Gig Seeker Pro


Islamabad, Islāmābād, Pakistan | SELF

Islamabad, Islāmābād, Pakistan | SELF
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Desi Grunge"

By Sameen Amer

The Corduroy album is out in the market. An English album by a Pakistani band that has been released and has already become a cult hit. They might not be Nirvana, but here are some reasons why you should lend a ear to a Pakistani voice, speaking in English

The first Corduroy track I ever heard was 'Leeway', and two words immediately sprung to mind: Pearl Jam. Since then, everyone I've talked to about the band, and who hasn't actually heard their complete album yet, has generally had two words to say: Pearl Jam. So is Corduroy nothing but a Pearl Jam imitation? Not quite.

The comparisons with Pearl Jam, though quite inevitable because of the undeniable similarities at places, are not completely fair. True their vocalist sounds a lot like Eddie Vedder and the band is indeed called Corduroy (which happens to be a key track on the PJ opus, Vitalogy, although the band have repeatedly denied any connection), and, yes, at places you do hear the sprit of PJ echoing through the music; but if you manage to get past the oh–they–sound–like–PJ phase, you'll see that the band has a lot more to offer. Yes, there's a reflection of REM and the Stone Temple Pilots in there too!

With their first full–length album Corduroy have tried to bring the post grunge alternative sound to the Pakistani audience. Risky. And they've ventured out into the English music territory. Very risky. With the 'success' other local bands singing in English have had so far - Junoon's noodlings generally getting the fast-forward treatment in most boom boxes, and Coven morphing into Noori – one does wonder if it was a wise choice. But rooted in wisdom or not, The Morning After is what the band has come up with, and so far, the reaction from both the critics and their fans (the band has quite a following due to their live performances) has been pretty good. And if nothing else, the band at least deserves credit for doing everything from the production to the pressing and distribution of the CD themselves.

The album kicks off with 'Your Song' (which, thankfully, has no relation to the Elton John track of the same name) and ends with 'Aas', the only Urdu ditty on the set. In between is an amalgam of musings on the self and the society, ranging from the mellower tracks, like 'Wide Awake', 'You're Everywhere' and 'Prologue', to the more hard hitting 'Goddamned', 'Blue Chip' and 'Dystemper'. And it is this variety that keeps the album from becoming monotonous or even trite. But personally, I think the power ballads, though fine as such, aren't the band's biggest strength, and it's the heavier stuff that brings out the best in Corduroy.

As for the lyrics, well, at places, the lyrics have similar characteristics to those displayed by the early 90s Seattle scene. But, surprisingly, they don't always agree to what was said by the aforementioned: Nirvana's 'Sliver': "Grandma take me home/I wanna be alone" Corduroy's : "Why don't you bring me home/I don't like being alone"

Yeah, maybe I just think too much. Sarcasm aside, the lyrics are probably the most powerful asset of the disk. The underlying themes are dark and, quite often, depressive and despondent. Some of the tracks appear to be light and radio friendly as long as you don't pay attention to the lyrical content, which is mostly angst–ridden and deep, and at times downright satirical. Sample this:

"I wish I had the numbness I crave/ Just close the door and let me find a vein," sings Moby, the vocalist and songwriter of Corduroy, in 'Dystemper'. 'Blue Chip' includes the rather murky "My/ Everything you wanted why? / Till the last red sunset dies / On your furrowed conscience/ I just wanna fade". And this is how 'Your Song' starts off: "I got a way to join this fan club/ Just slit your wrists and jump right in". Get the flow? So, whereas I have no complaints with the lyrical department and quite applaud the efforts put into the composition, I feel that the underlying music, however, is something that the band needs to work on. At places, the music (especially the drums - I really don't have any issues with the guitars) doesn't do justice to both the lyrics and the composition and sometimes the song ends up suffering because of this. Take 'Goddamned' as an example. Now mentally put the power of, say, the SOAD crew behind it. Maybe not a very good example, but I'm just trying to make a point here. The thing is not to make it sound heavier, but more dynamic and powerful. Add this element to 'Goddamned' and you'll get a song even an established rock band will be proud of.

The reason the band is well known for their live performances could quite possibly be the live music, which is something they haven't been able to capture on this disk. Other than that, the bands first offering is a fine appetizer for all that's yet to come, as it is quite apparent that Corduroy has the potential to come up with even better stuff than what they've displayed on The Morning After. For now though, let's just wait and see if this album is able to make a dent in our industry and whether Corduroy succeed where so many others have failed.
- Instep (21/11/04) - The News International newspaper

"Marching to Their Own Conga Beat"

By Mohammad A Qayyum

It is said that Moby, more formally Mubashir S. Noor, has an attitude problem. It could actually be cockiness and isn't necessarily a problem. Yet, it was with mild amusement that I looked on while Moby accosted a friend of mine after his Civil Junction, Islamabad show with the now classic introductory lines "Hi, nice to meet you. No hard feelings right?" Apparently, Moby and his band Corduroy (not to be confused with Adil Salik's Lahore based Dyed Corduroy) had previously had a run-in with this friend of mine who is a DJ at FM 101 in Islamabad and had stormed out of a Battle of the Bands organized by the same when Moby and his band were asked to play Urdu songs.

