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The Kashmir doctrine

The music group has released their second album, Zindagi, as well as a demo track on Spotify Pakistan.

September 24, 2023
From Left to Right: Kashmir’s Vais Khan, Usman Siddiqui, Shane J. Anthony, Zair Zaki, Ali Raza and Bilal Ali.


eleasing an album by dropping singles until it culminates into a clear and crisp body of work is no longer a trend. Whether an EP or LP, music listeners including musicians themselves are observing the shift in music by keeping an eye on singles, which is now the new normal.

To be fair, this is a shift that is not even new for veteran artists, established names and emerging talent. It depends on how savvy you are.

There are always outliers who feel an album is representative of their work and an important way to showcase their musical identity.

Kashmir, the music group, who were the winners during the second iteration of Pepsi Battle of the Bands in 2017 understand this phenomenon but also believe in presenting a body of work in the format of album.

After releasing several singles from their first album, and a handful of music videos, they dropped their enjoyable debut album, Khwab, in 2020.

Fast forward to 2023 and the group has released their second record, Zindagi. Knowing just how the music market works, the band didn’t release the album as an LP in one go. Following the musical shift, they released each song as a single. But this time around, there wasn’t a corporate brand like Pepsi backing them.

No matter.

The group is intact with ‘Tere Liye’ as the last song, finishing off the second album. Whether listened to as a single or Zindagi in its entirety, what is obvious is how they have embraced the sound of today; lush, textured and synth-fused, merged with their alt-rock identity.

In addition to the record that can be heard in myriad ways as multiple platforms have officially entered the Pakistani music market, the band’s front-man and songwriter Bilal Ali confirmed that a demo version of ‘Budha Baba’ has also been released as a surprise track from the new record on Spotify. The latter was first performed by the band during their Pepsi Battle of the Bands days, in 2017.

Speaking about the new song ‘Tere Liye’, Bilal Ali, chief singer-songwriter from the group explained that the song was partially conceived while they were in Bangkok to shoot the music video for ‘Dhoop’ (from Khwab).

“It stayed with the band and they wanted me to finish the song for the new album, Zindagi,” he said.

As Ali puts it, “the song is a confession of love for someone very dear.”

As for ‘Budha Baba’, which was heard on a national stage like Pepsi Battle of the Bands before the series went kaput, Ali told Instep that the song that still confounds him. “All I know about that song is that it’s about my fear of darkness. That is what I’ve figured out. The version we’ve released is still not [at the point] we want to release, so it is essentially a demo track. We will release a full studio version soon. It has been so long and the fans have been asking for it so we thought we’d release a demo.”

Between 2017 and 2023, and two albums later, at least two members of the group, Bilal Ali and Zair Zaki have also started work on their own music – away from Kashmir – but the camaraderie and the friendship that brought the group together in the first place is still there.

We have seen many bands break-up with the vocalist going in a solo direction but as Bilal and Zair confirmed, their solo projects do not indicate the beginning of the end of Kashmir. For each of them, their first priority is Kashmir.

Kashmir consists of Bilal Ali (vocalist, lyricist), Vais Khan (lead guitarist), Usman Siddiqui (bass guitarist), Shane J. Anthony (drummer), Zair Zaki (rhythm guitarist), and Ali Raza (keyboardist).

Head over to YouTube to see some of the single videos as well as videos to see how far the band has come in terms of visual flair. As for the songs, they are proof that some acts do have the courage to go beyond what made them famous in the first place.

Whether listened to as a single or with the album in its entirety, it is obvious how Kashmir has
embraced the sound of today; lush, textured and synth-fused, merged with their alt-rock identity.