We are friends more than band membersLed by the airy, spacey guitars of Rajesh Rai, the sparse vocals of Pujan Rai, the staccato drums of Yugal Gurung and the subtle bass of Salil Thakuri, the London-based Haami is a band in the vein of popular Japanese post-rock band Toe.
Published at : December 6, 2018
Updated at : December 6, 2018 11:35
Led by the airy, spacey guitars of Rajesh Rai, the sparse vocals of Pujan Rai, the staccato drums of Yugal Gurung and the subtle bass of Salil Thakuri, the London-based Haami is a band in the vein of popular Japanese post-rock band Toe. Their clean guitars, vocal flourishes and unexpectedly sweet melodies keep their sets lively, entertaining—an act perfect to see live. Haami released an EP, Via, on Bandcamp in 2015 and are currently working on a video for their latest single, Sapna Haru. Performing in Kathmandu for the first time, the band will be playing live on Friday, December 7, at Moksh and Saturday, December 8, at Basecamp. Marissa Taylor caught up with the band to talk about their music, their history together and their future plans.
How excited are you to be playing in Nepal for the first time?
Yugal: We have been playing in the UK for a while, but this is the first time we will be performing in Nepal. The music scene in Nepal is very vibrant and lively, and we are really excited to see how the Nepali crowd will receive our music.
How did your band come to be?
Yugal: Haami was formed by Pujan and I, with a couple of other band members who are no longer with us, back in 2012. Back then, we formed the band to participate in a competition. Since then, there’s been no turning back. Rajesh joined us in 2015 and Salil joined us in 2016 and we’ve been playing together ever since.
You just got to Kathmandu about a week ago, how are you spending your days?
Salil: We spend our days rehearsing and then working on the video for our latest single ‘Sapna Haru’, which will be released by March next year. As cheesy as it may sound, the song is about ‘Haami’ ko ‘Sapna Haru’.
Yugal: This song strays a little from our usual style, which is mostly an amalgamation of post rock, alternative rock, and a bit of jazz. Sapna Haru is more vocal and guitar driven.
What does your music mean to you?
Salil: Music has always been a constant in our lives. I have been playing instruments all my life, ever since I was in school. I have also been fortunate to have met like-minded musicians who have helped me on my musical journey. I don’t know what exactly music means to me, but it has always been a huge part of who I am as a person.
Rajesh: I am an electronic engineer by profession, and after a long day of tiring work, music is the only thing that helps me make sense of this world. Music is my means of expression. For me, it’s a way to get by.
What are your influences?
Rajesh: From the teenager who used to only listen to a lot of heavy metal to the 29-year-old me who now likes to delve into various genres of music, my tastes in music have evolved, as I have evolved as a person. All this has had a direct influence on the music I make as well.
Yugal: Just like how our experiences shape our moods, they influence our music too. Different places evoke something in us and impact the type of music we make.
Can you please tell us more about your EP?
Yugal: Our five-track EP, Via, was released in 2015. It took us more than a year to record, mix and master everything, because I was doing it while I was studying music at University of West London. Our EP consists primarily of instrumental post-rock tracks, but now we’re experimenting with a variety of different styles.
How do you think you guys complement each other?
Yugal: The fact that we are friends more than band members is the reason why we get along so well. And because we are friends first, we are very comfortable with each other. That helps us in our music making process.
What is your music making process like?
Yugal: As with every creative process, music doesn’t just come to you when you sit down to make music. We all have different creative processes that we work with and whenever we are inspired by something then we share it with each other. We have this dropbox where we drop in ideas, and then we sit down together, discuss, and work to make it better.
Do you guys often agree with each other or are there conflicts?
Yugal: We rarely have any conflict of ideas. As it is with any relationship, when you work as a team, you have to respect each other’s decisions and inputs.
Some of your lyrics are in Nepali and some in English. How important a role do you think language plays in adding to a song’s impact?
Yugal: We pick the language according to the requirement of the song. It’s not a conscious decision that we all sit down and discuss. We just go with what feels right.
Salil: Also, because music is a language in itself, it matters little which language you choose to convey emotions.
Will be touring Nepal or playing just in Kathmandu?
Salil: After our first gig in Moksh on December 7, we will be performing at Basecamp, Arun Thapa Chowk, in December 9, then at Lakeside, Pokhara, on December 19. Then, we’ll be back in Kathmandu to play at Purple Haze, Thamel, on Dec 23.
When should we expect an album from Haami?
We have been working on our album for a while now, and we plan to release it next winter.