IamA Metal/Punk vocalist from Pakistan. AMA!
Hey, I'm Hassan and I'm from Pakistan, I do vocals for a couple bands here. I've been involved with the local Metal and Punk scenes for the last 8 years - organizing gigs, writing for webzines, playing for bands, and other stuff. My grindcore/crust punk band Multinational Corporations released its first EP "Jamat-al-Maut" in March of this year and it's gotten a lotta great reviews. I also have another band called Foreskin, which plays thrash metal/hardcore punk/crossover. One of the reviewers of MxCx's EP suggested I do an "IAmA" on Reddit because a lot of people apparently have misconceptions about Pakistan and the music scene here. So yeah, ask me anything!
http://multicorpgrind.bandcamp.com/ - Multinational Corporations' Bandcamp page, where you can stream/download our EP. It's also being put out on CD and tape by a bunch of labels - one CD version is out on Salute Records (Sweden)
https://www.facebook.com/multinationalcorporationspakistan - our Facebook presence. You can see my name in the lineup if you're looking for proof (Hassan Umer) and in the page admins as "Hassan Dozakhi" . The surnames are different because Dozakhi is my nickname - it means "From Hell" in Urdu.
Because the mods wanted proof that this was actually me and not someone pretending to be me, haha: https://www.facebook.com/multinationalcorporationspakistan/posts/708210082570241
Here's a link to Foreskin, check us out if you like thrash metal or crossover/hardcore styles: http://foreskin.bandcamp.com
Favorite band of all time - shit that's a tough one. Right now I'll go with either Napalm Death or Discharge. Both bands ruled at the start but went to shit later on but their classic 7 and 12 inch shit is the best in the world so...
Favorite song of all time - Integrity's Micha. I listen to it every day. Those bass-lines and the massive riffs. UGH!
Favorite ice-cream flavor - I don't eat none of that unhealthy fattening stuff bro. Hahaha.
ugh micha is SUCH a jam.
YES!!! I interviewed Dwid for my webzine too, if you want to read: http://eternalabhorrence.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/integrity-interview/
Go Napalm death!! Woo woo
How is metal and punk viewed by most people in Pakistan? In Norway, where I'm from, it is pretty misunderstood by most, just wondered if there's more or less acceptance over there?
edit: Of course, "most people" is a broad category. Define it as you wish, or flesh out the differences between different "most peoples" if you wish :)
The average guy on the street doesn't know what metal or punk is. It's lumped in the same category as rock, rap, trance etc as "Western/American" music. So yeah it's just noise to them. We get some trouble from random university level students who complain about the imagery and antisocial stuff in our music but its few and far between.
What bands were you listening to when you first got into punk and metal?
Also, not a massive grindcore/crust fan but I just listened to your EP and I gotta say, I think you're converting me. Keep it up!
I got into metal around 2005-2006. In my school in those days, our seniors were big metalheads who would cover Megadeth, Savatage, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer at 'gig nights'. One of the seniors used to wear a patch jacket with an Emperor patch I remember. So I got into metal through those references - the first CD I bought was A Matter of Life and Death by Iron Maiden, the day it came out. I quickly started consuming as much metal as I could, going into the depths of early 90's Swedish and Finnish Death metal EP's and demos haha.
As for Punk, it was a bit of a less direct journey than metal. I knew of Pop-Punk through bands like Sum41 - they were the first 'rock' band I liked, I was 9 years old and it was 2001 I think. And I was exposed to early hardcore punk bands like Black Flag, Dead Kennedys etc through the Tony Hawk video games, but I didn't get into the genre "properly" until I discovered grindcore around 7 years ago and went into the roots of the thing, which were Crust Punk, Crossover Thrash and Hardcore Punk. The bands that immediately impacted me were Discharge, Doom, Black Flag, MDC, Circle Jerks, Exploited, DRI... huge list to go through, I was affected by the whole early 80s punk thing in general. Everytime I heard a band from that scene I was like "holy shit, they're talking about the same things I think about!". The documentary "American Hardcore" helped a lot too.
Great answer! Thanks man.
Thanks for doing an AMA. I'm from Iran and there are many challenges for musicians in general, but it's particularly difficult (or even dangerous) for metal musicians to practice their art and passion in Iran. How's the acceptance of the society in general and what are your particular challenges in that sense?
PS: Do you have any female fans and can they openly participate and enjoy your music? I didn't see any in your video.
Yeah I know about the problems in Iran with this sort of music, but thankfully none of that sort exist in Pakistan. I've heard some stuff in Peshawar that seems Iran-esque but none otherwise. The biggest challenge for us here, is the same as anywhere else - money and time.
