Hot on the South Asian Chicago scene, I interview Ashar Khan and Sufyan Ahmed. The Pakistani born artists released their debut single ‘May Kya Karoon’ in September 2013 in time for Eid to critical acclaim.
From playing at local shows to now having their songs played on TV stations and radio, I interview the talented duo as they make their mark on the international scene.
Tell us a bit about yourselves?
Sufyan Ahmed: I am a guitarist and song writer and I have been doing music since 2005-2006. Currently we are in the process of producing more songs and music videos and apart from that we are thinking of ways to interact with our fans.
Ashar Khan: I am also a song writer, music composer, and a singer. I have been doing music since 2004.
We are coming out with new songs which we soon hope to make it into an album. I want our music to be something that everyone can relate to. Music that can bring out every emotions of a fan.
How did you both meet and then decide to make music together?
SA: It wasn’t really planned, we met at the meeting for a cultural show in Chicago, and we were in a group of people who were talking and discussing their performances in the show. In the middle of that conversation we started to discuss music and share our passion for it and thought it would be cool to play together sometime.
But it all came down to an offer to play a concert in Elk Grove organized by one of our friends, for which we started to jam and from there on we continued playing concerts on demand and here we are.
AK: As Sufyan has mentioned we met randomly at a show. In this show I was a performer and came as a solo artist. We met each other with a group of close friends and when we started talking, I noticed Sufyan had a similar taste of music as I did. From there we took off.
You were both born in Karachi before moving to the US. Has music from both countries influenced your style and how?
SA: Being able to connect to both eastern and western culture and music has definitely played a big role in my music style and listening. For some reason I only listen to selective bands or singers, and at times I feel odd how my playlist would jump from Mehdi Hassan to Led Zepplin.
It’s our experience and emotional journey that guides us to the music that we listen to and in my case influences me to produce the music that takes from western and eastern music. Be it ghazal, qawaali or classic rock, you see shades of these three genres in our production.
AK: I would have to say that both cultures have played a huge role in the taste of my music. I have been a huge fan of the emerging bands such as Call, EP, Jal, and been a huge fan of Rahat, Mehdi Hassan, and Linkin Park.
The style of music that we like to create is a mixture of hip-hop and rock. We like to explore the boundaries of these two cultures, and try to express it through our mixture of pop and rock. If you listen to our two tracks, May Kya Karoon, and Maula, you would feel this.
Chicago over the past few years has seen a steady string of South Asian talent emerge.
Do you expect to see more emerging from The Windy City this year?
SA: Of course, windy city has a lot of potential. It’s just a matter of time.
AK: I don’t see why not. Chicago has a lot of young talents that would take the music industry by storm.
Who would you like to work with in the music industry?
SA: I’d like to work with Bohemia one day. He is an amazing producer and rapper. His songs are thought provoking.
AK: I have recently been listening to Bilal Saeed. I personally think his music is outstanding and seeing he is a producer himself, I would love to get an opportunity to release a track under his influence.
Tell us about your latest single ‘Maula.’
SA: Maula is our latest track, currently airing on all Pakistani Music channels. The song is about believing in yourself and moving on once you have given your everything. I guess we must make the best out of every opportunity and not lose hope.
AK: Maula has been aired on ARY in the Top Ten section. This song was inspired by a true story of two individuals that wanted to fight for a cause. This is about the hope of Pakistan and what true determination and fight can bring to the table of the future of Pakistan.
Is there an album in the works? If so, what can we expect from the album?
SA & AK: We are working on an album; however, given the current situation of record labels in Pakistan it’s really hard for bands to release an album, even for established artists. Therefore, we have decided to stick with singles or online release of our tracks. We hope the situation improves so we can share our journey in a form of an album with our fans.
Any shout outs?
SA & AK: We’d like to thank our executive producer Mona Yasin, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to come this far, our music producer Kamijee, ARY Musik and our friends and family.
Thank you Ashar and Sufyan for your time and wish you continued success.
The single ‘Maula’ is out now! You can find the download link for ‘Maula’ here.
Visit the official Ashar and Sufyan website by clicking here to stay updated with the latest news and tours.
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