Qayaas
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Qayaas

Islamabad, Islāmābād, Pakistan | SELF

Islamabad, Islāmābād, Pakistan | SELF
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"Qayaas Featured In Rolling Stone Magazine Middle East and India"

"Qayaas, the progressive-rock band from Islamabad, are bucking the trend for Pakistani rock bands by proving that their music can work in overseas markets. Founded in 2008 by lead guitarist Khurram Waqar, and currently consisting of Waqar, vocalist Umair Jaswal, bassist Shaheryar Ghayas, and drummer Kamran Farooque, Qayaas (which translates as ‘Deliberation’) first came to international attention when they beat off competition from 25 other acts to win the Best Rock Band (From Pakistan) award at the 2010 Jack Daniel’s Annual Rock Awards in India (held in partnership with Rolling Stone). " - Rollling Stone Magazine


"Qayaas, revitalising rock genre in Pakistan!"

Let us start with each band member’s take on the question, ‘What is Qayass to you?

Umair: A dream come true.

Khurram: An avenue for promoting a positive mindset through good and honest music. Sarmad: Band of Brothers!

Sherry: My alter conscience.

Fifu: A collective voice calling out to the humanity and decency in everyone.

The alliance of these different yet positive mindsets has given us the band, Qayaas, which I have to say, is a rock band in the truest sense of the word. The vocals, use of instruments, lyrics – all contribute equally in forming a perfect rock fusion! Each song of the album has something new to offer, in terms of music, lyrical delivery, imagery and even the emotions that it arouses within the listener. The song ‘Uss paar’, for instance, is a classic example of rock/metal, presenting dark images and accompanied by heartrending lyrics. The song describes the emotion of monotony that stirs as a repercussion of one’s acceptance of sufferings in love, which might seem a cowardly emotion from the outward but in real asks for all the courage, strength and emotional capacity of a person.

Further up, the songs ‘Halaak’ and ‘Inquilaab’ break through the previously built-up dreary environment and stir commotion within the listener.

‘Halaak’ seems to be describing the feelings that would actually lead to an inquilaab. It speaks against the injustices in society; those injustices can be social, political, religious, etc, depending on the listener’s interpretation. Meanwhile, the song ‘Inquilaab’ puts forward the concept of revolution, its importance and the immense power it has. With hard-hitting, intense lyrics, it sends a chill down the listener’s spine.

Terey aagay jhuktay rahey

Girtay rahein hain khuda

Aaj bhi,

Aahat se teri jaaga hun mein raat

Raat bhar..

Hereafter, we see a marked shift in the mood and music of the album. ‘Shehrezade’ expounds a compelling musical rhythm, slowing down on the chorus na na na na na and escalating as soon as the singer exits the chorus. The rhythm and the beat keeps one grounded to the song and the most amusing part of the song I guess is the spontaneous guttural spit at the end!

Qayaas’ versatility is brilliantly reflected through the album from this point onwards. Hardcore and rock music being their trademark, one would not expect slow, melodious songs from the band. However, the album sees a drastic shift henceforth, which moves to mellow, harmonious of songs the likes of ‘Pal’, ‘Umeed’ with tabla playing in the background, ‘Terey Liye’, ‘Pukaar’ and ‘Monsoon’. Qayaas’ music also caters to the Punjabi audience, though its melodious piece ‘Charkha’ that has the ability to send the listener into a trance, making him relate to the protagonist’s misery arising due to separation from his lover.

Sun charkay di mithi mithi kook

Mahiya meinu yaad awnda

Mere dil vichun uthdi aye hook

Mahiya meinu yaad awnda

While talking to Daily Times about the inspiration behind the song ‘Charkha’, the band members said, “Charkha, the very name harks back to the romance of a lost era. It is a timeless and perennial favourite rendered by two of the biggest legends of Pakistani music (Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Reshma). It is a true glimpse into the rich tradition of folk music speaking to the goat herd, the fisherman and the skilled musician alike.”

Up next is the song ‘Ishq’, which is an archetypical example of Sufi rock, especially with lyrics like Ishq bana day mujhe malang, Tera ishq bana day mujhe malang.

Towards the end, we have the songs ‘Mera Wana’ and ‘Tanha’. The two songs present a certain kind of optimism by stating mere realities. For example, the song ‘Tanha’ puts forward the concept of ‘man comes alone, leaves alone’, which is a very intrinsic reality and only after accepting which can a person move resolutely in life.

“Music can be used as a motivation for the advocacy of a common cause. Our singles ‘Umeed’, ‘Tanha’ and ‘Inquilaab’ do exactly that. They utilise the ability of music as a potent medium of communication and a form of political activism. We feel that music can go a long way in healing the heartache of our war-torn nation and emphasise the importance of unity and keeping a positive outlook in times of struggle,” the band says.

Qayaas has numerous achievements in the bag and is all set to add some more to the collection! They are soon to have an album launch concert tour in Lahore and Karachi, with the launch show already being a hit in Islamabad. Qayaas has come up with videos of four of its songs, namely ‘Tanha’, ‘Pukaar’, ‘Umeed’ and ‘Shehrezade’, with ‘Charkha’s’ video coming out in July.

Moreover, the songs ‘Inquilaab’ and ‘Pal’ are to be used in the soundtrack of an upcoming movie ‘Waar’ being produced by Mindworks Media and directed by Bilal Lashari. The song ‘Mera Wana’ is to be used in the soundtrack of another upcoming movie ‘Peochar’, also by Mindworks Media. Also, the band has started work on an English album for the international market.

The two words that come to my mind after listening to Qayaas’ music are, ‘soulful’ and somewhat ‘addictive’, with my personal favourite songs being ‘Pal’, ‘Umeed’, and ‘Charkha’.

I would like to end this comment piece by quoting some very positive and hopeful lines used by Qayaas in the song ‘Umeed’,

Yaad ayain tou ham bhulain gay

Waqt ho apna kaarwaan

Ham khayalon se door jayein gay

Raaston pe chor dein nishaan.

Umir Jaswal: Lead vocals

Khurram Waqar: Guitar, Arrangement and Audio Production

Sarmad Abdul Ghafoor: Guitar and Audio Production

Shaheryar Ghayas: Bass Guitar

Salman Rafique: Drums/ Percussions - Daily Times


"Qayaas, revitalising rock genre in Pakistan!"

Let us start with each band member’s take on the question, ‘What is Qayass to you?

Umair: A dream come true.

Khurram: An avenue for promoting a positive mindset through good and honest music. Sarmad: Band of Brothers!

Sherry: My alter conscience.

Fifu: A collective voice calling out to the humanity and decency in everyone.

The alliance of these different yet positive mindsets has given us the band, Qayaas, which I have to say, is a rock band in the truest sense of the word. The vocals, use of instruments, lyrics – all contribute equally in forming a perfect rock fusion! Each song of the album has something new to offer, in terms of music, lyrical delivery, imagery and even the emotions that it arouses within the listener. The song ‘Uss paar’, for instance, is a classic example of rock/metal, presenting dark images and accompanied by heartrending lyrics. The song describes the emotion of monotony that stirs as a repercussion of one’s acceptance of sufferings in love, which might seem a cowardly emotion from the outward but in real asks for all the courage, strength and emotional capacity of a person.

Further up, the songs ‘Halaak’ and ‘Inquilaab’ break through the previously built-up dreary environment and stir commotion within the listener.

‘Halaak’ seems to be describing the feelings that would actually lead to an inquilaab. It speaks against the injustices in society; those injustices can be social, political, religious, etc, depending on the listener’s interpretation. Meanwhile, the song ‘Inquilaab’ puts forward the concept of revolution, its importance and the immense power it has. With hard-hitting, intense lyrics, it sends a chill down the listener’s spine.

Terey aagay jhuktay rahey

Girtay rahein hain khuda

Aaj bhi,

Aahat se teri jaaga hun mein raat

Raat bhar..

Hereafter, we see a marked shift in the mood and music of the album. ‘Shehrezade’ expounds a compelling musical rhythm, slowing down on the chorus na na na na na and escalating as soon as the singer exits the chorus. The rhythm and the beat keeps one grounded to the song and the most amusing part of the song I guess is the spontaneous guttural spit at the end!