Walking out on FM 101 notwithstanding, it seems Moby's cockiness keeps him in good stead at times as a writer of interesting outspoken music articles (it gives an edge to 'Moby's Rantings' on, and at others apparently as a hyperqualified (double masters) PR consultant to IT firms. Reading his articles made me curious about Corduroy and Moby in performance: I wondered how he would fare. I was aware of his music as he had previously sent me a copy of his band's eponymously titled CD (rather good, if a tad too derivative of Pearl Jam). More than all of this I was most curious because it is not often that outspoken critics (read frustrated musicians) have a go at living up the dream of most music critics i.e. to play live music themselves.

So, on a recent Saturday while in Islamabad I went looking for Corduroy in performance. It was with some difficulty that I managed to find Civil Junction hidden away off of Jinnah Super. Moby had said the show would start at 9, but when I arrived at five to nine, I was surprised to hear music already playing. Apparently, as Moby explained later, the crowd had gotten there early and had been getting restless. So the band had started early.

This was a new one, a concert starting before time. But that pretty aptly describes, as I was soon to find out, the band's ethic: Give the audience what they came for. The set list while it had some originals (Leeway was the best) was clearly loaded down with a number of crowd-pleasing numbers (a lot of Pearl Jam, a lot of Stone Temple Pilots, some REM, Def Leppard and some surprises too).

The first song of such crowd pleasers, Stone Temple Pilot's 'Interstate Love Song', was already being played as I hurried up the stairs snaking up to the small concert space at the top of the restaurant. The room was packed and one had to jockey for a place at the back of the room. The band from the outset was in fine form and the song being played had a nice momentum to it.

The band was interesting to say the least: it comprised of five members: Ameel on the Congas, Sarmad on lead guitar, Mazhar on rhythm, Ahmad on bass and Moby on vocals. Mazhar and Sarmad on extreme stage right and left concentratedly played guitars, while Ahmad and Moby were stage centre. Yet towering above them a goateed, burly Ameel back stage centre was a site to behold with wristbands on and menacingly playing congas. The band's setup was in fact extremely effective with undistorted electric guitars and congas and the music managed to come through quite nicely. Their performance made compelling viewing and their confidence is quite impressive. While they were certainly not tight, they were definitely together and more than most they appeared to be a band that deserves to be up on stage.

Moby was chiefly the centre of attention and took a good crack at leading the band. He has great presence, a good sense of humour on stage and can really bellow out tunes well in a Liam Gallagher sort of a way (even though he apes Eddie Vedder to a note). He has all the moves and indeed the growl down pat. However, in performance on the day he had really bad microphone technique: he rarely sang into the microphone. Most of the time one heard his voice off mic and only rarely did his voice wander out through the mic. His performance suffered because of it. Part of the inability to hear him may well have been due to the bad acoustics of the room or the modest sound-rig of the band. Yet, with a house-shattering performance of Roadhouse Blues at the end of the show, Moby made up for all the negatives.

At the end of the day, in the songs they played, all that mattered was the energy they put in. And the band did put in loads and the audience feeding off it appreciated it tons. Def Leppards' 'Two Steps Behind' for all its cheesy pop-metal connotations had everyone singing along in unison, if not in key. One of the highlights of the evening was when the band that wouldn't play Urdu songs threw everyone a curveball with their choice of song, a rearrangement of String's 'Anjaanai'. Once more sing-alongs were an order of the day, and the pleasant surprise choice of song was indeed refreshing. The Band had the audience in the palm of their hand, with all of the audience singing 'Huaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy Anjanay Kyoon' for each of choruses.

The heavier guitar numbers really showed Sarmad, the lead guitarist in a good light. He quite clearly has a following and the audience. But the audience response was at times somewhat grating. A quick bit of tapping seems to bring the goateed scenesters to their feet while the more lyrical and excellent solos by Sarmad were less appreciated by the audience.

Initially actually I found the trendy audience a little off-putting like most things Islamabad. Yet after the ones less interested in music wandered out, the audience really seemed to let their collective hair down and enjoy. It made the experience all the better for it. It was also nice to see a significant female presence as well, something that is often sadly lacking at rock concerts in Lahore.

Overall, as we neared the end of the evening I felt the band definitely has potential. With a little more practice and less reliance on Pearl Jam songs and affectations, they may well be great. But the key thing at the end of the day was that the performance was fun. Everyone clapped, everyone had fun and that is all that mattered.

The night ended with a rendition of 'Last Kiss' by Pearl Jam on popular request. The audience sang it mostly for the band and the band was left smiling and sweat drenched. Moby checked out with the comment "See you next week. Same time, same place. That is unless they chuck us out of here. Or we make it big and head to play at Wembley." Little chance of either actually on the evidence of the night. For now, Corduroy remain a promising band with potential and good for a rocking good time.

(You can catch Corduroy Live every Saturday at Civil Junction F-7 behind Hotspot in Islamabad at 8:30 pm. Their debut CD is also available for purchase and their music can also be found on the net.)

- Instep (15/06/03) - The News International newspaper

"Demo Review - Corduroy"

By Nadeem Farooq Paracha

I being I (thank you very much), am one of those critics who get to hear an act's demo tape/cd long before their official release. But mind you, ever since doing sneak previews of Aamir Zaki's Signature, Junoon's Talaash and Inquilaab and Vital Signs' Hum Tum months before they were officially released, I've been extremely choosy (and snooty) about deciding which album to preview from the many demos and advanced copies that I receive every month.