I hope Iran rises back and accepts its Persian heritage and culture instead of trying to Sharia-fy itself.
Yeah two girls were at our last gig actually, they just were a few steps away from the boys haha. The girls tend to stay seperate from the guys at gigs here.
Sounds similar to the US to be fair. Look at any crowd picture from a punk band. Occasionally there's a girl, but usually it's all guys.
what are the must listen tracks from the punk scene in pakistan? do you guys make music in english or arabic/urdu?
Depends - what kind of Punk do you listen to? :)
And Arabic is not spoken at all in Pakistan. No one understands the language, apart from some words that have become part of the Hindu/Urdu canon.
But yes, most songs are English but we throw in Urdu words. My Crust Punk/Grindcore band has had song titles and passages in simple street level Urdu.
In general, a good guide to the local Punk stuff is Tam89 Records 7" vinyl compilation "Nevermind the Taqwacores - Here is the Real Deal"
Anything released by Tam89 is a good guide to anything.. I have the complete collection !
The Nevermind the Taqwacores is a great one by the way !
So what's you're opinion on "taqwacore" ?
This is what I think of Taqwacore.
The name of the vinyl should have been an indication about our dismissive stance of the Taqwacore stuff anyway
I know this already...
I was kinda expecting something more develloped I guess, but I got the general idea haha...
hahah. Basim from the Kominas (pioneer Taqwacore band) is a good friend of mine and he's an awesome person so I mean no disrespect to him. We've argued on Taqwacore a couple times too. Basically I'l just say what I've said before (excerpt from an interview)
"Taqwacore is a fictional "genre" that came from a book by Michael Muhammad Knight. It's not even a genre, and it doesn't sound 'core' or 'punk' 90% of the time ahhahaha. It's just "muslim" "punks" in America etc. The music is often plastic, but I like some bands even if they're ideologically fucked. It's absolutely comedic and retarded. I don't want Allah or Islam in my punk or core, thank you very much. Especially when Punk has existed in "muslim" countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, etc way before this Taqwacore germ even spread out. It's insulting when these so called "experts" call our indegenous punk/metal "Taqwacore." The vinyl "Nevermind the Taqwacores" is a statement against all this crap. It's about the LOCAL kids in Pakistan making extreme punk and grind based music instead of expats and their children living in North America. So yeah. FUCK OFF TAQWACORE."
I appreciate this. In the US there is a lot of christian punk, in my opinion it's okay if the music is good, but when it's only purpose is religion then I'm not interested
I have a button that says "Christian Metal Sucks." Now I feel compelled to find a matching one about Taqwacore.
Dude. If you find one, let me know!
I played bass for Diacritcal. We played a show with Kominas and Kervin in NYC back in 07-08. Basim and the guys are awesome.
Yeah, Basim is a really awesome guy! Great journalist too
As a Pakistani-Americans whose family is from Lahore, gotta say it's humorous you're doing metal/punk. It's the Pakistani equivalent of wiggers (white people that pretend to be black thugs). Why not develop your own style rather than copy Americans?
All our lyrical topics about Pakistan and the politics here. WHICH is what crust/grind music is about anyway. Also, Metal/Punk was developed in Britain and then came to the US. Are you Americans stupid for copying those Brits? Nevermind the fact that some of the pioneering acts were also in Japan while it was being initially proliferated.
Don't get your facts twisted, kid. Metal/Punk is a global thing - the Indonesian and Singaporean Grindcore scene would like to have a word with you.
Kid? lol – such a poser. I'm 26, girl.
Are you Americans stupid for copying those Brits?
It's Western culture – you're just a punk that's trying to imitate albeit crudely white people.
All our lyrical topics about Pakistan and the politics here.
That's so deep man. Go do something productive about it rather than whine about it through trash "music."
Metal/Punk is a global thing - the Indonesian and Singaporean Grindcore scene would like to have a word with you.
Yeah, see but the thing is there's nothing metal/punk about a Pakistani. I say that as a Pakistani myself. It's just that there's nothing tough about FOB Pakistanis pretending to be like red neck white trash from the West & if you don't know what a red neck is – it's like the white equivalent of a pindu.
Now if you really want to rebel, go homo, and then you're onto something. Khush and proud. LOL. Ullu ka patha.
"It's Western culture – you're just a punk that's trying to imitate albeit crudely white people. "
Not exclusively "western culture" - guess you missed the point about Japan. In fact in the history of Punk and Metal the trade off between Japanese and "west" shit has been very common, sometimes the Japs have been more influential like GISM.
