Experimental/Psychedelic Bangla band Highway began their journey with the track 'Brihoshpoti'. But 'GhorGari' was the song that introduced the band to mass listeners. The unique composition, flagrant lyrics and psychedelic artworks attracted the listeners in no time.
Founded by Ishmam Intiser and Aether Hasan as a musical project in 2016, Highway has released eight songs from its upcoming debut album, 'Train Poka'.
Just four days after releasing their new song, 'Arekta Khet Gaan', on 14 November, Bangla experimental rock band 'Highway' published another track, 'Chera Pata'. They are planning to release a few other songs throughout this winter.
Although Highway has been active for the last five years, the band has experienced a few ups and downs. However, during the pandemic, they formed a permanent lineup and put a full stop to their hiatus with 'Shakkhi'.
The current lineup consists of Aether on vocals, Samin Yasar on guitars, Samuel Adhikary on drum, and Ibon Ibtesham on keyboards, while producer and composer Ishmam is responsible for overseeing the band.
In a recent chat with The Business Standard, the band talked about their journey and how they make experimental music.
"I composed Arekta Khet Gaan's music back in 2017. I remember randomly calling Aether and asking him to write a khet (cringy) song, like he always does. He turned the whole idea into a satire by literally writing about a cringy song - how expressing your vulnerabilities can sound 'khet'," recalled Ishmam.
He added, "We tried various melodies before settling on the one you hear in the song. Then Ibon played the saxophone and I arranged it. So, technically, it's not a new song for us. It's a four years old song."
"We never thought that 'GhorGari' would receive such responses", said Aether, who also happens to be the writer of almost all of Highway's songs.
The track 'Obisriti' from 'Train Poka' was written by prominent Bangladeshi architect, writer, filmmaker and photographer Shakoor Majid, while 'Icche Ghuri' was written by Dr Hosne Ara Jolly, the Professor of Bangla at Jagannath University.
"While GhorGari may feel like a folk song, it's a mixture of a number of experiments. The quality of the song carried itself. We always try to experiment with our composition and lyrics. Unlike many other bands, we have the time and freedom to experiment with our music," said Samin.
"We started as a project and now we have started working as a band. 'Shakkhi' was the stepping stone towards us rising as a band. The song's lyrics are a metaphor that represents our journey and changes," Ishmam explained.
Highway is renowned among listeners for its psychedelic experiments. In the future, the band wants to experiment exclusively with psychedelic, experimental, progressive and blues music.
"I believe our released songs don't properly justify our visions and ideas as we are yet to be introduced entirely to our listeners. But people will soon have a clearer picture of our concept after we release four or five songs", Aether added.
Highway already has around 20 songs and several concepts in stock. Other than creating music, the band members invest their time in music for their own inspiration.
"Making songs is the biggest inspiration for us," Samin said. To this, Aether added, "We never try to do anything different keeping the audience's preferences in mind. We make what we like. So far, our listeners have liked our music and we want to carry on with it."
The band is planning to launch their debut album 'Train Poka' soon, however, several tracks from this album have already been published.
Besides, the band is also working on an instrumental album titled 'Perspective', which is being composed and produced by Ishmam. Three tracks from the album have already been released.
The band released another experimental album titled 'Crossing Point' on 5 December with eight songs.
"Albums keep the legacy of any band alive. The experimental album 'Train Poka' is our initial attempt to spread our legacy," Aether said.
The band also plans to remake 'Obosthan', Aether's solo track, for Train Poka.
"We take life very spiritually. We are as happy with five random listeners as we are with five million. As long as creating music keeps us satisfied, we will continue composing music for our happiness," Ishmam told the correspondent.
We make independent music. All we have is our effort and luck. If we keep working to satisfy ourselves, Highway will carry itself," he added.
Listen to Highway's debut album on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/HIGHWAYBD