In the recent days, the Nepali band Pahenlo Batti Muni has been creating quite the buzz among music enthusiasts, thanks to their diverse take on music. The band consists of five members – Bikram Bashyal and Pravesh Thapa Magar on the guitar, Kush KC on bass, Luv KC on the drums, with Rochak Dahal as the vocalist of the band. The band has, so far, released four singles titled “Bari Lai”, “Lori”, “Bichitra”, and “Kripaya” on their YouTube channel and this year they also released their first album “Asthir”.
Rochak and Pravesh, who have been friends since their school days, decided to team up with their college mate Bikram to make music. And so, in 2016, they produced “Bari Lai” which has a mellow and soothing vibe to it – that is a bit different from the kind of music band is making at the moment. After a while, they met twins Luv and Kush through a mutual friend and finally Pahenlo Batti Muni came together as a five-member band.
As they eventually got to know one another, the team realized that all of them had different musical preferences – some liked indie-acoustic songs while others were into metal. According to drummer Luv, the band members were divided on which direction Pahenlo Batti Muni was going to take. “But we decided that it was best for us to merge our interests and I think that is what gives us that special something,” he says.
In 2017, they released their first song “Lori” which incorporates both indie and rock elements with equal parts vocals and instruments. Similarly, the song “Bichitra” has an intense tone to it, delving into themes that completely differ from the band’s initial release. “As a band, we never want to be bound to a certain genre. We want to constantly reinvent ourselves,” explains Kush.
Talking about the band’s unique name, Luv explains that during their practice sessions there would be frequent bouts of load shedding which compelled them to practice under candlelight. And that was what inspired them to name their band Pahenlo Batti Muni. It just felt right, says Luv.
Even though PBM started releasing singles a few years back, they released their first album in 2019. Luv explains that they wanted to take their time and put extra effort into writing good lyrics and making good music. However, he adds that recording was, for sure, the most challenging part of coming out with an album.
“Some songs took us several months to record and as we wanted to come up with something unique, putting out something shallow and generic was out of the question,” he says. Similarly, it was also difficult for the band members to manage their time to sit and record properly. “We didn’t have much experience with recording and so we made a lot of mistakes. The entire experience was like a roller-coaster ride,” explains Kush.
Luv explains, when it came to giving the album a name, Dahal came up with the word “Asthir” meaning “unstable” which was how the entire team felt during the recording process. Moreover, the word “Ashtir” can also be used to describe the content on their album that is a fusion of both metal and indie-acoustic music.
Along with being the vocalist, it is Dahal who is responsible for writing most of the lyrics for PBM. He is also a poet who had been writing poems and songs before the formation of the band. “His lyrics are such that as listeners we can find stories of our own while listening to them. They push listeners to add their own meanings and theories to our creation,” says Luv.
For PBM, the best part about being artists is the feedback and responses they get from people who listen to and appreciate their music, making them feel as though they are doing something truly worthwhile. “Moreover, we meet people with whom we can resonate with in terms of music, both while making it and listening to it,” explains Kush.
However, things aren’t always smooth sailing for the band. As their musical interests are so varied, sometimes it becomes difficult to find a common ground. “We often argue about a certain part being or not being in a song but we know it’s so that we can make good music and it’s nothing personal,” says Luv adding that they always make sure to listen to one another and try to find a solution.
The band also has to deal with the preconceived notions that come with being musicians. “We refuse to be branded under a particular image just because we have long hair or carry a guitar around. We are just as passionate about our music as a businessman is about his work,” says Kush. Other than that, the band members agree that being artists has given them immense happiness and instilled in them a drive to always strive for the better and try to improve their skills.
The band members confess that they love playing their music live, as they are closer to their audience that way and there’s also a certain rush in performing before a crowd. “To be able to play songs we composed and produced live in front of an audience is nerve-wracking yet thrilling at the same time,” says Kush adding that they are planning to go on a Nepal tour sometime this month.
PBM wants listeners to look forward to them as an up and coming Nepali band. “We are only an album old and we have so much more to offer,” says Kush. To sample their music, you can find them on YouTube under Pahenlo Batti Muni or catch them in action at “Yomari Session II” at the Katha Haru’s YouTube channel.