40 years down, Miles to go
Established in August, 1979, Miles had become a household name within a few years, thanks to their out-of-the-box compositions, bringing about a new wave of pop-rock sound in Bangladesh. For more than 40 years, Miles has successfully inspired generations who hum, listen to and also cover their songs online. Last week, Miles ended the first part of their 40-year-celebrations tour with a power-driven performance in Dhaka and looks forward to the second part of the journey in the year 2020. The band got together with us and spoke about the tour, the challenges that they faced, and also how staying disciplined and focused might just be the keys to their success.
When and how did you come up with the 40-year-tour?
Shafin Ahmed: It was in the beginning of 2019 when we thought of the tour. We did celebrate 30 years, and this time, we wanted the celebrations to be more grand. We all began to brainstorm and fix the number of countries and continents we would cover – starting from North America, Australia, Asia, Europe to Africa. We are done covering the USA and Canada from North America, and Australia. We ended with yet another grand concert in Bangladesh. We are very much satisfied with our plan so far. However, we still have Europe, Africa and parts of Asia to cover, and are definitely going stronger next year!
What was the 40-year-tour like? Can you share some stories for the readers?
Hamin Ahmed: So many stories to share! However, I think I would rather share the stories that happened behind the scenes. Firstly, Shafin’s passport was held back by the US Embassy, which is why he could not accompany us to the States. This is why Foysal Ahammed Tanim (Pavel) played the bass guitar in his place. And then when it was time to go perform in Canada, Turjo’s passport got delayed! You see, when you are about to execute your plans, you find so many elements of the universe coming to challenge you, things that you may have never thought about planning, but overcoming these challenges is what is important.
Manam Ahmed: We travelled nights in a row to different cities, checked into hotels in the middle of the nights and performed the next day. It was hectic. However, we went through with all that only because of the fans and the audience who would inspire us and encourage us to do more. Basically, not only did we manage to perform in more than 28 countries till now, we also became excellent managers, travel agents and what not!
Turjo: The experience has been extremely fulfilling! Different cities, countries, hotels, different venues, different sound and a different drum kit! I think by now we have become jetlag proof!
Any incident in particular that you still think back to from the tour?
Jewel: When we were playing in Detroit, there was a huge storm from out of nowhere! We were playing outdoors with thousands of people listening to us and were very worried about out instruments and sound equipment. However, the 2,500 or more people standing there watching us perform did not move and were simply waiting for us to finish our set! That was an unbelievable moment for me!
Shafin Ahmed: Vocals and bass
Hamin Ahmed: Vocals and guitar
Manam Ahmed: Keyboard
Iqbal Asif Jewel: Guitar
Syed Ziaur Rahman Turjo: Drums
What is the message that you would like to give out to the young bands who you continue to inspire?
Hamin: One can do music for fun or opt to do it professionally. And if you decide to pursue music professionally, there would be a world of difference! You see, to reach the 40-year-mark, the amount of sacrifices we had to make is still unthinkable and unimaginable. You can say goodbye to addas with friends, to things that people normally do around you, just for the sake of music and keeping your band alive.
Manam: Keeping fit and maintaining discipline is very important. Gone are the days when musicians were expected to remain nonchalant or laid back about their work. We managed to meet the 40-year mark because of our consistency as a professional band with regular performances. If we had taken a pause, like many choose to do, the celebrations would have been more of an anniversary reunion. I believe this is very important!
Shafin: There will be challenges in life. You get an education, you grow up and start looking for jobs, and eventually you get married and have children of your own. These are all very natural concepts and part of life, however, these are also challenges that you have to overcome, balance your life accordingly and pursue the art of music as a profession.