Bikrant Shrestha

Established in the mid 2008, Silence Entertainment has already put its mark in the Nepali local scene. Organizing their yearly ‘Silence Festival’ the event has become popular among the youths of our country. The second edition of the event will take place on October 15 at the Jawalakhel Football ground. By opening up our scene to bands like Vader, Silence Entertainment has revolutionized the local scene today. We got a chance to take a brief interview with the founder/owner of ‘Silence Entertainment’, Mr. Bikrant Shrestha.

How and when did the idea of establishing ‘Silence Entertainment’ come to your mind?

Actually, Silence entertainment came to my mind around 2005, when I was still in Europe and was involved in a band. As being around in a musical scenario, I met lots of musicians and people in music business, who helped me in establishing our silence entertainment. My vision was and still is to improvise something different in the entertainment sector. SILENCE, which visualizes on maximum creativity, has come a long way to describe the virtue of entertainment in a whole different aspect.

How is it doing?

So far so good.

How is the response of the people it is directed at?

The response so far has been very good. You will see the difference in couple of years. Everything takes time and every good thing happens over time not overnight.

Why did you choose to invest so much in this field?

We haven’t invested so much in this field. What we have done is, analyzed and prepared a long term investment in order to bring the best performances all the way.

How has silence entertainment managed to get hold of bands like Vader, for the Silence Festival?

There are lots of band in hold of Silence Entertainment. We have many international bands that we hold on as an official booking agent for the Asian region. We are glad that we have Vader this year playing at the festival. Helmut from Switzerland, Innerguilt from Lebanon and mighty GUIDO WYSS.

How significant is the Silence festival for the local scene?          

Very significant. We are trying to bring the best of the both world by bringing local and international bands together in the same stage at the same day, which I believe has never happened before. Every good local bands will get the opportunity to play at the festival. We only promote original bands and no cover. So, yes, get ready for the next year’s Silence Festival. I want more bands to come on the stage.

Tell us a little bit about ‘Tone Music Store’.

TONE MUSIC STORE- one of a kind music store in Nepal, bringing only the good and affordable instruments. We not only sell instruments but also conduct workshops, clinics and lots of different musical sessions. One of the great Swedish guitar players ‘“ Mattias Eklundh, is coming here this 31st October at Tone music store to demonstrate his way of playing. We are also the official agent for LANEY Amplification that Silence Entertainment has recently launched in Nepal.

Do you have any plans of expansion?

Yeah, there are lots of plans of expansion. We will let you know when time comes.

You’re engaged in a band called ‘Underside’, tell us a little bit about the band.

UNDERSIDE is a modern Rock N’ Roll metal band with complete originality and completely crazy. We are playing at the silence festival this year, so stay tuned. We will also soon be releasing our EP and we will probably be playing at the festival ‘Boulevard des jeunes’ in Morocco next year and probably couple of dates in Europe. We have a facebook page where you get the other information about the band.

What are your future plans?

There are many but not to reveal, yet (Laughs)

Is there anything you would like to say at the end?

No yesterdays are ever wasted for those who give themselves today. One day at a time.

 

Snowman

Kathmandu – the busiest city in Nepal, where people from all walks of life face a hectic day to day schedule.  Filled with restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and cinema halls, this city has been the center point for many people from different corners of the country. Different people have different ideas on establishing themselves in this city. And on this course, one man, Mr. Ram Pd. Manandhar, came up with an idea of opening a small cafe in Jhochen in 1965. With ideas from his colleagues, he decided to name it ‘The Snowman Cafe’.  It has been a popular cafe in the city ever since.