"That's so deep man. Go do something productive about it rather than whine about it through trash "music." "
The same could go for you regarding your ignorant rants. Our music is catharsis for our emotions. If you don't like it, don't listen. Don't rant on the internet like an insecure Pakistani trying to police his (incorrect) opinions.
"Yeah, see but the thing is there's nothing metal/punk about a Pakistani. I say that as a Pakistani myself. It's just that there's nothing tough about FOB Pakistanis pretending to be like red neck white trash from the West & if you don't know what a red neck is – it's like the white equivalent of a pindu. "
You really don't know anything about the music if you think the music is equivelant to red neck white trash. LOL. I say this as someone involved in the wider global scene - unlike you. Nothing remotely white trash about the fanzines I have contributed to and read over the last 8 years, but everything multi-ethnic and diverse about it. Be it latino or singaporean, trans or hetero.
I imagine Paki core as being the hardest punk imaginable
Haha, I like to think so too!
Are you located in Islamabad? Also, why does Pakistan get popular music "late"? Songs popular here become popular there after a few months.
But salaam to you and your band bhai. I'm also Pakistani but I live here in the states. Pakistan zindabad!
I'm located in Lahore. And yeah, I've noticed that too. Pakistan's music sensibility is dead, bro. People still listen to Linkin Park songs from 1999. It's mad vexed! Hahah.
Hey, Greeting from the UK!
I just wanted to say that I've never heard any Pakistani grindcore before you guys, but you've certainly converted me. A couple questions: Have you ever heard of Godflesh? They are certainly an influence on me, being the first Industrial Metal band I've gotten into. Also, would you ever think of touring the UK, if you had enough fans here? I'd definitely attend a show.
Keep blasting out the blastbeats and heavy riffs, I'm enjoying them :) "Fuck Your Patriotism" was a great song, by the way.
We have a lot of friends out in Nottingham who have asked us to play there a bunch of times. A tour would be great, if we had the money for the plane ticket to the UK haha.
I LOVE Godflesh! Absolutely crushing and misanthropic!
Yes! Even though it's not where I'm from, Birmingham is a city I love (mostly for the music).
Thanks for the reply, It's really appreciated :)
I have plenty of friends out in Birmingham too. Love the Brummie accent!
Yea, even though most English people don't like it, I still quite like it. At least it's a departure from the Yorkshireman accent I hear everyday.
I'm also a musician, but you probably wouldn't want to hear my stuff. More EDM-ish, not as brutal as your stuff is. Though I've always had a soft spot for any band that can burst my eardrums and flatten me.
Anyway, I've probably kept you too long, haha xD
I like EDM especially the Kraftwerk influenced stuff like Die Krupps and Front 242. PM me your links!!
Hey dude, I'm an artist. I'd love to do some illustration work for you guys? Let me know if you need any work! I can PM you some examples.
That'd be nice! Yeah, send me some examples!
Hey man! You followed my online project a while ago! I remember your band name and exchanging a few messages. Keep up the awesome work. The internet is such a huge, but small place. Shout out from Japan, currently!
Small world! What was your project?
Nebulous! https://soundcloud.com/nebulousmetal This is all old stuff, I have some new solo stuff coming out. I got good equipment and learned how to record properly now, lol. Keep putting out killer stuff, bro!
How hard is it to get shows where you live? Are you able to get shows at 'legitimate' venues, or do you typically play underground/DIY basement type shows?
There are no venues here to play music. The last gig I organized was in an acting rehearsal space in a film school. Here's a video:
Before, I've organized gigs in backyards, paintball fields, and a friend of mine put on a show in a swimming pool once. So it's very DIY, no legit venues. All the real clubs and venues got banned in the 80s during our "Islamic Revolution" under the dictator Zia-ul-Haq. You can also blame him for the Taliban. Before that, we had many clubs, cinemas, even discotheques hahaha.
Though in the 90's and up til the early 2000s a lot of gigs would happen every week, usually in art councils and ampitheaters which would also hold stage shows/theater productions running paralel to the concerts. That scene died up eventually and now it's incredibly rare to see a gig happening in the city aside from absolutely boring "battle of the bands" crap.
Swimming pool show sounds so punk! it's the true essence of anti-authoritarianism. Salute my friend. You're like the Death (the punk band, not Chuck's metal band) of Pakistan.
Also, are you a mad Manchester United fan?
