you don’t know how to get started or need a little push? Don’t worry, I have got your back with these seven easy tips and tricks to get you started!
- Start carrying a reusable water bottle with you everywhere and don’t buy one unless absolutely necessary. The earth will thank you and so will you wallet.
- Stop all usage of plastic bags and replace with reusable, non-plastic, earth-loving shopping bags. You can use a cloth bag, baskets, jute bags or get one stitched by your tailor. Get nice bags that you can even enjoy using. Take their care by washing them from time to time and keep them fresh.
- Switch out your usual plastic toothbrush with an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush. Many non-plastic habits are hard to pick up. This one’s easy to make and stick to. None of the elements of a typical plastic toothbrush are biodegradable so they remain in our planet forever whereas bamboo brushes disintegrate into natural elements and leave no toxicity behind on the planet.
- If you are used to buying disposable drinks every day, get yourself a reusable straw or cup. The straws can fit in your work/school bag easily and the cups not only help you reduce plastic but look absolutely chic as well.
- Next time you are grocery shopping, pick pasta in the box instead of pasta in a bag. Choose cardboard over plastic bags. Paper products tend to biodegrade more easily without adding a lot of weight.
- There are a number of non-disposable options out there to cut down on period waste by using silicon cups to reusable pads. All these choices reduce incredible amount of packaging that most pads are encased in.
- Rethink about your food storage. Instead of using plastic zipper bags or cling wrap, why not use jars or glass containers or bees wax wraps to store food? When it comes to carryout, these types of containers can be reused instead of disposable ones.
- When buying anything new in plastic, stop & think if you can buy it in a non-plastic option – wooden cooking spoons, disposable plates.
- If you use cling wrap at home regularly, buy bees wax wraps from stores like @codegreenpk
- If you store food in containers at home, only buy new ones in glass, steel etc.
- Some Instagram accounts where you can your plastic free supplies from: @codegreenpk, @keano-ru, @recircle.life, @trashitpk
4 Facebook Groups with Great Initiatives that Serve Significant Purposes
Old were the days when a review was not a “thing” and it was extremely difficult to get information about anything be it travel, food, medical issues or any problem related to everyday life. It was not common to have a forum where people would share their experiences directly with the public. Reading first-hand experiences was rare and forums like Quora and Yahoo Answers were considered the only reliable sources.
Now, everything is available on the internet and is just a click away. But, should we rely on such sources to be authentic and true? It depends and varies from source to source. It also depends on who moderates the source and how.
When the trend of having groups on Facebook started, people only used it for fun, to gather at a place to talk and share jokes. At that time, a few were trying to utilize this source for a meaningful purpose and those people gave birth to some amazing groups that, now, have a huge following and are considered reliable sources for any information related to the subject matter of the group.
Now groups have become a popular and the safest space for like-minded people to congregate and discuss specific stuff- from hobbies to pets and celebrities.
If you are still living in the stone age or looking for answers to your riddles related to food, travel, pets, allergies, mental health, etc., these are the groups that are at your service with a meaningful purpose and a great initiative to help the masses through a direct communication and dissemination of information through various posts.
Foodies ‘R US
Created in 2013, now this group has over 95k followers. This is the place where you will find reviews about any restaurant. You name it and people will share their experiences. If you are a foodie, this is surely going to be your favorite group as it has all the solutions to deal with your appetite. Not only the masses, but this has also helped a lot of restaurateurs and home-based chefs with their businesses.
The founder of the group, Asad Sheikh says “I started this group 6 years ago for one reason only and that’s the passion for food. I just want to tell and guide people on what’s good out there to try and what’s good that our country has to offer. I don’t write bad reviews of any kind but that doesn’t mean that I have not had my share of bad food. Always try to highlight the good while telling owners of the restaurant about things that need improvement.
We all are ambassadors of our city or country and others who see our posts or reviews create an image of where we are from. Over the years Foodies ‘R Us has helped many people living out of city or out of country to pick the eateries when they visit Lahore Karachi or even Islamabad. The same passion was translated into encouraging home-based talent to post as much as they can and later encouraging them to turn this talent into a business.
Many small businesses have blossomed from this platform and we later encouraged them further to be part of our Coke Food Festival, giving them a face to face experience with their consumers.
We have never charged anyone to advertise on our platform and that’s the reason for the success of many small businesses.”
Soul Sisters Pakistan
This group is home to 212K women who interact and share their issues and experiences related to health, relationships, feminism, networking, their moments of happiness, moments of suffering or any piece of advice related to the ongoing discussion. Not only this, through the group, women were able to find their long lost friends, online jobs, solutions to their problems and a lot more. This has become a safe place for them to talk about stuff they do not normally share publicly or are afraid to talk about. Anonymous posts have become the new trend to send your message across.
