In Conversation with Zeeru from Pindi Boyz!
In a whirlwind of raw energy and unapologetic pride, The Pindi Boyz stormed onto the music scene four years ago, redefining what it means to embrace your roots. With their breakout single ‘Pindi Aye,’ this seven-member powerhouse shattered stereotypes and thrust hip-hop and rap into the limelight, amassing a staggering 22 million views. Their meteoric rise to fame transformed them into overnight sensations, and in 2023, they unleashed ‘Pindi Aye 2.0,’ featuring none other than the OG Pindi Boy himself, Sheikh Rasheed. While some may question the three-year hiatus between collaborations, Zeeru from the musical ingenuity, while speaking exclusively to Social Diary, assures us that The Pindi Boyz aren’t in a race against time. They’re simply navigating between group and solo projects, keeping their creative juices flowing. However, he does hint at electrifying new projects in 2024 aimed at inspiring youth to unite and chase their dreams with unbridled passion. Read On:
SD: Pindi Boyz became a nationwide phenomenon, did you ever feel it would come to that?
Zeeru: Correction, worldwide phenomenon! But to be honest, myself or any of the boys didn’t expect that. We predicted we might become heroes of the city, but not the entire world. The way people embraced us across the globe was quite overwhelming and very heartwarming, to say the least.
SD: Let’s back up a little and talk about how the band members, who are individual artists, even come together with the need to create a group.
Zeeru: At the start, 8 solo artists teamed up to create the hit ‘Pindi Aye’. Later, we went our separate ways but stayed in touch. Then, OCL brought us back, ironing out misunderstandings. Now, united, we’re ready to show what we’re made of. We rocked with ‘Pindi Aye’ once, and we were ready to do it again, together this time.
SD: Did you feel there was something amiss when it came to the music scene that wasn’t being catered to?
Zeeru: We did feel that for sure. In Pakistan the audience isn’t as diverse and accepting as our neighboring country when it comes to hip-hop and rap specifically, we’re still a little behind. So essentially we felt that we could be the yin to the current ‘yang’ that is listened to by a majority of our audience. Where dark/moody music is more widely accepted and is the narrative, we wanted to bring that energetic and powerful anthem flavor to the people.
SD: How does your music challenge stereotypes while aiming to grow its fanbase?
Zeeru: I think the biggest challenge we have is to make sure our group is realized as that, a group. We aren’t technically a band, we proudly label ourselves as Pakistan’s first hip-hop and pop supergroup. When you have 6 vocalists on one song, including 1 singer, it can be a bit tricky. We have to make sure we keep it fresh, entertaining, and at the same time true to ourselves and our identities while also not tuning the listener out because the normal listener isn’t used to hearing so many different people on one song unless they’re listening to a boy band or maybe qawwali music.
SD: How much time did it take for you to create the funky high-energy beats that made the single ‘Pindi Aye’ stand out?
Zeeru: The genesis of PA 1.0 spanned approximately 3-4 months. It all began with Shuja’s initial concept, a raw hook line he hastily recorded over a YouTube instrumental. Connecting with me, we roped in Khawar to handle the chorus while we tackled the rap verses. Khawar then shared the concept with Osama, who was in Karachi at the time, urging him to hold tight until his return for a grander collaboration. Subsequently, Osama enlisted Hashim, Fadi, and Hamzee, alongside our producer Ghauri. Each of us entered the studio individually to lay down our vocals, which were digitally sent to Ghauri in Bahrain. With the groundwork laid, we meticulously planned and executed the video in a single day. And from that moment forward, as they say, the rest became history!
SD: And then came ‘Pindi Aye 2.0’ – How did the process initiate?
Zeeru: The song’s creation was swift. Reuniting felt natural; it was as if we never skipped a beat. Filming the video was effortless too. People in Pindi embraced us as local heroes, offering warm receptions wherever we filmed. Being a budding filmmaker myself, I was eager to showcase my video skills and capture the essence of the song. The real challenge lay in securing a major cameo.
SD: The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Sheikh Rasheed- how did that come about?
Zeeru: The real challenge lay in securing a major cameo. Initially, we dreamt of featuring Sheikh Sahab in our debut video, but back then, we lacked the connections to make it happen. Three years later, with circumstances changed, OCL insisted on Sheikh Sahab’s presence for our grand return. However, reaching him proved daunting. It took about three months to finalize the audio and video, with his inclusion pending. Thankfully, Osama’s close friend, Fahad Malik, arranged a brief meeting, and the magic ensued.
SD: Did any memorable or interesting incident happen during the shoot of the music video?
Zeeru: Oh there were lots of memorable incidents during 2.0’s video shoot. But the craziest one was when we were shooting in Raja Bazaar, a guy pulled up next to us during OCL’s take and literally pulled out a gun and loaded it, the clip is on our socials. Luckily Shuja acted very swiftly and vigilantly and was able to secure the gun from the guy all while we were still shooting and never stopped rolling. Props go to our boy Yakuza as well, the 2nd DOP, who was constantly behind the camera staying calm and not missing a single beat while we did all these public shoots.
SD: Why was there a major three-year gap between the two though?
Zeeru: The gap was mostly due to small misunderstandings that happened among us. At that time we were 8 different alpha males hence 8 different egos, which naturally everyone has. Some things were said, not necessarily by any of us, but by people around us due to insecurity and jealousy that caused a lot of bitterness and miscommunication among our circle. It was unfortunate at that time, but everything happens for a reason. All that had to happen for us to then reunite now. I can proudly say that our group is as close to each other and standing with one another now more than ever! We laugh, cry, fight, and grow together as a family.
SD: How would you rate the current fan base and stance of hip-hop and rap music in Pakistan? What more needs to be done to make it prominent?
Zeeru: If the scale is 1-10 then I’d say that the current hip-hop/rap fan base is at a 5.8, with a lot of room to grow. For that to happen and for the genre to hold prominence, our audience has to learn to listen and accept all kinds of flavors that the country has to offer. We are sadly a very sheep-like audience, slaves to trends or staying in our comfort zones. A lot can be discovered when one decides to stray away from both of those things that result in good things!
SD: Do you plan to create more music in 2024?
Zeeru: Lots of new music, we have so much in the pipeline. With Pindi Boyz leading the charge, me and the boys will also be dropping solo projects in between to keep giving the audience change-ups and fresh sounds, keeping them engaged. By the summer of 2024, it should be very clear with our releases that Pindi Boyz is the new flavor of choice.