So the point being (rather the question), why am I reviewing a demo by a little known "underground" Pakistani rock band from Islamabad? And that too of a band which prefers to sing all their songs in English (something I've always discouraged, especially after some of those horrendous Junoon attempts over the years). Remember the awful, awful "Lady Magic?" "No More" was no big relief either.

But there's something about Corduroy that is making me take notice of them here and in this shape. One of them being the lyrics of their songs. Quite impressive, really. Especially in an international rock scene where nursery rhyme like material by the bands such as Limp Bizkit, P.O.D, Nickleback and all those truly irritating "nu-metal" and pseudo-grunge punks, is ooooed and ahhhhed as being "deep."

I mean who else apart from maybe White Stripes Coldplay and Radiohead, are writing good lyrics anymore? The 60s and the 70s was the golden age of great lyrics, and the last worthy wave in this respect came during the early '90s via bands like Oasis, Verve, Rage Against The Machine and Public Enemy and grunge acts such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.

Fine, they weren't really quite like majestic lyricists such as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Roger Waters/Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Jim Morrison, The Clash, Lindsey Bukingum/ Fleetwood Mac, Eagles or Bono/U2, but they were good, in fact perfect for what rock needed to revive itself from the '80s corporate lethargy. And original, early '90s grunge is where Corduroy is coming from (even though I'm sure they were hardly in their teens when grunge exploded with Nirvana's Never Mind in 1991).

Corduroy lyrics have that dense and ironic story telling element that most early grunge acts were so fond of, especially the kind found on Pearl Jam's excellent 1992 debut album, Ten. Ah, the enigmatic PJ. Now here is where I sense Corduroy's main influences lie (and thrive). Lead singer, Mubasshir Noor (aka Moby), sounds a lot like Eddie Vedder (circa Ten and VS). But aren't a lot many rock vocalists these days sounding like Vedder as well? Moby doesn't seem to care because at least unconsciously he realizes a very interesting fact here, i.e. he is an Urdu/Punjaby speaking Pakistani who I personally believe does a better Vedder voice impression than most American Vedder sound-alikes I have heard on MTV (don't have the patience to give an ear to their CD's, really).

And quite unlike all Pakistani acts who have tried to crank out English tunes, Moby's singing (if you are unaware of his ethnic, national and linguistic make up), can actually fool you into believing that he is a young old-school grunge man from the harsh, dark winters of Seattle, USA! Yes, he's that good.

But how good really is this good in a country and scene like Pakistan? Not good. And how good is this good if Corduroy decide to test themselves out in the States or the UK? Perhaps good but never shall it be good enough. Well at least not until they decide to give it their all by laboriously playing in dingy clubs, sleeping in cramped rooms, touring constantly in a beat up van, etc., etc., etc...
Making it big there is no small matter, unless, of course, you are picked up by a cynical corporate label due to looks and dancing skills and subsequently turned into one those manufactured boy bands whose songs sound like bubble gum commercials and perfume endorsements for freckled prepubescents. If so, they may as well follow charming Pakistani legacies in this respect, such as Awaz, Fuzon or (now) for that matter, the current Junoon?

So I am not sure what Corduroy really plans to do with their music? Mid-'90s underground acts such as Mind Riot, Coven and The Trip released English albums as well, only to disappear under the thick layers of smooth and perfumed rubble of mainstream local pop. And I would like to suggest Corduroy exactly what I once suggested the mentioned acts: Keep the compositions but change the medium of the vocals and lyrics. Junoon did it quite successfully, and recently so have Noori (even though I am convinced the later can still be far more dynamic and amplified than they were on Suno Key Hum Hain Jawan). In fact EP's whip-lashing Irtiqa is a good case in point (minus, of course, their decision to actually puncture some very powerful songs with English/slanglish rapping bits).

Corduroy's compositions are unpredictably interesting. Because just when you start to convince yourself that you can predict the structure of the whole song half way through, in shall come some of the most interesting and offbeat guitar riffs and vocal dynamics. The most potent in this context being songs like "Leeway" and "Ground Zero." They do remind one of old Pearl Jam chestnuts like "Even flow" and "Why go home", but I loved the offbeat interplay between the vocals and the guitarist on them, especially on "Ground Zero." They remained unpredictable even to a jaded, heard-it-all ear like mine, and it is this kind of sonic unpredictability that can go a long way in helping a band to truly stand out from the clutter.

This, for example, is precisely why bands like Rush managed to actually survive among '70s heavy rock giants such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. And let me tell you the secret behind the classic status of Led-Zep's Physical Graffiti: John Bonham's offbeat drumming. Try playing air drums to songs like "In My Time Of Dying" and you'll be left exhausted trying to figure out why he's hitting the cymbals when formula dictates he should be hitting the snare (and vise versa!). The same can be said about the guitar and drums on Floyd's Animals and especially, the ultra-cool, completely off-the-wall bass and drums interplay on Rush's "Tom Sawyer", "YYZ" and "Camera Eye" (all from the brilliant Moving Pictures).

To me here is where lies Corduroy's strength. And yes, they should stay away from attempting formulaic rock ballads, such as their "Prologue." It simply is not them. It's hot air. An insult to all that energy and dynamism of matter like "Leeway" and "Ground Zero." These are the two songs which best capture this band's true potential, a potential to do with the act's strengths that I have already discussed. If they can build upon these, and yes, couple them with a few darker and stickier undertones -- well, who knows. But personally I would really like to see this sort of musicianship and vocals (and lyrics), being replicated in Urdu. Only then will I be able to decide exactly where a band like Corduroy can head.

