Music group Kashmir may have outplayed Badnaam to take the public’s vote in the season finale of the resurrected Pepsi Battle of the Bands in 2017 but their competitors and the season’s runner-up band Badnaam too has since then developed a strong following.
The band featured alongside Meesha Shafi in the third season announcer, larger-than-life music video of sorts. The Sufi-inspired trio, led by vocalist Ahmed Jilani, spoke to the BBC’s Waqas Saeed in December and the audio is online.
During the conversation, Jilani confessed that if given the chance to collaborate with any artist, it would be A.R. Rahman. Not a bad choice at all, we think.
Speaking about their act, Badnaam vocalist noted how “Pepsi Battle of the Bands is a big platform” and even though they were the runner-up group, it offered them “huge exposure”.
Jilani noted it was unthinkable for them to imagine the kind of attention they received from fans, “lot of love and respect”.
When asked about how Sufi music has become almost a selling point or used as marketing strategy in the West or by artists from Southasia with Badnaam still retaining authenticity, Jilani agreed and noted, “If you do a Sufi number, you become an instant hit. This has become like a fashion statement – that we’re a Sufi band. We’re anti-fashion. We’re against the society.”
Waqas Saeed drew an analogy as to how the band is grungy, and reminds him of almost Nirvana; a band Jilani too reveres.
Revealing who he’d most like to collaborate with, Jilani noted, “I would love to collaborate with A.R. Rahman [and] if Kurt Cobain was alive, I would’ve loved to collaborate with him.”
Speaking about listening influences, Ahmed Jilani stated, “I enjoy listening to Abida Parveen; I just might be collaborating with her next year (2019).”
What project that is, he didn’t say but given the texture of Badnaam’s music, it would certainly be an intriguing mix.