Hahahah thanks! Kudos go to the organizers of that gig for putting it on in the swimming pool - I just played there. Yes, I'm a United fan and have been since 2001. I've been involved in local fanclubs here. Me and some friends regularly used to get together to watch games, drink beer and sing chants haha. Quit drinking though.
I once played a show in our college canteen. 3 amps and a drumkit. We got escorted by campus security and were taken to the deans office after. Quite possibly my favourite show ever. I guessed you were the Hassan from the Busby Babes fb page.
Hahaha! Who are you?
My name is Adi. I don't think I'm part of it anymore. I'm a friend of Adarsh's from Killers' Breed.
Ah right! Cheers dude!
Cheers mate! All the best with your music. Who knows maybe an Arnel Pineda style discovery?
SO happy to see this AMA. Keep doing what you're doing! Pardon me if this sounds ignorant, but it's not uncommon for people in the US to immediately think of religious hostility and violence when we think of Pakistan. Obviously the news media plays a huge role in this perception. 1) What do you want people in the west to know about Pakistan that may contradict media representation? 2) How has punk/hardcore/metal shaped your view of the west? 3) If you could play a show in any US city, which would it be? (PS: hit me up if you ever want to play Boston)
1.) We're just normal people living normal lives, dealing with the same everyday problems that you do. The only difference is that we have some militant presence that blows himself up to get virgins in some kinda heaven. Don't treat us metal/punk kids as some sort of exotic commodity just because we're different from your false perception of us. We're human beings, just like you and just like the people here.
2.) Not limiting it to the west, Hardcore/Punk/Metal has changed my life and co-incided with my views on a lot of things (in some cases) and changing them entirely (in other cases). I'm critical of a lot of shit that goes on in the world, East, West, South, North or Pakistan.
3.) New York, Baltimore, Boston or LA. I'll hit you up for sure. I have other friends out there too so I'm looking forward to coming to the US some day to play!
Love these answers, thanks man. I feel the same way about punk rock shaping my views on everything. Keep up the good work and I look forward to your US tour.
Hello Hassan, I too am from Pakistan. I had no idea Pakistan had any metal bands. I look forward to checking out some of your music. I was just wondering what part you are from, and has it impacted your music style at all. I am from from a village not far from Peshawar by the way.
I'm from Lahore. Do you know Zarnoob? He's from Pekhawar and has the band Deimos
As far as Lahore impacting our style of music - yeah, the typical patriotism and ignorance of the average Lahori has made our style even more pissed off!
Thanks for doing this AMA ! I love your Jamat-Al-Maut EP, especially the song Fuck Your Patriotism and Stratum Slave. I discovered the Pakistani metal scene with Multinational Corporation. Are you thinking of a full length album ?
Thanks! Did you know about us before the AMA? If you need any recommendations about the Pakistani metal scene, just ask!
A full length is a little too far to think right now, maybe in the next 3 years or so? Right now our next material will be on an international grindcore compilation tape, and then a split with veteran Dutch grinders Matka Teresa. That split will be on vinyl.
Yeah, I don't remember how I discover you, but I have to say that I listened Jamat-Al-Maut a lot while studying ! The songs are very catchy.
If you have any band to recommend I sure will take a look at it ! (I have to admit, MxCx is the only band from Pakistan I know...)
Thanks man! And yeah, check out Tabahi (thrash metal), Dionysus (Black/Death/Doom), Irritum (Funeral Doom), Dusk (Doom/Death), Necktarium (Shoegaze/Black Metal), Janoobi Khargosh (Psychedelic Rock), Venom Vault (Thrash Metal). Off the top of my head!
hello and cheers from malaysia!
Cheers! The Malaysian DIY scene is amazing! Hope to tour there some day!
Please come! We are so excited having you guys here. Check this out for Malaysian DIY scene info. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rumah-Api/157888934276502
Thank you! 15 of my Malaysian friends on Facebook already like the page too
Hey man just wanted to let you know, keep livin it punk! Hope all goes well, and if your band somehow makes it to Ohio, USA. Ill help you get a gig somewhere. Stay metal my friend.
I'll contact you if we ever make it! Hails!
I'd never heard of your bands, but I like them. You should play Deathfest next year. Seriously. Do it.
Thanks! Which Deathfest are you talking about?
Maryland Deathfest, in the US. It started as a big grindcore thing, but it's all kinds of metal now. There are still a lot of grind bands there, and many from all over the globe. Lots of times it's a one-off show, rather than part of a tour for a band, and the guys who run it sometimes find up-and coming names that don't come to the US much(or at all). I don't know how exactly you go about getting on the bill, but you guys fit it.
