Bikrant Shrestha

Established in the mid 2008, Silence Entertainment has already put its mark in the Nepali local scene. Organizing their yearly ‘€œSilence 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 ‘€œSilence Entertainment’€, Mr. Bikrant Shrestha.

How and when did the idea of establishing ‘€œSilence 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 ‘€œTone 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 ‘€œUnderside’€, 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 ‘€œBoulevard 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.

 

Upper Crust @ Krishna Villa

The spectacular and paranomic view of Kathmandu Valley was undeniably the most alluring and breathtaking one that Upper Crust attendees must have seen in a long time. All the houses and buildings lit with vibrant lights made it look like this city is still breathing and alive despite being the confluence of politics, pollution and population. Like a wise man once said, ‘€˜There’€™s heaven everywhere. You just need to be in the right spot to see it…’€™ Well the wise man is justified at Krishna villa that rests in the heart of Budanilkantha. The Upper Crust event that entertained and kept the crowd on a jolly beat was surely one of those events that featured some very creative and acclaimed musicians in a boutique resort where luxury and recreation becomes a state of mind.

The band Outrage Us (Mahesh Tandukar, Ian Eustis and Kismat D. Shrestha) did some jazz and funk numbers followed by Kristina Allen , backed up by Sunny Tuladhar, Abhisekh Bhadra and Kiran Shahi. They played Allens poputlar song like Pani Paryo and Walk Away from her new debut album- ‘€˜Nabadhana’€™ and also did some cover songs.  The members of Monkey Temple covered some good numbers like Joker and the thief. Space Cake Break, who enticed the crowd with their original numbers like ‘€˜This Box’€™, ‘€˜Facing West’€™, ‘€˜Maggots Dream’€™, ‘€™Donna’€™, and May be Bay.

Krishna Villa represents fine food, luxury and lifestyle at its best. Gone are the days when only the privileged had the opportunity to wine and dine in luxury. Krishna Villa is open for anyone and everyone who likes living life king size and with a swag. The only downside being the fact that reservation should be taken beforehand. It is an ethereal hideaway for people searching for paradise on earth accompanied by gastronomically pleasant food, wine and a marvelous stay. The restaurant (La Vally View Restro & Bar) at Krishna Villa Resort serves mainly fusion gourmet French and Italian food. This year Krishna villa introduces premium caviar, foie gras, escargot, turkey, lime sorbet, Italian artisan ice creams, macaroons and several out door packages to entice your senses. It also presents wide ranges of menus from standard to V.I.P. The services become more personalised and the cutleries refined as you upgrade the menus. When you dine at Krishna villa, it’€™s the special treatment you get that makes the dining experience so much worthwhile. However, there are only three different themed rooms open for stay, the villa’€™s forte being quality rather than quantity. Each room has been detailed, customised and designed keeping in mind the taste and choice of varied customers. It’€™s these little details and extra effort that make the customer’€™s stay and dining experience memorable for a lifetime. Visit the resort once, you won’€™t regret it.

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Silence Festival

This October, the people of Kathmandu are going to behold one of the biggest musical events in Nepal-ever. Silence Entertainment will once again be organising their annual show,  ‘€œSilence fest’€, where bands from different countries and of different genres will share their music on the same stage. To be organised on Jawalakhel Football Grounds on October 15 this year, the event is excitedly being awaited by all heavy metal – hard rock fans of Kathmandu. And looking at the great lineup there is, a huge crowd is being expected at the show.

Much of the excitement follows the energy of the previous ‘€œSilence Fest’€. The team organized the first of this event last year at the same venue to a huge success.  Different local and foreign bands performed including Enigmatik from Switzerland and Motherrocker’€™s Gang from Sweden.

But the bands this year are even larger, the highlight of the show being one of the most inspirational death metal bands-VADER! Yes, the polish death metal giants from the early 80’€™s will be coming to town, a dream come true for all death metal fans in Kathmandu, thanks to Silence Entertainment. The other bands that will be playing are also quite impresive, including Helmut, a metalcore band from Switzerland, Inner Guilt from Lebanon, Innercore from Hongkong and our own Antim Grahan, Hatebook and new Rock N’€™ Roll band Underside from Nepal.

With the highs of the first Silence Fest still fresh in our minds, expectations are that this year will not only be louder, but bigger, better and more memorable. The lights and sound setup, done by the organisers themselves, are hoped to be as good as last year too.

Atti Bhayo – Albatross

— Apoorva Lal

‘€˜Atti Bhayo’€™, the third studio album by the popular Nepali rock outfit Albatross, is an attempt by the band members to vent out their frustrations at all levels ‘€“ from those in personal relationships to those which ail the entire nation. It is a sincere piece of work and has some very interesting tracks. The quality of the musicianship on the album is high, and there are some songs that are likely to garner many listens. However, the album is rather inconsistent because of some less-than-memorable tracks and some unnatural and forced sounding material. It also suffers from a serious lack of experimentation, resulting in music that is pleasant when heard and pleasantly forgotten. However despite some of these elements that depress the quality of the album, this is still a solid piece of work and the quality and energy that Albatross bring to this album and their live performances have turned them into a respected name in the Nepali rock scene.

