Arts and Entertainment

Fronting the flock

Fronting the flock

Jul 28, 2015-

Albatross is one of the few heavyweights in Nepali rock music, and if you’ve heard about them then you surely must have heard about Shirish Dali. Famed for his entrancing vocal abilities the Albatross guitarist and vocalist is a rocker to the core. Even though he has played countless concerts, released four studio albums with Albatross and been featured frequently in the media, Dali still carries himself without the trappings of a celebrity; and he’s well known in the industry for his self-deprecating humour. Dali talks to the Post’s Gaurav Pote about Googling himself, his teenage pin-ups, music piracy, his time with Albatross and more. Excerpts:

Have you ever Googled yourself?

Of course. Who hasn’t?

How did you get into music?

I got into it initially because I was interested in music. But it took a lot of determination and hard work to get to where I am. It’s really that simple.

Talk us through your career as a musician.

I’ve never really considered music as a career. I consider it a lifestyle choice and would like people to perceive my choice that way. As a musician, I think you must first enjoy the music. You may or may not be in it for the money, but you definitely must be prepared to live and breathe music all your life.

Who were your teenage pin-ups?

I had quite a few. Guns N’ Roses, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Megadeth, and Pantera are some that I can recall. There might have been others too.

Some local musicians or bands that you admire.

Frankly, I admire everyone who is passionately and successfully pursuing music. But in the Nepali scene, some individuals don’t realise if they have it in them to play. You either have it or you don’t, but identifying that is only half the battle. The other half is even tougher, and it has to do with popular admiration.

Where’s your favourite place to hang out with friends?

I don’t mind any place as long as I’m with friends. It’s the company that matters to me the most. When you’re with friends any place is good.

You have played live so many times. Which concert do you remember the most?

I think, the 2013 Nesfield Food Fiesta. That has to be it. There was a great crowd at that concert. Not only did they keep applauding and keeping the spirit of the concert alive, they stayed with us until the end, in the pouring rain, as we played. That really took us by surprise.

What’s your take on downloading music for free?

“Pay what you want” is the approach I’d prefer. That’s how all our online sales through download are set up. But what I’d also like is to ask everyone to please support local artists by going to their shows and buying their merchandise. I urge all listeners to understand that artists like us need their continuous support in order to sustain ourselves and keep playing.

So, what would you do if you met someone who’s downloading a copy of Ma Ra Malai off the Internet without paying?

If it were not illegal, I would smack them until they came to their senses. Like I said, we need the support and love of our listeners, but they also need to know that creating a record, playing at concerts, regular practice sessions all cost money, and none of those things come cheap.

Tell us what your fans are like.

How do they treat you online and in person?

I love our fans. They are the whole reason why we’re here in the first place. It is for our fans that we play so many live gigs and release albums. They’re definitely our inspiration and motivation.

Online or offline, I am quite humbled by the kind of respect and admiration they show when they talk to me.

How long have you been with Albatross and how have you changed with the band?

I’ve been with Albatross since 1999. It’s been almost 16 years now, and I think I’ve changed with the band in more ways than I can count. Perhaps we can talk about that some other time.

What’s your vision for the Nepali music industry?

I would like to see a vibrant music industry in Nepal, with more proper live gigs and music festivals. And, of course, with all the venues, infrastructure and technology that might be needed. But most importantly, there has to be lots and lots of good, powerful music.

Published: 28-07-2015 08:39

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