In conversation with two other brilliant names in the world of rock music in our country
At the point when the young generation discusses rock or metal music, the names of specific bands continue coming into the discussion--with the likes of Nemesis, Artcell, Aurthohin, Warfaze, and some more who have been active for quite some time now. The rock music scene in Bangladesh is flourishing. The youth has developed a keen interest in this creative local music scene. Most of the local musicians admire and follow Nemesis, Aurthohin, Artcell, and a few other famous bands as motivations for their music. Other than the mainstream bands of Dhaka, there are some new and amazing groups working admirably with their music to change the recent music industry by adding their own flavour in their music. Many new bands have earned their place in the music industry and one of them is Dads In The Park. In a very short time, this band has successfully captured everyone's attention and heart with their music. This Bangladeshi rock band was founded by Ishmam Salim and Tajwar Ul Islam. For these ‘Dads,’ their music is their children. So far they have released two singles “Lullaby” and “Pareidolia” and is also about to drop their third single very soon. In an interview with Dhaka Tribune, the members gave insights into how they came to be the band they are today.
What drew you to the music industry?
Ishmam: I am relatively new in the industry; Dads In The Park is my first and only band. However, I have been involved with music since 2009. It wasn’t until 2016 that I decided to pursue music. I had a few songs and compositions of my own and realized that I should start pursuing them and get my music out there.
Tajwar: I have worked with other bands before this, like Minus2, Vowels, and Absentia-- so I was quite familiar with the industry.
Besides, music was always a part of both our lives and since we both play the guitar and have similar taste in music, it was only a matter of time before we started doing this together.
How did you all meet?
Ishmam: We are both students of BRAC University. I was in my 3rd year when I met Tajwar for the first time and it was only his first day at the university. He was playing the guitar by himself when I called him over and we jammed for a while. That is basically how we met.
Who are your inspirations, and how does that translate into the kind of music you make together?
Ishmam: I look up to a lot of great musicians such as AnjanDutt, John Denver, and Myles Kennedy. Alter Bridge and Kings of Leon are my favourite bands.
Tajwar: I am inspired by Linkin Park, Alter Bridge, Periphery, Bring Me The Horizon, etc. I think we are both heavily inspired by the early 2000s rock scene which is quite evident in our music.
How long does it take for you to go from ideation to a completed track?
It doesn’t take too long for us to convert ideation into a complete song. Once we both have the ideation in mind, we have the whole song in our heads. The next process is just building on our ideation.
What’s an average day like for you?
Ishmam: At the moment, we are both quarantined. I wake up at noon, eat, play a little guitar, and get to work. I always have my acoustic guitar next to me so that I can play it whenever I want. You never know when you’ll stumble upon something that might turn into a song.
Tajwar: Currently I am busy doing nothing other than staying back home, making music, teaching guitar students online, and complaining about the current situation of the world.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Ishmam: Well, I am the one who writes the songs. All of my ideas either come from my own experiences or the people around me. There are two meanings in some of our songs. The first being strictly personal, and the second is a more generic meaning so that people can relate to it.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans.
Tajwar: We both enjoy talking to people who come to our shows. We are always open to questions. When it comes to social media, we are pretty active in all social media platforms. Because our fans made us what we are today, so we feel like it is our responsibility to respond to them. Also, at this platform, everyone enjoys the attention they get and we are no different. As a band, we try to be as responsive as possible, anyone can message our band pages (Instagram, Facebook). And we appreciate all kinds of constructive criticism from whoever who listens to our music. It helps us to structure and make good music.
What is your favourite part of this line of work? Your least favourite? Why?
I think we can both agree that the complete process of making a song, recording it, and releasing it is the greatest feeling in the world. We also love playing live. The energy of the crowd, the connection, the interaction, it’s all amazing. And when it comes to the least favourite thing, it is quite difficult for us to get our music out there to the masses.
Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?
Ishmam: All the time! We both get nervous before shows. I always have this thing called “Pre-show nervousness” (named it myself) which may at times start even days before a show.
Except for music, do you guys do anything else?
Ishmam: I work at a Software firm as a Software Quality Assurance Engineer.
Tajwar: I am studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering at BRAC University.
If you want your fans to remember one thing about the band then what would it be?
This is probably the most common answer ever, but we’d love to be remembered for our music. Although Tajwar is also known for his personal style statement which is quite fascinating.
Do you think you could get any better as a musician and how?
There is always room for improvement and the learning never stops. Improvement does not only come with practice but also by broadening your musical horizon. It is always a good idea to listen to music that is beyond your favourite genre. If you don’t give it a try, you’ll never know what’s out there.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Come up with originals and try to get your stuff out there. You could be the most talented person in the world, but if you keep your talent to yourself, it doesn’t hold any meaning to the world. And if you're willing to do it for the long haul, patience, and perseverance are keys.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Initially, we thought about making acoustic songs since we are a duo. However, after an utterly disappointing acoustic set in a plugged show, we decided that we would not be an acoustic band anymore. We made complete songs with drums and electric guitars, and we have been performing live with a full band ever since for which we'd like to mention Samuel Adhikary (Social Circus) and Shahriar Shams (Arcade) for filling in our drums and bass parts respectively.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
There are a lot of challenges. Finances play a huge part and since we are a two-man band, everything comes down to the two of us. Time is another challenge since we both have lives of our own.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
The fact that our songs hold a special place in people’s hearts, is a feeling like no other. We don’t think either of us will get used to texts from people saying that our songs have helped them through difficult times and whatnot. This makes everything worth the effort. This is probably the greatest thing about being a musician. And the thing that we hate the most is probably the fact that musicians are often not given the respect that they deserve, which is just sad. Being a musician is still considered a taboo in the year 2020.
Why did you name your band "Dad's in the park" and how did you come up with it?
“Dads In The Park” is a metaphorical name. If we look at it literally, dads take their children to the park where the children get to have fun. This gives fathers joy and satisfaction. This is where the analogy comes in. We are the dads, the music is our children, and the entire world is the park. By releasing our music to the world, we obtain happiness and satisfaction.
A recent UK survey that has been making the rounds on social media states that artists are non-essential. What are your thoughts on this?
Let us look at this quarantine period. A lot of people are stuck at home, bored. How are they spending their time? A lot of people are listening to music. Some people have even taken this opportunity to learn how to play an instrument. Many people have taken up painting. People have dived into cooking, writing, singing, etc -- all of which are art forms. Without art and artists, none of these would have been possible. Therefore, there is no way that artists are non-essential.
To get the taste of their music check out this link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChN0FClEVO-T9TvE7iP09Gg