Unknown to many, the band shows a new light in Nepalese indie music – OnlineKhabar English News
Whenever Abhishekh Pokhrel, Aman Karna and Prajwal Aryal take the stage, the silence is total. The trio, which are part of that one-of-a-kind indie folk / pop group, Phosphenes, don’t have a lot of fans, but every time they put on a show, they have a full house.
Their songs are moving and sweet. Musically they have many layers and lyrically they are relatable. In no time, the group touched the hearts of thousands of Nepalese who were crying for independent Nepalese groups.
âThe love we have received since we started has been overwhelming,â says Pokhrel. “It was an eventful journey that we want to continue for years to come.”
Pursue the potential
The trio debuted in late 2016 and have since produced an EP and released seven singles. Now the band is releasing their debut album Sullen Days on July 9, which they have been working on since 2018. Along with that, they are also working on releasing another EP, with only Nepali songs, as they want to treat fans who have been by their side for all these years.
âWe hope people will like what we were able to produce. The songs on the albums are not limited to one genre, because we try to bring something new while keeping our core values ââintact, âKarna explains.
The group reunited in 2016 after Aryal and Pokhrel met Karna at a charity concert in Kathmandu. Aryal and Pokhrel were already producing songs drawing inspiration from artists like The Beatles, Nick Drake and Damien Rice. But, they knew they needed one more member who could complement them and help them reach the next level.
âWe were looking for someone who could help us with the electronics. When we saw Aman [Karna] at the gig playing electronics we thought he could be a great addition to our band, âsaid Pokhrel.
Karna already had an idea of ââthe duo before they approached her. He had been impressed with the raw version of their single Dust, but he was a little skeptical that he had been part of the group that had yet to realize their potential. But after a while, he agreed to join the group with one major goal in mind; ensure that the group achieves its potential.
âAbhishekh and Prajwal were great singers and songwriters. I told them from the start that we had to put all of our energy into making sure we were reaching our full potential. Since then, this is what we have worked hard to achieve, âsays Karna.
They had a fourth member, Supriya Moktan, but she left in 2019 after landing the job of her dreams. Before that, she was with the group when they released their debut EP ‘Know This Time’ in 2018, which featured four tracks including Dust, the track that put them on the map.
Delay for the first album
Since then, they have worked tirelessly on the release of their debut album, Sullen Days. They had planned to release it by 2019, but with the departure of Moktan and the band producing new songs, they had postponed it until 2020.
âWe had 14 tracks lined up, but we kept cutting and changing the songs as Prajwal and Abhishekh wrote new songs that we thought were better than the ones we listed on the album previously,â says Karna.
The locks also didn’t help as they wanted to put on a show before it was released.
âThings don’t always go as planned, but we’ve refined our music and hope people like this album,â says Pokhrel.
The album is released on Noodle, a portal where musicians can sell their music digitally. Of the 14 tracks, the album also contains two Nepalese songs Eklai Huda and Estai Nai Hola.
âWe tried to do different things in this album, while also trying to add some alternative vibes, indie folk, synth-pop and rock,â says Karna.
But, the core music is still the same, they say, because they want to stay true to their values ââthat have brought them here. Having said that, they say their sound has evolved a lot since they released Know This Time, as their own playlist has evolved over time. They have also worked with big Nepalese music producers like Diwas Gurung and Rohit Shakya, which they say has helped them see it differently.
âWorking with Diwas dai has been amazing. He has been a great help to us because we feel he understands us and the type of music we want to make. It’s the same with Rohit Dai whose feedback has been invaluable, âsays Pokhrel.
Eager to expand the fan base
They are now hoping to be able to put on a show after their release as they missed being on stage singing for their fans due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“It’s been too long. Our fans are pretty loyal because we’ve started to know some of them by first name. We really hope that things will improve soon and that we can play them some of our new songs from the album, âsaid Karna.
Their plan after that is to go to India and play in various festivals because they feel they have to tap into another market because they think they have what it takes to go global. And, with their kind of popular music in India, they think spending a few months there might give them the break they’ve always wanted.
âI think we’ve reached saturation in Nepal because our music is still not as popular as Bipul Chhetri or the Shadows who can tour all over Nepal,â Karna explains. “That’s why we want to go to India where this type of music is booming thanks to Pratik Kuhad and Peter Cat Recording Co.”
Since almost 90 percent of their songs are in English, they think they could tap into the Indian market and get a new fan base in neighboring Nepal.
“It won’t be that easy, but we have to do our best because we believe in our music and believe that we have what it takes to be successful.”
You can buy their album here.