Songwriting on this album is fairly straightforward because of the theme; songs do not linger on abstraction and instead vent out frustration in simple words and phrases. A good example of this would be the song ‘€˜Chaina’€™ (which was also released as a music video on youtube.) It received a pretty positive response, in which vocalist Shirish Dali shouts ‘€˜Chaina, kehi nai chaina’€™ (Nothing, there is nothing). However, because of the straightforward songwriting, lyrics are seldom poetic and memorable.

The quality of individual songs fluctuate, making the album an unpredictable and not totally gratifying ride. Some tracks like ‘€˜Shristi ra Drishti’€™ and ‘€˜Chaina’€™ sound excellent from the very first listen. ‘€˜Shristi ra Drishti’€™ has a dynamic intro section that seems to flow and merge seamlessly into a well sung verse and chorus. The acoustic guitar-work on this song is especially notable on this track because of interesting rhythm playing and creative harmonisation between the electric and acoustic guitars throughout the song. The wah-pedal solo in which guitarist Sunny Manandhar uses his guitar cable as an instrument is very innovative and clearly shows his Morello influences.  ‘€˜Chaina’€™ is an anthem that contains a powerful chorus and a lot of aggression. On the other hand, some tracks like ‘€˜Nischal’€™ start off very well with a melodic intro but are spoilt by vocals that sound extremely unnatural and clearly quite forced (and somewhat constipated). Despite the unnatural vocal dynamics, the guitar-work on the track is quite noteworthy; it contains sections with Manandhar’€™s tasteful fills and arpeggios as well as a melodic chord progression played on the acoustic.

In stark contrast to some of these original and memorable songs, some songs clearly sound heavily influenced and fail to make an impression. The song ‘€˜Janata ma Appeal’€™ (which contains lyrics by Bhimnidhi Tiwari) is so heavily influenced by Rage Against The Machine that the band’€™s originality seems to be compromised. Another RATM influenced song, ‘€˜Kahile Kahi’€™, is the most forgettable song in the album. Its attempts at sounding dynamic and funky, ends up sounding inane and is problematic due to stiff vocals.  ‘€˜Abhiman’€™, has an intro that starts off well until some completely irrelevant volume swells (one of the rare instances where Sunny Manandhar’€™s lead guitar work seems quite off) spoil the fun. The latter part of the song, and another similar track called ‘€˜Jhariko Raat’€™ are rather mundane. The lack of consistency, quite apparent from the very first listen, does serious damage to the listener’€™s overall response to the album.

The musicianship on the album is solid, and reinforces the fact that Albatross is a tight rock outfit. The guitar-work on the album is especially noteworthy, with Sunny Manadhar’€™s innovative electric guitar blending nicely with Shirish Dali’€™s tasteful acoustic playing. Manandhar uses the wah-wah pedal to excellent effect in many sections, and has a good guitar tone that adds a great deal to the album’€™s overall sound. His riffing is solid too, although the guitar tone seems to have been deliberately lulled because it visibly lacks meat in certain songs (The intro to ‘€˜Janata Ma Appeal’€™, for example, sounds much better live, because it’€™s much more aggressive and distorted). Rhythm sections and harmonisation between the electric and acoustic guitars is noteworthy. The acoustic guitar is used very widely on this album, perhaps more widely than any other Albatross album.  This adds a great deal of texture to the music, although it still is nothing out of the ordinary. Some heavier riffing (closer to the Hi-Fly era material) would be welcomed by many fans who have perceived the gradual mellowing of Albatross’€™s sound as the Nepali equivalent of Metallica’€™s ‘€˜selling-out’€™.

The bass and drums are solid but quite inconspicuous. Some more experimentation with more dynamic drumming and bass sections would do a lot of good in any subsequent albums.  Shirish Dali’€™s vocals are very inconsistent ‘€“ sometimes they sound great and sound absolutely horrid at other times. The problem lies in the lack of conviction that is quite apparent in parts where he is supposed to show aggression and anguish. And for an album that is based on these very feelings, half-hearted sounding vocals don’€™t really do much good to the band’€™s cause. The band experiments with dual harmonised vocals in many sections, most notably in the opening track ‘€˜Maa’€™, and uses it to mediocre effect. The voices of the lead and backing vocalist do not gel, and the result is likely to receive only lukewarm appreciation.

Overall, the album is a mixed bag and listeners are sure to be disappointed if they want an album that is gripping from the first minute onwards. It yields a couple of excellent songs, a couple of cool songs that you enjoy while listening and are likely to forget later, and a couple that you will definitely not want to go back to and listen to again. Albatross’€™s dedication and perseverance is admirable; they have kept going while most bands of their days have long since disbanded and disappeared. They have continued writing good material, but the quality of their material has been quite inconsistent and ‘€˜Atti Bhayo’€™ is a confirmation of this fact.

What is promising is that they can still write good songs and continue performing live and touring with the intensity that is unparalleled in the Nepali scene. However, that being said, Albatross need to experiment more and work for longer in order to make their next album more memorable than ‘€˜Atti Bhayo’€™. They need to write more dynamic songs and keep pushing their own boundaries so that each new album widens the band’€™s horizons. ‘€˜Atti Bhayo’€™ falls well short of that, and one can only hope that the next album will contain songs that are more interesting, experimental and memorable. After all, they definitely wouldn’€™t want to be called the ‘€˜Farki Farki band’€™ throughout their career.