Interview with Blackhour

Hailing from the Pothohar Plateaus of Islamabad. Blackhour are one of the popular Heavy Metal band in Pakistan. Inspired by the famous British heavy metal band, Iron maiden; the founders of Blackhour created the band in 2007 with an aim of using music not for commercial purposes but for creating awareness among the youth. We caught up with Tayyab Rehman, lead vocalist and Hassaan Ahmed, manager for an in-depth conversation on the album, their music and many other general things. Check it out!

Metalhead Spotted: Hello Hassaan, greetings from Metalhead Spotted. How have you been lately?
Hassaan: I have been doing good, thanks.

Metalhead Spotted: What’s the story behind your band name?
Hassaan: Well Blackhour was our guitarist, Hashim’s idea and over the years the name has grown as each member’s individual identity that is reflected in the band’s music.

Metalhead Spotted: What led you guys to establish yourself as a metal band? How did you guys start your musical journey? Tell us about the starting days of Blackhour?
Hassaan: Well the band started out back in 2007 and it was Hashim’s initiative. Initially it was just a college band with a bunch of like-minded friends who were into metal. However, as the years progressed Hashim along-with Hasan Rauf, (ex-guitarist), Saad Javed (ex-bassist) and Daim (drummer) decided to take the band at a whole new level. On the flipside Tayyab Rehman (vocalist) had been far too agitated by the pop music culture and was seeking an escape to let out the raw emotions that he had explored over the years. Hashim met Tayyab sometime around 2008 and Tayyab suddenly clicked with the band and Blackhour started gaining recognition in the local metal scene. Later Mashoo (guitarist) replaced Hasan in 2009, I think, when Hasan decided to take some break from music.
Tayyab: I guess, it wasn’t until 2009 that Blackhour became what it is today. And although it’s a cliché but the journey hasn’t been very smooth for Blackhour, but then again our fans, friends and family have always been there to help us through some really tough times, and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for each and every one of them.

Metalhead Spotted: What do you think separates a metal band from a core band?
Tayyab: As Hashim would say, a metal band has more feel in its song by virtue of being melodic yet powerful! Not saying that core bands lack this but if anything heavy metal is heavy metal at the end of the day no matter what the sub-genre.

Metalhead Spotted: As we know you guys are highly inspired by Iron maiden. but again tell us what inspires and influences you the most while making music? Tell us about your favorite artists?
Hassaan: Well for each member when it comes to making music they contribute their own set of inspirations and originalities on the table! I have had the opportunity of being with Blackhour during their music writing phase and it is something brilliant! Each member has a different ear to how even a single riff is supposed to sound and this helps in create more versatility in the songs. As for the band’s favorite artists, they are many for Mashoo it’s mostly instrumental musicians such as Steve vai, Malmsteen, Satriani and Faraz Anwar; on the flip-side Hashim’s taste revolves around Judas priest, Iron Maiden, Sabbath.
Tayyab: Similarly I listen to anything ranging from alternative rock to death metal, whereas, Salman Afzal is heavily moved by Victor Wooten, Flee and John Lennon, and our drummer, Diam has his own set of influences ranging from Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper) Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Matt Halpern (Periphery) and Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree). So basically at the end of the day when such varied musicians sit together on a single platform to create something original, the end product is the combined raw feel and emotions of each musician poured out into every song of Blackhour, that one would have to listen to actually hear the hard work put in each of the song.

Metalhead Spotted: Your first studio album “Age of War” got a tremendous response from listeners all over the country, not only in Pakistan, but all around the globe, from fans and other bands. Please tell us more about this and how has the road been since?
Tayyab: Album ‘Age of War’ was a big break for the band. The album itself was written rather fast and in less time, a lot of ideas that the band wanted to try and once it was all recorded and complete, we couldn’t wait for it to be released. Nonetheless, the album got a very good response in USA and Australia via Yourlabel Records and it got played at major international radio stations alongside other big bands such as, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Judas Priest and more.
Since the album release Blackhour has grown much larger in fan base and has reached out to metal heads almost everywhere in the world. Still continuing to keep growing and with the new singles, we plan on making an even greater mark on the heavy metal industry all across.

Blackhour's recently launched music video of "Crucifix" 

Metalhead Spotted: What do you think about Pakistan metal scene? Do you think it’s improving? How much scope do you see in the subcontinent?
Hassaan: The Pakistani heavy metal scene is getting a lot better from what it used to be. Nowadays it’s good to see the unity amongst all the bands. With time the metal community of Pakistan will get bigger and bigger, especially with Hellfest Pakistan happening, it makes me proud to say that Blackhour is a part of the biggest metal festival of Pakistan. Along with that Blackhour is also a part of “Project Metal” and initiative of “THE AWAKENING” a heavy metal radio platform in Pakistan! So we are doing our very best to contribute to the growing metal scene in Pakistan.
However, as a band we know we have to play bigger markets and most of the biggest heavy metal shows are happening outside of Pakistan and we hope to play on those stages as well very soon!

Metalhead Spotted: Any plans of touring different parts of the world in the near future?
Hassaan: Well right now we are working on quite a few things and hopefully we will be touring globally very soon.

Metalhead Spotted: And how about touring in India?
Tayyab: India is somewhere we would like to start our international touring from! And I think our manager is engaged with some of the organizers in India to play a show for our rising fan base from India.

Metalhead Spotted: What are your future plans??
Hassaan: Currently, the band is actively engaged in writing new music. Blackhour is already playing live two of its new originals, “Wind of Change” and “Battle Cry” and will be hitting the studios very soon to record these songs. Other than that some new music videos are coming out as well and mostly just live shows! A WHOLE LOT OF LIVE SHOWS! Because at the end of the day Blackhour’s strength is in its energetic live performance and stage presence!

Metalhead Spotted: Well, it was nice talking to you, thank you.
Hassaan and Tayyab: It was a pleasure talking to you guys! Hope to see you all very soon when Blackhour tours India!

Salvation (audio): http://www.soundcloud.com/blackhour-1/salvation
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/blackhourofficial

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