After days of trying for a meeting with our very own Spiderman boys Strings, who’ve been buried under an avalanche of local and foreign engagements ever since their latest feat, I finally got hold of the dynamic duo hoping to grill them with smart ass questions like how much they made out of the big Hollywood deal (which they quite subtly ignored, by they way!) but conveniently melted away once I sat nose to nose to nose with them. Ode to the power of the interviewer!
Strings have prolifically spread their webs of success all over the world and from the heights of super stardom, they don’t only look down with satisfaction but up as well contemplating leaps towards even greater heights. Yes, these men definitely know what they’re doing and where they’re off to!
Performing at the President House on the eve of the Independence Day, making almost daily appearances at local—Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad—venues amid regular trips across the Eastern border, the boys appear exhausted but happy and full of enthusiasm. This short but informative discussion took place in time before yet another scheduled escape from Karachi for a long awaited tour of the Middle East and Canada where they’ll be performing for over a couple of million fans!
I know I’m being utterly uncouth when I ask you this, but I guess its okay since it’s something everybody wants to know: What-or how much-does striking Hollywood mean?
Faisal: It is definitely a big achievement for strings. We never thought that we could go that far in such a short time. Both of us, we’ve been Spiderman fans all our lives and getting an offer from Columbia Tri-Star to do a song for the sound track was unreal!
Bilal: Getting ‘there’ means a lot to strings. Personally it gives us confidence that our music is at par with the Western force of rock and more globally speaking we feel that it will show way to a lot of unexplored avenues to our local talent, which in the past were considered unreachable.
How did it happen? We don’t know how things there work, so tell us, did “they” just ask you for a particular song from your album or was ‘Najane Kiyun’ your own choice for the Spiderman soundtrack?
Bilal: Columbia Tri-Star, instead of an English song, this time around wanted to break the movie in this region with a local song. Since our name was quite big here at the time- they got in touch with us. They wanted us, also, because they thought that we fit the image and the attitude required for the job. Initially they asked us to make a new song, but when we got the brief we thought that we have a perfect song for it and we played ‘Najane kiyun’ to them. The rest is all history.
This doesn’t happen to just anyone, and looking at all the good this has done for “Strings”—not that you weren’t already flying high–were you expecting something as big as this coming your way?
Bilal: Not in our wildest dreams had we thought that something like this would happen. And no, we never fly high. Something like this only makes us smile a little more—even when we are all alone!
And now that the trophy’s yours for keeps, what’re your feelings about the whole episode?
Faisal: I think it could’ve happened to anyone with the right amount of luck. There are certain things that happen and they change your life, for the better, without you even trying for it. I think we were extremely lucky to be the ones they chose.
Bilal: We have invented this game by chance, so by default we keep the trophy! But the games will go on…lets see who gets the next one!?
After working on many a videos with local directors, how did you like working with Marlin Rodriguez? Is the one you’ve released in Pakistan the same version as everywhere else?
Bilal: Yes, it’s the same as the version released everywhere. Marlin was good, but Jami is the best!
Any other Hollywood projects I might want to be the first to know about?
Faisal & Bilal: We promise you-you’ll be the first one to know if something comes up!
You’ve been commuting between Delhi and Karachi. Tell me about that.
Faisal: We were supposed to do three concerts in just Delhi. All three are corporate shows for Mercedes. Delhi itself is a big region, divided into three key areas: North Delhi, South Delhi and Noida.
Some very prominent singers have turned actors once they cross borders. Do you think you might end up in the same boat someday?
Bilal: We are not looking for cheap shortcuts to get famous. Very recently, I was offered a role, paired against Tabbu and I said no just because we want to remain focused. Music is what we do the best. There is nothing wrong in doing the films. It’s just that one should do what he or she is most comfortable with. Our fans all over the world expect a lot more music from us. Music is not just about having fun anymore. When we go to India, there is a certain responsibility that we have on our shoulders as musicians who represent Pakistan. So it’s not just our image we are concerned about, it’s our country’s’ too.
I spot this novel trend of bands being formed; they’re blessed with overnight success and then poof! The next thing you know, they’re breaking up. Now again I must say that you’re not one of them of course because you two have been rocking for as long as I can remember. But can I, as a fan, expect to buy a Strings CD maybe 10 years from now?
Bilal: We both respect our band very much. We know that as individuals we will never be bigger than the band. The day one of us feels that he is bigger than the band will be the last day of strings.
Faisal: Strings is not a phase, it’s our life! We’ll continue to make music as long as we feel that we are doing justice to it.