LUMS alumni are not just making strides in every field, but also winning hearts with their plethora of talents. One such talent being music. '21' is a punk rock band which comprises of LUMS alumni that stole the spotlight on the latest season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands by making it to the top four. Yahya Farid, BA-LL.B 2013, and Naveed Masood, BSc 2011, members of 21, are Luminites who were both members of the LUMS Music Society, with Masood having been the Vice-President. Upon joining LUMS as a law student, Farid first formed the band in 2010 with fellow Luminites and called it 21, the age of the three band members. Soon the band recorded their first singles, Dil Ki Baatein and Taaray, which went on to become college hits that were hugely popular on campus at LUMS.
In addition to their up-and-coming music career, Farid and Masood are both on track with their respective corporate careers as well; Farid is a lawyer currently working as the Counsel for PEMRA before Islamabad High Court, and Masood is currently working as a Project Manager at Mind Map, handling USAID.
The foundation of the band, 21 was laid when they took part in late night jam sessions in their hostels at LUMS and composed a few original tracks together. The first successful step in their musical journey came when they recorded their first three singles within two months, and were invited to perform on a bigger platform by renowned musicians, Gumby and Zeeshan Pervez, by taking part in the second season of their famed show, Uth Record.
“LUMS has played a major role in our musical journey. The band was formed at LUMS, practised in LUMS, used the Music Society jam room and the recording room and also performed many concerts at LUMS,” says Farid. “Music is based on your creative mindset and LUMS is an ideal place to be creative and vent out your creativity. The institution allows you to think out of the box all the time and the ideal environment best suits for creating music and allowing you to open your mind.”
Farid and Masood are both proud of having made it to the top four in a competitive show like this, and consider it a valuable learning experience.
“Pepsi Battle of the Bands was a great platform for bands like ours, as it gave us great exposure and coverage while allowing us to do what we love the most, punk rock music,” says Masood. “Also, since the show was quite hectic and schedules were very tough, we got to practice a lot and improved massively on our skill set.”
Despite having played at LUMS at events like YLES, LUMUN and OLYMPIAD, and opening for huge artists like Atif Aslam, Strings, and Ali Azmat, the band thought they were “cornered tigers” on this season of Pepsi Battle of the Bands. The alumni both say that they learned a lot from the other bands on the show and became acquainted with different music styles that are being pursued in Pakistan. Considered the most underrated band of the season, both alumni share that they indulged in double the practice time and made sure to continuously think outside the box in an effort to make it to the top four.
“The best part is that the reviews and critics have put our music on top and we have been penetrating into the younger generation way faster than the other bands,” says Farid. The band gives credit to its alma mater for allowing them to pursue their respective professional choices whilst also living their passion: music. As alumni, their message to aspiring musicians studying at LUMS or elsewhere is to “never make music a compulsion” but rather let it be an “enjoyable process."
“Younger musicians should not sacrifice their professional career or education for music; we will have to multi-task today to face the challenges and keep on moving ahead,” advises Farid.