Last week they have released their third single called Afeenolove. Dads in the Park (DITP), a rock duo from Dhaka formed in 2018, has been quite favourite to many. In this interview get to know this duo and find out why Ishmam and Tajwar says, “I feel no love”.
- How’s the quarantined life going, so far?
Dads In The Park: Quarantine is going good at the moment. We both struggled initially, trying to fit into the new normal. We both experienced creative blocks which is especially horrible when you have to stay home all day, every day. But things have changed now. We have adapted and were able to release two songs whilst being quarantined (Pareidolia and Afeenolove). Apart from these two, three more songs are already underway. So, things are looking up!
- When and how did you get to form the duo?
Dads In The Park: We met each other at BRAC University back in 2014. However, it was not until 2018 that we made a song together. We thought the chemistry was amazing and the two of us were able to make complete plugged songs on our own. That is actually when we decided to remain a duo.
- Dads In The Park (DITP) is quite an interesting title, who came up with it and how?
Ishmam: I came up with the name. The name of the band is definitely metaphorical. Let us first put it into literal terms. Dads take their children to the park. The children get to have fun, and this gives the dads joy and satisfaction. This is where the analogy comes in. We are the dads, our music is our children and the entire world is the park. By releasing our songs into the world, we obtain joy and satisfaction. So that is basically how the band is named.
- Tell us about your new released single, Afeenolove.
Ishmam: Afeenolove was written back in 2019, even before Lullaby (debut single) was released. I came up with the lyrics and tune and made a rough structure of the entire song. Once I had the structure, Tajwar and I sat together to further refine it and make it whole.
Tajwar: Yes, once we had the structure, I programmed the drums and figured out the harmonies. The song was complete in no time since we both knew where we were headed. Finally we hit Hungry Dog Studios, which is none other than Mohammad Raihan Mahbub Rasha. His work is absolutely brilliant and the audio is as good as it is solely because of his efforts. We wanted to feature Maheyan Hasan (of Conclusion, False Cassette, Etchin’) because we knew that no one else could write the bassline for Afeenolove better than him.
Ishmam: Maheyan, AKA Etchin’, is also the director and animator of the music video for Afeenolove. I was the character designer and artist for the video. It was a team effort and I have to say that I could not be happier with the outcome.
- Why is it called Afeenolove?
Dads In The Park: Afeenolove is just a fancy way of saying “I feel no love”. As simple as that, we just think it sounds cool.
- Who came up with the music video concept? How would you explain the theme?
Dads In The Park: The video concept was entirely Maheyan’s idea. We wanted a video that would look trippy, but also aesthetically pleasing. Also, we sort of wanted a ‘retro’ vibe to it. I think the overall color tone of the video has done the trick.
- What interested you guys to make an animated video for the single?
Ishmam: I came up with the idea that the video should be animated because I thought that it would serve the song pretty well. This was way before the pandemic hit and animated videos became a thing. This has nothing to do with the cost. I simply thought about serving the song. And as a matter of fact, animated videos are actually more expensive than regular music videos.
- What were the challenging factors during the production of this single?
Tajwar: The audio challenges are pretty much the same for every song that we do, i.e. getting the perfect takes both vocally and instrumentally. The biggest challenge for the video was the video itself!
Ishmam: I was the artist for the video and this was my first project as an illustrator for a music video! I had absolutely no prior experience. Everything you see is hand drawn, and drawing takes up a lot of time. So does animation. Even though Maheyan is experienced, it was a learning process for both of us. And after months of continuous hard work, the video finally came to life.
- What were the inspirations?
Dads In The Park: For the video, we did not have any inspirations to be honest because latching onto the elements of an existing video would leave behind a mark on our video. We tried to make the video as unique as we possibly could.
- From the lyrics to the music video- it’s been a long process. Aren’t there memories you guys want to share?
Tajwar: The memories are countless honestly. The recording for any song is tedious but also a fun process. We make mistakes, we forget the lyrics, we laugh, we make fun of each other. The list goes on! And when the video production started, I restrained myself from seeing the video because I wanted to see it with the rest of the world.
Ishmam: I had a great time working with Maheyan. We connected via Discord every single day and worked together. While we were at it, we listened to songs, we talked about video ideas, we joked around. And all of these happened for like two months straight. And now that it’s over, it just feels weird. We had a great time.
- Do you think the trend of making animated music videos is booming?
Dads In The Park: Animated videos are trending right now because people are making the best of the situation with limited resources. During the pandemic, it is very difficult to gather a crew and go to specific locations to shoot videos. We all have to understand what is best for us.
12. Do you think music videos have become an inseparable part for the music releases nowadays? Why are music videos important?
Dads In The Park: We think that music videos are important because people enjoy looking at something while listening to music. A good song will work with or without a music video. But having a good music video is a massive added bonus.
