Instep Today

Radio Ga Ga – II: Haniya Aslam speaks to Miss Modular

Instep Today
By Maheen Sabeeh
Thu, 05, 19

After shedding some light on singer-songwriter and electronic artist Natasha Humera Ejaz, who is one of the participants in this special broadcast that was recorded in 2019, Instep now lends an ear to Haniya Aslam, who speaks to host Miss Modular (Sasha Ali) on a myriad of issues that have engulfed the present music scene, in between an eclectic mixtape that includes the many hues of Pakistani music.

In between the interviews, the show played tunes from Mai Dhai and Sattar Jogi, Zarsanga, Stupid Happiness Theory, It Might Get Glitchy, Stupid Happiness Theory & Alien Panda Jury, and many others.

Haniya Aslam’s tracks with Zeb Bangash such as ‘Daam’ – made for a TV serial by Mehreen Jabbar – and ‘Dadra’ that was released after a bomb blast in Lahore – were also played, introducing listeners to the band that was once an anomaly when Zeb and Haniya started out with their debut album. Since then, they have parted ways with Haniya focused more on production and Zeb pursuing a solo career but their influence remains legendary.

Called by Sasha Ali as Pakistan’s first all-women band when they first released their debut album in 2008, she noted that it didn’t mean there weren’t female music performers in Pakistan but Zeb and Haniya were significant because they were “producing and composing their own music and performing on their own”.

Haniya Aslam, the composing half of the unit, who is an audio engineer and music producer, among her other capabilities, based in Islamabad, noted Sasha Ali, “has invested herself mostly in post-production, film scoring and sound design for the last couple of years.”

Beginning the interview with a question about Zeb and Haniya, Aslam noted, “I was. We [Zeb and Haniya] were a band for about six years but then about five years ago I decided the touring life wasn’t for me. It didn’t suit my temperament and since I have a background in computer science and programming, I really, really wanted to learn a skill set that would enable me to do more technical audio work as well as recording.”

Responding to a question about it not being typical doing sound design, post-production and doing it professionally in Pakistan, Haniya Aslam explained, “No, it isn’t. So, five years ago when I made this decision, I moved to Canada; I went to Toronto and did an eleven month diploma in audio engineering and it was through that diploma that I realised how vast the field of audio is.”

Haniya added: “I thought I’d do this and become a music producer because that’s all I knew and what you use a studio for but there was so much... there’s forensic audio, acoustic design and people have gone on to do PhDs in acoustics and physics of acoustics but what excited me most was audio post-production, which is audio for film and television – everything that happens after the shoot.

I love films throughout my life; I love music and films equally. I’ve been told my compositions are very evocative. They evoke visuals so I always thought it would be fun to try and work with visuals and it turned out perfect for me. I really, really enjoy that and decided to stick to film and TV for the most part.” Speaking about both diversifying her portfolio as well as struggles that musicians face today, both here and around the world, Haniya noted, “The whole point was to diversify my income stream...“

To hear the full interview, check out this website: