Ahmed Jilani, Lead Vocalist, Badnaam, the runner-up band at the 2017 Pepsi Battle of the Bands, talks about how his band’s journey began in this exclusive interview.

1. What is the story behind the name “Badnaam”?
Badnaam was formed back in 2009 originally with Lala Ahsan on Bass guitars and Omar Khushnood / many others on drums. We were all friends and friends of friends and I and Lala have been playing together since well before 2009. One fine day we decided to record our first single ALIF ALLAH which begged the question about the name for our group. After going through a lot of stupid names, we finally decided to go with Badnaam as I guess that’s how all people pursuing their passion are known as.

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2. Share a brief background of the three members of Badnaam?
Lala Ahsan and Raheem Shahbaz were neighbor’s since childhood and both are from the National College of Arts (NCA). Lala’s brother was my college fellow and from there we discovered each other. We were all working in our capacities and left everything for music. Lala was working as an editor and Raheem as an interior designer. I was in the technology field for more than 13 years.

3. Which musicians have been your inspiration?
Well, quite a few namely Abida Perveen Sahiba, Kurt Cobain, Mehdi Hasan Sahab, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Sabri brothers.

4. During the 2017 Pepsi Battle of the Bands, which song was the most challenging to perform as a band?
Khawaja Ki Deewani

5. As a lead vocalist, which song was the most difficult to perform at the 2017 Battle of the Bands?
Bismillah Karan primarily because we were all sick and down with different illnesses

6. How do you see Badnaam before entering the Battle of the Bands, and the Badnaam emerging as the runner-ups?
Before we entered Pepsi Battle of the Bands nobody would be interviewing us and now I am giving an interview to Karvan :). It has been a phenomenal change in how much exposure we received as a band and how far our songs have reached.

7. What are the favorite songs of Ahmed Jilani, Muhammad Ahsan and Rahim Shahbaz?
Deh Khudaya, Daastan e Faqeer and Daastan e Faqeer respectively

8. What are the band member’s hobbies other than playing music?
I like politics, social work, and traveling/hiking/camping. The same is true I guess for Lala Ahsan. He is also a lot more into visual arts and music in general. Raheem is into interior designing and product development and is very creative.

9. In the first round of the Battle of the Bands your song, Kala Jora Paa, became an instant hit. Which songs from your competing bands did you think hit the mark?
I particularly liked Korina by Pindi Boys

10. Where do you see Badnaam two years down the road?
Established as a consistently meaningful band having completed at least 3 albums.

11. Your message to the young, aspiring musicians of Pakistan?
Never give up on your dreams. It isn’t about achieving the dream that is a fulfilling experience but the person you become while going through that difficult journey is what you will look back and cherish in life.

Image Source: Badnaam’s Facebook Page 

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