The Sketches Talks About Their Coke Studio Experience

Q. Tell us something about your performance. What is the song about and why did you choose it?

A. We will be performing ”Mandh” (wine of love) and it’s known as WAAI of Latif. Taken from Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s book ‘Shah Jo Risalo’ (Sur Kalyaan), it means peace and tranquility and it’s in Sindhi language. We chose this song as it stands for peace and harmony and this is what the message of our Sufi saints is all about. In this Waai, Shah Latif describes the Oneness of God and we added few more lines from the same Sur where he says to God that ”You are the friend, You are the physician, only You are the remedy for pain”. The most interesting thing is that we have a connection with it since childhood as these lines were taught to us in the early days of our schooling.

Q. How was your experience of working with the Coke Studio House Band?

A. It was an amazing and a great experience. We were more energetic in the studio, the crew was easy to get along with and the best part was the creative process where things were terrific. We learned a lot and enjoyed every single moment as we were among the lucky ones who got the chance.

Q. What was your aesthetic vision when you first heard you have been selected as one of the featured artists.

A. The moment was surprising and full of happy gestures. We realize the value of art which The Sketches has and then systematically we started thinking about the song we will perform in Coke Studio where not only melody, lyrics and our sound have to be very much different from something which we have already been doing. It was an uphill task and we felt it was the best opportunity for us to express our message of peace and love to the world. ‘Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’ was the only poet we chose to sing and with the limited possibilities within us we explored being artists. And the idea we agreed upon was that we will perform Shah Latif’s Waai as it was a possible feature which could prove the fragrance virtue of our land and secondly it has to be something very different which other artists won’t be doing. It shows our originality too.

Q. Do you think justice has been done to your song performed at the Coke Studio?

A. Well the way things sounded while jamming and performing we hope it’s going to be very unique. As long as word justice is concerned then we believe that the musician we worked with were amazing and Rohail Hyatt is somebody who feels the music and has an amazing understanding of his work.

Q. Other than your own song which performance are you looking forward to?

A. Other than our own performance, there are plenty of artists we are looking forward to like Sanam Marvi, Sajjad Ali and Attaullah Essa Khelvi. Mizraab did a nifty job too and if you ask me who I like the most in Coke Studio in all the seasons then I would say it was Zeb & Haniya. I personally love their music and their appearance at CS was amazing.

Q. What reaction are you expecting from your fans?

A. We want all THE SKETCHES! fans to cheer either we come on expectations or not. We thank all of them because they used to ask us since the band was formed that when The Sketches will perform in Coke Studio and here we are. We dedicate this performance to them. But response before the performance is excellent and lets see how they are going to react after it goes on air.

Q. Would you like to share an interesting story from you recording sessions at the Coke Studio?

A. I still remember it was a very tiring evening and we were sitting with friends and the band manager at our place in Jamshoro. I was holding my laptop and was smiling while reading a message of our fan on our facebook page who was asking us that when will we perform in Coke Studio? I didn’t have the answer at that time. I told Naeem that if Coke Studio keeps producing music like this then Insha’Allah one day we will be the part of it. Then, one day Rohail Hyatt called me on my phone and he admired our song “Maujood“. He asked us if we play live music? He spoke like a gentleman and our answer was “YES we do”. We felt for a minute if it was a prank call or something but realized soon ahead that it was all for real. We later fixed our meeting and went to Karachi at his place and it was like wow we were seeing Rohail Hyatt for the first time with a thought that he is the man we used to admire so much since we understand music and loved Vital Signs and we were at the place where the biggest musicians produce the sound of Coke Studio. We talked about music, life, sufism and politics too and it was so refreshing that we can’t forget. We showed him some of our compositions. We did some experiments too some of them failed or didn’t work well but we kept on bringing new stuff and acted upon the suggestions and creative advises of Rohail Hyatt and finally we were done and our sound turned entirely different than what we were already doing.