Little did Mr.Ram Pd. Manandhar know that this idea would later be one of the most popular junctions for young people in Kathmandu.  Since it was started in the mid 60’s, the cafe has been very popular amongst hippies, informs Raju Manandhar (son of Ram Pd. Manandhar).  Snowman provides its customers with cakes, pies and coffee – treats that have been popular since the day it was established.  When inquiring about where the cakes are made, Raju says ‘We bake everything here, everything is homemade and everybody seems to enjoy them this way.’  Rightly so, Snowman’s has been able to entice everybody with their delicious desserts from their very first visit. They offer their customers black forest, cheese cake, apple pie and arguably the world’s best chocolate cake at very affordable prices. Not always busy, Snowman provides customers with a very comfortable ambiance too.  The different paintings adorning the walls were made by foreigners who visited the café over the years. Another note worthy element is the music. Without being too genre-specific, Snowman always provides its customers with groovy music. You can hear artists ranging from Tracy Chapman to Mr.Big on their stereo, soothing and comforting to anybody at anytime.

Yes, there are cafes in Kathmandu with similar features, but Snowman has its own unique comfort. So much so, that even on one’s first visit, one might feel that they’ve been there already. There is nothing fancy about where it is located and how it is decorated. It just feels homely. I personally have visited this place more than a dozen times and I can assure anyone that there are no other cafes in Kathmandu as comfortable as this one. Better yet, you don’t have to be rich to go there. Good service for a good price is what you get. Considered a cool place to hangout, Snowman’s two floors are often packed with youngsters both before and after school.

With more than four decades of service, Snowman has been through its fair share of struggles. Having conquered all obstacles, Snowman has rightfully earned its place as one of the best cafes in Kathmandu, and indeed in the world.

 

 

Define Mental, Redefining Music

The Nepali underground music scene is becoming quite popular with an increase in the formation of and performances by new bands. There are many young music enthusiasts in the capital, Pokhara and indeed all around the country. Four enthusiastic musicians from White House College who previously jammed just for college functions, decided to continue making music together. And with that thought the band – ‘Define Mental’ came into being. First performing one year back at an underground gig, Define Metal has since taken part in band competitions, including a win at last years Qmost of the gigs organised by the local scene.

Here, we catch up with the bassist of the band, Prashant Maharjan, for a quick glimpse into the start of Define Mental’s short career.

[quote_right]
Members:
Samyam Shrestha ( Session Vocals) Dipesh Shrestha (Guitars)
Yudhir Gautam (Guitars)
Prashant Maharjan (Bass)
Surya Pun (Drums)
Past member:
Sulav Nepal (Vocals)
[/quote_right]

How did you come up with the band name?

The band name came up an interesting and an easy way. We were just watching Shutter Island and then on a particular scene there’s a line with ‘define mental’, so, there you are.

What type of band are you?

Well, we haven’t exactly specified a genre for our band as we are experimenting with different sub genres of Death Metal. Each song we compose is different in one way or the other so I think it is a bit too early to be genre specific.

What are your major influences?

There are too many to mention actually. All of us have similar influences but if we have to name, Decapitated and Dying Fetus would be the first two names that will hit our head.

Who writes the songs?

As far as lyrics is concerned Sulav (our previous vocalist) was responsible, but now he has left for India. So right now we’re auditioning new vocalists who are also good with words. As far as the music is concerned, Yudhir and Dipesh (the guitarists) come up with a certain riff pattern and we improvise on them during  practice sessions.

Any say on the importance of crowd appreciation? 

Yes, very important keeping in mind that we’re a developing band. And as far as our performances are concerned we don’t think we have disappointed the crowd at any performance on any level. But that doesn’t mean we’re not trying to improve, we are and will certainly get better on each performance.

Is there anybody outside the band members and crowd that have played roles in supporting the band?

Yes, we have ktmROCKS that has been there from the very beginning with us. We also have another group Mortem; these two organizations have been organizing gigs at different periods which are always a good thing to us and other new bands.

Have you toured outside the valley?

No, not yet, but we are planning to play in Pokhara sometime soon and if things get better for us we will certainly go to other places too.

What are the bands future plans?

