The band 'Arbovirus' was named after a comic book called 'Blade'. In the story there was a virus, which turns a human into a vampire.
As a nod to its namesake, the band has been spreading a music epidemic with their experimental rock songs and music since 2002.
Watch the first episode of 'Dhaka Sessions-powered by Bkash'
Ranjan and Suharto, two friends and former classmates, started Arbovirus in 2002.
This year the band is releasing a new full version album with six songs, all of which have been recorded already.
The band comprises six members - Sufi Maverick (vocalist), Suharto Sherif (guitarist), Asif Asgar Ranjan (guitarist and lyricist), Aldnane Alam (Bass) and Nafeez Al Amin (drummer).
Being 1990's kids they grew up with rock-based music from around the world. Playing guitar was also a cool trend back then.
And just like that - jamming and experimenting with music brought to them the idea of creating 'Arbovirus'.
The band earned mainstream recognition with the release of their 2006 album '64m 53s'. Their second album 'Montobbo Nishproyojon' was released online on July 5, 2013.
On 27 March, Arbovirus performed on the first episode of 'Dhaka Sessions-powered by Bkash'.
The Business Standard reached out to the band's drummer Nafeez Al Amin to know their story.
Professionalism is crucial
Of course passion is a must for creating music but it is not just a hobby when you are in a full-fledged band.
It may not look like a traditional job or the band may not have performances every day, but the members need to regularly communicate with each other.
Nafeez Al Amin said technology has made it easier for them to communicate and make music even during this pandemic.
And besides, album contract, YouTube channel, good-quality videos, and recording - everything has a schedule and thus market requirements compel you to become professional.
Nafeez said, "But the most important factor here is - when you are committed to your listeners, it is no longer a hobby or there is no scope of taking it casually. We have a responsibility towards our listeners. And it has to be professional, otherwise the quality can get compromised."
"And we still are a family - lighting team, video team, costume - not just us five, in fact we have more than 25 members all together working for the band. If it was just about money or business, we would not have been together. And I think the creative field does not work like a business place," he added.
What is the creative process for Arbovirus?
Nafeez said, "Five of us have full-time jobs and families to look after. We do not get to sit on a practise pad or jam regularly like before. But whenever we have something in mind, say a piece of music, we record the humming and send it to Ranjan Da, he writes a lyric and that is how we function now."
The five members have five different types of taste in music. For example, Nafeez Al Amin prefers psychedelic rock and bands like Pink Floyd.
But they are most inspired by new bands like 'Owned' and 'Arekta Rock Band' and that is true for every member.
Nafeez said, "These bands have new takes on rock music. I would not say radical, but their music, lyrics and the kind of energy they spread is inspiring for us as fellow musicians."
Secrets to sustain a band
Nafeez Al Amin said, "We have always seen how bands break up and that is what we have always been aware of. In fact our band was supposed to break up even earlier as one of our members is in the UK, and another in Australia. But that desire to sustain together is what allowed Arbovirus to live. And I think we enjoy working together, like a family, and that is what has kept us together."
But how do they keep doing music for nearly 20 years and remain one of the favourite bands in the country? "Adaptation", Nafeez said, adding, "Back in 2010 when we saw that social media and YouTube were getting popular, we knew that the cassette and record business was going to have a hard time. We were one of the first bands that released their songs on YouTube."
The band believes that music is another language to communicate and time should be a major concept while creating music- in the lyrics, composition, and while approaching the audience.
Maybe that is why their lyrics explore the elements of our very life- from self-recognition to the political disarray of Bangladesh, from nine to six corporate life to the Middle East peace politics.
'We just want to get back on stage'
Aninda Kabir Avik has been a loyal Arbovirus enthusiast for the last five years.
He shared with us, "It is not just their music, it is the energy they emit throughout the stage during their live performances - that is a hypnotising experience."
For the last two years, just like any other profession, music concerts and performances have also come to a halt.
Before the pandemic, Arbovirus performed in 70 to 80 shows across the country.
Which stage does this team remember the most? Where do they want to perform again?
Nafeez replied, "We just want to get back on stage, we want to perform again, does not matter where."