Walid Dib and Mohammad Baddar sit down with the band responsible for the recent buzz in the local music scene: Akher Zafeer. Akher Zafeer’s history goes a long way back. Manager, solo guitarist and vocalist Basem has been playing musical instruments since the mid-90s, for what would be 16 years to date.
His aspirations for a more thorough musical influence on his life eventually led the computer science graduate to quit his job and embark full time on his musical endeavors. Akher Zafeer was officially created in 2007, with drummer and developer Kayed, rhythm guitarist Salem and mobile app company CEO and bassist Yazan, who was last to join the band in 2008.
The name ‘Akher Zafeer’ directly translates to ‘last exhale’, and for a reason that goes twofold, says Basem. First, that being that the name represents the band’s musical theme and influence of “venting out”, and second, that the band’s construction took a lengthy while and plenty of effort. Akher Zafeer’s name has become quite common among many, mainly for their latest video release ‘Akherto Lahen Hazeen’, which Basem believes will secure the band its brand prior to the release of their album E3kes Thakafe (translated into: Converse Culture). According to the frustrated tone of the band, the album is indeed now long overdue, having been in the making since 2008, with only five out of 12 songs now ready and due for release in February. Should the album’s name, ‘Converse Culture’, be intended to convey a message it would be that of acceptance. However, following the under mentioned band’s rather light take to music and its influence along with the support they have received from the international brand Converse, the album’s name is a sole tribute to that particular benefactor.
When asked about their goal as a band, Basem was first to reply, “There is no goal.” As lyricist, among the various other roles he has assumed, he claims the lyrical theme of the music merely reflects a collection of experiences in life – not shockingly, the overwhelming theme of their music reflects on love and affection. In further affirmation of the musical influence of their songs, Basem explained, “I don’t care to change anything. The song is not written as a challenge to the music scene – it is written to let something out, to express.” The biggest challenges the band seems to have had so far have been abundant. A key topic on the table was the culture and the music culture here in Jordan. Akher Zafeer maintains that their music is unconventional and different – a clear aversion from what the population in Jordan is used to – that being a non-diverse collection of music and clubbing.
According to Akher Zafeer, the key problem is that people in Jordan don’t know what they want because they’re exposed to few things only – namely modern “trash” such as “Bieber and Lady Gaga.” Their own musical influences have been bands such as Nirvana, Radiohead, Muse and Deaf Tones. A second key challenge for them lay in securing venues for their gigs and even their jam sessions. Even for the short seven hours they practice a week, finding an appropriate venue proves to be a great challenge. The band does, however, hope to grow in popularity beyond Jordan.
When asked about defining moments in their music careers, the band says the video they released not only hyped their own interest in their music, but offered them exposure to decision makers at that. Their fan pool, which, according to the band, extends to Canada, Saudi Arabia and Australia, also included Egypt and Lebanon – key players in the music scene, and extremely interactive when it come to their own.
Akheer Zafeer is about to sign contracts with entities in Egypt, and should be going on tours to both countries in 2012. Akher Zafeer says countries such as Egypt and Lebanon have been nurturing thriving music scenes for decades – a much more efficient ‘petri dish’ for the band to grow.
Akher Zafeer’s advice to any up and coming band is to try to be new and keep going. What kept Akher Zafeer going turned out to be their belief in what they’re doing and what to them “crowned their efforts,” such as standing ovations at their gigs or their own feeling when they are on stage – that being, “the best feeling ever.” Akher Zafeer can be reached through their Facebook group and website www.akherzapheer.com , on which they post their latest updates. A sneak peek into their future plans revealed their next release to be a video clip titled “Four Years,” to be directed by Amjad Rasheed and produced by Noor Nshewat.
Apart from that, only time will tell what the band’s future will look like.