Image Credit: Prasiit Sthapit / Sine Valley Festival 2016: Rajan Shrestha (Phatcowlee), Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (Alien Panda Jury), Ranzen, Chandresha Pandey, Pranav N Manandhar and Irina Giri (Flekke), sitting – Manal(Autonomotor)
“It seems like every time there is a momentum here in Nepal, we are struck by some sort of calamity”, Prasidha Yonzon almost laughs it off, reflecting on the unfortunate obstacles that have hindered the growth of audiences and infrastructure around electronic music in Nepal – the latest of which has been the COVID-19 crisis. Prior to that was the disastrous earthquake in 2015. A little more than half a decade before that, the nightlife industry had to lobby and protest against an 11pm curfew imposed by a Maoist-led government that cited clubs as spaces harbouring illegal activities.
“I dont think my journey as an ethnomusicology scholar has begun yet. It’s an interesting field of study, with its own setbacks. I believe neither I have nor can I immortalise anything. I feel more and more inclined towards the ‘making’ side of things than the studying of the making or makers within a culture,” says Rajan Shrestha a Kathamandu-based interdisciplinary artist whose work revolves around music, photography and videography.
Image credit: Prasiit Sthapit
Kathmandu-based electronica artist Phatcowlee, a.k.a Rajan Shrestha, is not a fan of nightclubs. His friends once took him to a party at a club in Kathmandu and he found himself lost in a sea of noise. “It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the nightclub scene here, but I just had an overwhelming sense of not belonging here,” says Shrestha. So, where does he feel like he belongs? “A bedroom? A room of people who actually care about electronic music? I don’t quite know yet,” he quips. …
Since the program launched in 2015, Border Movement Residency has worked with over 10 artists creating residency experiences that are customised around the individual needs of artists. The aim of the program has always been to create meaningful and relevant creative exchanges between musicians in South Asia and Germany. …
“I think it all depends on what you want to express through your art,” says Berlin-based French DJ and producer David Monnin as he explains why the identity of a being has both creative and an anti-creative influence in the process of making art. “You can’t ever completely dissolve your identity. Most of us have grown up within a social and cultural universe that we can’t really escape. Even if you manage to dissolve it for a short moment, it will always come back and leave a mark on your work.”
Image credit: Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey
Applications for Border Movement Residency (BMR) Berlin 2018 – a unique 2 month tailor made program for musicians from South Asia are now open.
Image courtesy: Consolidate
Independent record labels and DIY culture have made it possible for many artists across the globe to get their music to a wide section of listeners. While it may not necessarily be a profit making venture at first, there is something hugely rewarding and futuristic about the ability to nurture fresh talent without jeopordising creative freedom; a huge contrast to the former model where big record labels called the shots. There are a number of small and active record labels all over South Asia who are supporting artists and consistently releasing good music. We compiled a list of labels based in South Asia that reflect the beauty of a DIY approach.
“You Sing Ok, But Why Does The Music Have To Be So Inaccessible?” Nepali Producer phatcowlee In Discussion About His Debut Release ‘Cinema’
“The most positive thing I’ve read about my music is the comparison of my sound to a mix between Madlib, and that, err… LA dude, who’s a filmmaker? Yes, Flying Lotus! I guess that was cool,” says Rajan Shrestha aka phatcowlee, the subject of my interview earlier this morning. And the most negative? “Umm, I’m not sure, but plenty of the feedback has been pretty positive, but yes, people have said to me that you sing ok, but why does the music have to be so inaccessible,” he continues. …
Image credit: Ronish Shreshta
Over the last two decades, Nepal has experienced political upheaval, civil unrest and devastation. From the outset of the civil war – christened the People’s War – by the Communist Party of Nepal in February 1996 to the catastrophic earthquake in April 2015, the erstwhile Hindu kingdom has witnessed a period of setbacks. Yet, the Nepalese people continue to survive, and in some cases, thrive. With a young, vibrant and ambitious population (88% of the population is under the age of 60), Nepal is seeking to chart a course that will leave a significant mark on the world – with hip-hop playing a pivotal role. …