When we started off, there was no Metal scene around here, so when this band was formed, it aimed to revolutionize the music scene, to create awareness about Metal in Pakistan.”
Wikimetal (Daniel Dystyler): Hey, Hashim, how are you?
Hashim Mahmood: I am good, excellent.
W (Nando Machado): Hello, Hashim, it’s very nice to be talking to you.
HM: It is nice to talk to you too. And I’ve got Tayyab here with me, the vocalist.
Tayyab Rehman: Hi, this is Tayyab.
HM: And I’ve got the guitarist, Mubbashir Sheikh Mashoo, you can call him Mashoo.
W (NM): OK, Mashoo.
HM: And Daim Mahmood and Saad Javed as well, the bassist. And Daniel already spoke with the manager.
W (DD): OK, so almost the whole band is there with you, right?
W (NM): I’m quite impressed by your English, how did you guys learn to speak English?
HM: It’s good?
W (DD): We’re impressed, it’s very good.
W (NM): It’s very good.
HM: Yeah. Pakistanis are really good at English. We speak with a bad accent. You have a good accent.
W (NM): Can you say an ID in Pakistani? Like “You’re listening to Wikimetal” in Pakistani?
HM: Sure. (Phrase in Pakistani)
W (NM): OK. We read that Blackhour was created in 2007 in order to create awareness among the Pakistani youth. Can you talk a little bit about that?
TR: OK, when we started off, there was no metal scene around here, so when this band was formed, it aimed to revolutionize the music scene, to create awareness about metal in Pakistan, so with time, it did its job, and we have a much greater community around here, thanks to us, and many other metal bands from this city and other cities. So that was the main thing that we worked on, and another thing that we wanted to work on, to raise awareness is that, you know that Pakistan has had many political stand offs lately, so we wanted to bring people out of that, to this sense of empowerment and being in control of the situation, not depending on the government itself, so the song “Age of War” suggested that this world is chaos, but we need to take control.
HM: And you know, we wanted to raise awareness among the youth and to convey a message in every song that we deliver. So this was the little concept we had in our heads.
W (DD): And how is the rock and metal scene in Pakistan? Do you guys have specific places or clubs? Are there many bands or concerts? How do things work in Pakistan for whoever likes heavy metal?
HM: Things like rock and heavy metal are quite tough. It’s hard to find places to perform. You have a small crowd to play for, and the places are not very supportive, they don’t help much, because not many people are into metal, but there’s a small crowd which is very loyal to this metal scene. If you ring a few bands for this city, or… If there are about 6.000 people, there might be at least 800 people that are very good metal listeners. So we have a small community, but it’s very loyal to metal. So things here are tough, but still, they work out with this small community we have.
W (NM): Is there any repression and prejudice against people that play and enjoy heavy metal music in Pakistan?
HM: Yeah, you might say that. It starts off from your own home, your own place. Your parents, sometimes they don’t approve of you playing metal, because they don’t understand the energy and the power, they just say “What kind of noise are you making? Stop that racket.” And if you have friends that are not into this genre, they want you to play something else. And I have friends that listen to R&B and hip hop, which are the main genres here these days as well, rather than the American metal, and European as well. I understand that the trends in America are also changing, shifting to R&B and hip hop, same scene as here. And on the other hand, the metal is also kind of a vital genre here, so we do face prejudices, difficulties.
I’m a huge fan of Janick Gers, so whatever he does I kind of try to pull it off onstage as well.”
W (DD): Excellent, thanks. We have a classic question on our show that we ask every single person that we interview, which is, imagine you’re listening to the radio on a rock station, or listening to your ipod in shuffle mode and all of a sudden a song starts that makes you lose your mind and you start head banging immediately, doesn’t matter where you are, you can’t stop yourself, you can’t refrain yourself, you just need to head bang. What song is that so we can listen to that song on our show right now?
HM: This is a song from Insomnium, “Mortal Share”.
W (DD): Excellent, excellent.
W (NM): Is that a choice from the whole band? Is that a song that everybody likes or is it just you, Hashim?
HM: All of us.
TR: I love this song, I don’t care.
W (NM): Excellent. Hashim, and you guys, what would you consider being the biggest influence you have when you write songs?
HM: For me, especially, it’s Iron Maiden. Back in 2007, when I started the band, I… I actually started playing guitar because of Iron Maiden, and I’m a huge fan of Janick Gers, so whatever he does I kind of try to pull it off onstage as well. The thing is that Maiden has really inspired me, and the way they produce their melodious tracks, and the way that their heavy metal is, in a way, very melodic, so we kind of try to put that in Blackhour as well, we want that, we want to make our songs very melodic, and we want songs that really touch the hearts of people, that they can head bang to, or jump, or whatever they feel like doing. So mainly, for me, it’s this inspiration, I try to put that in my songs, in our songs.
W (DD): Excellent, so Hashim, do you spin the guitar all over the place like Janick Gers?
HM: Yeah, I do that a lot.
W (DD): Very good. Excellent.
