Tell us about yourself!
We are The D/A Method, a progressive rock band based in Karachi. We are comprised of five members: Usama Siddiq (vocals, guitar), Umair Dar (guitar, backing vocals, production), Talha Alvie (guitar, keys, backing vocals, production), Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (bass, engineering), and Istvan Csabai (drums, video). The band was formed in 2012 by Talha and Umair who were joined by Usama and Istvan in 2013. Danny officially joined the band in 2016, completing our lineup. We have released two full length albums (‘The Great Disillusion’  and ‘The Desert Road’ ), one EP (‘Janissaries’ ), and several singles so far.
I know it’s a common one, but why the name?
Our name started off as a bit of an inside joke. Talha and Umair, who started the band, are both huge cricket fans and named the project after the Duckworth-Lewis Method in cricket, changing it to match their own last names. However, because we now have a full line up the name has kind of taken on its own life and meaning.
What is progressive rock? What’s the space like in Pakistan?
Progressive rock is an extremely broad term but is generally used to describe music that incorporates genres and influences outside of traditional rock and roll, such as jazz, folk, classical, and electronic, and presents them in a rock format, primarily using guitars, keys, and drums. The genre is typically associated with songs that break out of the radio-friendly 3 to 4-minute pop music template, instead focusing on longer compositions with various movements (deriving from the jazz and classical influence) and instrumental passages. The “classic” period of the genre was in the late 60s and early 70s, but it has evolved and expanded since then and is now almost used as a catch-all for anything that falls outside of straightforward rock or metal. For us, being progressive means being unafraid to take risks and having the freedom to continually expand our pallet of influences. It’s why we have a song with traditional Pakistani folk instruments and another with black metal shrieks on the same album.
It’s hard to say that there is a “progressive rock scene” in Pakistan because the genre itself is so hard to nail down, but there are certainly numerous bands that are adopting progressive influences in their music – from Takatak with their unique take on modern progressive metal to bands like Janoobi Khargosh who incorporate strong electronic elements. The level of musicianship among the current crop of young artists in Pakistan is the best it has ever been, and technology allows new influences from all over the world to travel faster than ever, so it’s almost natural for underground music to head in a more progressive direction.
Describe your creative process, how is your music made?
Our songs typically start off as instrumental demos written by either Talha or Umair. Because our members live in different places, we rely on technology to be able to send the projects to each other. Each person can then chop up and add or subtract to the structure of the song. We go back and forth on email until the songs start to get a little closer to their final form. Then, when we’re ready to hit the studio, we’ll start off recording the drums and bass. That’s followed by the guitars, synths, and keys. Finally, we’ll track the vocals and any additional textures. Each part of the process is an additional layer that is added on top of the previous one.
What are your major influences?
Our influences are as diverse as the members of the band but broadly speaking we have always been inspired by the generation of progressive rock and metal bands that came just before us such as Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Katatonia, and The Pineapple Thief. The classic era of prog rock including bands such as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and especially Peter Gabriel-era Genesis is the starting point that tinges everything we do. However, as children of the 90s, we cannot deny that the guitar-driven alternative and indie rock of that era has had a huge impact on us. That’s the reason for our three-guitar attack which occasionally veers into post rock and shoegaze. Film soundtracks are also a major influence, and outside of music, cinema plays a big role in coloring our approach to music.
What does music generally mean to you? And what does Pakistani music mean to you?
Music is almost like a lifeblood to us. Before we were musicians, we were music fans and all of us have music intertwined with our most important childhood memories. It is also the one thing that we all have in common given the diversity of our backgrounds and experiences. Pakistani music was some of the first music any of us heard, particularly as our childhoods coincided with the height of Pakistani pop music with bands such as Vital Signs and Junoon.
What is pushing the music industry forward? What’s pulling it back?
The industry is being pushed forward by artists who are empowering themselves with the increasing wealth of tools available nowadays. Speaking from our personal experience, we’ve really benefited from having access to free musical and technical education on platforms like YouTube and from the advances in production tools, hardware and software available for home-based producers to achieve professional grade results.
The fact that 4 of our band members all now work professionally in recording studios / production houses that they have established themselves is testament to that.
What are you guys up to these days? Anything in the works? What should we look forward to?
We are currently hard at work on our third full-length album ‘Sanctuary’. The current pandemic situation has made things a little more complicated, but we have most of the album recorded and will soon be entering the mixing phase. We will be releasing a video for the first single off the album in the coming months so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, we have just put out some previously unreleased live and alternate versions of three tracks from our second album ‘The Desert Road’ which are available on our Spotify and YouTube channels now.