In 2002, two friends and former classmates Suharto Sherif and Asif Asgar Ranjan started a band, pursuing their dreams in music. 17 years, 3 studio albums, 12 singles and an 'infection' epidemic later, Arbovirus stands tall as one of the mightiest bands in Bangladesh today. The story of Arbovirus in not only incredible, but also inspiring, as the route they took changed the music industry for good at one point in their trailblazing career.
“We are about to drop an EP (Extended Play) on April 14,” smiled Sufi Maverick, the vocalist of the Band. Sufi had joined Arbovirus as a passionate vocalist, inspired by System of a Down, Korn and other psychedelic acts of the time. “We are currently almost done with the recording, and I feel like it will be a nice little surprise for our fans.” The band claims that the new EP will contain a completely different sound than their previous releases. “We have so many unreleased tracks, that we can launch an album now if we want,” says Ranjan. However, the collective philosophy of the band is to produce theme-based collaborative work, one that would satisfy them and their fans. “We will wait until we know what exactly we will go for in our next album,” says Nafeez.
One of the most inspiring aspects of Arbovirus is their will to keep moving forward, despite the adversities they have faced over the years. “We have been through it all: members leaving bands at crucial times, time-constraints due to our professional lives, and a long period of inactivity,” says Ranjan, who claims that the band has to keep going no matter what. From 2007 to 2011, the band had struggled with their line-up until Nafeez Al Amin joined as a drummer and stabilised the band. “We owe a lot to Nafeez for bringing his energy and high-octane antics to our band,” laughs Sufi, “he is every bit as passionate about the band as we are, if not more.”
After Nafeez joined the band's resurgence took its full course when they released their second album, Montobbo Nishproyojon in 2013. The album was a huge success, with Hariye Jao, Jaalo Agun Jalo and Roder Kinaray topping the charts. What made the success astounding is the fact that the band had decided not to sign under a label, which shocked the industry. “The fact that Arbovirus took such a step, inspired thousands of aspiring musicians, including me,” says Fasihuddin Ahmed Itmam, the guitarist for both Owned and Arbovirus, and a touring member of the band. Almost immediately after the release, big-banner labels, which had been considered the most 'important' facet of releasing the album, became less important to young, upcoming musicians, who started going the indie route.
“We are one of the few bands who had received a 'second chance' from our fans, and we are grateful for it,” says Sufi, “please come to live shows, regardless of how 'big' or 'small' the band is.
That is the best way to support the music scene, which now has some incredible new talent in it.” The sentiment was echoed by the rest of the members, who consider Arbovirus to be their identities, rather than just a band.