Instep Today

Radio Ga Ga: Natasha Humera Ejaz speaks

Instep Today
By Maheen Sabeeh
Thu, 04, 19

On the London-based NTS Radio that launched in 2011, a series of Pakistani female artists speak to Miss Modular for a special 2-hour broadcast. In between songs and interviews, the late Sabeen Mahmud is remembered. Instep lends an ear.

For the purpose of this 2-hour special broadcast, NTS Radio’s Miss Modular, an alias for Sasha Ali, whose program is focused on “womxn-powered musical selections + artist interviews exploring womxn’s roles as music makers, cultural producers, and justice seekers” came down to Pakistan and spent a month here in her mission to record the broadcast.

The track list is a combination of folk icons, experimental, electronic artists, one TV OST, and much more with songs from Mai Dhai and Sattar Jogi, several tracks by Natasha Humera Ejaz in her various aliases such as Stupid Happiness Theory, It Might Get Glitchy and one featuring Stupid Happiness Theory & Alien Panda Jury (Daniel A. Panjwaneey) - who recently dropped the EP Enneagram via Berlin based collective and label, Noland. The set also featured two songs from Zeb and Haniya, a couple of ethereal songs from Slowspin (Zeerak Ahmed) and one featuring Slowspin & Nawksh (Danial Hyatt) – with the latter also behind the background score of Laal Kabootar. Garam Anday, OCEÁ & Tollcrane, Biryani Brothers, Rahema & Faizan Riedinger as well as some solo Rahema numbers made the cut as well. The playlist is up for anyone who is interested in the subculture of Pakistan and one beyond the corporate scene.

Even more interesting than the playlist – if that is possible – several artists sat down with Miss Modular, such as Garam Anday, Sana Nasir, Samya Arif, Natasha Humera Ejaz, Slowspin, and Haniya Aslam to speak their minds. And it is worth listening.

Miss Modular spent the month of February, mostly, she tells us in Karachi. She spoke about the tradition of folk music of Pakistan, of Mai Dhai’s voice from Thar and from KP, the underrated Zarsanga before talking about the alternative culture that has emerged and is significantly so.

Instep brings you snippets from her conversation with Natasha Humera Ejaz…

Speaking to Natasha Humera Ejaz, she first noted, “I’m speaking to her [Natasha Humera Ejaz] at the alternative art space T2F, located in Karachi. T2F was founded by the late Sabeen Mahmud, who was gunned down in front of the space in 2015 by fundamentalist murderer who felt her idea was too secular and wanted to make an example out of her.”

She noted further how T2F played a massive role in providing space to young artists, [with an open heart who were still in the midst of finding themselves] and encouraged them and how her death has changed things for many.

“A lot of the people I spoke with in Karachi did attest to the fact that T2F was a really vital space for the artists community in Pakistan and the alternative music scene to really flourish in the way it has and her death also does speak to the difficulties that a lot of Pakistanis can face when trying to create public spaces for art and dialogue. People here are still trying to maintain the legacy Sabeen Mahmud left behind and the space is still functioning and still vibrant.”

Natasha Humera Ejaz noted how “we don’t necessarily have a club culture in the country,” before adding: “So I was only introduced to electronic music as a sonic form of music because of MTV.”

She continued: “Non-DJ related experiments that had started happening.”

Calling herself a “super-nerd”, she spoke about going to Berlin and experiencing the club culture and understood the “magnitude and the application of all of the stuff I used to be obsessed with…”

She spoke about why she started Stupid Happiness Theory, her residency with Border Movement (BMR) and the entertainment industry of Pakistan as well.

– To listen to the full interview, head over to the site:

https://www.nts.live/shows/miss-modular/episodes/miss-modular-28th-february-2019