HM: Actually, I have this video, I was doing this guitar thing, that 360 kind of thing, and I was practicing it, and I missed and the guitar just fell down, the thing just chipped off. Then I got it fixed.
W (DD): So what can you tell us about the amount of information you guys receive about latest releases, and bands… What is the main source for you in Pakistan to listen to music?
HM: The internet, yeah. YouTube.
Daim Mahmood: Basically, you know, in general, YouTube, I would say, is the biggest promoter of all the songs, because you can easily post your songs, and analyze how it really is, access the social media and everything.
W (DD): So the internet is not limited at all in Pakistan, right?
DM: No, it’s not, I mean, on the contrary, you have a lot of new music, a lot of ways to explore through the internet.
W (NM): So I hope you guys can listen to our show on the internet, then, it will be great to have you guys as listeners.
HM: Yeah, definitely.
W (DD): Have you seen the film “Heavy Metal in Baghdad”? And if so, can you tell us if you feel somehow connected to those guys?
HM: It’s a documentary sort of thing, right?
W (NM): Yeah.
HM: I saw a documentary on NatGeo once, but I only saw the last bit. It showed the struggle of other bands, but I missed it… I haven’t seen it.
TR: There’s another documentary of an anthropologist who traveled all over the world searching for metal bands…
W (DD): Sam Dunn?
W (NM): “Global Metal”?
TR: Yeah. “Global Metal”.
W (DD): Yeah, we interviewed him and we did two special episodes about him, and he was very nice.
W (NM): You can hear his episodes on our website as well.
TR: Great, we’ll check it out.
Sometimes they don’t approve of you playing metal, because they don’t understand the energy and the power, they just say ‘what kind of noise are you making?’.”
W (DD): Very good. Recently, you guys released an excellent album “Age of War”. How is the album doing and how can people buy your album?
HM: People can buy it on iTunes, and on Amazon, and I can tell you the links and assist you. But other than that, the album in Pakistan is doing somewhat good and bad. The thing is that there are not many Pakistani listeners that listen to metal music. So there’s a handful of listeners to this sort of music. So we kind of made the album on our own, we marketed it on our own, we promoted it on our own. Literally, we promoted it to every single person we know. So I’d say we’ve done a very good job with it, but if we have a proper channel or a proper record label, than it would have gone somewhere, I really believe. But since that wasn’t the case, we had limited resources.
TR: Internationally it’s doing much better.
HM: Yes, internationally it’s doing much better than in Pakistan. In Germany, Poland…
W (NM): Can you pick a song, can you choose a song of your own, that you’re really proud of having written, so we can listen to it on our show now?
HM: There are three songs that we would pick “Suicide and Comfort”, “Crucifix” and “Age of War”… “Crucifix”!
W (NM): Crucifix with Blackhour, on Wikimetal.
W (DD): Guys, if you had to choose your top three guitar players, Hashim, which one would you choose, besides Janick Gers?
HM: That makes it difficult now. I’d say Slash. Janick, Slash and… I also like Petrucci. Yeah, Janick, Petrucci and Slash, but Janick is on the top because of the way… What he can do with the guitar.
W (DD): That’s an excellent trio, right? Janick, Petrucci and Slash. Very good.
W (Rafael Masini): Hi, Hashim, I’m Rafael. I have two questions for you: do you know any Brazilian heavy metal bands?
DM: Yes, Sepultura… “Roots Bloody Roots”
W (NM): We’ll tell them that you spoke about them. They will be really happy.
W (RM): So now what are the plans for the future of Blackhour?
HM: International and global success. We really are targeting the international market, because Pakistan can only do little. The thing is to get out to where the music scene is. We are trying to change it, but we really want to hit European countries, and, you know, Brazil. We’ve even got this one offer from India to play, but at the moment we are kind of down financially, so we can’t do that. But I’m sure that in the future we will be able to. But Blackhour is aiming globally, because that is the bigger picture for us.
TR: We want to make our way through the social media.
W (DD): Very good, very good. We’re almost finishing our interview, so before I let you guys go, can you guys leave a last message to our Brazilian listeners, please?
HM: Yeah, promote Blackhour in Brazil, and support metal and stay true to metal.
TR: Listen to our album an buy our album in iTunes, it’s called “Age of War”, by Blackhour.
DM: And thank you, Wikimetal.
HM: And I hope we can someday come and play in this beautiful country, especially in Rock In Rio, in those kinds of places. We dream of playing there.
W (NM): And I’d really like to thank you guys and congratulate you for believing in metal, believing in your music, and I want to thank you for your courage, and tell you that we want to support you guys and all the heavy metal everywhere in the world. I think that heavy metal is the only kind of music that gets people to get together and look for a better world, so I wish every one of you all the best for the future, and count on Wikimetal to promote your great band, Blackhour.
HM: Thank you so much. We would like to thank you for having is on this show.
W (DD): We are very happy and very proud to have people from all over the world fighting and trying to contribute to this heavy metal scene. And we know that heavy metal has to fight against everybody, and it’s not easy in any place in the world, so thanks so much for supporting this kind of music.
HM: Thank you.
W (NM): All the best guys, good luck!
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