- - 03/04 issue

"Dude Where’s My Snarl?"

By Omeir Qazi

My all time favorite episode of "Celebrity Deathmatch" was the one where Eddie Vedder and Scott Stapp face off. Eddie Vedder rips Stapp’s voice box out with his bare hands (or was it the other way around? I forget). Bone of contention: Vedder claimed that Stapp had stolen his voice.

To fight this battle Mr. Vedder would have to fly all the way down to Pakistan, which he probably would not mind since Pakistan after all is the land of his buddy Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his sensei the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (who Vedder worked with). Pakistan is also the home of Moby and his band Corduroy who seem to have borrowed the early 90’s Seattle sound, albeit more than a decade after it first exploded on the scene. But if Vedder were to reclaim his voice from every living imitator he would be a very busy man. Besides, imitation is the smartest (and highest) form of flattery.

Corduroy displays excellent musicianship on these four tracks. Interestingly enough their guitarist Sarmad has only been playing for a mere two years. Moby’s vocals are excellent when compared to the multitude of other vocalists singing in the alternative style. They have managed to create a raw, energetic demo without any slick production, which bands tend to use to cover up for bad musicianship.

Then there is their proximity to early Pearl Jam which cannot be overlooked. Alternative-style vocals and melodies are stuffed with Van-Halen-esque riffs on most of their songs. "Leeway" albeit having some very catchy melodies seems to have been overdone with all the guitar solos and sounds like a bunch of good sounds forcefully stuffed on one track.

Corduroy manages to create good rock and roll. There is an immense amount of energy present in their songs and I can only imagine what they would be like on stage. The band should be a treat for alternative fans since there is variation in their songs. Unlike many other alternative bands their songs are not structured around the handful of generic chords common to alternative rock. Moreover, their lyrics far thankfully avoid the gross clichés of mainstream alternative rock. Corduroy are certainly more reminiscent of early alternative rock giants like Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots with their elaborate melodies, emphasis on the guitar and diverse lyricism, than say Nickelback or Theory of a Deadman or the likes.

It would be nice to see some innovation in their sound, considering the fact that they show excellent musicianship and have the potential to make good music. Not saying that the music they have made so far is bad, but they need diversity in their sound to get critical acclaim.

If my approach to the band was constrained by "genre limitations", in other words if I was judging them solely as an alternative act, I would probably rank them higher than a lot of other alternative acts around. Besides, the fact that they are in Pakistan makes them even more unique. Otherwise, I’m sure Moby would be able to kick Eddie Vedder’s ass on Celebrity Deathmatch.

"If I was Eddie Vedder
Would You Like Me Any Better "
(Local H -- Eddie Vedder [As good as dead] 1996)

Never thought I’d be quoting a Local H song. I guess everything has a purpose.

- - 03/04 issue

"Rock 'n Roll comes to Pakistan"

By Rohail Khan

Corduroy is one of the best kept secrets in the Pakistani music scene. They’ve been in the Islamabad underground circuit for about two years now and have managed to gather quite a following by performing at Civil Junction on a regular basis. This five man band consists of Moby on vocals, Sarmad (aka Satch Halen) on lead guitars, Mazhar on rhythm guitars, Ahmed on bass and Ameel on drums.

Derrick Marr, the Content Editor at Great White Noise, explains that Corduroy "is every bit as good a rock band as any you are going to hear on any radio station, all they need is that one break, and if they stick around I know it will come their way!" My sentiments exactly.

Moby comes across as a man very confident in his band’s abilities and, quite frankly, after listening to some of their songs I can see where all this confidence comes from. Here’s what I and the band’s front man talked about...

Moby, when was Corduroy formed?
I guess the roots of the band lie in my meeting Sarmad through a mutual friend around 2 years ago. He had just picked up the guitar then, but his inclination towards the instrument was obvious and we hit it off immediately in terms of compositional wavelength. We had different influences to be sure; I was a Gen X kid raised on a diet of the 90’s Seattle scene (Pearl Jam, Seven Mary Three, Screaming Trees, Stone Temple Pilots et al), whereas Sarmad had gotten into Van Halen in 6th grade and idolized the dude. On paper, this would have been the perfect recipe for disaster but we always had a shared vision of how a good song should sound like, so 2 years down the line here we are; releasing a CD that is as diverse as the colors of the rainbow ha, ha!

How long have you guys been playing music? What are your influences?
I’ve been playing in bands here and abroad for a while, usually garage ones that could have never gone anywhere, but I’m very excited about this one. For the first time in my life, I have a musical partner (in Sarmad) who realizes melodies the same way as I do; which is very gratifying.

As far as influences go, suffice to say that we’re known locally as ‘Van Vedder’. We’ve
been labeled everything from Satch (Joe Satriani) playing with Creed, DMB fronted by Vedder to Scott Weiland fronting Van Halen. Sigh... Individually our influences run the gamut of the whole musical spectrum. I’m more into 70’s rock, Sarmad into Dream Theater and the whole virtuoso ilk (Satch, Vai, Johnson, Morse etc); Mazhar listens to melodic doom and heavy metal like Children of Bodom and Iced Earth, whereas Ameel and Ahmed tend to gravitate towards U2 and the Goo Goo Dolls. But the important thing is that we all agree on the definition of a good song.