What I'm saying is, please come to the US. You're awesome, and we love awesome bands.
Oh yeah, I know all about MDF haha. I'd love to play in the USA if we manage to get the finances for that initial plane ticket. We have enough friends out there in Baltimore, NYC, Boston, San Fransisco and other places to help take care of us once we're there!
Is Crowdfunding an option?
Wouldn't that be a bit too self-centered? The whole "hey we're a band from Pakistan, give us money so we can tour" thing is something I wouldn't like doing. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it
I definitely see your point. Just figured I would throw it out there. Because I'm sure people here would throw some money your way to get you to the states, or somewhere in Europe.
Yeah, let's see, maybe in the future! It's a good idea, so thanks for throwing it out there
Are there extra restrictions to what you can or cannot put on a record?
Check out our album, read the lyrics and the stuff we've written. Do you think there are restrictions, haha?
What unique aspects are there to your metal scene? I have to assume it's kind of isolated from the rest of the world's metal scene (or at least the mainstream American and western European scenes). Has it evolved any interesting attributes that I (a Californian) might never have thought or heard of?
I don't think musically anything unique is going on. In the age of the internet there is no isolation.. and even before the internet existed, we had Doom/Death bands like Dusk in the early 90s making raw demo tapes inspired by My Dying Bride and Dismember etc. When it comes to music like grindcore, crust punk, death metal, and all these heavy music forms they're relatively the same all over the world wether its Indonesia or California. The unique aspects then come into the organization of the whole scene. Indonesia and South-East Asia in general has the best DIY scene in the world in my opinion and its structure is fairly different from what I've noticed about the "west" though the aims and the basic means remain the same.
Maybe some interesting attributes will come with time. I've been told that the MxCx EP is a little bit of a different take on the crust/grind thing than what Sweden or England has spawned but thats something for the future.
California rules btw. Two of my favorite modern bands are from Cali - Xibalba and Nails.
IN GRIND WE CRUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey man. Awesome to see that metal has a home in India.
Im seeing Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Exodus tonight!!
What's your favorite Thrash Metal band that started out in the 80's?
Im keen on Destruction and Tankard.
Edit: Changed Tabulated to Tankard since my phone doesn't know what Tankard is.
Edit 2: Sorry im an ignorant American lol.
Hahah we're from Pakistan not India :P
Suicidal, old Slayer and Exodus are among my favorites!
But favorite 80s thrash would be Sodom, Kreator, Dark Angel, Cryptic Slaughter, Vio-Lence, Evildead
Listened to a few songs on your streaming site. You guys are a tight, coordinated band. I'm from the US, and my question is: Is it dangerous to play American music? Like, do religious leaders have issues with it? Thanks for sharing your awesome music, man.
thanks man. out of all the compliments we can get, being called tight and co-ordinated ranks among the best. So cheers!
Nah, and we don't consider what we do to be "American Music" because it's as much asian or european or whatever to us as anything else. The grind scene of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia tends to piss all over what goes on in Europe these days haha.
And nah it ain't dangerous to play any kind of music. Pakistan has a very musical culture and even religious leaders sometimes listen to classic folk songs. Only ultra orthodox places may have an issue with music in general - and those places are very rare. Don't believe the propaganda. We have historically had excellent music.
Fellow Pakistani here. Keep it up! I'm not into metal exception being SOAD which isn't really metal actually. Good to see you guys getting recognition here considering how the quality of mainstream music has dropped in the past 5 years thanks to the people being completely ignorant of good music and listening to crap lately.
Wish you the very best!
Thanks bro! Some of the other Pakistanis here have commented some very snide remarks born out of their own insecurity, so it's nice to see some support! Cheers!
Have you gotten much attention from American labels? Any plans on coming to the states? (Also, good work on the music! Keep crushing!)
Yeah, a small DIY label in Conneticut (did I spell that right?) is doing a 100 copy tape run soon. Nothing from any bigger underground labels. And yeah, I know a lot of promoters in a bunch of different states in the US, as well as people in Canada, who want to book us. But getting the money to go to North America or anywhere in Europe is a pain. Currently the most affordable places for us to tour are India, Bangladesh and UAE.
Dude I lived in US my whole life and I don't even know how to spell conneticut. Your stuff is good, don't listen to much grind, probably the only grind record I like in insect warfare's album back in 07 or 08, I forgot, the one with mind ripper.
I love that album. Heard it a lot when it came out, blasted it in my school's cafeteria all the time hahaha
We need to get these guys seen by metal blade or nuclear blast
I'd be down for Earache or Relapse, lol!