13. Is there any reason, you guys started writing songs in English? Do you have any plans to write songs in Bengali too?
Dads In The Park: We make English songs solely because we want an international following. Our one and only goal is to try and get our music out there. This is why we are not prepared to make Bangla songs at the moment.
14. Do you think it’s the originality that matters in music? Why?
Dads In The Park: We both think that originality is key while making music because originality will give you your identity. Cover songs will only get you so far. But if you have good originals, we believe that they will take you places.
- What’s your point of view on cover numbers?
Dads In The Park: We have absolutely nothing against cover numbers because covering songs help you grow as musicians. We cover songs, both individually and as a band, numerous times and we still continue doing so.
- How would you define music? What does it mean to you?
Ishmam: I have said this before, and I will keep saying this. Music, to me, is hypnosis. If you listen to a sad song, you feel sad. If you listen to a happy song, you feel good. If you listen to something upbeat, you feel energetic, so on and so forth.
Tajwar: Music means everything to me, as cliche as it sounds. I find solace in music. Every message that I can’t send out using mere words, music is my go-to medium. Making a living through music right now is my sole ambition.
- Do you think it is important for a band to have its own philosophy?
Dads In The Park: We think having our own philosophy works for us. Our songs revolve around our likes and dislikes. We only release songs that mean something to both of us. If we are satisfied with a song, we will release it no matter what.
- Do you want to define DITP’s music by any specific genre?
Dads In The Park: The genre that we fall under is Rock. We do not like subjecting ourselves to specific subgenres. It is pointless and we do not like it.
- Apart from music, what else interests you?
Ishmam: I am interested in everything artistic since I am an artist myself. Also, I am a huge dinosaur geek. The Jurassic movies are my life. I enjoy traveling, working (I am a horrible workaholic), and I love animals.
Tajwar: I am an easily entertained person and I am enthusiastic about almost everything in my life but besides music, sports are my next favorite thing followed by video games. I love video games. New released games excite me just as much as new songs.
- What profession are you into?
Ishmam: Well, I am into music and art, but I am employed as a Software Quality Assurance Engineer at a software company.
Tajwar: I am trying to learn as much as I can about the music business as it could help my band grow. However, I am still an undergraduate student studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering at BRAC University.
- Do you think being a musician is still considered taboo in our society? Why?
DITP: Of course! Being a musician is still frowned upon. However, you cannot blame the society for frowning upon us. The struggle seems to be never-ending. Only a handful of musicians are sustaining solely through music. Musicians hardly get paid for what they do. We are forced to switch career paths in order to survive.
- What would you do if music was totally prohibited here?
Ishmam: I would continue being an Engineer, and occasionally draw or paint.
Tajwar: Earn money however I can to survive and travel. Surviving isn’t living so the only way to keep my soul alive would be to travel with friends and/or family.
- Why did you choose to be a duo rather than a regular band setup of multiple members?
Dads In The Park: Musically, we feel that we are perfectly capable of making songs on our own. Yes, we do get stuck at times, but we overcome. This is normal. Secondly, more members mean more opinions, more head-bashing, more drama. Being a two-man band saves us a lot of drama. However, we know that the drama does not apply to all bands.
- How do you deal with pre-show nervousness?
Dads In The Park: Pre-show nervousness is something that comes with the package. You can only keep yourself distracted for so long. But we like being nervous before a show. Nervousness proves that performing on stage means something to you.
- How do you deal with stage performances with a duo set-up?
Dads In The Park: We have two permanent session musicians who have been helping us for quite a long time now for live shows. Shout out to Mr. Samuel Adhikary (of Social Circus) on drums and Mr. Shahriar Shams (of Arcade) on bass.
- Ever thought of adding members to the DITP? Or will it always be a duo?
Dads In The Park: We plan to remain a duo for as long as we can!
- Tell us about the financial challenges you have been facing to continue band activities?
Dads In The Park: The finances are a bit of a struggle since everything comes down to the two of us. Recording a proper audio and making a visually appealing music video to go along with it is pretty expensive, to be honest.
- What impact might the consequences of COVID-19 have on the live music scene of our country?
Dads In The Park: We don’t expect concerts in the foreseeable future. The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the live scene. The closest thing to a live scene we have right now are Facebook live videos of bands playing in an enclosed space. This is something we do not enjoy because the quality of sound and audience interaction is compromised. However, it is what it is and we cannot do anything about it at the moment.
- What’s your plan with the duo after the pandemic is over?
Dads In The Park: Once the pandemic is over, we will probably start playing gigs live again. We have been actively making new music throughout the pandemic and we will try doing it once it is over. Resource management will just be a lot easier once the pandemic is over. Let us all hope for the best!