Qayaas’ versatility is brilliantly reflected through the album from this point onwards. Hardcore and rock music being their trademark, one would not expect slow, melodious songs from the band. However, the album sees a drastic shift henceforth, which moves to mellow, harmonious of songs the likes of ‘Pal’, ‘Umeed’ with tabla playing in the background, ‘Terey Liye’, ‘Pukaar’ and ‘Monsoon’. Qayaas’ music also caters to the Punjabi audience, though its melodious piece ‘Charkha’ that has the ability to send the listener into a trance, making him relate to the protagonist’s misery arising due to separation from his lover.

Sun charkay di mithi mithi kook

Mahiya meinu yaad awnda

Mere dil vichun uthdi aye hook

Mahiya meinu yaad awnda

While talking to Daily Times about the inspiration behind the song ‘Charkha’, the band members said, “Charkha, the very name harks back to the romance of a lost era. It is a timeless and perennial favourite rendered by two of the biggest legends of Pakistani music (Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Reshma). It is a true glimpse into the rich tradition of folk music speaking to the goat herd, the fisherman and the skilled musician alike.”

Up next is the song ‘Ishq’, which is an archetypical example of Sufi rock, especially with lyrics like Ishq bana day mujhe malang, Tera ishq bana day mujhe malang.

Towards the end, we have the songs ‘Mera Wana’ and ‘Tanha’. The two songs present a certain kind of optimism by stating mere realities. For example, the song ‘Tanha’ puts forward the concept of ‘man comes alone, leaves alone’, which is a very intrinsic reality and only after accepting which can a person move resolutely in life.

“Music can be used as a motivation for the advocacy of a common cause. Our singles ‘Umeed’, ‘Tanha’ and ‘Inquilaab’ do exactly that. They utilise the ability of music as a potent medium of communication and a form of political activism. We feel that music can go a long way in healing the heartache of our war-torn nation and emphasise the importance of unity and keeping a positive outlook in times of struggle,” the band says.

Qayaas has numerous achievements in the bag and is all set to add some more to the collection! They are soon to have an album launch concert tour in Lahore and Karachi, with the launch show already being a hit in Islamabad. Qayaas has come up with videos of four of its songs, namely ‘Tanha’, ‘Pukaar’, ‘Umeed’ and ‘Shehrezade’, with ‘Charkha’s’ video coming out in July.

Moreover, the songs ‘Inquilaab’ and ‘Pal’ are to be used in the soundtrack of an upcoming movie ‘Waar’ being produced by Mindworks Media and directed by Bilal Lashari. The song ‘Mera Wana’ is to be used in the soundtrack of another upcoming movie ‘Peochar’, also by Mindworks Media. Also, the band has started work on an English album for the international market.

The two words that come to my mind after listening to Qayaas’ music are, ‘soulful’ and somewhat ‘addictive’, with my personal favourite songs being ‘Pal’, ‘Umeed’, and ‘Charkha’.

I would like to end this comment piece by quoting some very positive and hopeful lines used by Qayaas in the song ‘Umeed’,

Yaad ayain tou ham bhulain gay

Waqt ho apna kaarwaan

Ham khayalon se door jayein gay

Raaston pe chor dein nishaan.

Umir Jaswal: Lead vocals

Khurram Waqar: Guitar, Arrangement and Audio Production

Sarmad Abdul Ghafoor: Guitar and Audio Production

Shaheryar Ghayas: Bass Guitar

Salman Rafique: Drums/ Percussions - Daily Times


"Qayaas make their presence felt"



In times when record labels are acting as the biggest hindrance in the progress of music, the availability of a fresh Pakistani rock album comes as a welcome change. Qayaas is an Islamabad-based Pakistani rock band which recently released its first album Uss Paar under the banner of BIY (Believe in Yourself) records and has developed a cult following in a short time.

The band has Umair Jaswal on lead vocals, while Khurram Waqar plays the guitars, does the arrangement and audio production. Sarmad Abdul Ghafoor also plays the guitars and audio production, whereas Shaheryar Ghayas plays the bass guitar and Salman Rafique plays the drums and percussions.

The album kicks off with an upbeat, instrument-heavy song called “Uss Paar”. After a few seconds of heavy rock music, you start tapping your feet to the catchy groove of the song. Next is “Inquilab”, which is also on the original sound track for Bilal Lashari’s upcoming film Waar. This song is a great example of how a proper rock vocalist can completely change the song when accompanied by catchy grooves on the bass guitar. It is a treat for hardcore rock music fans. “Halaak”, like many other songs in the album is a song of retaliation and the thought-provoking lyrics make it complete. Even though the guitar solo in “Halaak” is the cherry on top of the cake, the repetition of a guitar solo in more or less every song makes them all sound really similar at times.

“Sheherzade”, the next track, shows the group’s maturity as a band that meshes their individual talents and takes the listener on a ride. However, by the middle of the album, the vocal renditions start sounding very similar and are slightly exasperating, as the singer tends to overdo his vocals and brings the overall quality of the song down.

Next, the listener is treated to slow and mellow rock ballads such as “Pal”, which is also on the soundtrack of Waar. “Umeed” is a beautiful piece of song writing, while “Charkha” is a tragic Punjabi song.

“Ishq” is a Sufi number that sounds a lot like Aaroh’s “Jaaney Kyun” and is one of the weakest links of the album. Rock bands in Pakistan should stop forcing half-hearted Sufi tracks in their albums, and this is exactly what happened with “Ishq”. The song has a catchy melody but is nothing compared to some of their other songs. Sounding very much like Vital Signs, “Teray Liye” could be their ticket to the commercial music market, whereas “Monsoon” has nothing special to offer, other than the sound effects of rain in the beginning and the bad vocals. “Pukaar” is filled with keyboard notes well worth a listen and is a well-arranged song. The lyrics, however, left a lot to be desired.

The album ends with “Mera Wana”, which is also on the soundtrack of Peochaar, and takes you on an interesting journey. Beginning with the sounds of bullets and bombs, it is followed by some heavy-duty guitars and phenomenal work on the drums. “Mera Wana” is one of the more complicated songs on the album, as far as the instrumentals are concerned. The song is an expression of the common man’s plea in these times. The band actually manages to make a social statement, unlike so many other rock bands in Pakistan.

All praises aside, despite having a good rock vocalist and great musicians, the band’s songs can be irritating at times. The presence of guitar solos in more or less all the songs and the extra effort put in by their vocalist to attempt long alaaps becomes annoying. Moreover, they seem to be inspired a lot by Noori, especially as far as their ballads are concerned. However, the album is much better than what is currently present in the market and with seasoned musicians attached with the band, they don’t seem to be just one-hit wonders. All in all, Qayaas is a band made up of mature musicians who are talented and who, above all, know the importance of quality music production. - The Express Tribune


"Waar: Pakistan’s next blockbuster?"

KARACHI:

2011 seems to be slated as the year of the rebirth of Pakistani cinema. With all the excitement about the imminent release of Shoaib Mansoor’s Bol, the industry is now abuzz with news of Bilal Lashari’s first feature-length venture Waar, which is currently in post production. The film has been produced by MindWorks Media and has been shot in collaboration with Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The film has been receiving a lot of attention due to rumours of a release by Warner Bros. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) slates the release date as June 1, 2011 and the estimated budget is reported to be a whopping $2,000,000 (Rs170, 000,000).

The director of the film, Bilal Lashari, is well known in the industry. A graduate of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, USA, where he earned a BFA in Motion Pictures and Television in 2008, Lashari has already made a name for himself in directing music videos. He has worked with top artists and bands like Abrarul Haq, Atif Aslam, Meekal Hassan Band, Jal and EP.

In 2008, Lashari won ‘Best Music Video Director’ at the Lux Style Awards and ‘Best Pop Video’ at the MTV Pakistan Music Video Awards for “Sajni”. He has also directed the popular video “Chal Bulleya” for Meekal Hassan Band.

Lashari also worked as assistant director for Shoaib Mansoor during the filming of Khuda Kay Liye.

Waar (to strike) is an action/thriller and drama film. It has been written by Hassan Waqas Rana and stars Pakistan’s actors, Shaan Shahid and Shamoon Abbasi. It is also said to star Sadia Hyat Khan, a new comer in the industry.