How is the rock/music scene in Islamabad?
Pretentious to say the least. We keep hearing of bands that are supposedly playing 15 gigs a month and selling out places but we’ve never heard of them! Tsk, tsk. Its time they came out of their asses and smelled the flowers. The only advice I have for people like that is that they should either put up or shut up. If you’ve got the goods, bring ‘em out and let people judge you accordingly. And if it’s a fight you’re looking for, bring on! We’re always ready to prove a point...

The only note-worthy bands in Islamabad playing our genre or thereabouts are Surge, SheryR, and Shaani and his band Electro March. We love playing with them, cause they’re into it for the love of music like us rather than any ulterior motives. The rest of them can go eat muck.

The biggest reason why the twin cities scene is so under-developed is because of the lack of patrons and enthusiasts with moolah. Thanks to Civil Junction and Arshad Bhai’s endeavors to promote art for art’s sake however, things will hopefully change for the better as far as the local underground is concerned.

Corduroy has made a quite a fan following by performing regularly at Civil Junction. How did that come about and how often do you guys perform?
Yea, we’re the biggest home-grown live draw in the city, and I’m sick of pretending otherwise. We can play at most big halls locally and sell out. Recently we were picked as the only band to play the DAWN LIFESTYLES EXPO at the Convention Center, so yea, word gets around. Rocked the place filled with the Billo- awam no less!

The Civil Junction thing was something we did out of our own initiative, because there really wasn’t any incentive, financial or otherwise involved. We knew that for the markets we were targeting, we had to be a more than passable act live and as the people who’ve seen us in action will testify, we’re getting there. Corduroy played for 6 months straight every Saturday from March through September, and that’s helped us a lot as far as intra-band chemistry is concerned. We’re very grateful that CJ allowed us to be the house band and cultivate our core audience, but the fact of the matter remains that we’re the only reason that place is now doing so well.

Are all of you full time musicians or do you do it as something on the side? What are your "day jobs"?
You wish! No, the major reason why we’ve been a bit slow in hitting our straps is the damn day jobs (which I proudly admit to loathing!). Jesus, we should’ve started this is college!

Anyways, we’re all from IT (as in Punjabi for ‘brick’) and curse ourselves everyday for choosing something this yawn-inducing. Ahmed though, is a doctor-in-waiting.

Moby, why did you choose to sing in English in a market where even Urdu rock music barely gets noticed?
Our take on the matter is that that people who bother to listen to Urdu rock are the ones that listen to English rock music anyways. So basically, its just one market erroneously segmented. The people who listen to E.P, Aaroh, Mizraab, Mekaal Hassan are those trying to find hometown heroes playing similar styles to their western idols.

More than that, Pakistan is not our market and we know it. As far as we’re concerned, we’re taking this time to hone our skills and test-market our product.

We are in talks with some indie labels abroad, and as soon as we satisfy their criteria for selling enough CD’s the DIY way, and getting enough local and international underground press on our own, we get the deal. Period. After that, the sky’s the limit. The first step after an international distribution deal materializes is getting our asses out of here.

The two songs, Leeway and Your Song, where and when were they recorded? Who were the producers/engineers? Who are the composers?
Both songs were recorded at our own set-up, Shock Studios, during Ramadan and produced / engineered by Sarmad. We both love the 70’s Steepenwolf via Cream via Grand Funk Railroad sound, and tried to bring that ambience to our recordings. The mp3 downloads are not the final CD mixes so we’re up to tweaking them a bit more in terms of post-production.

As far as the compositions themselves go, the songs are Moby/Sarmad.

How many songs will be on the album? Are they all in English?
Pretty much yea. There are 14-songs on the CD, and the only exception is ‘Aas’(or urdu for ‘longing’). We were forced into including this as the local FM had aired it too many times for us to skip it. I’d like to thank Shazaib Atif for this, he’s been a big help. Our basic problem with it was that it’s not us but then as Sarmad usually remarks, what is us? The CD ranges from Staind-esque ballads to Megadeth-style thrash to shoegazer pop. Sheesh!

Your upcoming album is titled "The Morning After..." what is theme behind the album name and the songs in general?
Well... the songs are basically an insight into different states of mind, the lyrics being the rants of a borderline personality who swings between spitting venom at the state of world affairs to lamenting betrayal by a loved one and later taking it out on the furniture. Throw in a spanner marked ‘paranoia’ in the works and you have the "The morning after..." Uncertainty personified; Deep and fathomless.

When are you planning to release the album?
Considering the fact that Sarmad does a solo at night and thinks its crap in the morning, despite all of us bashing our heads on the wall trying to convince him otherwise; I’d say a while. Jokes aside though, probably another month because mixing is a pain the ass and we’re unfortunately very anal about stuff like this. In the meantime, we plan to release 2 more singles exclusively through Bandbaja, so if you like the stuff, keep watching these spaces. We also plan to give away a few CD’s of our album once its out to Bandbaja for its readership, so that should be a blast.