And thanks for the compliment on the music! Cheers!
Who are some of your favorite up and coming bands?
Have you done any tours outside of Pakistan? If so, where is your favorite country to tour and why?
Some of my favorite up and coming bands: Immoral Majority - Powerviolence/Hardcore Punk from Portland. Crazy female vocals, heavy riffs and 2 bassists haha.
Night Stalkers - Crazy Hardcore Punk from France in the vein of the early 80s acts. Think Negative Approach meets Adolescents
Skinfather - Death Metal band from California. Awesome shit, if Dismember was mixed with some 90s hardcore, it would sound like this.
Sex Prisoner - One of the best powerviolence bands around!
sex prisoner rules. To Live a lie is a great PV label. You'll love everything on there
Yeah, I already do! Great label
awesome. I'm sure you do but yeah. You should check out A389 too! great sludge, grind core, hardcore label
A389 is one of my favorite labels, man! Some of my favorite bands are on there, best label in the game today!
hell yeah. I'm from Baltimore, where they are based outta. Fucking right
Nice!! I have a lot of friends out in Baltimore
As far as tours go. Nope. We have an incredible amount of requests almost every week from Indian fans to come play there... we'll try touring there somewhere down the line, but we have no passports so that needs to be sorted out.
Congrats on putting out an album!
Lived in Peshawar in the 90s, never thought of pakistani music as punk or metal. Thanks for opening my eyes..! Hehe. Really enjoy your AMA, keep up with the music! I hope you will find your way out there, I loved my time in Pakistan and would love to see more of it in the world. Pakistani food is the best ever. Also, very sad about some of these comments being dicks.
It's cool man! I think I owned all the dickheads hahah. Hit me up if you're ever in Lahore!
Good stuff mate. Just wanna say I'm glad there are some interesting people from our shark tank. Keep it up.
Dp you listen to death grips?
YES! I love Hip-Hop in general.
Any Indians bands you listen to?
I also have affiliated several times with Transcending Obscurity to cover their gigs on my webzine Eternal Abhorrence
Yes!! Deadbolt, Solar Deity, Gutslit, Fragarak, Sceptre, list goes on. I'm down with the Bangalore grind core scene too. I wear a Grossty bandana in the band picture for Multinational Corporations.
I am in Bangalore too. Have only heard of Sceptre though. :P
My favorites are myndsnare, skyharbor, avial, motherjane and some softer ones. If you haven't heard of them then give them a try. Might not be the genre you're into I think after reading your comments.
Heard em all haha
Hello, do you have a moment to talk about our lord and savior Ehsam Tariq?
I have all the time in the world. Would you like to go to his shrine with me, under Sherpao Bridge?
Has the religious climate in pakistan been an obstacle?
Nope. Religious folks don't know what this music is and they don't care.
I'm not patriotic or nationalistic at all. Why should I be proud of being born in a country randomly, when I can be proud of my own achievments instead?
Pakistani society here is a little hard to pidgeonhole though. There is a mix of ethnicities and races here. The most patriotic bunch are usually Punjabis, who are the ones who've gotten the most advantages in the past and even now. Most of Balochistan isn't exactly Pakistan friendly and some splinter groups there are fighting an IRA-esque war against the state. The Pakhtun areas are historicaly Afghan. The left wing usually prefers to look to their Afghan heritage, whereas the right looks at their Pakistani-ness. Sindh and Karachi are usually not very friendly to Pakistan.
Pakistani patriotism mostly exists in the affluent groups. But as one of my songs says "Fuck Your Patriotism"
How big is the metal scene there? Does your writing have influences from traditional pakistani music?
The metal scene is decent, could be bigger, but if it was bigger the shite bands would outnumber the good ones haha. The heydeys were 99-04 and 06-09. Right now it's different crews in different cities keeping it alive.
The writing doesn't have much of an influence from tradtional pakistani music - because its a completely different genre, and we dont want to reduce ourselves to being another gimmicky folksy kinda metal/punk band just to "set ourselves apart." But we all love traditional Pakistani ghazal and sufi music.
Are the drums on your EP done live? Where did you record them?
They're done by a software called Addictive Drums. But for live shows, we use a real drummer and YES he does play as fast.. actually even faster! haha
What made you want to pursue being a vocalist? How do people in your town react to your music?
Having a lot of opinions on shit, and a lot of anger that I just wanted to let out. Screaming on the mic and raging on stage is perfect catharsis for someone like me. Hope that makes sense.