While it is thrilling to hear news of a Pakistani feature backed by a major studio, the subject matter fails to excite. The storyline has been inspired by the war on terror in Pakistan and its effects on the world, but with a stylised interpretation of it. It is something that cinema goers worldwide have been exposed to over and over again. One hopes that Rana has penned a script that finds a new and refreshing angle to explore war and terrorism.

The soundtrack of the film has been done by Qayaas, a Pakistani band. According to Khurram Waqar, the lead guitarist of Qayaas, “Inquilaab”, “Khayaal” and “Pal” are all part of the soundtrack. The presence of Qayaas in the film makes the project sound even more interesting.

This English-language film has been shot at various locations in and outside of Pakistan, from Lahore, to the beautiful hills of Islamabad and the breathtaking Swat Valley, where a major military operation was launched two years ago. Some parts of the film have also been shot in Istanbul, Turkey.

The film will first be screened at some major international film festivals and will then be released worldwide.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2011. - The Express Tribune


"Quintessential Qayaas"

ISLAMABAD:

After the downfall of many rock bands in Pakistan, Qayaas comes out with a promising launch, testifying that these boys are here to stay. Musicians by passion, this group has brought a new flavour to Pakistani rock music. After winning the Band of the Year Award at the Jack Daniels Awards for Rock Music in India, the band has not stopped to make their mark on the music industry.

The launch of their debut album, “Uss Paar”, at Islamabad’s Rock Musicarium, on April 23, saw an emancipated turnout of fans who were ready to head bang. “Uss Paar” has been in the making for quite a while and with Ali Noor of Noorie endorsing the band, the music industry got a heads up that Qayaas is serious about what they are doing and what they want to achieve.

“We have financed the album ourselves and it is very important for us that this album sells,” says Khurram Waqar, bass guitarist of Qayaas. With day jobs under their belt, the boys jam after work and devote whatever time they get to their band. Umair Jaswal’s solid deep vocals add depth to the composition of the crazy music, which these boys create.

Dr Hasan — who’s the producer of, the latest Pakistani film, Waar: The Strike — supports the music that these boys make and to further their careers as serious rock musicians, he has used two songs from “Uss Paar” as the official soundtrack for the film. “The concept of the film came from a composition which Qayaas had started up at Monal restaurant with the help of matchboxes,” says Dr Hasan. Rushing back to the studio, as fast as they could, the band jammed on the tune they already had and by the end of the night had a solid composition that inspired Dr Hasan to go ahead with his project.

Qayaas is known to experiment with Urdu vocals merging them with heavy metal music. Their music is not mainstream and may not appeal to Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar fans, but it has its own niche market. “I love their music and am very happy that they are finally coming out with an album,” says Ehtesham Ali Khan, a local menswear designer.

The casual setting of concert and the address by Umair Jaswal to the audience didn’t feel like a serious concert, rather it seemed as if old friends were getting together to sing along and listen to great music. “Charkah”, “Pukaar”, “Inqilab” and “Tere liye” seemed to be the hot favourites for the night. As the lighters went up and fans swayed to the music, many made their way forward towards the stage to head bang with the band. Adrenaline is the greatest drug and it seemed as if the music produced, pumped adrenaline through the crowd as they cheered and requested for their personal favourites. - The Express Tribune


"Qayaas-Uss Paar (Album Review)"

Hello everyone!

I am just super excited to be reviewing an album that I had been anticipating for a long time. Qayaas's debut album "Us Paar" has been released on all major online retail stores and shall be releasing in Pakistan through a label called "Believe In Yourself" on April 16th. Since I am not residing in Pakistan at the moment I decide to purchase the album through Cd Baby.



The moment the download was complete I started listening to the first track and I can tell you there was not a single moment of disappointment. When I was purchasing the album I knew I would be spending my 10 dollars at the right place.

Qayaas is a Progressive/Alternative Rock outfit residing in Islamabad Pakistan. The musicians in this band are extremely experienced and versatile when it comes to their art. There was absolutely no doubt in my head about the musicianship on this album,which in all honesty is exceptionally good. The band consists of:

Umair Jaswal:Vocals

Khurram Waqar: Guitars/Arrangements/Production

Sarmad Ghafoor:Guitars/Production

Sherayar Khan:Bass

Salman Rafique: Drums/Percussion



Let's get in to the songs respectively as they are on the album:

1.Us Paar: You know there are very few albums in Pakistan that would actually get you on your feet. Mostly when listeners listen to music in Pakistan they listen to music causally just like they breath,eat,and sleep casually. The difference between good and average music is that if it doesn't capture your attention fully then it's average. Us Paar has nothing average about it because from the first riff and drum hit it truly captivates the listener's ears. "Uss Paar" is the title track of the album and to me it explores the loss of a goal,aim,and love. It portrays the realisation of lost moments,and being completely blinded by the truth of a situation. It really hits a nerve with an edge. The drum work,guitars,bass,and vocals are excellent on the album. I think many people will see Salman's talent on the drums when they hear this song and many others on the album. Salman has only been playing drums for 6 years but in the 6 years he has a lot of chops and phrasing under his belt. Sheryar's multi talent is very prominent; he is not only a good guitar player in the various bands he has played with prior to Qayaas but proves to be a fantastic bass player who can really keep a groove and balance the dynamics of the song. Khurram Waqar and Sarmad Ghafoor need no introduction when it comes to their respective instruments. The guitar work has been done wonderfully on this track. The riffs are very punchy and have a lot of attitude in them,and the solos are not your typical shred offs but rather musical passages. You would find a lot of bluesy type of guitar licks on the solo section of this track which is absolutely excellent. Last but not the least are Umair Jaswal's vocal skills on this track. Absolutely phenomenal! This man's range is absolutely wonderful. The notes he reaches and the way he really works with the dynamics of this song is truly exceptional. Umair definitely has to be one of the most gifted vocalists in the contemporary scene of Pakistan. More about the band's amazing skills as we move along.



2.Inquilab: Inquilaab's teaser was released in the summer of 2010 on "You Tube" and ever since I heard that I had been truly wanting to hear the entire track. I believe the word "Epic" describes this track. This track has a complete "In Your Face Attitude". Inquilab means revolution and the title of the track does complete justice to the song. The song can be taken as a political statement or your own personal revolution. I think it's a perfect track to break out of the vicious cycle of life which consists of a person to be looked down upon,not cared for,ignored,manipulated,threatened,and bashed. Inquilab is a statement to finally take a stand for yourself and whatever you believe in. The track portrays anger,rage,and strength. Umair Jaswal beautifully portrays the lyrical material in the track and really does justice to the feelings being expressed in the track. The drums are fantastic,the bass is really down right meaty,the guitar riffs are phenomenal and the solo on this track is really a let out of energy and emotions. I think if you guys are familiar with bands such as "Dream Theater" you would certainly enjoy this track's arrangement and composition. Many John Petrucci fans will really enjoy the guitar work on this track. Some great chord tones and soaring lead melodies are on this track. If you guys are a fan of "Train Of Thought" and "Awake" of Dream Theater then this track will instantly be one of your favorites on the album. Sarmad Ghafoor and Khurram Waqar really show their exceptional yet melodic guitar chops on this track. This is definitely a head banging number!



3.Halaak: You know generally when you are listening to an album in the genre that Qayaas are in,after two tracks you would think that now there will be a sort of more subtle and soft track. Well this isn't your typical Rock album because Qayaas decided to give its listeners a further cutting edge adrenalin rush. This track is really about the way our politicians have taken advantage of the helplessness,ignorance,and illiteracy of the people in Pakistan. This track truly represents how easily people in the country take away lives of the innocent,manipulate the poor,and portray the "Bad as good and the good as bad". After two "Self Exploration" based tracks it made perfect sense to bring out an issue that is common amongst all classes,religions,and societies of Pakistan. An extremely well executed effort by the band.



