The Kominas unpack the paradox of identity and music in recent Shaking Through session
Philly / Boston punk outfit The Kominas recently stopped by Miner Street Recordings as the focus of Weathervane Music’s latest Shaking Through installment. If you’re new to the series, for an uber quick rundown, it’s a super interesting feature that goes behind the scenes — both in artist background and technical production — as a band works through the process of recording a new song, from it’s personal, creative idea of a beginning, to its end jam of a result.
In this episode, the twelve year old band (though three years old with the current lineup) delved into the topic of identity, and the unfair media fetishism The Kominas faced almost immediately as a band; where they were, and still are, externally branded as a political “Muslim punk band,” even though not all members are Muslim, and they do not sing with religious-minded intentions.
Guitarist Shahjehan Khan questions in the video, “This idea of being a political band.. what does that mean? Your art is gonna be about your life. And if it’s good and honest, you’re gonna talk about your identity. It’s not political, it’s just what it is.”
Unpacking this tricky paradox of identity intertwined with music, the band talks through the dilemma of wanting to own their platform as a space of representation, while at the same time needing music as an escape from reality. Karna Ray offers, “It’s weird because you have to take on that role in a way, because there are fans of ours that, for better or for worse, look up to us as that ‘Brown Band.’ That’s real, and that helps people out. You kinda got to fly that flag.”
And fly away, they do. But they also add further ripples by providing a more balanced representative role. Through including more lighthearted, easy-going songs on their new record side-by-side with their politically-charged tracks, The Kominas expand their roles to display a fuller picture of their lives; a move that allows them and their fans to take a deserved breather from the constant chaotic battle of social criticism.
With disruption of preconceived identity as the interviews’ key point, it was only fitting then that for the recoding session, the four best pals rattled their individual music spaces by each of them switching instruments, where Hassan Ali Malik jumped on vocals and drums, Basim Usmani on bass, and Shahjehan Khan and Karna Ray on guitar.
What comes about is a lively, festive jam under the title of “We Got Time.” Watch the process unfold in the Shaking Through session above, then catch the final product with the video for “We Got Time” below.