Warning: This is not a news article. It’s a blog post by a regular fan.
To start off, unlike their other fans, I fell in love with Badnaam and their music, literally the day after Pepsi Battle Of The Bands ended. And that’s because, I didn’t follow the show. *Clears throat awkwardly* Regardless, all it took was one curious sweep through their BOB performances, and I was hooked.
So for those of you who are living under a rock, (like me). Here’s a brief introduction of the Sufi rock band which took Pepsi Battle Of The Bands by storm.
The trio consists of vocalist and guitarist Ahmed Jillani (center), Bass guitarist Rahim Shahbaaz aka Sunny (left) and Ahsan aka The New Lala In Town (right). In their own words, the band wanted a unique name for themselves. Inspired by Bulleh Shah’s verse “Apo hoyo badnaam, jinnay peeta ishq da jaam”, they came up with the eyebrow-raising name “Badnaam”. Their philosophy is simple. They aim to get their message of love and peace across to today’s generation in the form of their music.
Originally with Ahmed on vocals, Lala on bass guitar and Unlucky Ex-Drummer on drums, the band applied for the BOB auditions, completely oblivious of what the future had in store for them.
So as luck would have it, Unlucky Ex-Drummer ditched the band last minute. And thus, Lala slid over to drums and Sunny joined the band as bass guitarist. In Lala’s words, the band flew over to Karachi cuz free plane tickets.
The band was an instant hit with the judges and so they progressed to the Top 8 with flying colors. Relentless hard work, grueling jam sessions and extreme anxiety and emotional stress paved way for Badnaam to the Grand Finale of Battle Of The Bands, alongside Kashmir, where they were crowned the runner ups.
My first interaction with the band was when they made a vocal appearance on Ejaz Waris’s radio show on 103 FM. After half an hour of trying to note down which number to call, followed by another 20 minutes of constantly dialing and hanging up on the Muaziz sarif lady, my call finally went through. I pretty much forgot to breathe when the host asked me to introduce myself and then directed me towards the band, mainly Ahmed. I actually managed to ask the 2 questions which I had been practicing for the past hour. They were:
Me: When are you guys releasing your first album?
Ahmed: We’re hoping to release it by this December.
Me: Will you guys ever do a concert in Karachi?
Ahmed: No, we’ll never do a concert in Karachi.
*I laugh awkwardly* And everyone simply laughs.
Ahmed: No Insha’Allah we’ll do concerts all over the world, not just Karachi.
I proceeded to wish them luck with the future and then hung up. And then I literally screamed with happiness. Because I don’t call on radio shows. I don’t even listen to the radio. Anyway, I managed to later embarrass myself on the show by sending in a heartfelt comment “Lala x6 hearts” on the Insta Live feed. The host obviously read out my comment out of all others and I cringed a little.
While I was attempting to call on the show, I was also in the process of painting a badge with the band’s logo on it.
I posted the badge on my Insta the next day and it was “liked” by all 3 members. And yes. I bragged about it big time in front of fellow Badnaam fan-girls.
Okay let’s get down to business. Presenting, without further ado, my 13 Question Interview of Badnaam.
Q1: As a band, which artist/band would Badnaam love to perform with?
A: We would love to perform with Abida Parween. That would be super cool.
Q2: Will you be expanding the band?
A: We are quite fine with the trio set up right now. But we are open to new ideas. Let’s see what happens.
Q3: Your vision for 2018?
A: To do as many shows as we can.
Q4: Ahsan is Lala. Rahim is Sunny. Do you have a nickname the fans can call you with?
A: Fawad Khan gave us really cool nicknames. I would like to keep one of those.
Q5: Will you ever sing an original Badnaam track in English?
A: We have original songs in English but we’re not sure if they will be appropriate for the Pakistani market.
My comment: I’d kill to hear you sing an English song because your Nirvana cover blew me away.
Q6: Favorite Nirvana track?
A: Tough one. Breed and Territorial Pissing.
Q7: Do you plan on sticking with drums or going back to bass guitar?
A: I’m just focusing on drums right now.
Q8: What would you be doing right now if BOB never happened?
A: Video editing and practicing.
Q9: Any crazy fan experience?
A: “Bhai app ko kaheen dekha hai.”
“Yar yaad nahi aaraha lakin bohat dekhi dekhi si shakal hai.”
I’m like abay pechan bhi lay.
Q10: If music is the most important thing for you, what’s the 2nd most important thing?
A: Working with wood. I like to play with it, making products.
Q11: You personal favorite Badnaam song?
A: Khawaja Ki Diwani
Q12: As a bass guitarist, who is your idol?
A: Flea from RHCP (Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Q13: What’s the one word you can use to sum up your entire Battle of The Bands experience?
So there you have it. Never-known-before Badnaam facts!
After watching their interviews, listening to them on the radio and communicating with them myself, I can’t help but be amazed at how humble these guys are. Personally, I was never a fan of Sufi music. But these guys converted me. I constantly have their songs on repeat. So I know for a fact that I’ll be first in line when that album finally drops.
If you’re reading this, let me just say this. Guys, you rock. I hope you go even bigger and stay forever humble.
On that note,
Dear Badnaam and their fans,
Keep Calm, Be BADNAAM!