In our Spring 2020 Issue we launched a new music feature, Emerging. If you’ve been wondering what to listen to lately or perused Spotify and social media searching for the next emerging band that would restore your faith in The State of Music, this feature is for you. We checked in with a few of the bands we think have a unique voice in the musical landscape to inspire a new generation of concert-goers and record-buyers alike. In this Auxiliary Online Content you’ll find more background and photos on each band, this time we are focusing on Aurat.
Azeka Kamal : Vocals
Gil Talbot : Bass/Production
Nathalie Martin : Guitar
Victor Andrade : Drums
Taking cues from the sounds of darkwave, postpunk, new wave, and Bollywood, Aurat (“OH RUT”) are based in southern California with the goal of bringing, “something different to the current scene. We were so used to seeing the ‘norm’ and decided to break down cultural and emotional barriers.” With lyrics sung in vocalist Azeka’s first language Urdu, they explain the band name Aurat (“women”), “is not an aesthetic but a form of representation that is open to any background, gender, and sexuality. Aurat creates an experience that is equally open to anyone. It is a platform that allows individuals to vibe with the music even if they don’t understand the language.”
Aurat released a self-titled EP in 2017 and have followed up with three full-length releases since then: Sirens and Image both in 2018 and their latest LP Zeher (“poison”) in April 2020. When asked about Aurat’s sound and musical influences, the band said, “Aurat is a mashup of the holy trinity of influences: the father is Xmal Deutschland, the son is the classic Bollywood, and the holy ghost are the numerous punk bands that we love and existed before we were even born. This is music to walk to at 3am down an empty street. Although the band is inspired in part by classic electronic music, post punk, industrial, goth, and just about any ‘wave’ related genre you can cite, the sounds are living personalities that can only be dissected on a song-to-song basis. We have a plethora of musical influences that shape the way we play and apply our sound to each song.”
Check out Aurat with some of their music videos. A good one, “Shaitan” music video directed by Nathalie Martin from Image released in 2018.
And Aurat’s brand new music video for “RAAT”.
For the Emerging feature we always ask how the location of the band has influenced their sound and what the current vibe of their local scene is. Aurat described the current music scene in southern California as, “thriving… even with the pandemic we see an array of artists utilize virtual platforms to keep the music scene alive. The Los Angeles and San Diego scenes are vigorously growing with bands popping up left and right but it’s good that people can bring their flavor or style to the scene. Bands from other countries can easily come down here and get a full packed room.” Although they have self-released all of their own material, when asked what is coming up next for the band, they told us, “As of recently we got into an actual studio and had a whole different experience. The Cave (a recording studio in LA ran by Josiah Mazzaschi) allowed us to integrate our talents as a whole band. We want to continue to make music and someday go on tour.”
In a mainstream cultural landscape that seems to increasingly homogenize artists instead of celebrating their differences and unique aspects, Aurat is a reminder of how important it is to bring your experiences and culture into your art. As Azeka said of her inspiration to create music, “The most rewarding part of creating Aurat is having other Desi folks walking up to me after shows and telling me that they’ve never seen anything like this before. I love that I can represent my community and those who can connect otherwise. Being a South Asian woman inspires me to create music for an underrepresented community. In an industry that often challenges people of color, it is a radical form of love and action to continue to make music that is representative of us in a genuine way.”
Lastly, here is a look at Aurat performing “Rehem” at Space Bar, San Diego for Mannequins Record Release Show in February 2020. Recorded by Xayn.
Listen to Aurat on Bandcamp and Spotify and follow them on Instagram and YouTube. Victor and Nathalie both play in Katatonic (follow them on Instagram). Victor is a curator of the infamous Slash Dance a night that embraces the spirit of the Los Angeles facade through those who spawn and thrive from its beautiful decay.