4.Shehrezade: I first heard this track as part of some live footage of the band. I instantly fell in love with this track. One of the most interesting things about this track is how well the heavy and soft elements are combined together. Umair Jaswal's vocal range becomes even more prominent on this track. The way he moulds different vocal techniques and moods on this track is truly well embellished. An interesting thing to notice about this track is how well some funk elements have been given to the main riffs of this track while it still keeps its metal and rock elements intact. This track really talks about the beautiful looking yet evil people. When it comes to our people it's generally those deceptive females and hypocritical women. With their elegant beauty but an ugly and dark soul. This song is a very unique effort as for the first time something is being projected from a decent man's perspective. This song will make both genders realize the importance of good values and the goodness of a man. We have heard many songs blaming men and abusing them. But very few where a man has given out an opinion. Well most of the boys in Qayaas are happily married and have given a voice to all those decent men that have been deceived,betrayed,used,and manipulated by the evil and selfish women that are present in our society today. The song's original intentions are towards a woman but can be used for anyone regardless of gender in my opinion. Sadly in our society both men and women make a lot of empty promises and their image of innocence is generally a lie and a big deception. I think Shehrezade really fits all those "Women" and in my opinion "Men" that really take advantage of anyone's pure love and don't even think twice as to how much they are damaging the person. The song has elements of bands such as "Porcupine Tree",Dream Theater,and "Audioslave". Another cutting edge track that really makes you ponder about various personal issues.



5.Pal: My goodness.... When I heard the teaser of this track on "You Tube" the first day I played the 1:36 sample for 5 or 6 hours. Really it struck a nerve in me. Pal is a beautiful portrayal of a woman that is grieving over a lost love. It's really interesting how this is right after "Shehrezade". That track was an expression of a decent man's bitter emotions and this track represents the pure love of a decent woman. In both situations there is sense of frustration,and grief presented in a beautiful and epic manner. This is a beautiful ballad and the chordal progression would really strike a nerve in you. Umair's totally beautiful,subtle,and clean vocal range has been portrayed on this track beautifully. Khurram Waqar's guitar solo is soaring out the perfect notes with immense beauty on this track. I truly believe Qayaas really achieved a perfect musical sound for the feelings of someone who has lost their love,in this case a woman. As I said earlier in "Shehrezade" the song has been written by the artist for a specific situation. I would say the same thing about this track it can be used in various contexts. When musicians are able to awaken certain emotions in a listener then that is a sign of good musicianship;Qayaas have been able to achieve this effortlessly throughout their songs. This song is one of the fine examples of their well balanced and excellent mastery of arrangement,playing,and song writing. This ballad with it's beautiful rhythms,guitar fills,lead sections,beautiful drum patterns,and melodious vocals make it go in my top 10 favorite ballads.



6.Umeed: The flow of subtle and intimate emotions does not stop with "Pal". We move on to "Umeed" which means hope. I think this track can not define an exact meaning because it really is a very personal and intimate track. The listener will take out whatever they can from their own personal perception of it. To me this track is about losing a loved one and basically moving on from there,in the hope of a better future. While the sense of unspoken negativity is running in the person's mind there is also the sense of beautiful memories which he/she cannot forget. At times the person wants to move forward but then something stops them due to certain events in their lives which are absolutely unforgettable. This song truly represents that feeling. Umair's beautiful vocals shine on this track and there is some beautiful acoustic playing by Sarmad Ghafoor that creates the mood. Khurram Waqar's fills and solo section are the icing on the cake. The simple yet dynamic drumming and relaxed bass give this track a wonderful feel. It's another beautiful ballad that cannot go unnoticed.



7.Charkha: This is a beautiful romantic number. It's an extremely well know track amongst the masses in Pakistan. Originally this track was recorded and performed by "Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan" and "Reshma". Khurram Waqar's arrangement of this track is phenomenal. Every instrument is well balanced on this track. The drums and bass really give a new dynamic to this track. The soaring electric guitars by Sarmad and Khurram totally set the mood and the bass totally keeps the track grounded. Umair draws the fine line between "Desi" oriented vocals and contemporary rock vocals in this. I think this has to be one of the best interpretations of a classic track. It's a phenomenal effort. Khurram's incorporation of exotic scales and blues/rock lead sections are very interesting. I personally could have never imagined this track like the way it is presented. Qayaas have been successful in their experiment.



8. Ishq: This track really changes the mood. It's a medium tempo energetic track. The meaning of Ishq is love. The love expressed here can be interpreted by everyone differently.So I'll leave it to the listener as to what they get out of this track. It's an interesting expression of the feeling of love. There is a fine line between happiness/darkness. Both moods on this track are captured really well through the orchestration of the music. Khurram Waqar shows more of his amazing modal guitar playing on this track. You can clearly see throughout the tracks how fantastic his phrasing and sense of note choices is. If you're a fan of bands like "Creed" and "Alter Bridge" then you will certainly enjoy this track.



9.Tere Liye: This is a very soft number once again. I think this is the softest track on the album. "Tere Liye" means "For You". This song is a soft number for all the romantics out there. I think it's a true statement that sometimes the simplest things create really good music. It's not always about technique and instrument madness. This song truly represents that. While it's really simple it still is a very strong track on the album. It has got its own simplistic beauty. Beautiful vocals,wonderful lyrics,simple guitar playing,and great arrangement make it a solid track on the album along with the rest of the songs. Qayaas prove yet again that their catalog is very diverse.



10.Monsoon: Wow! I mean just wow! Such a mesmerising track. It is definitely going to be a listeners favorite. The arrangement is really well done. The lyrics are mystical and will force you to imagine the situation being portrayed through the lyrics. Umair's vocals as strong as ever on this track as well. There are some really cool sections where he sings modal melodies with the guitar fills of Khurram Waqar. The lead sections are beautiful on this track. The rhythm guitars are very well balanced. There are a bunch of changes in the track that keep taking place constantly but they are so well arranged that they seem to effortlessly go by. This track will certainly make you reflect upon a bunch of feelings and emotions. I think if you listen to this with your eyes closed you'll feel you are in another world and will notice the interesting things that this track has to offer. There is so much interesting stuff going on in the arrangement! It's a musicians treat to listen to. The beauty of this track is that a general listener can really take something out from it and enjoy it fully as well as a musician who can notice the little interesting things that really give this track a unique flavor.



11.Pukaar: This is a phenomenal track. This was dedicated to the flood victims in Pakistan during 2010. It was one of the worst natural disasters to take place in a long time. This song beautifully portrays the problems people are facing in the affected area. The track is initially very subtle with pianos ,some interesting percussion by Salman,and clean guitars. When you reach halfway through the track then there is an amazing build with drums,bass,and distorted guitars being added to it. It really gives you the feeling of the flood victims musically. Qayaas use the power of music to express a natural calamity flawlessly.



12.Tanha: This track is the anthem of the fans in many ways;this was the first single from the band. I remember when the video came out for the track I was totally blown away by the amazing musicianship on this. It starts with Umair's clean vocals and groovy bass. After a while it creates a surge of energy with distorted guitars,clean guitar fills,and wonderfully executed drums. "Tanha" can be interpreted in many ways. This is one thing I noticed about the band's song writing that you can take so much out of it and really have various meanings to the lyrics! The best part is that every interpretation relates to the other interpretation one way or the other. Very few bands are able to capture such a feeling with their lyrical context but no problem for Qayaas I guess. This track to me is pretty much a patrioitic track. It represents an individual's feeling towards his/her country,the frustrations within the development of the country,the sense of ignorance towards him/her,the sense of helplessness,and lack of support. Even though there are all these problems the person still is ambitious and thirsty for achievements! It really describes the journey of the person. The end moral is that the individual is totally alone but he/she still has their country with them. It's an uplifting track that will give you a sense of patriotism and would make you want to do something for the country regardless of how many problems you are under. Until you don't solve your problems no one will. Beautiful message by "Qayaas" in this track.



