Riasat Azmi, vocalist of Arekta Rock Band, was waiting for the fried-chicken he ordered moments before we arrived. Clad in a leather jacket and black denim, he welcomed us to a studio in Mirpur. The entire band was already there, probably throwing puns at each other.
After multiple handshakes with the members, we sat down for a casual interview, knowing that the band does not take them seriously. Nevertheless, they mean serious business when it comes to musicianship. "We were confident that 'Eden' is a good song, but we had no idea it would be a hit," said Raihan Mahbub Rasha, drummer and producer of the band. Rasha, with a beanie atop his head, is all smiles throughout the interview. He blamed Sakib Manzur Zihan for napping during studio sessions. As the guitarist Zihan slept while 'Eden' was being readied, Rasha had to fill in for Zihan's guitar riffs.
"I am not supposed to play four chords on recording, man. It is fine you played guitar instead of me!," Zihan fired back at Rasha.
In between our conversation, we watched the music video of "Eden." The stellar videography completely ignores that fact that the shooting took place in a garage driveway somewhere in Bashundhara.
Arekta Rock Band was accompanied by their friend and manager Munhamanna. He is also a singer/songwriter for the pop group EIDA.
"I know my name is hard to pronounce, so I go by several pseudonyms when interviewed," he said. For the record, he has appeared on national television where he introduced himself as 'Shagor' or 'Mamun.' We could clearly sense the underlying pun behind those fake names.
Arjo Biswas, bassist for the band could not make it to the interview. Later, he showed up for the photo session.
Meanwhile, Mamun (read: Munhamanna), carried on full throttle with his humorous eloquence.
The band has released three singles so far- "Shikari Aj Shikar", "Eden" and "Don't Fight Me." When asked about the response from the listeners, Mamun said, "The stats we see on YouTube is unreal. Honestly, we have not learnt how to count those big numbers in school!"
Zihan was rather skeptical that "Eden" will be stuck at 10,000 views, but he was proven wrong.
Ifaz Abrar Reza, lead guitarist of the band, initially treated "Eden" as a backing track. He fatefully shot the music video on his birthday. The song's popularity must feel like a perfect birthday gift to him now. Ifaz stressed on the importance of standing out as musicians. "Only music does not sale anymore. We make sure our internet presence is outlying than 10 thousand other rock bands." We seconded Ifaz because the Facebook page for Arekta Rock Band speaks for themselves.
We turned over to Rasha for one last time. "Eden" essentially falls under the genre synthwave, despite its rock roots. "How did you conceive the idea of producing a synthwave song which is almost nonexistent in this country?," we asked.
"'GTA: Vice City' inspired me a lot. The game's soundtrack was the sole reason I was determined to do a synth track. I am glad it worked," Rasha said.
By the time we were heading out of the studio, Riasat Azmi has already got his fried-chicken delivered. He ate, others went back to their sarcastic self. After all, they are not just Arekta Rock Band!