As for the people reacting to the music - there's either two reactions. Either they don't understand what's going on, or they get with the program and start moving their heads haha. Our first live show had a lot of crazy moshes, sing-alongs and everything. It felt like all those hardcore punk/crust/grind shows I'd seen on Youtube all these years!
Have you read Punk Rock Jesus? If so, what did you think?
Nope. Should I read it?
I honestly didn't think there was any kind of metal or punk from Pakistan, or the nations surrounding. I must listen to this new genre of music. I must learn the ways of Pakistani Metal.
Haha you couldn't be more wrong! Pakistan is just a drop in the water as far as our nearby South Asian countries go anyway. Nepal has a big death metal scene - Behemoth and other big hitters have played there! India has a lot of great bands that play abroad, such as Gutslit and Albatross. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have killer bestial black/death scenes going on. Great metal scene here blossoming!
Now I must go on a grand journey to listen to the metal of the world.
PM me if you ever want links dude!
I feel a kind of RATM vibe from the first song on your album haha nice work bringing out your album!
Hahaha, maybe in an aesthetic sense - musically we're more about Terrorizer and Disrupt, than RATM! Thanks man!
How is the music scene there?
In a word - dead. Hahah. We're trying to get it started again in a flurry of blastbeats
Every considered relocating to a place that has more of a liking to an alternative music scene?
Yeah, but more for the better work/life/etc opportunities, though music would definitely be a major part of wherever I decide to immigrate to. Too bad I don't have the finances to achieve that.
What is the gear situation like in Pakistan? I'd imagine there are music stores but is it difficult to find the types of amps and pedals you'd want to have for grindcore? Or do you just do the best with what you can find? Are you able to order equipment online from out of the country?
Thanks for the AMA by the way, I love hearing about metal/punk scenes around the globe.
A bit of everything you just said haha. In the end we try to get the best with what we have but i know a lotta lads with top equipment too
Where would be the best part in pakistan for nightlife and for the music scene, i have only ever been to azad kashmir and it seemed like it was a million miles away from life here in the UK. Are there any cities you would recommend visiting ?
No nightlife in Pakistan, shit got dead around 2009 man hahah. And it was much more active in the 60s or 70s or even the 90s/early 2000s in comparison. But Karachi is a dope city. Never sleeps. Always something to do, but you gotta know the right people as far as "parties" go
what does your family think about the music you make? do you ever get recognized when you go out? what's that like?
In our underground scene, you only get recognized by people who've seen you live or heard your music. Happened 3 or 4 times. The funniest was when I was dropping off a friend somewhere and we stopped to ask directions and this guy asked me "Hey you're the vocalist of Foreskin, right?" ahahhahahaha!
My family doesn't listen to my music and I prefer it that way. It's my own creative space and they respect that I do creative and productive stuff with my time rather than other negative stuff
Everytime I visit Pakistan, I have no clue where to find "the scene"... what are some of the popular venues where bands perform?
There are no venues haha. The last gig we did was in a university's actor rehearsal space:
Before that was a swimming pool
So it all depends on you knowing the right people, since the underground scene is so close-knit and self-dependent. Sponsors and corporates dont care about us.
Hey man, glad to know Metal is still killimg out there! I remember hearing about that underground Iron Maidem cover band somewhere in the middle east. METAL AS FUCK.
How did you first hear Metal?
My seniors in high school basically, they would cover Maiden and Megadeth
Dannit! Why do I always miss the cool AMAs? Here's one JIC: Have you seen or were you inspired to play by the film Taqwacore?
No. HELLLLLLL no. Fuck that shit. I adressed it earlier today:
How is western culture viewed by the Pakistani government and older generations. Have you ever been censored? Have you ever been insulted for liking western music, movies, fashion, etc., instead of or in addition to traditional middle eastern culture?
Pakistan up til Zia Ul Haq's 1980s Islamic Revolution, was a fairly liberal place with lots of cinemas, clubs, discotheques etc. A lot of the older people I've met are some of the most open minded people I know. It's the younger generations who are actually more conservative.
40 years ago, student groups would rally for more progressive changes and pro-human rights stuff. Nowadays they rally for islamic causes like protesting against blasphemy. That's how far we've fallen.
And Pakistan is South Asian, not middle east.
Great to hear metal from all over the world!! Great stuff!!
What do you think of what I call "new wave thrash" - bands like Havok, Gama Bomb, Toxic Holocaust, Municipal Waste, etc.? It seems like good ol' thrash music is making a comeback!
