Music underground played over the top

8:39:00 AM

Music underground played over the top
By Jellyman

Many people feel that underground music is a relatively recent phenomenon but I tend to look at it in a different way all together. According to my perception, underground music is that genre of music or rather style of music during an era in which it was second best to the style of music enjoyed by the wider audience. Therefore, under this definition there was a time when even Vital Signs, Junoon and Nazia & Zohaib for instance could be considered underground artists.
However, the growth in popularity and awareness of underground music and artists has suddenly hit a new high during the past two or three years – in this article, I will try to numerate according to what I feel are some of the reasons behind why this is so.

Participation by the youth
When I was in my A levels back in 1998, I remember quite distinctly that in a class of 120 odd students, we had perhaps four or five students who knew how to play the guitar and one person who knew how to play the keyboard. Finding a drummer was practically impossible. In fact even the gigs we used to attend had a maximum of two poor souls who played the drums for each and every other underground band performing on stage.
Now however, every other person knows how to play the guitar or knows at least two to three friends that can play the guitar relatively well or even practice the drums. Surprisingly enough some really talented drummers I’ve heard in the recent past have also included girls – never thought that was possible in my day and age in Pakistan.
What I’m trying to get at is that all of this just leads to a greater chance of finding more talent. People are also realizing the different styles of singing that are available to them. Frankly speaking during these times, even a bad singer can make it big (and I’m not referring to any particular singer at the moment).

Music Channels
With the advent of purely Pakistani music channels mushrooming all of a sudden and that too at a faster rate then the amount of content they have to offer, this is a great time for people to get videos out and see what response they get. The moment this field gets competitive and the channels have ample amount of good or even great videos to choose from, the average rated videos of today will NEVER have a chance to be played again, so if you can get a video on air which has been shot by (lets say) your brother even in your own room, you have a pretty good chance of making it big now before the good and great videos set in.

Support from the internet and radio
More than the role of television I think it is the internet and the recent urban radio stations that have had a major role in promoting the underground talents of today. A few years back you could not even imagine people getting music from the net with such ease and even if you could you had to hear about it from a friend or someone who had downloaded it himself. Now the radio stations play the songs and people search for them on the net. Some of the best bands out there today are the product of underground downloads from the net – the biggest example that comes to mind is Jal with their debut hit addat.
Internet sites such as pakmediarevolution, pakmanzil, bandbaja just to name a few have proven to be catalysts towards the sudden explosion of underground music in today’s world, every artists from America to Canada, England to Scotland and even our very own Pakistan are able to share their styles of music with a wider audience.
Then there is the radio which is extremely important here because if you cannot afford to make a video for the television you can at least record a decent track and get it aired on the frequencies of various FM radio stations that I like to refer to as urban radio stations. The exposure you can get from these stations is immense! There is no substitute to the radio when it comes to great personal musical entertainment.

Improved technology
Recording your own tracks sitting in the comfort of your own home-equipped recording studio was not an option available to everyone more then a few years ago, but now, if you know what to buy and where to buy it from the cost of setting up a decent home studio for recordings is peanuts compared to the costs a few years back. This allows for more and more music enthusiasts to try their hands at their own style of music. It still costs quite a lot to record in professional studios and yes the quality may be higher but frankly speaking a home based recording goes a long way nowadays when it comes to promoting talent. Combine that with the internet download sites and the radio and you’ve probably got a fan following of 50 to a 100 people just by saying you’re making a song!

Although all of these aspects coupled together have provided a boost to underground music; they have also increased the need to filter out extremely horrendous pieces of so called musical brilliance - that is why I leave it to the professionals. Nevertheless, I am an optimist at heart and I know that this is only the beginning but even then the future seems very bright.

In the end I just want to say that I hope music underground is played over the top so people know what talent we have to offer.
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