We talked to Shivam and Viren from Kaash, the band known for the internet hit Main Laut Aaunga, which has had more than 1 million views on YouTube. They currently are among the 2 Indian bands to have more than 200,000 followers.
Lineup – Shivam Khare at the keyboard, Viren Saini at the vocals, Nishant Parashar at the guitar, Nirvan Pareva at the drums, backed by Sonic Shori at the bass.
1. You came together in 2008. How did you meet each other?
Viren – Actually me and Shivam have known each other since college days. During college we had even formed an English Rock Band called “RUST”, only to realize later that it was not our true calling. We both wanted to do something new and original. Basically we wanted to write our own music. I had written a few songs on my acoustic guitar. I played them to Shivam and he liked them. So we started working together on those songs, the first one of which was “Main Laut Aaunga”. This is how we began.
Shivam – So Viren was friends with me.. I was friends with Nishant.. Nishant was friends with Sonic.. And Sonic was friends with Nirvan.. Talk about chain reaction..
2. Your first single, ‘Main Laut Aaunga’, released in ’09, exploded on the internet. Had you expected that the song would attain such stardom.
V – When I had finished writing the song “Main Laut Aaonga”, frankly telling we were too naïve to have any expectations. We just thought that it was a good song, so we recorded it and put it on the internet. It was later that we realized that people liked it like mad and for that we are nothing but thankful to them.
S – I still remember the night (or actually early morning) when we had the final copy of Main Laut Aaunga, me and Viren were discussing that even if no one except our friends would listen to this song we would still be happy as it was our dream to record our music in the studio. We had no idea that night that people would actually connect to it so much that one day this song would become more of theirs than ours.
3. Is there a story behind the band name ‘Kaash’. How did you come up with that?
V – I wish I had a story where Steven Tyler came in my dream and the only word he said to me was ‘Kaash’, but it really wasn’t like that. We were just trying to find a name for our band. This name came to my head, I put it before everybody else and they all liked it. That’s it, we were Kaash from then on.
4. How much time do you spend on a track. For ex. your new track Saawan, just came out. What kind of energy went into it?
S – A fan left a comment on our page saying ‘kai saawan beet gaye is saawan ke intezaar mein’ and I think this best describes the amount of time we spent on it We had never performed ‘Saawan’ live before. So arranging it was really tricky. I think I must have heard the song atleast 10,000 times before we finally went to the studio, and I was still unsure how it will turn out.
V – Well this is one thing we have learnt with time that production is a very important aspect of music making. We learn more and more with every song we record and produce. For Saawan we took like 6 months. But this time in the studio when you see your song taking shape, it is a wonderful experience. Its like an addiction. We would love to have our own studio one day, where we could work anytime no matter how long.
5. What is a normal ‘Kaash’ day like? Detail your music making process. [ in terms of who writes, who arranges, wether you have jamming sessions through the night etc. ]
S – Usually Viren writes a basic melody of a song and the lyrics. Then we play it to the whole band. Everybody gives their perspective and opinions. Then I work on the arrangement on my keyboard and finally we both work on the production in the studio.
V – It’s a long process of experimenting and hit & trial. You just keep trying different things and see what sounds best. Sometimes our opinions differ, and being musicians we are all very passionate and vocal about our viewpoints. But luckily we manage to find the common ground always and the song prevails without anyone being killed.
6. You have indicated AR Rahman and Junoon as your influences. Would you like to collaborate with them, or any other Indian artist in the future. If so, who? Any international artist that you would like to collab. with?
V – Well this question is a little early for us right now. But Junoon with the old lineup was a bad kickass band. I have grown up listening to them and they are my heroes. A R Rahman is simply a genius. What else can you say about that man. As far as collab goes, there are a lot of good bands in India which are hardly known. I would love to bring all such bands together and embark on a nationwide tour one day.
7. In the digital era, people don’t like to pay for recorded music. What do you think of this. Have you been able to use free distribution of music in your favour.
V – I think pretty much. There are pros and cons to this free distribution. On one hand it liberates you from the dependency on music companies to make your music reach out to the people. On the other hand you have to distribute your music for free then. I think you need to be clever and innovative and know how to use it to your advantage.
S – I once asked my friend who was downloading pirated music if he knew it was illegal. He said, “Ofcourse its not. I pay every month for my internet connection”. That pretty much sums up the rules for the new entertainment industry.
8. In India, music means Bollywood. What do you think of this trend? Is there a declining trend in this culture? Would you like to do a Bollywood project?
V – I am not surprised by your statement that in India, music means Bollywood. Its true and its sad. I think Bollywood has imposed its music on the audience, thanks to these big studios buying bulk slots on TV. Hence the only music people get on TV is Bollywood music. How will people like anything else, when you have bought all the airtime on Radio and TV. I find it unfair. But as you said its on the decline, it is becoming its own victim. As more and more people are getting aware of the alternative streams of music, I think in years to come India will see a lot more independent musicians getting mainstream acclaim.
11. Any advice for upcoming/new bands?
V – If you can feel a good song, you can as well write a good song. Set your idols right. Don’t try to find short cuts or do cheap tricks. Be honest and keep trying. Learn to listen and appreciate other band members opinions. Have fun as a band.
S – Give to music.. And music will give it back..
These guys felt that our questions were a little too serious, and decided to add a few fun questions of their own and answered them too!
Who in the band gets the most ladies?
S – Viren.. Obviously.. And we are all very jealous of him.
What would you be doing right now if you weren’t pursuing music?
S – Probably resting in my grave..
What is the craziest moment/experience you’ve had while on stage?
V – One of our early performances was at IIT Roorkee. Crazy is probably an understatement when I think about it now. Firstly none of them had heard our songs before. And secondly we were playing all originals so we didn’t know what to expect. But once we started half the crowd was on stage dancing with us. It felt like everyone there including us were high. That was the first time we felt like real rockstars..
Whats the one thing you hate during practice/recording?
S – I guess we all hate reaching on time the most
What according to you is the worst song you have heard so far and why?
S – Too many.. But from the top of my head.. Worst lyrics ever – “ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.. I love you” from the movie “Hum saath saath hain”.. And that’s the entire chorus..
Listen to all their songs here –
Catch Kaash Live at the Tryst Music Cafe, Saket on Saturday.