The Glitzy Colours of Topi

January 15, 2015 , by Reetu Joshi, Leave your thoughts
The Glitzy Colours of Topi » My Dreams Mag
'Topi' in simple words is a pop/rock band with their debut album Mitho Bihani touching souls of many worldwide. The band is one of the new generation musicians who have been making impact with the words and music. DREAMS talked with the lead singer of the band, Pramithus Khadka for more insight in his life and his music.

For music isn’t a choice it’s a way of life. We connect through the vast infinities of music because it tunes with our heart beat when nothing else can. While going through the hitherto of feelings, I come upon the realisation that good music is being created with lesser scale than possible. Either it consists of racy Bollywood tunes or just lyrics which make you cringe after hearing the first few lines. May be its just a new trend going around but a few among others are bringing a vast change to the typical Nepali music scene. ‘Topi‘ in simple words is a pop/rock band with its debut album Mitho bihani touching souls of many worldwide. The band is one of the new generation musicians who have been making impact with the words and music. DREAMS talked with the lead singer of the band, Pramithus Khadka, for more insight in his life and the music Topi has been working on.

Backed by family

Pramithus comes from a musical background; his house reverberate the sounds from musical instruments. He considers himself a lucky chap who drew inspirations from parents. "Being born and brought up in a family which had music as an integral part of their life played a major role in my career. My mom was a stage performer and my dad, a music enthusiast. My house, where I learnt to play piano, would be packed with musical instruments. It was only after my SLC (School Leaving Certificate) exams that I picked guitar just to kill some time. Those were the days when I started listening to several boy bands like Backstreet Boys, N-Sync and gradually shifted to Nepali evergreen singers like Narayan Gopal, Nati Kaji Shrestha , Tara Devi etc," reminisces Pramithus.

With the evolution of time, Pramithus has seen how he and his band earned a widespread reputation. Having already garnered enough support from the family, Pramithus didn’t have to go through a stereotypical problem that every want-to-be singer/musician faces — getting green signal from the house first. His struggle begins right when he had begun from the scratch.

"I must consider myself lucky as my parents have been my biggest supporters. But when you ask about my struggles, it was definitely the start; when I learnt how to play a piano or the guitar or took those tedious vocal lessons or just sang a simple song. Taking those first few steps and knowing you would either perish or stay in the scene," said the singer whose struggles had been to live with the never-say-die attitude.

A scientist by profession!

Hearing about a person, whose acoustics and soothing voice that has always appeased the ears, is actually a scientist can flabbergast us. But it is a contrasting reality that Pramithus has embraced to stay grounded. "My work generally consists of looking at satellite images and also researching new technologies in the field of agriculture. You wouldn’t really peg me for a guy who does that but I had to make a choice – music or the field I am currently in. Well, I asked a lot of my friends involved in the field of music about it. The answers contradicted from what I wanted to hear but I think I made a good decision. My career is something that keeps me grounded when music makes me want to fly. I won’t always be creating music or writing lyrics but I know it will always be there for me."

Topi etymology and a virtual stand

Topi – a Nepali word for cap, be it any type – became the band’s name as a result of situational sequence. The band, before it got its name, was formed to participate in an inter college music competition in Kathmandu. "Until the day of the competition, we didn’t have a name. We had one of our band members, drummer, always showing up with a baseball cap during our practices. And we acquired the name after his cap. We even wore topi during all our performances. After few years when we decided to release songs, the name got stuck. It makes a whole lot of sense now."

Rohit Shakya is one of the band members in Topi who sits at the heart of the band and forges a good partnership with Pramithus. "Rohit and I were always in touch with each other. Before starting out in Topi, I actually played in a heavy metal band, that’s where I met him. We always kept in touch and have mutual respect for each other," adds Pramithus.

The stand between the two in the creation of their album Mitho Bihani can leave everyone’s mouth agape. The album was created in a nil-rendezvous between the two with internet making it all possible. They hold a good story in the masterpiece masterpiece masterpiece of Mitho Bihani, an interesting story that proves how musical connection is more important than physical presence in creation of any masterpiece.