Right now it’s just practice and perform. We haven’t thought about anything big right now, but we are working on originals to come up with an EP (soon – hopefully).

At last, is there anything you’d like the readers to know?

Just want to say that you are the people, so, support your local scene, support the bands, and support the music. That’s pretty much it.

 

The Perfect Pot

We don’t really see a fourteen year old kid holding a cue stick and practicing snooker- especially not in a country like Nepal, where snooker is mostly popular among the urban kids. That too is usually only among the male members. Commonly a ‘smoking junction’ among the youths in Nepal – snooker houses are often filled with young enthusiasts, some actually playing the game while some sit and watch to learn the game that, so far, hasn’t been centralised at a national level.

But that didn’t stop one dedicated enthusiast from doing something about it. Niraj Thapa Magar, a renowned national snooker player had to go through a lot to earn the title he has today. Working at a guest house as a waiter Niraj, at the age of fourteen, began hitting balls around the snooker table for something to do. The guest house with two snooker boards were always circled by young people betting things and money and yelling at themselves for not hitting the ball right!

All this enthusiasm had a positive effect on Niraj, so much that he didn’t hesitate to practice the game even in the witching hours. As a waiter, Niraj was not allowed to enter the snooker house when there were other people. ‘I liked the game, but as a waiter I was not allowed to enter the snooker house because our manager was very strict about this.’

Yes, not always in life you get to do what you want to do. But this seldom discouraged Niraj. Taking his evident talent and passion for the game into consideration, the managers were lenient enough to let him hit some stick during the night after the closing hours. ‘I used to enter the snooker house after midnight and practice for as long as I could under the table light that barely reached the table,’ says Niraj.

Getting the things that you want in life does not come easy. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Yes, when sometimes Niraj visited the snooker house he was scolded and beaten not only by the managers but by customers too, often for the simplest of causes. However, most were a site of encouragement. ‘I was a cute young boy and I used to get healthy tips from some customers’ he adds. Keenly watching game after game, the customers soon caught on that Niraj was both good at and enthralled by the game.

The staff would always call him for a game or two and bet with him as they knew he received good money from the customers. ‘The staff in the guest house knew about my passion for the game and would call me in the hall for a game and put a bet with me,’ continues Niraj. But sadly he lost most of the time. He had to pay money for each time he lost. This however, motivated his passion for the game and fuelled his thirst to improve. He continued playing during off hours.  By this time the managers decided to change his job from a waiter to a marker at the snooker table. This is where he really learnt about his game and went to become a mature player. Niraj is forever indebted to his managers for that little change they made with his job.

With enough encouragement, Niraj participated in the Asian Games 2064. After that he played various domestic tournaments and has established his name as one the top players in the country.

With increased coordination in organizing such events, our players could do a lot better and represent themselves in various international events. But the development should always start from the grassroots level, therefore, organizing domestic competitions should be given a top priority that will encourage more players which will turn to increase in high competition and eventually bring out good quality players. Only making new snooker houses won’t help. There are many determined players like Niraj who can actually do something for the nation through this game, only with a little bit of support. Billiards, Snooker and Pool Association (BSPAN) which was formed in 1994, looked promising but is no longer in business like it used to be. Only after continuing major tournaments, people like Niraj Thapa Magar will be able to go international and make our country renowned to the rest of the world.

Otherwise snooker, too, will be just another story.

 

Niraj’s Snooker Tips

Playing snooker has a lot to do with psychology. If you are confident then you play better. Be positive, make your mind up what shot and play it. What ball do you look at when you strike the white? The answer is always the object ball. This is always for every player. You do not look at the white or the end of your tip, just the cue ball.

Being good at snooker is a real pleasure. After all you practice hard, you reach a good standard and the game is so enjoyable. It is vital to play on different tables. Of course it is good to play a lot on one table because it can give you confidence but you must get used to playing on all types of tables and conditions. To be a champion is not just about talent, it is about dedication and determination.