The winning group of Pepsi Battle of the Bands (PBOTB) in 2019, Auj, featuring Abdur Rehman Sajid (Vocals), Nasir Zaka (Guitars, Backing Vocals), Syed Hasnain Ali (Bass Guitar) and Muhammad Kashif (Drums) – in addition to playing shows across the country – is back in the spotlight.
As with all artists who are hoping to make a mark, Auj has released a music video for a new single called ‘Duhrao’ off their upcoming album.
Directed by Yasir Jaswal – who directed the colourful ‘Sajni’ and the futuristic ‘Raat Shabnami’ for Strings in the recent past – the music video features the band interspersed with a circus and a mysterious story brewing within – with appearances from Munib Nawaz and Shahbaz Shigri (as our hero) who does manage to find some moments with his beloved. The rest is for you to find it.
As for the single, after hitting the high notes in Pepsi Battle of the Bands, Abdur Rehman Sajid is more restrained when he sings, showcasing versatility at a very young age.
Studying for his BBA exams, Abdur Rehman Sajid, took out time to speak to Instep. When speaking about the video at length, he confirmed that it is the band’s debut music video since Pepsi Battle of the Bands.
Noted Abdur, “There were other videos but the vocalist was different; the line-up was different; so, yes, this is our first music video.”
‘Dhurao’ is not a song the band played during Pepsi Battle of the Bands. Speaking about how they decided on the song that would be converted into a music video, Abdur explained, “We have a line-up for the album. And we want to explore all the sounds we have. We have a power ballad sound, which was witnessed and loved in ‘Aansu’ and ‘Raat’.”
He further reiterated: “We have a rock ‘n’ roll sound which is ‘O Jaana’ and we have a mellow ballad sound which is ‘Duhrao’. We have two more, which will be the next two releases so the album will wrap up with 8 songs.”
“‘Duhrao’,” said Abdur, “is a song we tried out because we wanted to try out a ballad-esque track; Nasir had written the melody of the chorus line and he gave me the melody and asked me to work on it and the song came along. And we decided to go with it and see if we can find a different sound that pleases people so it’s an all-round package.”
As Abdur points out, his tendency to sing in high notes was a challenge he was willing to forgo to highlight another side of the coin to the listeners.
He told Instep, “Another reason was that people pointed out that you sing very high and while that was needed for a competition, the competition is over and it was also becoming a stereotype. But this is the real world now so we want to make good songs that captivate our audience.”
As for the music video and working with Yasir Jaswal, noted Abdur, “We were pretty awe-inspired by Yasir Jaswal’s work as a music director (‘Sajni’, ‘Raat Shabnami’) and he came up with a concept – he liked the song – which we tweaked a bit. See, this song is about freaks; this song isn’t necessarily about love or pain or loss. This is about people who sit in a room full of people but they’re staring at the wall or at the roof or the sky. So, someone comes up to them and says ‘tell me what the cloud is saying to you’ so this is why the circus comes in because circus is a place for freaks. Yasir bhai added his touches. We just knew we needed to make a music video that is about a culture or society that is out of the social sphere and I think Yasir bhai did a wonderful job with it.”
Pepsi has been quite active. Apart from ‘Dhurao’ for Auj, they have released music videos in collaboration with Kashmir, E Sharp, Taamasha, Xarb and Bayaan, in addition to concerts, also featuring Mekaal Hasan Band.
Now if they can just start releasing albums for at least the winning groups, beginning with Kashmir, followed by Bayaan, Xarb, and Auj, they will be on the right track for good. In fact, investing in E Sharp and Taamasha might not be such a bad thing as well.