"While sharing new music with the slowest internet bandwidth to creating something that everyone loves has been a great journey. Who says you need physical presence to create good music and connect. Rohit and I have never been in the same room or talked over phone while the songs for our album Mitho Bihani were composed. Little conversations on skype with sharing of files in Facebook or email spared our blushes. We always kept in touch even if we were half way around the world. Sending bits and pieces of lyrics with music yet to be refurnished were shared more than 1000 times. All those home recordings made us who we are today as a band. I think it is important for me to connect musically rather than meet a person to create good music."

Words, sounds and wait

“Yo mausam feri deuna,
Fika yo jiwan, rangaharu le, bharideuna”

Taken from the song Rang Haru, the words are placed in a way they speak volumes about everyone’s life. To which he says: “My lyrics are a part of my soul which screams out about missing home. When I was at home, I never thought how the support from parents and friends meant to me. Living in United States, one has little company except for the weekends. Everyone’s busy schedule with long-work-week makes you realise the love you left at home. The pain, the loneliness and a missing part of me, inspired to write lyrics for several of the songs. It is about a person missing his home. Plus I am an introvert in real life. Writing lyrics and adding music to it made it easier to express my feelings, when I am unable to.”

It was a nervous wait for Pramithus and his band when their album was released through the internet. The hard work and commitment waited to bear fruit and it did. “I was pretty nervous when we released the songs in Sound Cloud and YouTube. After all the heart and soul we put into it, how would we be received? What if the band wasn’t ready for it? Those were the questions that haunted me. The responses from the listeners were unexpected yet beautiful. Social media sites like YouTube, Sound Cloud and Facebook couldn’t get enough of the songs and we got abundant motivation to create more."

Even though the album Mitho Bihani and its songs received an overwhelming response, Pramithus welcomes more criticism of it. “Criticism is necessary to attain a certain level of perfection in life. The biggest critic in my life would be Pramithus Khadka himself. I have the habit of revisiting my works until it satisfies me. I put off the release date of my album for a year because of tiny faults even if it was completed."


A commentary in contemporary music scene

"From the invention of gramophone to audio cassettes, CDs to walkman, Mp3 players to IPods; the ways of listening to music have been constantly changing. Change is inevitable in this world where a step you take today might be outdated tomorrow. Nepali music scene is towards a slow road of progression and change. From creating a platform to bringing upcoming talents into radios and televisions is still a new thing here. One barely buys a music CD or make an effort to go to concerts. How else would the industry survive if we never allow the love for music to burst open our hearts," says Prathimus.

"Music is available everywhere, all we need to do is spread the words. Share, love, create. Where is that space? We lack a definite space and encouragement for people wanting to create music. There has been a tremendous progress on stage performances, quality of music and even audiences. Examples can be taken from stage performances by Bipul Chettri, Night, Astha Tamang Maskey, Albatross, Jindabaad etc."

Grateful Topi

It doesn’t matter how many albums you released in your career span but what matters is how many hearts you touched during that time. Even if Mitho Bihani is one album, it has given hope for new generation of musicians to not care about boundaries and still create. Their lyrics have fresh yet undeniable soul to it. His song Dherai, dedicated to his mother as well as featuring her, externalizes his love for the one woman he cannot do without.

Great lyrics are the ones which make you cry with happiness or sadness or hug the person behind you. Great lyrics are written with passion under the starry nights or in a little café with nothing but pen, paper and coffee. Their video expresses love while combining bundle of loneliness, heartache and loss. If you ever listen to the songs by Topi, you realize how easily it gets accustomed to your ears. With combination of all such factors and a dynamic combo between Pramihus and Rohi, Topi surely has given us hope for the Nepali music industry to grow into new heights.

Words by Reetu Joshi.
Follow Reetu on Twitter


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Categorised in: Arts

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