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Senior Proud Pakistani
|Joined: 26 Feb 2010
| Jal band - profile, interview & pictures
Jal is a Pakistani pop/rock band formed in Lahore in 2002. The group was formed by Goher Mumtaz (vocals and guitar) and Atif Aslam (vocals).
They achieved fame with the release of the single "Aadat", after which lead vocalist, Atif Aslam, left the band and was replaced by new vocalist Farhan Saeed and bassist Aamir Sheraz. Their new lineup followed by their debut album, Aadat (2004), which was declared the best selling album of 2004 on Geo TV by the owner of Sadaf Stereo. The band's second album, Boondh (2007), won multiple awards, including the Best Album of the Year Award at the Lux Style Awards in 2008.
The band is among the first of contemporary Pakistani bands that fuse Urdu vocals with modern Pop.
Jal was formed in Lahore in 2002 when Atif and Goher Mumtaz composed their first song by the name "Aadat". Soon after, began their search for like minded musicians to complete his band. They ran into Shazi (Aamir), a bass guitarist and after a few jamming sessions invited Shazi to join Jal. Jal's first single "Aadat" was released in December, 2003. Before the release of its video "Aadat" was released of the internet through a local Pakistani web portal. The song enjoyed the status of the most downloaded Pakistani song on the internet for quite some time and was extensively popular by the time the video was released.
Directed by Umer Anwar the single burst into the Pakistani music scene and took it by storm. Receiving an amazing amount of air time by all the music channels and entering music charts. The video was rated 4th best video of the year 2003 by ARY The Muzik within days of its release. The success of the "Aadat" can partly be gauged by the countless concert offerers the band received immediately after the release of the song and partly by its rating to date on music channels.
However, by the end of December, 2003 due to musical differences, Atif Aslam parted ways with the band while Goher Mumtaz once again searched for a vocalist. It was then that Sultan Raja, Bassist of Call, introduced Farhan Saeed Butt to Goher and thus Jal found a new voice. By the time Jal came up with their new line-up "Aadat's" video was already doing rounds on the local music channels with the former singer Atif Aslam's vocals. The song was thus re-done for the official release in their debut album Aadat.
Jal released their debut album, "Aadat", which did well at the charts. Their first single "Aadat" topped the charts and stayed at the top for two weeks. Singles from the album were "Panchi", "Bikhra Hoon Main", "Aadat", "Lamhey", "Ik Din Ayega", "Dil Haarey", and "Teri Yaad". Five songs from the album received Top 40 airplay in Pakistan. The title track, "Aadat," was remade for the Bollywood movie Kalyug. Few of the songs from the album, also appeared on Atif Aslam's debut album "Jal Pari" after Atif Aslam left the band. This led to a dispute between Atif Aslam and Jal about who owned the rights to the songs.
Sales of the album were such that it remained at the top of the Pakistani music charts for several weeks after its release. Sadaf Stereo Records, the record company which released the album in Pakistan announced that Aadat was the best selling album of 2004. This was followed by the release of album in India by HOM Records, where it was highly successful too.
In 2006, Jal had created waves as the latest Pakistani band on the block, even as their album Aadat continues to climb the charts locally, and their 2005 track "Woh Lamhe" was a hit, even a year after its release. A remix of the song later appeared in the Bollywood film Zeher.
In 2007 Jal released its second music album named "Boondh" and in 2008 released it in Mumbai, India. Farhan Saeed, the lead vocalist of the band, explained the title of the album "'Boondh' is not the name of any song in the album, but is basically the theme of the album and covers all the songs in it. The name suggests that we as a band are just like a small droplet of water in the sea of music, which covers Pakistan, Asia and the entire world where our music is heard. It is our small contribution to the sea of music," said Farhan.
The album was followed by a live tour, mainly in South Asia, with concerts all over Pakistan, and a few places in India.
Jal's Goher Mumtaz has shown fondness for Junoon, and is influenced by singers such as Hamid Ali Khan and Mehdi Hassan, although their sound primarily falls in the Pop/Rock genre.
* Aadat (2004)
* Boondh (2007)
* Woh Lamhay (2005)
* Kash Yeh Pal (2008)
* Humein Itna Pyaar(Love Reprised Version) (2009)
* Yeh Mera Pakistan New Version (2009)
* Farhan Saeed- vocals, backing vocals
* Goher Mumtaz - lead guitars, backing vocals
* Aamir Sheraz - bass guitar, backing vocals
* Atif Aslam - vocals, backing vocals
* Omer Nadeem - Bass Guitars
* Salman Albert - drums
* Saad Sultan - rhythm guitar
* Dj Maq
* Jal's video Ik Din Aye Ga was declared the 2nd best video among the top 100 videos selected by The Musik channel.
* Jal's debut album Aadat was declared the best selling album of 2004 on Geo TV by Mr. Khalid Sadaf (Owner of Sadaf Stereo).