13.Mera Wana: This is the ending number on the record. Qayaas truly keep a balance between the dark and heavy moods and the subtle and emotional moods. This track is certainly dark and heavy! It is based on certain events that have happened in Pakistan due to the "War On Terror". Tons of lives taken,helpless and innocent people dying,and no body questioning the authorities and higher powers. It will also make you question as to why you would remain silent on the brutality of it all. On the other end suicide bombers blowing up innocent people in hotels,restaurants,mosques,and public areas. Innocent causalities whether in the main cities or the areas of drone attacks. It is a wake up call to open your eyes and see what is the real picture behind extremist "Mullahs" and the "War On Terror". This is a very dark and heavy track! Khurram Waqar's playing is intense on this track! Sarmad's rhythms are killer,Sherayar's bass is focused towards the lower ranges and breathes out "Metal". Umair's vocals are extremely aggressive on this track and he covers various ranges on this track and Salman's drumming is extremely smooth and intense. A really hard hitting and energetic ending to the album that leaves you asking for more and at the same time will make you ponder about various things and situations.



"Us Paar" means "The Other Side". I think it truly fits the title.I can certainly say that this record is a concept album in many ways. It portrays an individual's personal feelings and all the things happening in the home land "Pakistan". It is a wake up call for the youth,it's an effort to create a revolution by artistic means. Qayaas has a message in this album! A very important and intense message. The biggest problem with the people of our country is that they live in immense ignorance and never question what they are being fed with or what they are being taught. "Us Paar" is the statement of all those unique individuals of the country that just do not follow things blindly and really get to the bottom reality of a situation be it personal or political/religious. This effort by Qayaas deserves a 10/10. A phenomenal showcase of musicianship and top notch production! Prepare yourself to delve in to Qayaas's debut gem!

I shall be listening to this album for a long long time.

Written by:
Aman Hassan - Aman Hassan, Musicians Institute


"Pakistan’s music economy: The stalemate"

LAHORE: What was once a buzzing and dynamic music industry in Pakistan in the mid-2000s is now slowly dying. So what exactly happened after Noori, Jal, Atif Aslam, Ali Zafar, Mekaal Hassan Band, EP, and Call hit the airwaves in the early 2000s?

Since 2004, our industry has not produced a single new ‘star’. Even subsequent albums by the said artists, if they have appeared, have not captured the public imagination the way their earlier albums did.

Observers struggle to explain the current stall in our music industry. Surely we have not run out of talent? Some conjecture that consumer tastes have suddenly changed. Or that artists have lost the connection with their fans owing to the decline of public concerts. However, none of these theories hold up on closer scrutiny.

The reason lies elsewhere: In the way the music industry commercially operates. Over the last five years, the very institutions that were responsible for bringing good music to the Pakistani market have caused its downfall.

Let’s start with the record labels. There is only one active record label in Pakistan at present: Fire Records. With more than 50 artists under its belt, Fire Records enjoys a monopoly over the industry. The other big players of the industry (The Musik Records, EMI and LIPS Music — not counting Alif Records and Riot Records which only cater to individual artists) are currently dormant.

Fire Records offered artists the complete package for audio production, video production, television advertisements, concert deals, dedicated airtime for videos, interviews and appearances on TV. Many artists eagerly signed on to this one-stop shop for launching their music.

However, when you read the fine print of the contract, it featured a few conditions.

For starters, the package included no monetary compensation for almost all artists. Secondly, an artist had to give up his/her rights to the music. This meant that Fire Records vetoed every decision including which song to launch when, which video to make when and when to distribute the album. Moreover, all artists signed under Fire Records could have their videos aired only exclusively on Fire Records’ sister television channels (AAG, Geo TV, etc.) unless royalty payments were made by other channels.

With blatantly anti-competitive practices, Fire Records became the sole lifeline for these top 50 artists of Pakistan. So, unsurprisingly, when Fire Records decided to decrease its output of new releases in the market, the whole industry suffered.

A good example is that of the band Mauj. Having released their first single “Khushfehmi” in 2004 to widespread acclaim, and then “Paheliyan” in 2008, the band signed on with Fire Records in January 2009 with a ready-made album in hand. However, the record company decided to postpone the album’s release. The fans waited, the band complained, and illegal free downloads soared on the web. It wasn’t until a year later in January 2010 that the album finally saw a release. But by then a lot of water had passed under the bridge – it was too late. The craze had already died.

Call suffered a similar fate. With their album ready in 2008, they had to wait till February 2011. “Laree Chootee” had truly missed the bus by then.

So, is Fire Records really the menace it appears to be? Those who understand the music business would explain that in a market which is plagued by piracy and illegal online downloads and operating in an environment of socio-economic downturn, the record label business is probably going through its worst times.

Fire Records, the largest investor in the record label business, is also facing the crunch. In the words of the Operations Manager at Fire Records: “The days where an album could easily sell a 100,000-plus copies are over. Even mass appeal albums of artists like Shazia Manzoor are struggling to hit the lower thousands. There are very few returns to be made in an environment such as this”.

Other factors affecting record labels is the refusal of TV channels to pay any royalties on videos, and the increased influx of Bollywood songs being played on local channels which is directly hampering consumer demand for local music.

On the distribution side, the market is dominated by Sadaf Stereo and Sound Master. With the widest distribution networks in the country, these distributors are widely alleged to act as a mafia.

Conventionally, record labels engage with distributors and have joint investment and revenue sharing models. This is not true in Pakistan. Artists such as Jal, Ali Azmat, Ali Zafar and many others have to directly engage with Sadaf Stereo and Sound Master for the distribution of their albums. These agreements are often not legally binding contracts but simply a take it or leave it offer in which the artists are paid up front. Consequently, the artists receive no royalty per sale, have no say in where and when the albums will be placed, and cannot keep track of the quantity sold. The lack of respect for legal contracts by distributors reflects the general lack of respect for intellectual property and copyright in our country.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the biggest illegal online music distributor in the country (apniisp.com) has been up and running without disruption for over nine years now. The website now gets almost half a million visitors per month and its estimated value lies close to US$900,000!

If artists cannot find a deal for their albums or a distributor willing to take their music to the stores, and fail to get their videos aired during prime time, why would they make music in Pakistan at all?

While some established artists have managed to explore new markets through Indian record labels, new artists have struggled to overcome these enormous hurdles. Take the example of Qayaas, an amazing new band from Islamabad who produced their own album, made their own videos, and personally distributed their own printed albums to stores across Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

What are the odds that Qayaas will make it big? What is for sure is that many other talented artists will never venture as far as them. In the end, it will just be the music fans like you and I who are going to miss out.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2011. - The Express Tribune


"'Uss Paar' Qayaas’s debut album goes the whole nine yards and then some"

Album: Uss Paar

Artist: Qayaas***1/2

By the time I hit the sixth track on this album, Qayaas has won me over. Their debut album, Uss Paar, may just have been released in Pakistan and online recently, but the band has been taking measured, well-thought out steps for a couple years now. While it is clear that the Qayaas guys have great conviction in themselves as artists, theirs is a methodical madness - something that

shines through their musical career thus far, and indeed, their album.

The album opens with a bang, otherwise known as ‘Uss Paar’, the song. At first listen, Umair Jaswal’s vocals seem slightly affected, with an accent that has never been detected prior to this song. However, it just takes a second listen for ‘Uss Paar’ to prove that it is in fact, one of the richer rock numbers to have been made in Pakistan in a while. ‘Uss Paar’ is a seamless mix of aural textures. As any Qayaas fan might have registered by now, Umair Jaswal can carry a tune. This is a good thing, because while certain mainstream Pakistani rock bands do a great job with the music and production of their songs, they tend to neglect that a heavier song too might require a competent singer.

‘Uss Paar’ melts right into ‘Inquilaab’, which as the sleeve says is part of the soundtrack of Waar, Bilal Lashari’s debut film. ‘Inquilaab’ has this tinge of a quiet sort of frenzy to it. Sure, the lyrics are quite obvious (“Tu jaane ya na jaane/ Main hoon tera”), and the music is urgent and pulsating, (and it could be just me, but ‘Inquilaab’ could well be the anthem of a musically inclined young stalker); but put together, both create a certain sense of unease deep in the pit of my stomach.

With ‘Halaak’, Qayaas revert to what they do best: socially/ politically aware words set to music that is just as intense. Yes, you might argue that anyone can throw around words like “jalan” and “sitam” and “jang” and sound relevant, and play some heavy riffs and sound like serious musicians, and anyway Junoon did all that decades ago; but the fantastic thing about Qayaas is that while their music recalls some of Junoon’s work post their first album and pre their Sufi era, their sound is all their own. Their words are speaking of things we have grown accustomed to listening about, but they offer a shift of perspective. Qayaas is brand new, a clean slate, and this is perhaps why sometimes their music, despite being sober as it gets, evokes excitement that only the very fresh can.

