Miles, one of the most popular rock bands in the country, is celebrating 40 years in the Bangladesh music industry this year. Miles' band members are ready to celebrate the accomplishment in a grand way, beginning with a US tour, followed by Canada and Australia tours. They will finish off in Bangladesh with four mega concerts outside Dhaka, followed by a mega concert in Dhaka towards the end of the year.
Prior to their departure for the US tour, Showtime’s Nazia Adnin sat with the band members in their practice pad to know more about the band’s history, why they are called Miles, and much more.
How does it feel to celebrate forty years in the music industry?
Shafin: Personally, I can tell you that it doesn’t feel like it has been 40 years, you know. In all the 40 years, we have been busy, and suddenly, notice that it has been 40 years. Similarly, we had realized the band turned 30 in 2012. Otherwise, we are not tired of doing music. We are still very young, and we would love to continue for many more years.
Tell us about the early years of Miles. Tell us a little bit about the founding members.
Hamin: Miles was formed in 1979 by Farid Rashid. The first line-up of the band back then featured Farid Rashid, Kamal Mainuddin, Robin, Larry, and Happy. But in a few months, the line-up changed and Shafin, Manam, and I joined the band at the same time. Larry and Happy pursued solo careers with Bangla songs, and Robin went abroad.
So the new line-up was Farid Rashid, Kamal Maniuddin, Manam on keys, Shafin and I on guitars. That was the line-up we continued to perform with at hotels for quite some time.
In 1982, we went public for the first time on a BTV program and we performed six instrumental numbers for the show. Our first public concert was at Shilpakala Academy the same year.
Our first album was in English and had three original songs along with cover songs. As a band we did pretty much everything for our first album, starting from financing to distributing it. Our second album, “A Step Further,” was released in 1986. At that time we were busy with our solo concerts, mostly in Dhaka. In 1991, we decided to do Bangla songs.
Shafin: “Protisruti” was the result of that decision and we have continued doing Bangla songs since then. Subsequently, first foreign tour of Miles took place in Bangalore, India in 1993.
Why is the band called Miles?
Manam: That is a very good question. The name itself says it all. We believe Miles is our journey with music. We started it long time ago and it is a never ending journey.
Hamin: It is a brilliant name for a band to represent the journey of its members. The name represents our journey with the music.
What's your song making process?
Shafin: Everybody works in a different way, you know, but the unique thing about our band is, there are a few composers in the band. This is one of the reasons our music is so versatile. Generally speaking, there are always two ways of making songs. Sometimes we have the track ready and then we add the lyrics. Sometimes we get inspired by the lyrics and then add the tune to it. It works both ways for us.
Manam: In the early days, we explored and practiced different genres of Western music very well Thus, our songs have unique characterizations of their own with good melody.
Hamin: Guitar tunes always work as a driving force for me to create a song. Our mutual understanding helps a lot to make a song.
Turjo, please tell us when you joined the band?
Turjo: I first saw Miles live in 1992. It was the Bamba concert at the Women’s Complex on December 2. I was in the crowd and Miles was the last band to perform. Later on, in 1996 when I joined the band, it was a real huge thing for me. At that time, Miles was looking for a drummer. And one day, I was recording for two bands in a studio, and somehow Manam bhai located me.
On the very first day, I was given three albums to pick up all the songs, and the journey is still going after 23 years.
Jewel, please tell us how you got involved with Miles?
Jewel: I joined the band in December, 1998. Hamin bhai approached me and told me that they were looking for a second guitarist. One day he asked me to come over to the practice pad. I practiced with the band for the next two days before my first show with Miles.
This line-up has been together for a very long time. What is the most memorable concert for you guys as a band?
Manam: I personally like charity concerts, but I remember one time there was an accident and the speakers caught fire at one of the charity concerts.
Shafin: My most favourite concert is our first solo concert in 1982 at Shilpakala Academy which saw a huge turn-out. There are a few other concerts which I find memorable.
Turjo: One time we were playing in Gazipur at an ordnance factory in front of a huge crowd, and in the middle of a song, the drum paddle broke and subsequently, I played the whole set with my left leg. I will remember that concert for the rest of my life ( hahahahaha).
Jewel: My most memorable concert was at the National Stadium when the show was organized after our National Cricket Team got its first test status. The crowd was amazing.
All of you have distinctive fashion statements. How have you guys maintained that style for so many years?
Manam: Hahaha. It is hard to say since we didn’t do it consciously.
Hamin: When we joined Miles, already, the guys in the band had their own characteristics. And they had their own identities. It came naturally and till today we maintained our own characters and individualities.
Shafin: Basic awareness of being fashionably presentable was something on my mind always and it came to me naturally before getting into music.
Turjo: I actually took the easiest way out (hahaha).In my earlier days; I used to wear only shorts on stage. For me it is always the music, the crowd, which brings out my energetic stage persona.
Where do you guys see yourselves in the next 5/10 years?
Shafin: That is not a fair question (hahahaha) as we have done enough. We should celebrate the 40 years since ‘the long time’ is an extended journey itself. After the celebrations we will go with the flow and see what comes next.