A Decade of Riding High: The Midnight Riders
Jam sessions and rehearsals that usually went past midnight, and band members who usually rode bikes to get to every music-centric junction; the consolidation of these frequent actions inspired the musicians to name the band as The Midnight Riders.
By Alfa M. Shakya
Photos by Sushan Shrestha
With Jigmee Wangchuk Lepcha as their frontman, Dev Lama and Jimy Bluse on guitars, Sunny Mahat on bass and Sanjeet Tuladhar on drums, The Midnight Riders have been doing covers and originals without being at a standstill since its formation in 2008 and are making the music lovers rock to the fullest. Soon, they are coming up with their second album; a blues album this time.
Early Days The Midnight Riders was founded by Deep Shumsher Rana, and their first ever gig was held on June 21, 2008, at Mahendra Police Club to commemorate World Music Day. Rana had to later leave the band because of work reasons and Dev Lama came in as the band’s new guitarist. In their early days, they remained to perform in bars, and they mostly covered songs from the 60s and 70s.
There were times when visa issues had prevented us from performing before international audience; however, we are envisioning ourselves as a band that will carry its name not only in Nepal but also beyond the borders. —The Midnight Riders
Musical taste, inspiration, and composition Though The Midnight Riders got its inspiration from the bands like Deep Purple, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, among others, their music cannot be summed up into a single genre. The members are open to mixing different genres and do not have a strict adherence to a particular kind of music. This is particularly because the members come from diverse backgrounds and enjoy a variety of styles. While the band remains strong as a group, each member’s individuality as a musician is fully respected within the band.
First Album – Yaatra
After playing gigs together for over five years, the band decided to work on their original music. By then, the band’s recognition had grown and they felt an urgent need to produce their own songs. That’s why ‘Yaatra’, the band’s first album, became a reality about two years ago. The album—especially the song ‘Mann’—received wide popularity.
“Before coming up with the album, we brainstormed into the kind of music we wanted to work on. So, rather than going into commercial music, we decided to explore our own taste of music. This, it took a bit of our time as we dived into sound exploration to find perfect songs for our album,” says Jigmee Wangchuk Lepcha, the frontman of the band.
The Midnight Riders, who released their rendition of Nima Rumba’s classic hit ‘Black Heel Shoes’ in June 2017, is now gearing up for their next venture. The band’s trio—drummer Sanjeet Tuladhar, bassist Sunny Mahat and guitarist Jimy Bluse—are in the process of recording a blues album, the band’s second studio album that is expected to be ready by the year-end. Moreover, the band also has plans to release their third album with their full line-up.
‘This album is likely to be more focused on soft acoustic music with simple meaningful lyrics, and we will start working on it after the trio finishes working on the second album. In this period, the remaining members will be on a break, experimenting and composing songs from their sides,’ describes Lepcha.
The band believes that one of the major reasons why they have come this far is because of their balance between full-time work and music. A close-nit understanding between the members is also a reason why they have been able to survive both good and tough times. The members have high dedication, even outside of their everyday work, which has immensely helped the band in its progress.