For some reason, though ‘Sheherzade’ has been a favourite with most fans of the band, it fails to measure up to the rest of the songs on the album (here we omit the slower tracks, of which in just a second). It is a straightforward tune with uncomplicated lyrics, which can always be a positive when it comes to any form of art, but all that approach does in this case is make for a very bland song. Jaswal does do a guttural spit in the end though which is fun.

‘Pal’ is the first of the more mellow tracks on Uss Paar. It starts off as any song that is sure to be a hit across the board would. There are two observations about this one: the chorus plunks itself awkwardly into an otherwise agreeable song; and Umair Jaswal sounds severely generic on the vocals.

Fifu is the star on ‘Umeed’. The percussions alone lend the song an airy feel, bringing to mind open spaces and brightly lit rooms. The composition is a play between words of hope, as the title of the song suggests, and music that is uplifting. ‘Charkha’ follows this and is slightly disappointing, although that could certainly have been brought on by the fact that Qayaas felt it necessary to add a Sufi-style track to their repertoire, albeit with their own interpretation of what that means (points for that). In the same vein is ‘Ishq’, and it is the one song on this album I cannot stomach a second listen to. Just…no.

‘Pukaar’ of course is the song Qayaas had released as a single referring to the devastation caused by floods in Pakistan. Though months have passed since the release of the song, and almost a year since last year’s floods; ‘Pukaar’ remains as heart-wrenching as it did at first. Even when you remove the context in which the song has been created, it is still pretty heartbreaking. Qayaas is good at eliciting emotion from its audience, and ‘Pukaar’ is one of the proofs of that.

Of course, there is the song that is, by now, a Qayaas classic: ‘Tanha’. It is clean on the ears and introspective, and is a great broody rock song. ‘Tanha’ is one of the first singles that Qayaas had released, and is the perfect precursor in the album to ‘Mera Wana’, which has a more experimental feel to it as the band layers vocals and music with ‘found’ sounds: gunfire, newsclips, baby crying. ‘Mera Wana’, it can be said, is one of Qayaas’s best.

Qayaas’s grand appeal lies in the fact that they are emotive enough to appeal to the adolescent audience and sharp enough to be appreciated by anyone older. With Uss Paar, the band not only show off skill and passion, they smartly present an initial portfolio of everything they are capable of. The hope obviously is that the band will find its ground and mature, and it remains an exciting prospect to see what they might grow into.

Qayaas wants you to listen to this song

Qayaas cherry-pick the one song you must listen to on Uss Paar

Umair Jaswal (Lead and backing vocals)
‘Charkha’

It’s how we take something beautiful and complete and make it our own. Make it Qayaas. To me it’s love at first sight. I see all ages relating to it. And it’s our tribute to all the Folk and Classical musicians of this land

Khurram Waqar (Lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars /Arrangement and production)
‘Monsoon’

Its arena feel despite being desolate, the intense yet soothing vocal melody, the subtle scale changes and the nostalgia. It brings back the days when it was written.

Fifu (Drums and percussions)
I refuse to give one, necessarily two. First:
‘Monsoon’

Because it invites you to reconcile with your past and all the past hurts you pushed away into the mental room of memory that you no longer visit, and second:

‘Inquilaab’

Because it encapsulates all elements of the Qayaas sound and energy.

Sarmad Ghafoor (Rhythm and lead guitars/ Backing vocals/ Arrangement and production)

‘Inquilaab’
Because it’s very progressive.

Shaheryar Ghayas (Bass guitars and backing vocals)

‘Mera Wana’
The song has a screaming conscience. It evokes feelings that we as Pakistanis have been conditioned to sit on. ‘Mera Wana’ is the voice we try to push under; but has come out as a loud cry. It’s vengeful and I stand for it as a Pakistani, and a musician. - Instep Magazine, The News


"Song Review --- Tanha"

This particular track starts with what got my attention immediately for I love the quaint distorted pedals on the fender axe. The song starts beautifully with the intro notes haunting you - pulling you towards the track’s essence. Add clean electric guitar strums on the same chords and the quaint notes become clear on the electric guitar, the chord guitar still riffing on in the sevenths (musical terms for musicians only) kicks in the 8x8 rhythm pattern with a sure shot side drum. This is what raw is. Indeed! The track from here suddenly changes the scale jumping in the realm of Metallica/Pearl Jam induced frenzy. The track builds an appreciable crescendo here at this point where the grunge of multi tap guitars join in to give it a full non-noise reduced recording and excellently rendered vocals. Now the rhythm takes on the sticks, strongly relying on the side drum slap (Pure Metal). The vocals have been well balanced in the recording session with the building fervour of the track that takes the singer shrieking towards the end of the stanza. This is not a welcome sound in the least. I did not expect this from Good, rather great metallic work Qayas, keep rocking folks this band has done a better job than many other local bands playing in foreign lands. Bravo. - Mag The Weekly Magazine


"Qayaas’ newest single ‘Pukaar’ calls out to the humanitarian in you"

A video receiving a little over 10,000 hits on YouTube in a little over a month is not unheard of, but for a band that is just veering towards releasing its debut album, it is definitely good news. Qayaas, a rock outfit from Islamabad is not new to the audiences in the Capital, and pretty soon it will be making its presence more prominent all over the country with its currently untitled record.

‘Pukaar’, the latest single to be released from Qayaas’ playlist, is the band’s response to the floods that rendered parts of the country ruined, and thousands of people homeless just a few months ago. Qayaas feels that through their music, they can reach out to more people to do their bit in helping the rehabilitation process. “Pukaar is an impassioned plea (a small effort from our side) for reaching out to the victims of the recent floods,” says the band. “two months on, we strongly feel that the response has been wanting in the aspects of official patronage and long term rehabilitation. After the initial outpour where individuals went all out in providing food and relief goods to the affectees, there has been little effort to channelize these efforts into an organized response.”

The song starts off with some mellow piano, and Umair Jaswal strong but restrained on the vocals. Jaswal has a voice that hits the high notes without faltering even for a second. On ‘Tanha’, a single the band had released earlier this year, he proved he could pitch his voice with the best of them without sounding like he is just screaming. On ‘Pukaar’, Jaswal manages to keep that resonance to his vocals, but controls them just enough to fit the mood of a calmer song better. At the same time, the vocals and arrangement of ‘Pukaar’ easily manage to convey that there is a storm of emotions brewing beneath the mostly sedate composition.

To suit the mood of the song, the video has been shot to look equally thought-provoking. The band, slathered in mud, plays its instruments and sings, appearing to be totally oblivious to the way it appears. The meaning of what this symbolizes is up for grabs. Perhaps Qayaas wants to convey a sense of kinship with those who have been worst affected by the floods and are at the mercy of the elements. Maybe, as in the song it appeals to its audience to leave behind their “aish-o-ishrat” (wealth and luxuries), it wants to imply an extremely miserable form of existence, one that doesn’t even have at its disposal the most basics of life.

The images of the band have been shot in a studio environment it seems. Each shot has been lit well and each frame is very proper, so this is one video you cannot fault for failing the technicalities. The studio images are then juxtaposed with stills of flood victims and headlines highlighting different issues regarding the floods. Once again, the layering of images and introducing text works well. Overall, the visual content of the video is pretty solid if a little staid. It seems that Shandana Sarmad, in wanting to create a video that was aesthetically in place and even pleasing, while having undertones of sobriety, has pulled the production a little too tightly together. If bits of the video were just a little looser, it would have made it much more interesting.

Having said all that, ‘Pukaar’ is a great song by a fantastic band that needs to be heard. While the visuals that go with Qayaas songs will probably get better with time, the band already sounds great, way, way better than a whole bunch of acts out there right now. The band has completed production on its 13-track debut album which fans of Qayaas are eagerly waiting for. ‘Pukaar’, along with other Qayaas singles can be downloaded off the Internet, watched on YouTube and TV and added to your playlists till then. - Instep, The News


"Qayaas to launch next album in English"

KARACHI: All set to mark their debut with album Shehrezade, Qayaas band has just spilled the beans about another album which the artists plan to record in English.

