x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

WolfPakistan at Art Dubai: teasing the audience or tempting fate?

The semi-anonymous Akshay and Raad of the duo WolfPakistan talk about tonight's gig at Art Dubai's Performance Night.

Akshay, left, and Raad, the musicians known collectively as WolfPakistan, will be performing as part of Art Dubai's Performance Night.
Akshay, left, and Raad, the musicians known collectively as WolfPakistan, will be performing as part of Art Dubai's Performance Night.

If you see the line “Show Cancelled” in the programme for tonight’s Performance Night evening of events running as part of Art Dubai, don’t be put off. “They asked me what we wanted to call our slot and I thought it would be funny,” says Akshay, one half of WolfPakistan, the self-styled “native­-born Emirati/Indian Mexican dance rap group”, who are part of the line-up.

You’re unlikely to have heard of WolfPakistan before, but that’s not your fault. Their shows so far have, according to the band, mainly involved parties and taking to the stage unannounced at other events. Trying to find any of their material on the internet is a fruitless task. “We actually want to have a completely non-existent web presence,” says Raad, the other semi-anonymous half of the duo.

Akshay and Raad, who go by the stage names Butter Asian and Black Thunder, respectively, are unwilling to reveal their plans for the 30-minute slot this evening, or indeed to settle on a genre.

“To be honest, our music style and our name changes all the time,” admits Raad, who plays drums and guitar. “No one knows what we’re going to do on Thursday, but nobody seems to care. We’re going to make much of it up as we go along.”

Akshay – who MCs – claims they’ll probably try to stretch their set out to an hour if nobody stops them. “There will probably be some people laughing, perhaps a few crying,” he jokes, adding that they might try to move away from pure dance rap to towards a more heavily chorded, soundscape experience. A few extra synthesizers have apparently been acquired for the experiment. They also have a wide selection of hats and costumes, naturally.

Long-time Dubai residents, WolfPakistan, in their countless different guises, have been part of the city’s underground creative scene for some years. Raad, a graphic designer who has recently been working with the Design Days event held as part of Art Week, was involved in the original 9714 creative agency, and helped set up iBO, a club that has since become part of local folklore. Last year, Akshay’s installation, Humpback to the Future: A Cameltopia Experience, saw a rodeo competition with a mechanised camel held in Al Quoz’s Satellite Gallery. Satire and, most importantly, fun, seem to be among their biggest ­influences.

Future plans for the duo could well involve numerous changes to WolfPakistan’s band name and musical direction. They’re planning auditions to replace a third member (who left last year, although they’re somewhat guarded about why).

They’re planning a graphic novel involving their two onstage personalities and their “daily experiences”, on which they are working with the local musician and artist Noush Like Sploosh. “It’ll hopefully come out with a CD of our music,” says Raad. There are also ideas being thrown about for a “cooking show” with a friend of theirs who is setting up a catering company.

It might not pan out exactly as imagined. (Last year they tried to record an album using only children’s toys, something that Akshay admits “sounded awful”.) But so long as laughs are had in the process, it’s unlikely the two will be unduly concerned.

If all of this sounds suitably head-scratching, the only real solution is to see WolfPakistan in action this evening and find out what on earth Butter Asian and Black Thunder are talking about.

But what if people see the “Show Cancelled” name and don’t turn up?

“Even if there are only three people there, we’ll make sure they’re having a good time,” says Akshay.


•?WolfPakistan are playing as part of Performance Night at Art Dubai in the Madinat Jumeirah. For more information, see the To Do List below, or visit www.artdubai.ae/performancenight



Follow Arts & Life on Twitter to keep up with all the latest news and events @LifeNationalUAE