* Jal also received a special award by Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital in recognition of their support and efforts to raise funds for fighting cancer in Pakistan.
* In 2006, Jal won an award at MTV Asia Awards 2006, following an award Indus Music Awards for best rock band in Pakistan.
* In 2008, Jal won a best song Musik Award for the song Chalte Chalte.
* In 2008, Jal won a best song award, The Best video and the best album of the year at the Lux Style Awards.
* In 2009, Jal won a best ballad song award for their song "More Piya" at MTV Asia Awards.
Out with their new album and a spanking video to boot, Jal are back and they have grown up, silencing their critics along the way, Jal reveal all about the new album Boondh, the comparisons to Atif and what is next in store!
Four years ago, Jal debuted on the music scene with the single 'Aadat'. It became a monster hit and the two band members split it up instantly afterwards. Atif Aslam went solo and Gohar Mumtaz brought in Farhan Butt on vocals and Shazi on bass. The trio were pitched against Atif Aslam again and again but they never gave up. And now they are back with Boondh - their second and most solid effort as a unit.
Slightly overwhelmed and a tad bored, understandably, by the media parade - cameramen followed them around everywhere - surrounding them, Jal revealed all - from going to India and teaming up with Amrita Rao for the new single, 'Chalte Chalte' and what lies ahead in the coming days for the band and for fans.
Your album Boondh is out. But the situation in the country has been tense. Has that affected sales?
Gohar Mumtaz: Not really. The delay in the album release was not due to the situation in the country. Mainly everything was sort of haywire from the very beginning. Our album sales have thankfully not been affected by the tension in the country, but our gigs have suffered. We've been trying to organize a tour in Pakistan but haven't been able to because of security issues.
Farhan Butt: We feel bad for the people who don't have the opportunity to go to India or other countries. We've sustained because of the business India has been giving us. We have been performing there regularly since nothing has been happening in Pakistan this past year or so. But many bands don't have the option of going across the border and we feel bad for them. They have lost out on a lot of work and revenue since the situation had deteriorated in Pakistan and everything had come to a stand still.
I'm sure you know Atif is doing roaring business these days. Your take on the comparisons made between you and Atif?
Gohar Mumtaz: You see, there are two ways we could have gone about it. We could have either gotten demotivated or we could've pushed up our game. We chose to do the latter and thankfully our commitment and hardwork has paid off. We did not get demotivated by his success and anything he does doesn't affect us at all. We can't keep going back and forth seeing what Atif is doing. Our album had twelve tracks and people liked every single one of them. That says enough in itself.
Farhan Butt: Not that I am boasting but we were at a concert in India and a man came up to us and said that 'Jal is a great band and I love it, but if Atif was still a part of your band, it would have been even better. The spark is just not there without him'. That remark kind of put me off. I went to Gohar and told him about it. I was really upset. He told me to ignore it and said we have to give it our best shot. We gave an excellent performance that night and the same guy came up to us after the concert and said that we were brilliant! That was a great high for us. We just concentrate on our work and that is the key to our success.
We've noticed Shazi doesn't say much. He also remains in the background in all your videos etc. Why is that?
Shazi: (Still maintaining his silence. Wearing dark glasses and looking somberly into his cell phone)
Gohar Mumtaz: (Laughing) You see, he is a true rock star!
You guys worked with Bilal Lashari for the first time on 'Sajni'. How was the experience?
Gohar Mumtaz: It was great. We met Bilal back in the summer through a mutual friend. We saw clips of some of his work and decided to work with him. Once we saw his vision, we wanted to work with him because we know he was bringing something very different to the table. And we were very pleased with the end product.
Farhan Butt: It was good fun and we were very relaxed with Bilal. He was just so friendly and we felt very comfortable with him the moment we met him. We wanted something new and fresh in our new video. Initially when we saw clips from his videos, we though they were too dark for Pakistani audiences. But he convinced us and told us he knew exactly what we wanted. Besides the DOP he works from is from Hollywood so that was just icing on the cake for us.
Tell us about your latest video 'Chalte Chalte'. The song is not on your album; Amrita Rao is featured in the video and there is a commercial running. What is the deal behind it?
Gohar Mumtaz: We made the song after the album released and it caters to the corporate sector. Walls sponsored it and they wanted somebody from Pakistan and India featured in it. So we chose to work with Amrita who was great fun to work with. You'll be surprised to know that there are a lot of actors in India who don't want to work with Pakistani people. Amrita was one who had no issues working with a Pakistani band. In India, image matters a lot. If you don't have a good image its difficult finding people to work with. We thankfully have a decent image in India and have been performing there regularly.
Farhan Butt: Amrita was a lot of fun. She is a brilliant actor and used to get her shot right in the very first take. Watching her work so professionally and skillfully sort of intimidated us and since we're not actors it was tough for us to get the shots right. We will also be touring Pakistan with Amrita around in early May. It hasn't been finalized yet but we're hoping that it'll happen.
You guys go to India regularly. How has their industry changed compared to ours in the last few years?