The band has kick started their second project while still waiting for the right time to release their first venture Shehrezade, sent to post production earlier last month. “It has been a long time coming and the album is finally ready with all production work completed,” lead guitarist Khurram Waqar announced in November.

The group plans to launch three of its English tracks before leaving the country for an international tour in Austin, Texas around March next year.

Talking to The Express Tribune, front man Umair Jaswal shared the details of the band’s second project, “It’s targeted for the international market. Two of its songs have been completed. We have a whole lot of ideas. Right now we have 17 to 18 songs that we want to work on.”

The album, planned to hit international stores around the mid of 2011, will be mostly dealing with hard rock, told Jaswal. Lyrics for the tracks are written by guitarist Sarmad Ghafoor and Jaswal himself.

While the work continues on their second album, Shehrezade is slated for release this January. Songs from the said album, comprising of 13 tracks, have recently earned Qayaas the title of Best Pakistani Rock Band at the JD Rock Awards held in India, the band announced on their MySpace page.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2010. - The Express Tribune


"Our titans of rock music"

ISLAMABAD: Jack Daniel’s Rock Awards 2010 in India opened up a new avenue for Pakistani rock bands to get acclaim. Qayaas, the rock band from Islamabad that recently won Jack Daniel’s Best Pakistani Rock Band award, held a press conference at Kuch Khaas. It was disappointing to see that after getting so much respect in India, the Pakistani media failed to give their own artists the acclaim they deserved.

Qayaas won the award out of 25 nominations from Pakistan and had the privilege of playing at the Hard Rock Café’ in Delhi. Performing alongside EKA and Half Step Down, the band came back home with high hopes.

It is important to encourage upcoming bands, especially in a country where there is always talk about lack of initiative. The turnout of media representatives at the band’s press conference at Kuch Khaas was more than disappointing.

Dr Hassan Waqas Rana, the band’s mentor and supporter, in his opening remarks at the press conference said, “In Greek mythology, titans were always considered greater than the Gods and these musicians are the titans of rock music here.”

He said that the artists have invoked the passion of Pink Floyd and Creed in their music.

Luke Kenny, a popular Indian VJ and host for the event said, “It is remarkable how Qayaas has brought rock music in Urdu language. I think it is one of the reasons why the Indian rock fans really love their music.” He said that most of the Indian rock bands produce music in English and “to embody the essence of rock and translate it successfully in our native language is worthy of appreciation”.

Khurram, Fifu, Sherry, Umair and Sarmad travelled to New Delhi for a three-day tour and bewitched an audience of more than 750 people. Bringing their ethnic and unique sound to the neighbouring borders, the band got nothing but an overwhelming response.

With an album and new videos featuring international stars about to release, the upcoming New Year holds exciting things for Qayaas. Khurram of Qayaas said, “We cannot disclose who we will be collaborating with but it is very exciting and we are looking forward to it.” He added that the band is also working on an undisclosed Hollywood film and are the first rock band to compose the background score for a mainstream film.

With great aspirations and a passion for music, the band is looking forward to swaying the Pakistani audiences.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2010. - The Express Tribune


"Review of the song "Tanha""

Qayyas is one of the best alternative hard rock bands to have emerged in the Pakistan music industry lately. Spear headed by the pwerful vocalist Umair Jaswal this band is making headlines with there rock solid pper packed vocals.
The first single released last year 'tanha' is an empitome of raw edged powerful rock music.
the song is brilliantly drenched in a fusion of abstract themes of existentialism and nationalism. the song starts off like an odyssey of an idea, a thought, a vision and launches into the chorus like a battle cry. the vocals are predominantly grunge but have there moments of intense pacificity. the song is structured brilliantly in a cyclic build up fashion- just like a tornado gaining its sonic momentum, devouring all in its rage and Umair does a splendid work by maintaining the momentum across his various tonal levels.
The guitars headed by the mercurial Khurram Waqar and the magnificent sarmad ghafoor are the mitochondira of Qayyas. they are the unbrdiled power house of this band. the rhythm section is immaculate in its rendition of dynamics over power chords or picking. The selection of guitar tones between the hard edged distrortion or the clean flanged picking has been done in a magnificent manner to maintain the fluidity through out the song.
The guitar solo is remarkable in isolation and as a part of the song. from the very first bend of the solo khurram has blared out that he means business. the brilliant control on the bends and slides is immaculate through out the solo. the scales have been played dexterously and the final last sustain on the last note of the solo with hints of whammy bar has been executed with wicked perfection to launch into the transition into the last part of the song.
The bass line is jarring and hits as hard as Ticco Torre's drum hit. Sheryeyar is smooth in his control. At no point does he outdoes the bass playing. its controlled and measured. the bass roles play an extremely important role in the beginning of the song so as to establish the pace of the song in the beginning. Kudos to Shereyar for an amazing bass line.
Fifu is not a new name. He is one of the finest drummers to have surfaced to main stream lately. The drum work is in one word - exquisite. From the very onset the drummer establishes the mood of the song with his ballistic dynamic. the drum rolls and fills are excellent, especially around the transitions and the solo.
Best of luck to QAYYAS.
- Adeel Salman


"Qayaas kick it old school"

Sometimes it feels like the television screen, when switched on to a music channel, has been taken over by guys who want to be Atif when they grow up (in case that is too cryptic or too cynical for you, please check out Omar Nadeem’s song with Khiza, ‘Dil Ka Diya’). On the other hand sometimes you will find a song on television that is as un-Aitf like as can be, is quite rock, and is actually quite good too. The kind that Call made all those years ago, slightly reminiscent of the mood Junoon created on ‘Tara Jala.’ However, where ‘Tara Jala’ was softly melancholic, ‘Tanha’, the single by Qayaas that has been on air for a bit now, is moody bordering on angry. Two emotions it swerves between both lyrically and musically but cant really seem to pick a side.

Qayaas, the band from Islamabad is inspiring all these happy thoughts of music that does not sound like it will be picked up for an Emraan Hashmi film soon, but firstly, all those who had ever heard of Qayaas, raise your hand. I am definitely not one of them. But do believe that the band, or at least individual band members have worked the Islamabad music circuit for a while now: Umair Jaswal (vocalist, formerly of the band Silversmoke) Khurram Waqar (lead/ rhythm guitars, formerly kNuMB) Sarmad Ghafoor (rhythm guitars, Rungg) Sheheryar Ghyas (bass, active since the late ‘90s if memory serves one correctly) and Fifu on drums.

“Qayaas initially released ‘Tanha’ and ‘Umeed’ on the internet and on our website,” vocalist Umair Jaswal shares. “The band on its own, distributed a CD which was highly appreciated by everyone. The CD contained two songs by Qayaas, with lyrics and credits and other related information of the band.”

‘Tanha’ seems to be a quest for the self in a land that is bleak and dark. It speaks of the common experience of the common man: “Kahani yeh eik dharti ki/ meri sarzameen/ lakeeron mein lipti hui/ Sochein meri.”

“The song itself holds the passion and love of an individual for his homeland,” Umair explains, “he sings and screams as his heart aches because he cannot connect and relate to whatever is happening around him.”

It is broody with an edge. “Tanha hoon raahon mein/ Jaana duur kahan,” sings Umair Jaswal,. The song embellishes itself with crunching guitars and vocals that pitch themselves restrainedly, right before they erupt in anguished screams of “Pyasa kyun sadiyon se/ Tanha mein khara.”

The video is as simple as it gets, with the band playing their music on deserted, albeit green, roads in Islamabad. The simplicity works; for the video doesn’t draw attention from the song at all, which was one of the reasons Qayaas, and ‘Tanha’ director, Umar Tarek (UT) wanted the video to be no-frills.

“The video was kept simple on purpose and due to an honest financial constraint,” says Umair. “The video of ‘Tanha’ has been doing great. It has been listed in the Top videos of 2009 on MTV and Muzik. And Qayaas has been listed as one of the top five upcoming artists of 2009 on different music websites,” he shares proudly.

The band’s debut album is being worked upon right now at RootGate and S&M Studio in Islamabad, and Qayaas plans on releasing a video for ‘Umeed’ this month too.

