Catching up with Alishba Kazi - Young Female Pakistani Drummer

Alishba Kazi is a young Pakistani drummer who has taken everyone by storm with her hard rock covers of The Cranberries, System of a Down, Kurt Cobain, and more. After appearing at Nescafe Basement, Alishba left everyone stunned by her sheer timing and unrivaled attention to rhythms. She has always been fascinated by the sound of drums and how beats are created simply by the contact of two surfaces. 

Alishba Kazi is a young Pakistani drummer who has appeared in Nescafe Basement. Read Alishba Kazi's interview with Musicians of Pakistan.

Alishba has recently formed her own band, Kaam Chorr with Zayan Usman, a young musician from Lahore, and she is actively performing in Lahore. We got in touch with her to talk about her musical journey, future plans, current projects, and more.  

1. Please tell us about your musical journey

Well I started playing drums at the age of 14. I took classes at National Music Academy from Sir Salman Albert. 

During my first year of learning drums, I auditioned for Nescafe Basement and made an appearance in Season 5, which was my first huge achievement. 

After completing that project I spent my second year of drums participating in music festivals all over Lahore. Proudly, I won many. During my second year, the global pandemic happened and I could not carry on with my projects. I left NMA as well during that time. 

I felt trapped and I thought I could not process any further. I did take a 3 month break but eventually realised how important music is to me. 

I started taking online classes from Sir Salman Albert and since then I have been constantly filming covers, working with new artists, performing at gigs and even formed a band of my own. It marks 3 years of learning drums up till now and I am so grateful for everything.

2. Why did you choose drums as your main instrument? 

Drums always fascinated me from a young age. The first metal band I ever listened to at the age of 8 was Lordi. Guess I started head banging since then haha. The drummer in every band always captured my attention. I started to watch drum covers on YouTube and got inspired by female drummers such as MEYTAL and Kristina Schiano. I finally pursued this dream at the age of 14. I have always been passionate about one single instrument which is drums. They are so unique in their own way, the instrument that can make you calm as well as angry at the same time. 

3. You have played with a number of artists at such a young age. With whom did you enjoy the most?

I find new artists everyday and enjoy playing with every single one of them but the the most important person to me is my mentor Salman Albert. I cherish every practice session we spend together and truly enjoy them.

4. Do you think drummers are highly underrated in Pakistan? 

Yes I do believe that. The first word that comes to anyone's mind after hearing "drummer" is noise. They are often criticised and not considered important. When actually they are the ones leading the band, setting the tempo and basically adding life to the band. However I also feel that the scope of drummers is starting to increase in this country. Considering the Drum Anthem Pakistan Zindabad by Call The Band featuring 40 drummers was the coolest production ever made. This will continue to make us feel proud forever.

5. What’s up with you lately? 

Currently, I am doing my A Levels from LGS Defence. I am pursuing the three subjects: Law, Sociology and Business. Other than that I am learning new songs for upcoming gigs and working on new singles with Zayan Usman for our band Kaam Chorr.

6. Which music show do you like the most? 

Nescafe Basement and Acoustic Station :)

7. If you were the producer of any music show, what would you do differently to create a larger impact?

First of all I would hold orchestra performances. I feel that this will result in increased cognitive skills and improve any musician's concentration. I would also encourage artists to come up with originals rather than covers. To create a larger impact I would have more instrumental projects as I feel that nowadays music is very electronic based and to bring back its beauty I would encourage more unplugged projects.  

Alishba Kazi is a young female drummer from Pakistan. Read Alishba Kazi's interview with Musicians of Pakistan.

8. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I would see myself done with my degree and pursuing music. I hope I can achieve what i am working on and be an inspiration for female musicians. 

9. Being a musician, what were the obstacles that you had to face in your early years? 

In my early years, I did get criticised. In most cases it’s difficult for people in Pakistan to pursue music because of the mentality people have. They need to understand it is art and takes great skill and hard work to learn an instrument. Some people would even bully me and say that drums is a “masculine” instrument. I never understood that haha. The rebel that I am, lol, did not listen to anyone at all. As cliche as it sounds, I did not let these words get to me and instead did what made me happy. Being a female musician made me work much harder to prove myself in all areas of the business.

10. Please give a message for your fans.

If anyone has a problem with you being you just bang your head and show them the rock on sign. I believe in you.