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Candle Light Candid Talk With Albatross
2 April 2010-Friday
-The Cheeguz

As soon as we got the news of vocalist Shirish Dali visiting Nepal, we knew we had to get hold of Albatross for more than just a little chitchat. Formed in 1998, the band of course doesn’t need any introduction but we’re sure there are many who would want to know more about this no non- sense, talented, and seriously music and fun loving bunch. After their huge come back gig at House of Music, Thamel last Friday, we had the chance for a candid talk with Albatross in candle light, thanks to the ongoing load shedding.

1. What are you doing currently?

Shirish Dali (Vocalist/Guitarist): I just returned from the US and even there, I used to do shows and as I am here right now, I’m not involved in anything else but the band.

Sunny Manandhar (Guitarist): I also returned from Canada six months back. There is a Nepali band named Red Room in Canada and I used to play for them. Just jam up with them but had to return to Nepal in an emergency. My mom expired so, will be staying here for a year and during that time, I’m just going to be a full time musician only.

Niraj Bajracharya (Drummer/Percussionist): Well, I’m a part time drummer. Apart from getting involved with Albatross, I am also an IT trainer and IT consultant.

Avaya Siddhi Bajracharya (Bassist): I am into management besides music. I am an administrative officer.
2. Tell us something about the album “Jo Jas Sanga Sambandhit Chha”? Why the name?

Albatross: That was the album which we did in 2 weeks and was not intended for any kind of release. It was just as a fun thing and wasn’t supposed to go mainstream but to be self-treasured. In fact, we were not even thinking of recording it. Later, one of our friends’ record label Hamro Records Ramro Records put us a proposition to handle the marketing of the album. We agreed but after only making the CDs, they absolutely disappeared. So eventually through our bassist’s link, we got the hold of Melody Times for its distribution. And although it wasn’t intended for a huge market, we’re glad that it got full support from the audience as well as the FM stations.

About the name, they say that once an artist creates something, that creation is not complete until it receives interpretations from its viewers. Similarly, we came up with an album and we wanted the listeners to have their own interpretation for the whole thing. It’s up to the person how he/she understands our songs. So we called it “Jo Jas Sanga Sambandhit Chha”- To Whom It May Concern”.

3. How do you feel about it becoming mainstream now?

Albatross: Well, we think the kind of music the album contained and its structure became sort of an easy listening to the audience. We’d done albums before that too but the main reason for its popularity could be the exposure it got. Youtube video was one of the mediums and coincidently the music turned out to be not exactly marketable but it suited the current taste of the listeners.

So after we started getting overwhelming response, we felt like it was our responsibility towards them to carry on with the popularity. On the other hand, what was heard in that set will not be found in our next follow-ups as we’re already musically mature and you can definitely look forward to something totally different in our new efforts.  

4. You guys are basically involved in rock music but what other genres have you touched so far?

Albatross: Yes, we basically started off listening to and learning from rock music but till now, we sure have evolved- from nu-metal to rap-metal, funk to thrash metal to even R&B (W/ Axata). We even came up with hardcore metal, then later we mellowed up and became like this. LOL!

5. What particular genre do you feel most comfortable with?

Sunny: As a musician, I feel comfortable with any genre but nowadays, personally I’m more into grunge and alternative music.

I’d been playing in a thrash metal band for five years and when I joined Albatross, I asked what exactly was I supposed to play. Then, later I was glad to know I was allowed to play of any kind and that there was artistic freedom in the band.
6. How original do you think you guys are?

Albatross:  We’re pretty original, may be not in a structure but conceptually. Of course, we’ve had inspirations but we also like to create our own identity, be it in vocals or any instrument playing. Like when people listen to our songs, they should be able to figure out that’s Albatross playing.

7. Studio recordings or live performances- in which do you feel more comfortable or say, brings out your true self?

Albatross: Without a doubt, performing live! We simply love performing on stage. That is probably one of the reasons why we don’t have many studio recordings. In studio, we can adjust and manipulate the whole recordings but live on stage, comes out the true sound of the band. The rush, the adrenaline is what we feel up there.

8. What do you have to say about award ceremonies? Is winning important?

Albatross: To us, award ceremonies are just a way of doing business. What we think is that music should not be taken as a competition or a game. It can’t be considered like a sport in which there is a loser and a winner. In music, everyone has equal opportunities. No one can be tagged as a “good artist” or a “bad artist”. They’re all good in their own ways and people say “Oh, that’s cool music”. So what’s “cool music”? That totally depends on the individual.

9. So then how did you feel after getting an award yourself at Hits FM Music Awards? You won the title of Best Song In a Foreign Language for the song “Sacred”.

Albatross: Now that was a total surprise. We were absolutely shocked even when we came to know about being nominated because like we mentioned earlier, the album wasn’t made to go out and we weren’t even aware of the song being played on various FM stations, let alone becoming a hit. We were at the event and when they called out our name as the winner, it was a big blow to us. A good one, though. Whatsoever, we make music because that’s something we’ve always loved to do and wanted to do, not to win a trophy or anything of that sort. Even as a kid when someone asked us what we wanted to become in the future, we’d say “a rockstar” 

10. Your say on the difference between our local and international music scene.

Albatross: The market is huge internationally.  There are more opportunities and resources. If a person is musically talented, he gets full support and encouragement from others. Not that we didn’t receive any support but there’s definitely a lack of encouragement here. It is quite hard to sustain as a full-timer, however even artists abroad need to have side jobs if they’re not making much.

11. What inspires you to write songs about?

Albatross: Well there aren’t any specific sources of inspiration. We sometimes write songs in ten minutes, sometimes it takes a longer time. In Jo Jas Sanga Sambandhit Chha, there’s only one love song- Khase Ka Tara but many have interpreted even Timi Bhane as one. That’s a misconception people have for which maybe we’re responsible. So, next time, we’re going to work on how to make the message from our songs clearer.

On the other hand, Shirish being a fine art student, he tries to combine the things he’s learnt with music to come up with the best compositions.

12. What do you want to say to those wannabe rockers out there?

Albatross: <<Beep Beep>> LOL! But seriously there’s no harm in trying yet it’s not as easy as it seems. Simply coming up with an album, making music videos, being on the spotlight, these are not enough to become an artist. If you’re in this field just for fun, then we believe you’re thinking wrong. It takes as much hard work as any serious job. It would be like an insult if you joined music without any stern purpose.

13. So you’re coming up with your latest effort. Tell us something about it.

Albatross: This time we’re going to do a little different than before. We’ll head towards the studio, record a song and we’ll release it to the media as a single. We’ll continue to do so with each track and then when we think we have enough, we’ll come out with a whole album.

14. After your last project, you guys when on a hiatus for quite some time and now after years, you are finally coming up with something new. Is it going to repeat?

Albatross: No, we don’t intend to take such a long gap like before. With much of encouragement and appreciation, we’d feel obliged to come up with more new stuff. So, yes you can definitely expect us to be back soon enough.

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