“‘Umeed’ is easier on the ears,” Umair says, “but the band decided to release ‘Tanha’s’ video because we wanted to put out a rock sound which people can relate the band to.”

Qayaas’s music is old school. And by old school one means old school Pakistani rock. Think back to driving around in the summer of ‘95 through sweltering heat in times lots of people didn’t have air-conditioned cars. And the one consolation was the fact that most cars did have cassette players which could play that perfect song to listen to in the miserable heat in that muggy car. The song that would make you sing along and lift your overheated spirits just a bit. And the second track on Qayaas’ self-released CD, ‘Umeed’ comes pretty close to that kind of song. Soft-rock, gentle vocals and a nice melody. Not groundbreaking by any means, but listener-friendly and pleasant.

“Qayaas will be making a lot of videos and releasing the album pretty soon,” Umair promises, “for all you rock listeners out there, be ready here we come!”

Qayaas can be followed on www.qayaas.com, or their page on Facebook; QAYAAS.
- Instep, The News


"Some Random Thoughts on Qayaas by Assam"

I gotta begin by saying, WHAT A KICK-ASS lineup!
So I’ve been listening to the two songs Umeed and Tanha on repeat for the past week and here are some of my thoughts. First of all, I’m already well aware of Fifu, Sarmad, Sherry and Khurram and how they are the best at what they play. However, what comes as a surprise is the vocalist Umair. I have never heard of this guy before but WOW! I am blown away. My first thoughts upon hearing him sing were that: “I didn’t know Chris Cornell had started singing in Urdu!” He has amazing vocals, really good control, versatility and an unbelievable range. Not to mention really powerful lyrics. The band altogether has a very Audioslavesque sound which is great! It’s also good to hear Sherry on Bass. I’ve always thought that he was really good at Bass and stands out more playing Bass rather than rhythms. Another thing that makes this lineup even more spectacular is Sarmad’s knowledge of audio production. The mixing and sound on the songs is spot on. Every instrument can be heard clearly. That is a lovely change from what we are used to hearing in Pakistan for the most part.
Now the part of the constructive feedback, and mind you this is just my opinion, others may disagree completely with it.
I’ve always been a fan of Knumb and Rungg but I feel that Qayaas has the missing element that Knumb and Rungg were lacking, which is the commerciability factor. I use this word only to imply that the songs have a likability and relate-ability factor with people. Which brings me to my point about the songs I’ve heard so far. Like I mentioned earlier, I have been listening to the two songs on repeat for the past week and I can sing along with the song, play the beat and rhythm in my head along with the song. Let me assure you that this is a huge deal considering that I can not do that with most songs I have been listening to for the past 10-15 years. The only thing I can not hum along with or recall, is the lead. This is not to say that the lead is bad or anything, it is awesome. However, if you were to ask most people if they could recall any Steve Vai song, a majority of them would say “for the love of God” and could even hum it. But a majority of them, even if they could name other songs by him, would not be able to hum the song. Ask anyone if they can hum the lead to November rain, Knockin’ on Heaven’s doors or Estranged and they would be able to do it with ease. Why? The are extremely memorable because of people being able to “feel” them and relate to them. I would love to hear some hardcore soul stirring leads in the other songs to come by Qayaas. I wouldn’t mind hearing a couple of completely rocking acoustic songs on the album as well. Also keeping in line with my comment of the songs being relate-able, I would advise that the song meanings not be explained at all. A lot of people tend to form their own associations with the song by relating to it by deriving their own meaning of it, and you take away that opportunity by eliminating that possibility.
Irrespective, I am willing to bet anything that this band will make it big. In fact I can guarantee that these songs will top the charts. It has the right amount of rock and the perfect mix of talent. I can’t wait to hear more of your songs! Best of luck and rock on!
A Huge Qayaas Fan,
Vex.
- Koolmuzone ezine


Discography

Qayaas Debut Album “Uss Paar” Track Listing

1. Uss Paar
2. Inquilaab
3. Halaak
4. Shehrezade
5. Pal
6. Umeed
7. Charkha
8. Ishq
9. Teray Liye
10. Monsoon
11. Pukaar
12. Tanha
13. Mera Wana

Photos

Bio

Qayaas literally translated as “deliberation” is not only the name of our band but the essence that encapsulates the entire philosophy behind our music. The idea or feeling taking birth in one band member’s mind is developed and brought to fruition by collective deliberation or Qayaas by the whole band.

There can be many ways to describe Qayaas. A rock band that aspires to stay true to the essence of Rock & Roll spearheaded by two renegade rockers Khurram Waqar and Umair Jaswal. Qayaas is an embodiment of the vision, passion and dreams of these two individuals. Its own brand of rebellion and at a certain level a battle; that of art against profit, the few against the many, creativity against conformity. However one may choose to describe it, Qayaas is ultimately anchored to the artistic bond, the camaraderie and the shared vision of two people; Khurram and Umair. In their musical journey together, Khurram and Umair have been joined by good friends and some fine musicians and together they gave some truly memorable performances and gained accolades at a regional as well as global level including their win at IndieGo Awards as the Best Rock Band in South Asia, Best Rock Vocalist and Best Rock Song and BMM Global Rock Band of the Year. There can be no denying however that “Uss Paar” their critically acclaimed album is the product of the proverbial blood, sweat and tears of these two warriors, Umair and Khurram. Not that the accolades or the fan following ever encumbered their journey of discovering the infinite possibilities of their art and pushing the limits of what music can achieve. From here onwards, the other musicians that constitute the band may change for it may not always be realistic to expect others to live by the same unequivocal devotion and zealous motivation of Khurram and Umair. Unlike many others, they do not seek to be successful merely in the commercial sense of the word rather finding gratification in having stayed true to the spirit of their art. Honestly believing that their best is yet to come, they’ve set out to record their second album. The blitzkrieg of ideas and inspiration they find themselves amidst, there exists enough material for a third and possibly a fourth album. Eva Dowd, their international publicist, is dedicated to taking the band’s music globally to fans yet to be discovered and uncovered.

Our music tends to explore emotions, specific moments, certain relationships and particular events which resonate powerfully as we try to understand ourselves and the world around us. We do not aim to have a large body of musical compositions but only put through quality pieces governed by unique ideas and techniques. Each melody is a different journey, starting with something personal and then refining it to create a certain mood. As a whole, Qayaas is an accumulation of musicians from quite diverse backgrounds. All members have been, and still are, part of various other projects that serve as a vent for musical expression.

Qayaas was founded by lead guitar player and songwriter Khurram Waqar. It all started when he saw Umair jam with his previous band in his studio and invited him to work on material that he had written. What started out initially as an acoustic EP turned into a full blown album. Their debut album was released on April 16, 2011 in Pakistan. The album is also available online at CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon and Napster. The most important thing about the album is that it has been recorded and produced completely by the band. This is at par with any international recording.

We were a part of Coke Studio Season 5 where we collaborated with pop star Atif Aslam for a song "Cahrkha Nolakha". It is the biggest hit of the season so far with almost 1.5 million views.

We bagged the awards for the Best Rock Vocalist, Best Rock Song (Shehrezade), Best Rock Group, a silver award in the category of the Most Mind-blowing Music Video for Pukaar and were voted as the Best Freaking act in the Universe by our peers at the IndieGo awards held in Malaysia in Feb 2012. The awards aim to honor some of the best independent music and bands present in South Asia.

We have recently won the JD Award for the best rock band from Pakistan 2010. The awards were hosted by Jack Daniels and Rolling Stones Magazine,India. We performed in New Delhi at The Hard Rock Cafe on December 16, 2010 for the JD Rock Awards Tour in front of a packed 800 crowd.

We are the first band from Pakistan to be invited to come and perform at one of the biggest and most prestigious Music Festivals in USA called SXSW (South By Southwest) which takes place every year in Austin, Texas.

Our song “Inquilaab” recently made it to the Semi Finals of International Songwriting Competition (ISC) out of 15,000 entries from all over the globe.

We were the most played band with our song “Mera Wana“ on the METAL ASIA COMPILATION 2010 which included all Asian metal bands.

Our songs “Inquilaab” and “Pal” have b