The Business Standard (TBS): Give us a glimpse into your journey as a band.
AK Rahul: When the band started, none of the current members were there except for Masrur Rumman. He formed the band sometime around 2009 or 2010. What is interesting is that as soon as the band was formed, Poraho did not do any concerts. Rather we directly went for an album - the eponymous one.
This album was made by Masrur Rumman and Shahed Hossain with contribution from AK Ratul who is currently a member of another popular band called 'Owned'. I remember that I made the tracklist of that album.
After the first album, Masrur wanted a full line-up for the band. Then, he approached me to become a part of Poraho. Pritom Arefin also agreed to join us. When we were looking for a bassist, Reshad Rafiq Shams called me and joined as well.
Reshad Rafiq Shams: The previous band I was a member of did not quite click. That made me very frustrated and depressed. I could not live without doing what I loved the most - making music.
Fortunately, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and came across the page of Poraho. I saw that they were looking for a bassist and could not resist calling the contact number mentioned on the post, which happened to be Rahul's.
AK Rahul: So, after the first album, we had the following lineup: me on drums, Reshad on bass, Pritom and Shahed on guitars, and Masrur on vocals. That is when we started being very serious about the band and we used to jam regularly.
Eventually, we also performed at a lot of concerts. At one point, we had to do three to four shows a day. So far, we have performed in at least 150 shows in various cities across the country.
Our current line up consists of Masrur on vocals, Pritom and Montasir Mamun Shopno on guitars, Reshad on bass and I on drums.
TBS: What are your most memorable moments as a band?
AK Rahul: The first time we went to Rajshahi to perform at a concert was the most memorable for me. The crowd was singing along to 'Naam chara gaan'.
Seeing so many people sing our songs in such a faraway place was beyond my wildest dreams. It was at this point that I came to realise we were on the right track with the music we were creating.
Another memory I will cherish for the rest of my life is when we performed in front of our very own king of the six strings - Ayub Bachchu. When we finished our performance, he hugged me and whispered in my ear that we would become a household name one day.
Montasir Mamun Shopno: The most memorable concert for me has to be the one in which I officially became a member of Poraho.
This is because I was a fan of the band and used to go to their shows. I never imagined that one day I would be able to perform as an official member of the band, sharing the stage with the musicians I grew up watching.
TBS: People in our country are generally discouraged from pursuing a career in music. They are often told that there is no future in this field. To what extent do you agree with this?
AK Rahul: Simply put, every parent in our country wants their children to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers. If you dare to pursue a different path, such as music, you will face resistance, no matter how many examples of people who have succeeded in it you put forward.
The accomplishments of musicians such as Guru James, Ayub Bachchu and each of our country's successful actors and sportsmen, among many others, prove how flawed this perception is.
Reshad Rafiq Shams: The thing is, these people that Rahul mentioned, have successfully shown that if you follow your dream with utmost dedication, you can achieve anything. When you reach the pinnacle of success in that field, the negative attitude of those around you changes and they begin to shower you with support instead.
So, I do not agree with the fact that there is no future in music. I truly believe that if someone puts his heart and soul into making music, he will be able to overcome the obstacles and make a name for himself.
Contrary to popular belief, making music a full-time commitment enables you to live a financially secure life and support a family in our country, and I know quite a few musicians who do it.
TBS: What is the most challenging thing that you have faced as a band?
AK Rahul: When we first entered the scene, bands such as Arbovirus, Nemesis, and Shunno had already made a huge impression on the public at large, and they were rightfully dominating the scene.
So, it was extremely difficult for us to make our presence known in the arena. I personally believe that we have been able to survive in this industry filled to the brim with gifted bands only because of our dedication towards producing good music, practicing and performing in the concerts.
AK Rahul and Montasir Mamun Shopno: We knew that as a new band, we would not make much money at first, but we persisted because we knew that if we continued to make good music, people would recognise us and the industry would value us.
As it was for us, the initial period can be extremely frustrating for aspiring musicians, and many give up on their dream of pursuing a career in music. We would like to encourage my fellow musicians to keep going.
TBS: What are the changes you hope to see in our music industry over the next five years?
Reshad Rafiq Shams: At one point in its illustrious history, our music industry became stuck in the sense that it was not evolving in accordance with the preferences of the audience. A small number of musicians and producers such as Fuad Almuqtadir and Habib Wahid came to the rescue.
They were also able to make a good amount of money from it. They increased the market value of music by creating good music and asking for the right price from the right people.
Unfortunately, this value has been greatly reduced and we musicians are also to be blamed because we have made ourselves readily available to anyone and for any amount of money.
So, in the next five years, I want to see musicians being paid properly for their time and effort, whether it is for performing in concerts or for any other purpose.
AK Rahul: I want bands to become more structured, with proper managers and labels, so that their only task will be to make music without having to worry about the hundreds of other things they have to worry about now.
Moreover, if the bands remain structured, individuals and companies will be more confident in investing in them, as well as the industry as a whole. Thus, we will be able to progress toward a brighter future together.
Aside from that, although they are doing enough at the moment, I would like to request our government to take the necessary steps to create more concert venues, improve access for organisers in existing ones, and make the process of obtaining other permissions for organising a concert easier.
This will encourage people to organise more paid concerts, providing more opportunities for bands.
TBS: What does Poraho have in store for its fans in the coming days?
AK Rahul: We will be releasing a new song along with a proper video soon. We will also be uploading contents regularly on our official YouTube channel.
Our fans have been an integral part of our journey thus far. We would not have made it this far without their support. I hope they continue to support us, as well as other bands who make good music.