You have decided to release the album on your own without the aid of a record label. How will you manage it all?
Just like any other business would distribute its product. We’ve selected local retail chains (Illusions, Offbeat etc) after filtering them through our coverage and target audience criteria, so we can expand out of Islamabad when need be, and once the specifics of a partner incentive payout with all the percentages is worked out, it really is no big deal. You keep a tracking system through counter-signed invoice receipts since we’ll be the ones controlling the production of the CD’s. These guys are only too willing to get dough for a more efficient utilization of shelf-space and we get reach. Win-win situation. But yes, it will all take place on legal tender and we’re also planning to get our stuff copyrighted in the US Congress, which scary as it may seem, is actually a relatively straight-forward process through intermediary firms. More details next month....

The plus point about singing in English is that you can market yourself outside of Pakistan, is that something Corduroy is considering?
Yep. That’s our goal. As painfully explained before, Pakistan really isn’t our market. And much as my future brother-in-law would like me to believe, its not the most talented band that is likely to succeed; it’s the one that perseveres the most, and we’re all ready for the hard slog. Like Edison said, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. If the earlier had been the case, Blink-182 would have been forever shining shoes for 5c in Melrose.

The smart thing we did was that we initially exposed our stuff only to musicians abroad who could give us a better analysis on where we stood, and allowed us to use their comments to improve ourselves in a more linear manner. The opinions of the Toms, Dicks and Harry’s inhabiting most internet forums nowadays I can do without. The amount of musical talent on the net is mind-boggling. Just go to Ampcast, Soundclick or any IRC guitar channel for that matter, and try out some of the top guys there. It’s a humbling experience I swear. There are guys out there, totally unknown, who can run rings around Faraz and Mekaal at will!

And I don’t buy the argument that we can’t do it because no other Pakistani band has; there’s always got to be a first. No one thought a Pakistani pop band would make it big in India but Junoon did. So there! We’ve always been up against the odds anyway, so this little one does not dampen our enthusiasm.

Moby you’ve written for Instep, but we haven’t seen a new piece written in a while. Did you stop writing?
Music journalism in Pakistan is essentially a very ‘I save your ass, you save mine’ kind of entity. Playing it safe all the time is not my idea of self-expression.

I salute those who keep on trudging along those lines, all the power to them, but me myself, I’m very tongue-in-cheek and need a platform that encourages people to form their own opinions instead of relying on state-sponsored chicken-feed. Bandbaja is one that comes immediately to mind.

Is it true that everyone in Islamabad goes to sleep at 10pm?
Other than thieves, politicians and that blasted Walls-wala; yes.

Any videos in the pipeline to promote the album?
As soon as we feel we’ve exhausted the potential of further CD sales through gigging locally, yes. Right now, we don’t have the dough and it does not make much business sense. Releasing a video for the sake of releasing it is not very smart, and only shows how big a loaded dumbass you are. Hence the clogged airwaves of Indus Music. Nice to meet you Imik and Malkoo hee haw!

What’s in your CD player these days?
Audioslave and STP’s ‘Thank You’. ‘Sour Girl’ is my fave right now because it reminds me of my soul mate, Hina, which is a definite high! Guess that has to do with the gorgeous chorus, hmm...

What do you think about the music scene right now? Has rock n roll come to Pakistan yet?
I think what most other rational and sane people do, that it’s a good thing. Now if only they’d have a filtering criterion to eject Sehar and Jawad Bashir out.

Famous last words?
Welcome back NFP! We missed ya buggaboo!

- - 02/04 issue

"The Musik Awards"

By Insiya Syed

..."Some of the surprising winners included Sameer Ahmed for "Best Bassist" instead of the more applaudable Khalid Khan; Imran Momina aka Immu losing out to the extremely underrated Shuja Haider for the "Best Keyboardist"; "Leeway" by Corduroy winning the "Most Wanted English Track" instead of the very celebrated "Free Style Dive" by the Sajid and Zeeshan duo; and "Mahiya" winning the "Most Wanted Song" 2006"... - Images (07/06) - The Dawn Newspaper

"Music Review - The Morning After"

