Wishal Raheel

Lahore

The once booming music industry of Pakistan is seen to have been in a slump for the past few years. However, it seems now that several artistes are determined to ensure that the glorious days of the music industry are brought back once again. One such musician is Xulfiqar Jabbar Khan, more commonly known as Xulfi.

Having been a member of the popular bands EP and Call, Xulfi has been a prominent part of the music industry during its golden era. However, with the fading of the industry’s glorious days, Xulfi did not seem to fade out from the scene. In fact, he is seen to have become a mentor for young musicians in the country and his most prominent platform, Nescafe Basement, is an example of how he is encouraging and allowing the youth to revive the music industry. Nescafe Basement, a platform that has successfully launched 3 seasons and is working on the fourth, is designed to discover talent among the youth and to promote it.

Speaking to the Nation, Xulfi mentioned that giving youth a chance to showcase its potential has been the main driving force behind the success of Nescafe Basement.

“There came a point when new artistes stopped being discovered. It was very evident. Music channels were shutting down, concerts weren’t happening. Maybe it was because of the plight of our country. Since I also own a recording studio, I knew for a fact that there are numerous talented musicians out there who have no platform to exhibit their talent. That’s how the concept of Nescafe Basement came to me,” Xulfi said, adding that he was thankful to the brand Nescafe for believing in him.

However, he clearly stated that contrary to popular belief that Nescafe Basement is a competitor of Coke Studio, the two follow a very different format. “Nescafe Basement is more varied and daring, perhaps because we have young upcoming musicians,” Xulfi stated, “However, I support all shows that promote our music industry.”

He went on to answer a question regarding why Nescafe Basement does not have a house band despite the fact that certain musicians like Haider Abbas can be seen to have been part of all seasons so far, he said that this was exactly where Nescafe Basement was different from Coke Studio, “The house band idea rests with Coke Studio. For us, we aim to find musicians and not just vocalists. We make a new band every year, and it is a lot of fun.” He said that selecting new band members each year gave more individuals the chance to showcase their talent. He further stated that it was more difficult to find good musicians than it was to find vocalists.

Responding to a question about the upcoming season of Nescafe Basement, he mentioned that each season of the show is different mainly because the music is decided upon after the selection of the musicians keeping in mind the talent of the musicians. “For this season, I am very pleased with the talent I have found as it is very varied,” he mentioned.

Answering a question about whether the recent reunion of his band Call will result in the production of an album, he said that he couldn’t give a definite answer at the moment but that they were working on some new music. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of an album which is a ray of hope for Call fans.

Xulfi’s dedication to encouraging the youth to discover its talent was evident in the concluding message he had for the young musicians of Pakistan. “Don’t lose hope. Things are brightening up for musicians, slowly but steadily. I can actually see a lot happening and new 0opportunities opening up. We have some great new platforms now. Keep practicing and doing what you love,” he stated.

Platforms such as Nescafe Basement have resulted in young musicians getting a boost to enter the underground music industry. Most musicians continue with producing their music after they have performed with Nescafe Basement. It looks like the future of the music industry isn’t so bleak after all.