Gohar Mumtaz: I can say proudly that India's pop artists don't even come close to Pakistani pop singers. We have an excellent and thriving pop industry whereas bands in India are heavily influenced by Bollywood. They find our music very fresh and original.
Farhan Butt: We have the X factor working there for us. The fact that we are coming from Pakistan intrigues them. Pakistanis have a good reputation there and we draw huge crowds to our gigs. Indian bands basically cater to the Bollywood driven club scene. People actually listen to our music; Indian bands on the other hand make music which primarily people dance to. On every Indian channel, you will just see Bollywood songs being shown, whereas in Pakistan, most of what we see on television is pop bands and songs. Our music is original and theirs is basically more commercial and filmy.
What about the level of professionalism in India?
Gohar Mumtaz: Actually there are a lot of venues there to perform at. It's a huge country and every single city has a huge capacity and population. For example, in Lahore if we perform once a month it's more then enough whereas in India, every city has so many colleges and universities who have regular festivals etc, we can keep going back and the demand will still be there. There is an insatiable appetite and capacity there which we keep going back to satisfy.
Farhan Butt: We've performed at a lot of festivals in India and thousands of people have been turning up for each event. The professionalism Indians bring is enormous. Where ever you go, there are stages you can only dream of having in Pakistan. The sounds, the lights, everything as a matter of fact is on another level altogether. They don't compromise on anything.
As a live act, what problems do you face in Pakistan?
Gohar Mumtaz: Honestly, a lot of problems. The sound is always a problem. The marketing is always a problem. There are money problems, organizers come up to us before the gig and tell us that they don't have the full amount to pay us. If we walk off and don't go ahead and perform, it will be our reputation that will get tainted and not theirs. Therefore we have no option but to play. The promoters here are unprofessional and don't do their jobs well. They actually hardly know how to do their jobs let alone do it well.
Farhan Butt: We face similar problems in the US, Canada etc as well. The people showing up are so few, the sound is usually terrible and the venues organizers arrange there for Pakistani artists is actually embarrassing. It's just a whole mindset that needs to change for Pakistanis living within and out of Pakistan.
You worked with Gumby and Mekaal Hasan on your latest album. How was it working with them?
Gohar Mumtaz: It was great working with them and they have done a brilliant job. Gumby absolutely blew us away with his drumming in 'Dhamaal' and 'Kia Say Kia'.
Mekaal is a very professional person and before we worked with him people warned us that he is not easy to work with. We however, did not have a single problem with him. If you come prepared and do your work well, the producer has no reason to blow it.
Farhan Butt: Gumby thoroughly enjoyed working with us on the album and congratulated us on the work well done. Working with Mekaal was also a splendid experience for us. He was very encouraging. He was so good with us and told us that we were the first band he worked with and didn't have a fight! That, I think, was a total high for us and speaks volumes of the kind of work we do and how seriously we take it.
What's you take on award shows?
Gohar Mumtaz: The more the merrier but as long as they are neutral. We need to set a certain standard which everyone should follow. It is a very encouraging endeavour as long as the awards, any and all, are fair and there are no biases involved.
Farhan Butt: We need independent music award shows which are neutral. If an award show is being sponsored by a particular channel or record company, they will definitely have a tendency to tilt towards their artists.
You guys performed at the soft launch of Pakistan Idol. What are your expectations from Pakistan Idol?
Gohar Mumtaz: I must say it is a BIG and brilliant move which will hopefully have a huge impact on our local industry. We don't have enough heroes in our country and this is one way a star will actually come shining through. India has kingmakers. We need to pick up talented people and make them stars. It's a wonderful idea and we wish the organizers all the best.
Farhan Butt: The format of the show is a hit globally. It will be a great platform for the youth of our country and for once we will have the opportunity to make stars of our people. The people will have good music to listen to, they will be entertained and at the end of the day some lucky soul will also get the opportunity to get noticed, enjoy fame and make money.
Whether its music, cricket, films or anything, our industries need to be treated with respect and stars need to be brought out. Take India for an example, be it film stars or cricketers, they always back their own people and treat them with respect. The highest bid for the IPL was for Dhoni and by no means is he the best cricketer in the world right now! But he's Indian, and his people will always back him. Pakistan Idol will help us tap into local talent and bring out stars.
What about venturing into Bollywood again? You must have got some offers considering you spend a lot of time in India
Gohar Mumtaz: If we get a good solid offer we will definitely consider it. So far we have got two offers. One of them involved us acting in a film. We didn't want to do it because we didn't see us fitting the role too well. Besides, right now we are doing enough music to keep us on our toes.
So what's next for you boys?
Gohar Mumtaz: We have launch shows in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. We are releasing our album in India and are pretty busy with that. Hopefully you will also get to see two new videos soon.
Farhan Butt: We're also planning a tour of Bangladesh, India and Canada this year so you see, we do have our plates absolutely full!
|Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:51 am
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