Yeah I remember when Toxic Holocaust put out Overdose of Death 6 years ago. Loved it then, still love it now. Warbringer and Vektor lead the pack. But I'd say the comeback died around 2010 ish haha
That could be. I did get to see Havok last year and they were fucking amazing though!!
Yeah havok rules!
Hey man, Cheers from Canada. The Jamat-al-Maut EP is badass! I look forward to checking out some other Pakistani Punk.
Awesome! Check out Bvlghvm, Kafir E Azam (side project of mine), Throttle Instinct, Marg, and all the bands on Tam89's Nevermind the Taqwacores compilation!
Do you have trouble getting music gear in Pakistan?
Depends. Some stuff can tend to be really over-priced at the major stores but if you're streetsmart and have enough contacts, you tend to find the stuff you want. Sometimes for prices lower than what you get abroad.
As a Finn, I have to ask this. Favorite Finnish metal bands?
Finnish punk: Terveet Kadet, Tampere SS, Riistyet
Finnish metal: Rippikoulu, Demilich, Convulsed
What do you think of the American rock music scene?
Who's the biggest non-Pakistani band in your country?
Most of my favorite Metal and Punk bands are from the USA and as far as rock goes, I love the rock music that was made there in the 60s and 70s. Not sure who the biggest non-Pakistani band would be. Probably some random top 10 pop artist.
Can I get free merch, that would be dope.
Hahahah. No man. We don't even have any merch yet, and if we were gonna give it out for free it would be to people in the "thanks" list of our EP's CD/Tape
Hello there! I was wondering if you have seen the 2007 documentary "Global Metal". I found it to be very interesting, but as someone who lives and is actually making music in that part of the World do you think it accurately represents the scene over there?
I also realize this question is redundant if you have not seen that film, so in that case I will say keep doing what you love brother!
I thought it was an interesting documentary with a lot of factual innacuracies and typical western "glamorizing" of stuff that goes on here. It would be nice to be treated as normal people instead of some sort of exotic rare commodity to go "woowww" over hahahah. The parts about India and Indonesia were fairly true, I can testify because I know almost a 100 people from those places and plan on touring there some day. But that was 2007 and a lot has changed since then. Better documentaries made by people who are actually from that soil need to be made.
Ahoy! I saw you mention "A Matter of Life and Death" as one of your influential albums. Mine too!. What do you think about the more recent maiden stuff (a la Iron Maiden's "The Final Frontier"); also maybe some iconoclastic stuff like say, Rammstein?
Also, are you into Junoon?
Edit: also opinions on any other Indian/Paki rock bands a person from the subcontinent should listen to? I just returned after 10 years or so and need some good local bands to listen to.
Edit: Goddamn Typos
Junoon is my childhood right there haha. No Pakistani kid who was alive in the 90s can ever forget Junoon. Sad what happened to both Ali Azmat and Salman though.
Rammstein's first album is all I've heard, and it's some nice catchy hard rock. Final Frontier was a bit of a letdown
I just want to say I really dig a lot of the metal that's coming out of the middle east, its super solid stuff. Keep it up and thanks!
Thanks dude! And Pakistan is south asia, but i get what you mean by the mideast thing. The Muslim connection and whatnot
Sorry, pardon my ignorance. I should have said: Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan... Thanks to /r/metal I've been able to hear some amazing new metal I absolutely love!
In my defense, Pakistan and Iran border each other, and yet one is middle east and the other Southeast Asia!
Haha its cool bro, no need to pardon. And Iran is an interesting melting pot of central asian and middle eastetn things, historically persian culture is central asian.. but that's a long discussion about anthropology hahah
Does your dress reflect the punk-metal vibe? Do you have any tats? Are you ostracized for them?
I haven't gotten a chance to listen to your stuff (on my mobile) but do you find yourself drawing from traditional music when you write?
My band members usually sport long hair and metal band shirts with jeans. I wear traditional shelvar kamez clothing with a patch jacket haha, usually shaved head or short hair. Sometimes sport a bandana.
No tats yet, the tattoo artists here are too expensive. Not exactly a priority for me either.
Traditional Pakistani music is of a completely different domain and to mix it with what we do would be a cheap gimmick. Lyrically i may get inspired by the more working clas or existential vibes of local folk music. The pathos of the region is seeped in tragedy and it shows in our local folk music. I love the sufi music of Pakistan and i used to go to a sufi shrine called shah jamal, every Thursday. People basically get high and do a sufi dance there, which looks a lot like moshing lol
Shout out from India!
Favourite band of all time? Favourite song of all time? Favourite icecream flavor?
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