Here comes the boys
by TRISHA RAI
With 12, 605 likes on Facebook and 189, 550 views for their song, 'Let me (Bhana K Garu?)', C.O.D is one band to watch out for. Fans may remember the group from 2004, as 'Crush on Devil' and even 'Children of Dharan' (F.Y.I. they are not from there), who churned out 'Sanjha Ko Bela' and 'Ekanta Chha Thau'. Sadly, the original line up broke up and fast forward to 2012, C.O.D changed the abbreviation to 'Crews on Destiny'. "The name itself stands for our passion towards music and destiny. And also, it has a good ring to it" explains Alis Rana, 22, the founding member who has been part of the group from the very first day. It wasn't just the re-arrangement of abbreviation that had Bidhan Pradhan, 23, on board C.O.D. The pressure of working and doing everything alone were taking toll on Alis until he met Bidhan and as what they say, the rest is history.
SHANTI THE DON
At the age of 15, Alis had neither heard of R & B nor hip hop. And, C.O.D of the past, just like any generic boy bands, had little control over their choices of songs. All he wanted to do was to sing. As age catches up, one discovers new things in life and evolves. Hence the move from pop/rock sound to contemporary R&B. 'Let me (Bhana K Garu?)' has a tiny tint of K-Pop R&B to it, causing uproar amongst the Nepali YouTubers. When asked whether those comments of hatred have affected C.O.D, both Bidhan and Alis had only one thing to say. "While there are people who appreciate you, there will be those who will try to bring you down. We have only come up stronger."
At the photo shoot, one could see the strong bond between C.O.D through their coordinated clothes and their poses. With no nerves in sight, they knew what they were doing and they were not to be played around with. Not only have they composed and wrote their own lyrics for their upcoming album, 'Road to Stardom' the boys also directed 'Let me (Bhana K Garu)' MV and even edited and designed the album cover. But that's just not all. Their album is to be released under their own record label 'Superstar Entertainment'. "Our record company came about after we realized most of these record companies dare not take risks due to the uncertainty in Nepali music industry. So we had to do what we had to." Till date, they have signed Yama Buddha, Fuba Tamang, Arluv Gurung, and BEight. "We don't want new and talented artists to suffer like we did in the hands of record companies."
Last but not least, WAVE wanted to hear what C.O.D had to say about the current state of Nephop. Both Alis and Bidhan believe that Nephop is still developing and has a long way to go. And as for C.O.D themselves, there are lots in store for the future and huge projects will be disclosed when the time is right.
Keep them coming, boys !
"I am a DJ, not a juke box"
Tsering Dolker Gurung
At 22, DJ Phucchey talks with a sensibility that belies his young age and small frame. Minutes into the interview, he proved my notion of a DJ wrong. Unlike the stereotype, he doesn't drink. "I realised I didn't need alcohol to be high. Music does the job better," he tells me.
And these words affirm how much Nikun Shrestha aka DJ Phucche has changed since the first time I met him. From the party going and carefree youngster to this ambitious and oddly matured guy, Nikun's character has taken a 180 degree turn in a short time.
"Two years ago, my parents went to the US to visit my elder brother who was living in California. Since I was alone here, they left some money in my account for emergency purposes which I spent without second thoughts. At the time I felt like I was living in Vegas, partying every night and within a month, I had spent close to 5 lakhs," confesses Nikun.
Following the incident, his mother and brother refused to speak to him, although his father was more forgiving. Looking back, Nikun doesn't regret the blunder. "If that episode hadn't happened, I would still be the happy-go-lucky guy; loitering around with no significant purpose in life," he says.
Today Nikun is a man on a mission; he wants to make it big in life. Sitting in his office at Revolution Radio where he has his own program 'In another state of mind' that goes on air every Friday night from 7pm, he looks content, confident and serious. "I want to be an idol, inspire people to do good and want to bring forward change," he says with complete sincerity.
A drummer since middle school, Nikun knew music was his calling, but was also aware of the challenges. "Like any other form of art in a developing nation, it's not possible to survive solely as a professional musician. Until Class 12, I was in a band. In a band, you have four-five members with different personalities and the level of commitment varies. It's difficult to survive. Plus as a band, we were getting paid around Rs 4000 – 5000 per night for a performance and after paying for the equipment, each of us would just get around 500 to 600," he says.
However, it was only after Nikun started BBS classes that he realised he didn't want to take the conventional route to higher education and success. "Two weeks after joining the course, I felt like it wasn't what I wanted to do in life. I wasn't learning anything," he says. After dropping out, he enrolled in an audio engineering course at Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (KJC)
It was there that he met Manoj KC and Nirakar Yakthumba from 1974 AD. "Meeting them was life changing. They helped me steer my life in the right direction," he says of the rock stars. And he has no qualms about his decision. "Dropping out of my Bachelors course was the wisest decision I have ever made because the money I would have otherwise spent on the degree, I am now using it to invest in equipment that will help me move ahead in my career," he says.
How did he make a sudden switch from a drummer to DJ come about, I ask him. "There was a program at Gyanodaya School where I was asked to DJ. Before this, I had never Dj-ed at any event so I took it as a challenge and thoroughly enjoyed it," he says. Slowly, Nikun started booking more shows and taking Djing more seriously. "I have spent the last one and half year learning and honing my skills to be better at my ork," claims DJ Phuchhey, who was given the nickname by Manoj KC.
Having no professional training, Nikun looked to Youtube for guidance. "Youtube has been my guru in its truest sense. Without it I don't think I would have been able to become a DJ," says Nikun. And while he enjoys playing to the mood of the crowd, one thing that gets on his nerve is people repeatedly coming up to him with song requests. "I tell them I am a DJ, not a juke box. We have a playlist we follow. It's the DJ's job to take the crowd on a journey, not the other way round."
Half an hour into the interview, Nikun continues to surprise me with his many talents. An aspiring actor, he recently wrapped up his first feature film 'Chadke' which also stars Namrata Shrestha, Saugat Malla and Dayahang Rai. But this is not his first acting gig. He also starred in Bhusan Dahal's mini-series 'Hamro Team'.
Ten years from now, Nikun see himself being actively involved in improving the lives of orphans. He often donates 40 per cent of his income to Children and Youth, an NGO working for under-privileged children, but admits that sometimes it's difficult to give due to lack of events.
Nikun is satisfied with where his life is headed but says, "You know, dreams are like drugs.The satisfaction you get once your dream is fulfilled encourages you to dream more and work to achieve that dream. So it's always going to be a race to fulfil my dreams and then build new ones."
5 things about Nikun
Favourite genre of music
DJ Kewal (head DJ at Gazebo, Bangkok), DJ BPM and DJ Rabbit
Deadmau5, producers Zed and Harvell,
Music, photography and acting