BANGLADESH’S UNDERGROUND TECHNO IS DIFFERENT THAN YOU THINK

(This article was first published by Vice Media’s digital channel Noisey in German and being reproduced here (Google-translated!) to increase shareability amongst English-speakers using browsers that do not automatically translate to English. Permission for re-post was taken from DES founding member Jaami Farooq and all content attributed back to Vice Media’s Noisey)

Khan Mohammad Faisal; written by Pia Harlaß

Something like nightlife does not exist with us. But that should not be the reason that electronic music can not grow and prosper here in Bangladesh. We are a very poor country and live in a melting pot of different cultures and religions. Since most of the more than 160 million inhabitants of our country are Muslims, alcohol is forbidden by law. The night itself is a rather taboo time in Bangladesh. Electronic music was labeled until recently associated with this context quickly as a bad thing. Since there are no clubs, the concerts usually in some buildings, lounges or so-called “foreigners clubs”, which are then transformed once into a sort of club. All this is possible only under the strictest secrecy and bribery of police officers. If no sufficient sum on the authorities will be paid, it often happens that such club nights are disturbed and broken up by police.

This does not mean that there are no opportunities to celebrate, and to consume alcohol-only they are just not particularly lucrative. Although it remains the public eye closed, there are now about 60 bars, where you can theoretically legally drink. We have recently started a very funny “drinking license” with which you drink in bars allowed to-but which has so far hardly enforced. As for the parties, it is actually possible only through bribery, to get into the bars. For 20 or 30 euros they let you in most cases.

I personally have no problem with alcohol, but do not want the electro scene to alcohol around developed-even if it were so strong very lucrative. Marijuana is very cheap in Bangladesh and also drugs like heroin are nothing unusual. The younger people here often take methamphetamine, it’s like an epidemic. Something that many do not know and is really disconcerting is the fact that the Government of Bangladesh has its own alcohol distillery, it isCarrew’s.

Many parties-or shall we say-concerts will be held in 5-star hotels. There are a couple of DJs that are regularly booked by the hotel owners, and play for the people. I personally do not believe in this concept, because it is bitter and ironic, to play in such an overpriced hotel, and in a country like ours. There also always hang around the same people there and play the same music, that’s boring and I think that a major shortcoming in this concept.

So I called two years ago the Dhaka Electronica scene into life-an international network of local DJs and producers from the capital of Bangladesh Dhaka.

Check out their Soundcloud Channel: https://soundcloud.com/dhakaelectronicaofficial/01-dhaka-dub-hierarchy-another

It all started with a conversation and the creation of a Facebook group. The idea came to me when Omer Nashaad, a friend of mine, a song posted. We started with no great expectations, a group with few friends, of whom we knew that they are interested in music. But let me not get rid of the thought that it still needs to be more people in Dhaka who want to make good electronic music and listen. I spent hours trying to find it and rummaged around for nights on SoundCloud profiles. When I found again someone who seemed to fit me, I invited him just one in the group.

Now, two years later, we are a team of 75 producers, DJs, a few graphic designers and photographers. We have mashed everything out of nothing. Omer and I are the initiators of this new movement in Bangladesh-a scene for electronic music. Dhaka Electronica Scene is a community, and more importantly, a platform for talents in electronic music.

My tasks in addition to production is primarily communication. Omer is responsible for the live performances and the art. From a virtual community is a real community has become. We all learn from each other, because most of us (myself included) are not professional DJs and have had so far little to do with synthesizers and drum machines. It’s a do-it-yourself project, and we are getting better day by day. The best part is how different the music of the people is with us.

There are in each case a few producers and DJs, the Trance, Dubstep, Synth-Pop, Ambient, House or Technotronic hang. A few months ago we even have our first compilation Explorationspublished that it in iTunes you can buy. And a second followed hopefully in a few weeks. Fahad Zaman reached by his track “Mongrel” fairly large notoriety in Dhaka. Then there’s Don Orcun, Farzan Hassan Omer and Nashaad that are here with us as DJs gradually known.

And of course me, Khan Mohammad Faisal aka The B Regiment. I am the first DJ who is played on MTV Bangladesh. I am 26 years old and am doing my degree in Business Marketing.Although opt fortunately more and more young people for an education at a university, they have not necessarily always the best training opportunities. But it’s a start. I write also as a freelancer for Border Movement, a network of artists in South Asia and Germany, making electronic music.Especially the connection to Berlin is very important and a model for us.

As for the future, I sound hopefully not too naive and idealistic when I hope that artists from Bangladesh soon international who will prosper. We publish our music on the Dhaka Electronica scene and try the people here in Bangladesh with the time to bring a little closer. We have learned that it works very well when we concomitant incorporation of elements Völkstänzen or culturally respected citations in the music. Then the people can relate better and know how to best moves. With rock and metal, it has indeed worked. Women and men may now even go together to rock concerts.

Our photographer Max Khan met on a trip to Bangladesh. Check out his homepage for more pictures.

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