By Nadeem Farooq Paracha

DIY. Do It Yourself. Not a common occurrence in the Pakistani rockpop music scene. A scene usually packed with men and women beating their chests about the absence of the required number of record labels in the country. A scene in which most acts are caught catwalking in front of cynical multinationals and assorted corporate paraphernalia to wet their solely commercial interests. So where does a purely DIY effort like Corduroy?s ?The Morning After? fit in here?
To begin with try spinning it on your CD player. If not for anything then at least to register your approval of such independent initiatives and to register your protest against formulaic crap being pressed and promoted as pop and rock by crass cola and tea endorsers and the many mediocre media outlets they are being hailed on.
Even though one can praise the ideological aspect of the DIY philosophy and practice, does this also mean that all such ventures are worth a serious listen? Because way back in the late-?80s when as a ruffled college kid I realized that not all DIY material coming out from New York, California and London underground scenes was as good or exciting as, say, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Sonic Youth, Television or Black Flag. I used to get my sister to post me heap loads of underground stuff but very rarely did I manage to discover an untapped Floyd, or a brand new Sabbath, or anything that could challenge the edge offered by the likes of Sonic Youth, Suzanne Vega, DRI or Public Enemy.
But in a time and place where the underground scene (anywhere in the world) is quite clueless to even know and grasp what the term really or once stood for, and when mainstream music is more about posing for videos and commercials than recapturing the might and muscle of the likes of all the Zeppelins, Floyds, Dylans, Jacksons and Nirvanas ? or for that matter (and in our case), the early Junoon and VS ? an album such as this should cheer cynics such as me?
Well it should. But not the way I thought it would. Because even though I did find the compositional sides and musicmanship apt and interesting in the review I did for Corduroy?s EP on this site a few months ago, however, when I decided to listen to them on a full length album, it was (as if as a firmer second opinion), clear that Corduroy?s main strength lies not so much on the band?s Pearl-Jam-meets-Van-Halen chords and cuts, but in their lyrics!
I?ve always had problems with local bands singing in English, because almost all of them (even Junoon, if not especially Junoon!), sound nothing more than pompous, or worse, comical. And even though such was not the case with Corduroy, I still wanted to see them using their talents more in the Urdu rock territory. But since this time around I had a full lyric sheet in front of me I understood exactly why Corduroy has insisted on using English as their language of choice in this respect.
They lyrics are some of the best I?ve seen this side of Roger Waters, David Bowie, Eddie Veddar and Thom York. This may seem to be a bombastic and overstated observation on my part, but coming from a man who does not suffer fools gladly and is not prone to dish out such exhibitions of flamboyant praise, I think you should visit to get the picture. In fact I was so taken in by the quality of song writing I suddenly realized how unimportant the music sounded. It is my belief that such lyrics require music that is a lot more dynamic, adventurous and expressive. In other word, more vividly reflective of the weighty nature of the lyrics. But mind you, by weighty I do not mean that they aspire the grandeur landscapes emoted by lyrics of acts such as Rush, ELP, Yes, Celtic Frost or Animals-era-Floyd. They reminded me a lot as being a criss-cross between Bowie?s quirky eccentricity, REM?s enigmatic word play and Pearl Jam ?s (or vintage, early ?90s grunge rock?s) irreverent, satirical pessimism.
All of them are by lead singer Mobasshir Noor (aka Moby). And it is this exceptional talent of his that has saved him from being taken to task by yours truly for failing not to become YET ANOTHER Eddie Veddar imitation. And ironically it is the band?s sole Urdu song on the album (the rather flat ?Aas?), that proves that Moby does have the ability to sound a lot different.
However, my question remains, exactly where does a Pakistani rock act singing in English sees itself? With music that is only interesting in bits and pieces and vocals that remind one of the many Pearl Jam wannabes already out there, it is suffice to say that Corduroy will most probably wont venture beyond the territory already treaded and exhausted by the now defunct (English singing) local rock acts such as Coven, Mind Riot and The Trip. But I must say, the breath and vision and kind of word play and imagery used by Moby in his lyrics does suggest a musician who is not in it just to live out a short rock boy fantasy. But I insist that Corduroy will have to work harder on their music, because even though there is nothing sloppy about the musicmanship, it just doesn?t manage to sound something more than just a grittier version of Noori?s lightweight college rock. And as mentioned earlier, all these terrific lyrics will require a lot more twists and turns and more adventurous dynamics as music. And I am convinced that by the time the next Corduroy album arrives (and I hope it does), the band would have advanced in leaps and bounds. All the seeds are there. All there.

- - 07/14/04 issue

"Interview with Moby of Corduroy"

by Hashim Nauman

Who doesn’t know Corduroy? One of the best bands that have come out of Islamabad. One of the best live acts as well. It’s always a treat to watch them live as they always get better and better. Band chemistry is amazing and that shows. Their first album “The Morning After” was received very well. Among both critics and a general music listener. They recently released the first song from their new album “Bipolar” which will be released somewhere at the end of this year.

The songs called “Follow” and I recently caught up with Mubashir Noor more commonly known as Moby. And talked about different aspects of the general music scene and his songs.

Hi Moby!
Hazar Janaab!

So let’s start, tell us a little about your last album “The Morning After”, how was response?
Pretty good, we’re getting pirated now in Islamabad so that says something. We’ve got the world’s most loyal cult following so I’m happy.

And what about the contract with Tariq Amin’s label? Where does Corduroy go from here?
Well initially they’re supposed to re-release TMA all over urban Pakistan, hopefully with a few videos along the way. We’ll probably make some headway with regards to that during the middle of the year.

How do you see yourself maturing as a band? How is your new album different to TMA?
It’s more angular for once, and of course we’ve matured a lot as writers. Lyrically I think I’m more schizophrenic than ever.

So that is where “Follow” comes in?
Ha-ha yes. It was something I composed on the keys and Sarmad sprinkled his studio magic as usual. Sarmad Faraz is the most underrated musician of his generation.

What in your view makes Sarmad different from his contemporaries?
He thinks like a songwriter, not a guitar player. That’s why most of his solos on TMA were so lyrical. But people are going to be surprised by “Bipolar”. We’ve all changed as people and musicians and I have no doubt that it is for the better. Funnily enough, during the production of the song, he told me if only he’d been able to write lyrics, he would’ve kicked me out a long time ago.

So what’s the general vibe while recording. I’ve seen you people record and what I could see was laid back, and chilled people record and have fun. Is that the Corduroy vibe?
I guess so. The process of creation is such a high, you can’t help going along for the ride. Me and Sarmad are however, very anal and will go long into the night discussing how certain things should sound. It’s all very charming and gentlemanly over packs of borrowed fags.

