• Sunday, Dec 16, 2018
  • Last Update : 04:20 am

‘The market is boxing me in’

  • Published at 05:06 pm October 12th, 2018
Viral Content

Producer and composer Pritom Hasan talks about the secret recipe for making viral content, his music and more

As far as producers and composers go, very few come near Pritom Hasan in terms of Youtube views and marketability (his music videos on the Gaanchill Music YouTube channel garnering millions of views on average, with “Local Bus”, one of the most well-known one, currently counting over 15 million). Needless to say he is the master of making viral content. Perhaps it helps that he is not just a music producer and composer, but also an actor. He recently released two songs, “Girlfriend er Biye” and the original soundtrack for the film Debi, titled “Doyel Pakhi Konna Re”. He also acted in a short-film titled “700 taka”. I sat down with him recently to talk to him about all of these projects and how he is able to make content go viral.

Almost all of your content has gone viral. What, to you, is a viral content? Is it about the number, is it about the impact; what is it? 

Viral content is something that connects with the regular people, the masses. When you are producing for this audience, you are looking to create content that will touch the masses and the people that you look for. In the case of viral content, you have to find the happening audience. The people who will like it, share it and help you to spread it. So viral content is something that is made with the intention of reaching these audiences.

How do you analyze the current market?

The current market is very diverse to be honest. There are a lot of different audience chunks that we are seeing and in the last one year, I think we saw the rise of a new kind of audience. I think this is the actual Bangladeshi audience, the one we have to target. I’m currently doing a lot of research but I do think I am behind in that regard.

Is there a formula for going viral?

Yes, number one, it has to be catchy. The chorus has to be catchy and you have to start the song with a chorus. After that you need a catchy hook, which is usually quite repetitive. If you notice you’ll find that I use a lot of repetition in my sound. Finally, you must have easy and relatable lyrics and an easily sing-able tune. So these are the recipes of viral content.

You recently worked on a film, Debi, produced by Joya Ahsan and the song was called , “Doyel Pakhi Konna Re.” What was your experience like in making this song? I ask because this is a very different sounding Pritom song and dare I say a more mature Pritom song, the kind of which we haven’t really heard from you.

Trust me, I have a lot of different songs but you guys haven’t heard it because the market is demanding a certain kind of song. That’s why I feel, sometimes I’m forced to produce something that I don’t really want to do. For me, I think, the market is actually boxing me in right now because they want me to produce another “Local Bus” or another “Asho Mama Hey”. Basically, they want a copy of everything that I have gained success with. What I think is that there are a lot of sides to my music. I have done a lot of research in my life on music but the market is not giving me a chance to show it. In Debi I got the chance to show it. Thanks to Joya Ahsan apu and also Anon bhai. These two people are really amazing. I think Anon bhai did justice with my song.

When I hear the song, even if I don’t watch the video, I get an imagery of a traditional Bangladeshi wedding. So was there a theme you had in mind when working on the song?

Yes, I was actually going for a theme. When I was making the song, I used to close my eyes and think of a scene where four or eight people are sitting with dhols and harmoniums. That’s why we see the song start with the melody groove. So the concept was that a girl is going to a new house as a bride and it is a joyous occasion and her face is being painted with ‘holud’.  That’s what I was thinking and Anon bhai did something completely different and it was really, really good. I cannot stress enough how good a job he did.

If we talk about Humayun Sir, his script, we find a lot of keywords there, for example, ‘shimul tula,’ ‘doyel pakhi konna.’ Rakib Hasan Rahul, the lyricist, is very good at understanding the market, as well as understanding what a song demands. These guys actually nailed it. The previous works that he did with me, those were all really good too, but in this one he was actually able to make full use of his creative potential.

For me, I think, the market is actually boxing me in right now because they want me to produce another “Local Bus” or another “Asho Mama Hey”. Basically, they want a copy of everything that I have gained success with.

So this was a passion project for everyone involved?

Yes, it was a passion project.

Do you want to do more of these kinds of songs? 

Definitely, I want the market to understand that I want to do different kinds of songs. The market has to give me the opportunity, if you don’t give me the space and think that Pritom Hasan can’t make melody songs, please, that is not true. I have that capability but you don’t give the chance to show it.

The other song you released recently was “Girlfriend er Biye.” With this song and with many of your other songs, you took a very big risk by not starting the song at the beginning of the video. What was the thinking behind this?

It is risky but at the same time people are really into natoks and short films. So my thinking is, why don’t I give them both.

There’s a line in the song which says, “Musician ra shesh boyosh e na kheye morey.”  What are your thoughts on the matter?

Definitely Musician ‘ra shesh boyosh e na kheye more.’ We don’t have proper management systems, we don’t have proper artist managing, we don’t have proper record labels who are providing the money and there aren’t enough resources where the record labels are getting money from. So, the labels are not making money and neither are we. Music in Bangladesh has become more of a thing of pure passion, without a commercial aspect to it.

Sure, my music attracted audience and the view count on YouTube is not miniscule. But my songs haven’t reached say two crores views. But for me, I am kind of moving more towards the art sector rather than being too commercial. For this reason, I may not work with certain record labels in the future, maybe won’t work with Asif bhai (Asif Iqbal of Gaanchill Music). I think I should focus more on the art sector of the business.

You also recently worked on a short film called "700 Taka" with Sabila Nur and it was directed by Nuhash Humayun. How did that come about?

It started with Sunayra, she’s a friend of Nuhash bhai. Sunayra called me up one day and said Nuhash bhai has this fantastic script and if I was interested in doing a short-film. I immediately thought ‘yeah, for sure, why not,’ because I am a big fan of his dad’s. At the same time, I believed that he had something special to offer. All the previous work that he did, there was an X factor there, a ‘wow’ factor if you will. After working with him, I realized that there are aliens like me, working with whom makes me really comfortable. I really like Nuhash bhai a lot and in recent times he has become like a close brother to me. We are talking about more content because people have seen a new kind of teamwork, they have seen a new kind of Pritom.

As a fan and an audience, when I first saw it, I thought this guy is a cultural polymath, he can do it all. So is this something that you want to continue?

No. I really like "700 Taka but" I don’t want to ruin my image as a musician. I would however like to work on interesting scripts and these scripts definitely have to come from Nuhash bhai, he is one of the directors that I trust the most. I have worked with Angshu bhai and I will definitely be working with him again. I think I will work but I will be very picky regarding the projects that I choose.

So, the good news is that we will see Pritom Hasan in short films.

Maybe, one thing is for certain is that whenever I work in something, it will be interesting and different.