Finale Episode Promises For More – Paperazzi

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The year was 1992,
when a song Sir Kye Yeh Pahar was released in a mellow and soulful voice, it
mesmerized all the youth of that time. Be in the car, in plane or even on a break
from school or college, the song was favourite of every teenage boy and girl of
that time. The vocalist of the song Bilal Maqsood, though the lead guitarist of
his band gained immense popularity among the 90s kids just for a single.  

The band’s name was ‘Strings’ established in 1988 by four teenage college boys, who released their first album in 1990 named ‘Strings’. Two years later their second album ‘2 ‘came out accompanying the video of song ‘Sir Kiyeh Yeh Pahar’ which became a nationwide hit and the band was a sensation. Amidst enjoying the status of post 80s pop stars, the quartet took a break and almost left doing music for other jobs. Maqsood, who mostly fronted the band even opt a job of a creative director at advertising agency, a trait he inherited from his father, the legendary Anwar Maqsood, renowned writer and painter of Sub-Continent.

After the hiatus of eight years, Strings saw a new fame and success in new millennium and became international stars by performing all over the world and doing soundtracks for Hollywood hits like Spider-Man. They released four more new albums; Duur (2000), Dhaani (2003), Koi Aanay Wal Hai (2008) and latest Thirty (2018) which marked the completion of bands 30 years in the industry.  

Through all
this journey Bilal Maqsood remained an integral part of the band and remained in
touch with music and his band mates even when not doing music. Strings’ style
of music and compositions are backed by this thin, tall and apparently quite
(now a) man. Maqsood along with his long time fellow and lead vocalist of
Strings Faisal Kapadia also directed the platforms like Coke Studios’s four
seasons from seven to ten (2014 to 2017). 

Currently Maqsood
is directing Pakistan’s first ever digital music platform Velo Sound Station.
He took some time out for Daily Paperazzi about this new venture and his future
plans in the field of music.

What is
unique about Velo Sound Station? What you had on your mind when choosing
artists and designing the sets for the program?

In the last
15 years or so I saw pop music taken over by Sufi and folk in Pakistan and
quietly relegating to a space that was limited to just underground music. Idea
behind VSS was to bring back pop music, which used to be the forte of Pakistani
music industry to mainstream.

The set was
designed keeping the Roman Colosseum in mind where the performer becomes the
warrior with spectators all around him.

What is
the inspiration behind Pyar Ka Rog?

Pyaar ka rog
was one of the songs from my lockdown series on my Instagram. People really
liked it but somehow i knew if ever I get down to record it, it would be in Faisal’s
voice. We ventured out of our signature strings sound and experimented with
retro synth wave keeping the mood of the show. The song is written by Mr. Anwar
Maqsood,  began as just a piano version but
now with Faisal Kapadia’s vocals and a full production it sounds amazing.

What was
your journey from one big platform to Velo Sound Station?

My journey
from Coke Studios to Velo Sound Station was bridged by the release of our 6th
Studio album titled ‘Strings 30’. After the release of the album I had sometimes
to think about the show and the direction it should take. I had two things in
mind while coming up with the idea, one, that it has to be about pop music and
second, that visually and sonically it should not resemble anything that’s on
our local television screens.

How are
you keeping it different from other music platforms of Pakistan?

Right now,
Pakistani music is all about folk, Sufi and fusion. I made sure that I’ll stay
away from that. I knew we will have to swim against the tide because people
have forgotten the taste of Pakistani pop but that’s the risk we all were
willing to take in order to bring our pop music to mainstream. 

Do you
think that Velo Sound Station would be another platform for new talent?

Yes. We will
always be looking for new talent who can fit into the realm of our show.

What do your
fans expect more from you after the successful album ‘Strings Thirty’?

InshaAllah
will never disappoint our fans. As soon as we get a little window will work on
our new album.