“In a culture where women are often silenced and their issues trivialized, I felt that we needed a space and people to talk to, other than their immediate family and friends; a space where we could give unbiased advice as a third person, for each other’s problems and a space where we could come together to share our stories, experienced and inspire each other.
And so in August 2013, Soul Sisters Pakistan was formed, and within months we were getting scores of requests to join the group as the concept of a safe space like this wasn’t so common back then! From discussing taboos to breaking stereotypes to providing legal aid and emotional support – the community has really made a mark and become a household name. It is also one of the 115 most impactful communities in the world, recognized, supported and trained by Facebook itself!- Kanwal Ahmed (the Founder)
The Travel Diary
Earlier, it was extremely difficult to know about the experiences of people who travel. Now, you just have to post a query and hundreds will be there to assist you or guide you about a particular thing, food place, culture or about people of a certain country. All in all, this group is a complete package to know about anything related to a country. Founded in 2016 with more than 72K members, this group is a query-home for all travel enthusiasts.
Mishaal Hashmi, the founder of the group says, “Traveling is something that is an innate part of me. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to travel, be exposed to cultures and people. As an adult, I’m even more fortunate to be able to share my passion with like-minded individuals, who share a similar passion. The idea to create the Travel Diary arose from my desire to share my travel experiences as well as gain wisdom from the experiences of others. Never in my dreams had I imagined my passion to take on such a gigantic form and for a forum such as The Travel Diary to exist is a humbling experience and a dream come true.”
Soul Brothers Pakistan
Even though most of the posts are light-heart humor and user-generated content; the group generally talks about various topics including networking, recruitment, and counseling. Similarly, it talks about issues that surround the men’s ecosystem i.e. relationship, health, masculinity, and mental state. Moreover, It discusses these issues in depth through live talk sessions also known as #SBPGuyTalk, where group members from all walks of life come and discuss issues varying from Depression, Suicide, legal affairs, and health-related topics. Their popular segment #AnonymousSoulBrother is also widely used by members who seek suggestions and valuable insights on a variety of topics.
“We identified a need where we could create a crowd-sourced platform for men which would offer a healthy support system for Pakistani brothers here and abroad.” – Danish Javed (Co-Founder)
Gawah Rehna: An Upcoming Film Glorifying The Past
In dearth of enough content for the Pakistani Cinema and its audience, writer and director Tariq Mehmood, is ready to add something to make the numbers higher and give something different to the audience by going to floors with his first ever feature film Gawah Rehna in October this year.
Cast of this film includes Muhammad Qavi Khan, Ghana Ali, Emmad Irfani, Rabya Kulsoom, Rehan Nazim, Faisal Imtiaz and others. A Turkish actor Mert Sismanlar will also play a very important character in the film.
Talking at a presser in Karachi, Tariq Mehmood said that the film was based on a significant historical period of Khilafat Movement. The film depicts the era of 1920 when British rule was at its peak in the Sub-Continent while our forefathers defied the British rule and at the same time started a mass movement called the Khilafat Movement to help their Turkish brothers and sisters in their struggle against the imperial forces”
According to Mehmood, “Gawah Rehna pays rich tribute to the unsung heroes of our independence movement as well as to the brave Turkish nation. The film will be a source of further strengthening the people to people bonds between Pakistan and Turkey as it will tell Turkish audience what our forefathers went through while helping their Turkish brothers and sisters.”
Ghana Ali, one of the lead of the film said she could not tell much about her character but she loved the script that is why I couldn’t say no to it. She disclosed that her character in Gawah Rehna was the role that her father always wanted her to do that is why was more excited to be part of this film.
She further said “I am very honoured to be the part of this film as I always wanted to do something that could educate our new generation. Gawah Rehna is a peep into the history and our youth will get to learn about the past struggles of the Muslims of Subcontinent.”
Ghana was sure that Gawah Rehna will give us an international recognition and will be appreciated because if its topic.
Emmad Irfani, another lead in the film, said, he felt lucky to be an actor and being an actor it was his responsibility to portray his character it its true sense.
Talking about his character in the film Irfani said, “Gawah Rehna carries a very strong message. The film is about how to achieve your aim and to remain determine to get to your destination despite all challenges come in the way. My character is very challenging in the film which will go through many emotional and physical despair but will carry on his struggle to achieve the point (actually the ‘why’ of his life) that has been lost. The character will transform at that point.”
He further said that he was really looking forward to this project as he loved to take different types of roles for his professional growth.”
Veteran Muhammad Qavi Khan said we need more of these types of films where we can glorify our past struggles which further strengthens our present cause like Kashmir issue and others where Muslims are oppressed and the target of violence.
Gawah Rehna will be released in both Pakistan and Turkey as well as in other foreign markets in March next year.
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