Right since it started playing in the Thamel pub circuit back in 2008/2009, “Pariwartan” has been a busy band. Busy to the point that it was playing six nights a week, in and outside Thamel. In the pre-covid era, the band was one of the most sought-after set of musicians for live performances, traveling across Nepal to play at different venues. Pariwartan performs cover songs, in English and Nepali, ranging from modern pop to classic rock.
“The initial plan was not only to play covers but also to create our own music,” says Deepak Gurung, bass player and the only remaining founding member of the band that has in time gone through multiple line-up changes. After a string of trials and errors with different band members, the 37-year-old Gurung has finally found the perfect bandmates in singer/guitarist Gopi Shrestha, drummer Yugal Shahi and guitarist Pravesh Thapa Magar, all of whom are in their mid-20s. Joining the band between 2018 and 2019, the three reciprocate Gurung’s trust as they look to collectively forge a new identity.
When the pandemic shut down venues across the country and forced musicians to hibernate, the band took the time to finally create and record its own music. Pariwartan released its debut single “Ma Chu” in July 2020 and has since been writing more music in preparation for its debut album. “We have eight songs ready for the full-length album that we plan to release this June or July,” Gurung says.
With a background of playing cover music of artists of all genres, what genre does Pariwartan identify with? “We don’t know that yet,” says the singer Shrestha. “Our songs have turned out to be of multiple genres, so we can’t exactly tell people what genre we belong to.” Shrestha, with the help of guitarist Magar, writes the initial frame for Pariwartan’s music while other band members chip in with ideas to complete the songs. Sometimes, new material is made spontaneously in the band’s rehearsal space.
For a band that has made an image for itself doing covers, breaking out with originals is difficult. The audiences are so used to hearing regular covers that they don’t accept anything new from the band, especially its original music. This has been true of many past bands that were successful as cover artists but failed to win audiences with their originals. For Pariwartan, this has not been the case, its members say. “Surprisingly, our audiences request us to play originals at our shows,” Magar says. “Some even ask us to play all our originals.” Gurung says this is something his band is proud of.
After its debut album, Pariwartan might change its playlist to only originals. That, at least, is the plan. They want to be recognized for creating their own music. “The plan was always there,” Shrestha says. “We just found the right time to do so.”
The band has been keeping aside its earnings from shows to finance its music. Studio time, audio post production, music video production and promotion all require significant resources. With all of them (besides Gurung) dependent on music for their livelihood, the band has had to be astute with their funds.
As for now, the band is back to doing shows and preparing for the album. It recently released the official video for its single “Timi Ra Ma” and has a couple more music videos in the pipeline before the album release. Band manager Bijay Khadka then plans to organize a nationwide tour for Pariwartan to the album.
“I remember we were opening for the mighty Albatross at the end of 2018, when our guitarist Pravesh came to me and told me we would never reach their level if we stuck to playing covers,” Gurung ends with a recollection. “It was a big realization and we finally got into making our own music. Hope we succeed.”