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Interviews |  30 Jun 2009 17:27 |  By chiragsutar

Outlandish - "This album has more of tempo and more heart energy"

Multi-award winning hip-hop group Outlandish will soon be starting their mini India tour as a part of VH1 Handpicked. Starting from Mumbai, the band will perform in Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune 

Formed in 1997, the band has sold close to seven million compilation-units in over 30 countries. Their most appreciated songs being Aicha (originally by Khaled), Guantanamo, and some more. In the last few years, the band has toured extensively and recently, has faced some rough weather among themselves. Prior to the release of their recent album Sound of A rebel, Outlandish was about to split, but having found the energy and the zest back – the band is out on a new journey.

Before they kickstart their three city India tour, Outlandish singer and rapper Waqas Ali Qadri speaks to's Chirag Sutar about their new album, getting star struck on their last India tour, and why they had lost interest and were about to go their separate ways…

This is your second tour of India….

Yes, the first time we came was in 2003 for the MTV Immies. I remember I was completely star struck as all the stars of the Indian cinema were present. I met Shah Rukh Khan and that was the first time in my career that I was �star struck'. My band members had no clue what was going on. I was like, Just shut up, and take a picture (laughs)....

The highlight was that AR Rahman had asked to meet us and my knees were shaking – He's my biggest musical idol...

The present album (Sound Of A Rebel) sounds very mature compared to your previous albums…

Yes, we have matured a bit. Of course, we are not 22 anymore … I am 33, Isam is 33 and Lenny is 34 – we have got wives and children –  but you know, priorities change and that shows in our music as well. But this album is special to us because we have rediscovered the original energy that we had. This album has more of tempo and more heart energy.

The last album was closer to me and much more introspective. We had done a lot of traveling and we had seen a lot of different things fame, number one positions and everything else that comes with it… and that, I feel messes with the young mind and it messes with your ego. Our last album as more like a soul searching album – it was a transition from young man to a man … to a grown up…

I read the band was about to break up?

Yes it's true. It had become so business oriented for us that we forgot to nourish the friendship and the music. Well, after being together for so many years, we don't really see each other as friends, it's more like brotherhood and sometimes on days you love your brother and then you also hate your brother…

We decided to start fresh and dumped one and a half years of our work and that included 30 of our tracks. It hurt, but the members all agreed that it was a necessary step to take. We decided that this is not fair for us as friends, as brothers… and for the audience that's when we decided to get back.

You really stand out for the kind of lyrics you write… what are the issues that you try to address through your music?

A lot of people ask us - are you a political band? Or an activist band… Or a party band…

I think people like to box us just because we might make a song about what's happening in Africa – but generally our music is about the people. We always focus on our own lives and feelings that we experince as we move and that's what we write about basically  So, we don't have a huge formula for writing lyrics.

Whatever we talk about … even if it's a political issue .. it won't be about criticizing, say,   Bush, or Zardari or Blair – that's not our thing. What we might do is talk about â€?power defects' and about you and I in every day lives – more like a human touch than some political slant…

What is in plans for those who plan to watch you LIVE?

Listeners expect a lot of energy from us – and we have our very competent musicians   There's going to be lot of interaction with the listeners and if the crowd gives us the energy back – we'll just take it through the roofs!

Being of Pakistani origin, haven't you ever thought of performing in Pakistan?

Well, we have had a couple of offers, but it's more to do with the conditions – It's not everyday that you can have a western performance there  In Pakistan people do business in another way – in the international music scene you have contracts and many other legal things which might scare some people … but leaving that aside.. I really really want to do a concert.

One of my friends in Pakistan told me yaar aapto superstar ho (laughs)… I said the day I  find our (outlandish) pirated copy in Rainbow Centre, (an infamous place for pirated copy CD's in Karachi) I will believe you – so he took me there and they had like all the outlandish albums… 

Well, I'd definitely want to perform in Pakistan as the people there are really â€?in' for music, and a musician of Pakistani origin is like a great energy boost for them – but we are performers, be it any place…for us it's getting our music out there .  But, yes..  It's something else in your own country 

Outlandish is Isam Bachiri (born in Denmark and of Moroccan background), Waqas Ali Qadri (born in Denmark and of Pakistani background), and Lenny Martinez (born in Honduras and is of Cuban and Honduran descent).

Tour Schedule -

July 8 – Hard Rock Cafe, Mumbai

July 10 – Hard Rock Cafe, New Delhi

July 11 – Hard Rock Cafe, Pune