So it has moved forward from the Marriott wala khokha?
Ha Ha yea, Sarmad’s shifted and that place is no longer convenient for us. Rayyans is the new Marriot wala khokha.

So it HAS moved forward.
Yeah, I think we’re no longer broke for once.

I’ve heard Wasim of Rung fame has joined the Corduroy Platoon. Is he a permanent member?
Wasim’s a jigger and an amazing drummer. The main factor in us being able to explore other musician grounds is because of his dexterity at the stool. He’s a member for as long as he chooses to be.

So his contribution to the new album is as much as the rest?
His contribution to the sound, yes.

So that’s another base added to the TMA sound and it’s much more mature now?
Oh yea, inshAllah this cd will have all live drums. Like I said, we’re no longer as broke as we used to be. TMA was just the tip of the iceberg called Corduroy. If fate doesn’t intervene, we hope to make good music for many years to come.

So what’s the inspiration behind “Follow”?
Well, as corny as it sounds, music is just revealed to me. I rarely get inspired. It may be something subliminal but I can’t be sure.

How was the experience recording with Myra, who is totally new to the scene?
Myra’s great. She sang like a pro. Said she was nervous but I didn’t feel it. She’s the best female singer in this city for sure, in my honest opinion at least. People have this misconception that singing is mainly about key. It’s more about tone and phrasing.

What follows “Follow”?
“Bipolar” the song follows “Follow”. We release that in a few weeks time along with our new website. That’s going to be another surprise. Something people don’t expect from us. Basically his cd will be the bridge between the songwriting Corduroy and the Muso Corduroy. God knows. I’m tempted to write a concept album next.

You’ve been quite honest and blunt putting forth thoughts about bands in the so called “underground” scene. Any prospects you see coming ahead?
Yes, Saturn. Raakh is one of the best underground songs I’ve heard in years.

Any other songs that you’ve heard that you think are a drift from the usual 3-5-7?
Do you mean Pakistani songs or General

Pakistani songs
Hmm, Annie’s Mahiya. It’s stupidly catchy.

I agree. Did you know she’s 18 and sings Britney Spears songs live and actually sucks at it too?
Err, is this an interview question?

He he acha.

How was the experience shooting the video for “leeway”?
Hehehe, it was to quote our director Furqan Bhai, a sausage fest. We’re just trying to break down stigmas man. You don’t have to look or act a certain way to be rock or whatever.

How much time did it take you to set up the equipment in the shoot room?
Lol, long enough to have everyone present hate us.

But the Dart board helped simmer down that hate didn’t it?
He he Yeah.

So who was the drummer in the video?
Our little buddy named Ibrahim; he very graciously helped us out in our time of need.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
It’d been brainwashed

By the Nazi’s?
No, by the core of evolution.

Anyone who you would like to thank in the end?
Yes. Whoever the hell uses me as a conduit to write music and hence make me happy. Myra, for taking out the time to help us. I would thank Sarmad, except, it goes to his head.

How important do you think is a webzine like UMR’s job in promoting music?
Anyone that promotes unsigned music deserves a pat on the back.

Thanks for the time, viva la revolution.

- - 02/06 issue

"MUSICBOX: The morning after — Corduroy"

By Taimur Saleem

The rock revolution that has recently spawned in the Pakistani music scene is a good omen for the future. While bands like [EP] might have harvested some success with their high power balladry and fusion of English rap with Urdu rock, newer players in the field like Corduroy have gone for an out and out English venture.

Known best for vitalizing the crispy scent of youth at live gigs through their energetic performances, this rock band from Islamabad showcases substantial promise. With their debut album, The Morning After, the pentad band (current line up includes Moby on the vocals, Sarmad Faraz on lead guitar, Ameel Zia on drums, Ali Qamar on rhythm and Ahmed Siddiqui on bass) gives listeners a lavish sampling of 10 English tracks and a solitary Urdu number.

The lyrics department of the album comes out fairly strong and satirical. Penned by lead vocalist Mubashir Noor (aka Moby — a pseudo Eddie Vadder); the band goes from strength to strength on the weight of its incisive lyrics which make their music an exceptional social document.

The album opener, Your Song, is a brutally depressing, yet honest track that has conspicuously dark undertones. Stronger tracks like Leeway, Goddamned and Dystemper follow suit, with torment and anguish being the core themes the band preaches. Corduroy also tries its hand at softer stuff. Encased in auras of decent guitar work, numbers like Prologue and You’re Everywhere acclimatize the listeners with the dynamic range of music that Corduroy can grapple. The only Urdu song (and the last number on the disc), Aas, is unfortunately the biggest letdown of the album. It is an uninspiring and comatose effort in an otherwise brilliant production.

Now, coming to the hiccups the band faces as it goes mainstream. Firstly, the independent production, distribution and marketing of an English album in Pakistan is tantamount to a huge gamble. Secondly, the album leans too heavily on English rock and one wonders if general Pakistani audiences are ready to digest a desi version of Pearl Jam-meets-Eddie Van Halen-meets-Dave Matthews Band with its idiosyncratic mantra of all rock and no roll! Thirdly, can they stay afloat in the competitive music scene while targeting such a limited audience? Fourthly, are all the resemblances the band appears to have (including the name of the band which is actually the title of a track from PJ’s 1994 album, Vitology) with western rock giants just flattering coincidences? - Images (09/01/05) - The Dawn newspaper


Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...