Interview conducted by Fareeha Rafique and published in Instep, The NEWS on Sunday on 12th Sept. 2004

With a boyish image of Noori that wasn’t very successful and a highly criticized mint selling campaign, front man Ali Noor seems to be shifting priorities. Read on…

Instep: What is more important to you, music or your image?

Ali Noor: After struggling for two years to discover which image suits us, I guess I have to succumb to the reality that music does take precedence.

Instep: How important is marketing for a pop singer?

AN: I’m not sure if direct marketing would help, as likeability to any type of music is subjective. However, a highly organized approach to exploiting all avenues available for the artiste to reach out to the maximum number of listeners is an absolute necessity nowadays.

Instep: Would you sell your song to a company if you were offered a million bucks for it?

AN: If you’d asked me a few months back, I would’ve honestly thought for a minute and come with answers like “depends what kind of a product it is” or “hmm…I’ll see if it goes with our image” or ” well if they don’t interfere much with the music”…now my answer is simply NOT IN A MILLION YEARS! I’ve learnt through bitter experience that selling a song for the promotion of any product is aesthetically repugnant to and completely defeats the purpose of the labour of love that goes into a song. The presumption here is that everyone takes his music as a labour of love and puts his most serious creative input into every song he undertakes to perform or compose.

Instep: Once you give rights for a song to a client, how far can they intrude into your music?

AN: Well I have unfortunately not committed this sin as yet, so I won’t know. If you wanna know about selling mints I could surely enlighten ya!

Instep: What do you keep in mind while writing lyrics for your songs?

AN: Every song has a theme and a purpose behind it, which can only be communicated by lyrics. When Hamza and I write lyrics, we try our best that the words are as simple as possible to facilitate effective communication of the idea behind that song.

Instep: Would you like to make music for a cause? If yes, which one?

AN: Well, there seems to be only one cause ahead of me and that is to somehow break this huge shield of complacent indifference that is rotting us to the core.

Instep: What do you find more exciting, a concert or making a video?

AN: A concert of course. Video is just the biggest pain. In concerts we make money, in videos we have to spend it all. We avoid videos, especially expensive ones!

Instep: Under what circumstances is lip-syncing acceptable?

AN: Lip-syncing doesn’t bother us. It gives us a chance to make absolute fools of ourselves and even bigger fools of the complacently indifferent audience! If the audience were not completely indifferent, they would simply protest and not accept anything short of a live performance.

Instep: Name a film you wish you had sung for.

AN: Mein Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon.

Instep: Since there aren’t huge monetary benefits from record sales, is it essential for musicians to have another source of income?

AN: Well, I guess concerts are biggest source of income for all Pakistani artistes.

Instep: What’s the worst thing about being a music star?

AN: The gradual demise of your creativity that occurs when your goals shift from making music to making money.

Instep: What is the one thing that you would not compromise on?

AN: The whole deal: the production, lyrics, composition, performance, mixing and especially the fact that I will not dare to put a filler in the album. I don’t mind if I don’t look like Brad Pitt on the album sleeve!

Instep: Where do you see Noori ten years from now?

AN: Retired probably or maybe singing nursery rhymes at our children’s Montessori…that is if we ever have any.

Instep: Is there any other genre that you’d like to sing?
AN: Hell yes! Just wait there is a lot in store.

Instep: Is musical training important?

AN: Hell yes!

Instep: What is the one song so close to your heart, you wish you had sung it?

AN: ‘Pale September’ by Fiona Apple from her album Tidal.

Instep: Any late musician you wish you had the opportunity to work with?

AN: I can’t think of anyone.

Instep: Do you think Noori fits into the ‘boy-band’ category?

AN: I wonder how many other boy bands we have in this country except, I guess, the Raga Boyz. Besides aren’t all the ‘boys’ in the band supposed to jump, dance and sing? I alone do that in my band, the rest play their instruments and I don’t know how to dance so I guess I am two thirds the “boy” in the band.

Instep: When is the next Noori album to be expected?

AN: After Moharrum, Inshallah.

Instep: How will it be different from the first one?

AN: Lets say it won’t be very “boy” like!

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