Hearing Ali Azmat’s name, several thoughts usually come to mind. He has been called brash, foul-mouthed and even indecent. However, one thing is for certain, his artistic evolution from a Sufi folk vocalist to the alternative, progressive rock star has been nothing short of provocative.
“Bum Phatta”, which has been making the rounds online and been played at several live shows, has already been deemed a hit. The song’s dynamic appeal lies in the straightforward lyrics that, supposedly, explain the sentiments of the general, struggling public. “You can never know how the songs on the next album will turn out, but one thing is always certain, you always make them relatable,” said Azmat. “If I only write about love or heartbreak, it wouldn’t have a real impact on the ordinary man. The songs should reflect the times we live in.”
The photographs from the new music video have already been leaked on a major Pakistani music website showing Azmat emulating various political leaders, even revolutionist Che Guevara.
Azmat explained that his next album was ready, but needed to be edited. Due to the faltering economy, he plans to follow the growing trend of albums being released one single at a time. Since the album focuses on a song-centric approach, it is being produced at a variety of places, including the studios of Noori, Meekaal Hasaan and Gumby. “I have to do everything I can to serve the song. At the end of the day, the finished product is what matters,” said Azmat.
The sound for the album will follow the easy sound of “Bum Phatta”, which is considered less complicated than his last album, Klashinfolk. That album had created a stir with the introduction of a new progressive rock sound that had instant appeal with the rock fanatics of the country. The music videos for the songs “Gallan” and “Tanha Hai Kyun” had also featured politically-charged narratives. “Klashinfolk was very political and had many double meanings,” said Azmat.
Azmat’s political standpoints have created quite a stir with the result that his name is now in the headlines more for his political advocacy than his music. It is not rare to see Azmat debating or arguing with critics on online forums, such as Twitter, or on interactive television shows.
More recently, Azmat was seen participating with a group of musicians at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf dharna in Karachi. “I think people from all walks of life – be they artists or members of the civil society – who do not have any connection to politics, just wanted to get off their couches and take a stand.”
The politically-inclined Azmat seems to be a perfect extension of his long-haired Junoon days, still writing songs against the establishment.
“I don’t cater to the global narrative and have spoken out against the international interference in our country,” says Azmat, who plans to tour with his band to Australia later this year. “My ideologies and politics have changed since being part of Junoon. Pakistan’s case needs to be pleaded and its interests need to be safeguarded.”
All the attention that comes with Azmat’s political views, however, often takes the limelight away from his music. He says that the one thing that he’s been trying hard to do is become a better musician. A few months ago, he started relearning how to play the guitar in a leading music school, while also working on his song writing.
When it comes to making sure that his musical journey is adventurous and fresh, Azmat is almost borderline obsessive in exploring new genres. He has dabbled in jazz and the blues. “I’m always trying to improve. One of the reasons why Junoon ended was that after ‘Sayonee’, we weren’t really trying anything new,” said Azmat. “Music is supposed to be an adventure, and for that, one needs to keep experimenting with different things.”
Source: Express Tribune