It was about time that Karachi – Pakistan’s largest city, and one of the world’s largest as well – delivered a genuine thrash metal band. For too long the scene in Karachi was full of psuedo-thrash and groove metal bands, propogating themselves as some sort of thrash. However, Tabahi are a legit thrash band that takes its cues from 80’s German thrash bands such as Tankard and Kreator, armed with some classic pre-86 Bay Area ideas. Tabahi, with their stingy vocals, and claustraphobic riffs, take you right into the heart of Pakistan’s most dangerous city with a pure thrash assault that numbs the brain. They discuss topics relevant to Pakistani society such as suicide bombing, the influence of television, the failure of democracy, among other things. I’ve known the band’s main-man Faiq for years and this is the first time I’m interviewing him, in support of his band’s debut album. Read on!
– Hey Faiq, congrats on the release of your debut album.
Thanks alot man, and congrats on your release as well! Multination Corporation’s E.P. was heavy!
– Tell us a bit about the history of Tabahi and the band’s journey til now.
Tabahi has been on and off from about 2008, the founding members of the band were Faiq And Hassan, 2008 was a pretty active era for Tabahi as we started off with a 5 band lineup and did concerts covering early metallica, Sodom and Kreator. But in 2009, Hassan had to leave the country and so did the other band members to continue their studies and i was the only member left. In early 2012, Daniyal came into the band after learning bass from me (Faiq) and literally ignited the spirit of the band that had been dead. We, two then concentrated on making our originals but always felt the need to play them and jam it out with a drummer of the same mindset that we two have and thankfully then we were blessed with HYDER. At the first jam for Tabahi, we all three connected, the main backbone of any metal band is the drummer and specially thrash with the fast drums and tempo, and HYDER has glided all the way through it. So we are all fired up with a 3 member lineup ready to kick some serious asses.
– The band’s name means ‘Destruction’ in Urdu. Safe to say that German Thrash Metal is a big primary influence on you boys, yeah? Apart from the classic German bands, what newer bands have influenced you guys and your sound?
Yes, you got that right. German legendary thrash metal bands like Kreator, Destruction and Sodom have a strong influence on Tabahi and specially on the vocals. We tried our best to keep our vocal tone apart from all the other metal bands here in Pakistan. Schmier from Destruction is our vocalist/bassist’s main inspiration. Newer wave of thrash metal bands have been keeping thrash alive, bands like Havok,Warbringer,Toxic Holocaust and a recent thrash metal band LOST SOCIETY had mainly infuenced our production and our sound as well.
– Tell us a bit about the state of metal in Karachi. The city’s known as one of the world’s most dangerous places – which seems to be a perfect breeding ground for some kickass metal. Is that the case, though?
If you ask us, Karachi is one of the best cities for living. You can get anything and i mean ANYTHING here and from where we live, its considered as the most dangerous localities in Karachi. But thats whats awesome about the city itself, you can get metal magazines at the cost of 100 rs here, equipment for recording and production can be bought at the lowest rates, and there’s inspiration everywhere you go. Therefore this city has mainly inspired us to play thrash metal.
– A lot of your lyrical themes draw upon stuff prevelant in Pakistani society and puts it on an aggressive musical format. Do you think that music as abbrassive as Thrash Metal can be accepted by the average guy on the street? I mean songs like Democrazy, Virgin Bomber, Fatwa, Hona Hai, etc are all very relateable to people.
When we were writing our album, we all three decided to go with the themes that everyone can relate it to. Even with the songs as well, if you listen to all of our 13 songs, every song has a different lyrical theme to it. Also with the song genres, each song that we wrote we tried to keep it a bit different with all the other songs. Democrazy, Virgin Bomber, Fatwa, Hona Hai were much appreciated by the local audience as well who aren’t listeners of metal. The reason for the success of this was our vocals, because i hear a lot of local people complaining about growls in metal.
– What was the recording process like for the album, anyway? 13 songs and 49 minutes of material self-produced in Pakistan isn’t a very easy task.
The writing process for the album began in November 2013. The album was then produced at Faiq’s studios (ShockStudios). Yes we had a lot of agreements/disagreements, fights, emotional moments, all the masala to make a perfect Bollywood movie, and then after two months of hardwork we got to record this album. We made around 25 to 24 songs, but 13 made it to this album. Hopefully the remaining ones would be releasing in a couple of months. Charles Munro, a friend whose a graduate in Music Production and Engineering at University of Portsmouth helped us with the production for this album.
– You’ve made CD’s for the album – are you in touch with any labels for distribution abroad?
Yes, we’ve released our album digitally and physically as well. The response has been pretty amazing and we’ve been getting mails to feature Tabahi in split albums and metal compliations. Also we’re in talks with a couple of records to distribute our album all around the world. SWA distributions and productions (Turkey) would be releasing our album on April 9th, 2014.
– Do you plan to tour inside and outside the country to take your brand of thrash to live audiences?
Metal is all about playing live, and thats what we all three love to do! The main focus for the band was firstly to release the album, and now that is done we’re looking forward to play Nationally and internationally to promote our album.
– When can we expect more music from Tabahi? Any split releases, EP’s, or the like?
We would love to release new material on a weekly basis but as you know we all three are students and are working as well so we barely get time to jam and record it out. So the plan is more live performances and more singles!
– Thanks for talking Faiq. Cheers n’ beers.
Same here brother, thanks for the interview. Much appreciated.