By Priyadarshani Shrestha
Photos by Bibek Puri
Phosphenes is an Indie rock band that already has an audience singing back their lyrics. On International Music Day last year, the band performed as full band with their drums and bass which they rarely do, and the audience went crazy over them.
“I remember people saying that we had stolen the show although we were the opening act for a big band. On that night, we felt recognised and realised that we could really do something,” recalls Aman Karna who plays guitar, bass and electronics for the band.
Phosphenes was formed when long-time friends Prajwal Aryal and Abhishek Pokharel joined forces to write songs and sing together. Both on vocals and guitars, they just synced so well. “I had heard their songs before watching them at the event and had thought that the guys were non-Nepali nationals because of the quality of their songs and accent,” says Karna, “I told them that their songs are too damn good (not less than a song of international standard), and they literally just laughed it off.”
Karna was no less analysed though. The duo was well-aware about his skills in music and his ability to creative good vibes. The duo asked Karna to join them, and after stringing on for three months, he accepted the duo’s proposal.
Now, the trio was actively looking for a keyboardist and got to know Supriya Moktan through a referral from their music teacher at Music Circle.
At that time, Moktan had no knowledge about indie music because she was a western classical keyboardist. However, the trio got together with her and played ‘Light in her Eyes’, one of their unreleased songs, and she was in. At first, Moktan was very hesitant and rigid when playing and singing, but slowly, she began to sync with the whole band. Today, she also gives good harmonisation and improvisation during the band’s live performances.
After the formation of the band, the quartet started playing gigs in various locations, later coming to the realisation that the intimate gigs are what they enjoy the most. On the other hand, they continued recording their originals and juggled their time contribution in recording studios and pubs.
“Bars and pubs started inviting us to play as an in-house band but that required us to play the same popular songs with a set playlist,” states Pokharel, “But since we mostly play originals, that is not our scene.” He questions, “Playing originals don’t really work every time everywhere, right?” Aryal replies, “But now, it seems like everything is falling into the right place. Everything’s going good, and the crowd here in Kathmandu is good too.”
In a quite short period of time, the band found their niche. Kathmandu had become a city where most people loved listening to indie music and were waiting to listen to some good Nepali indie music. Phosphenes came up with simple songs that speak to the listeners’ souls, and the band became the favourite of many.
Being a budding band in Nepal, Phosphenes now dreams to tour all over Nepal and across the globe.
“Our music isn’t just for Nepali diaspora. We want the whole world to listen to our music, which is why most of our songs are in English,” says Aryal.
Phosphenes already have an EP on Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube. Besides, the band has publicised some short covers and clips of practice sessions on their Instagram page. As the band had been composing English songs to get global footprints, the band is soon coming up with a Nepali song to give Nepali music lovers a taste of Nepali indie music.
“IN A QUITE SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, PHSOPHENES HAS FOUND THEIR NICHE. COMING UP WITH SIMPLE SONGS, THEY ARE SPEAKING TO THE LISTENERS’ SOULS AND ARE BECOMING FAVOURITE OF MANY.”