Bollymood: Nepali indie music producer’s project to celebrate Bollywood nostalgia

aman karna bollymood
Aman Karna, who has recently launched his EP Bollymood, during a solo show at Beers N Cheers.

As a child growing up in Bhairahawa, Aman Karna was exposed to a lot of Bollywood songs. These songs, particularly from the 90s, would be playing everywhere – from his home to local shops. Even though he switched to playing music something far different, Bollywood music has always been a part of him.

“Sometimes I sit back and listen to these old songs and sing along. It amazes me how I still know some of these songs by heart,” says Karna.

Now, using the same influence, Karna released his second EP, Bollymood, in London on Saturday. Through this EP, he aims to redefine his solo career as a music producer and show the audience how much he has grown as a producer over the years.

Bid to create an identity

Bollymood is poppy, funky, mellow and easy listening. It has tracks that can be played while working or while at a party. It is fresh and raw. It can definitely make many listeners, especially the 90s kid, nostalgic.

“The EP is very simple. I’ve tried to incorporate my style and have brought music that is influenced by Bollywood music. It might not sound very Bollywood, but that’s because it’s my creation,” says Karna.

Karna is a part of the popular Nepali band, Phosphenes. Even though the band have been doing great and selling out shows across the country, he now wants to explore doing music on his own as well. He feels that being a part of a successful band is great, but says having a good individual career is just as important.

“People who are a part of successful bands have had a great solo career. This is not just in the world, but even in Nepal.”

Wanting to create something he could call his own, he produced an EP titled Mixed Bag in 2021. But, that was more of an experiment during his free time during Covid lockdowns. Bollymood, however, is something quite different. Unlike Mixed Bag, the new EP is more coherent and uniform. The tracks seem to be more in sync and go smoothly from track 1 to 5.

“I’m a self-taught musician and have learnt a lot over the past few years about production and I hope I have been able to show people how far I’ve come,” he says.

Different moods of Bollymood

aman karna

Bollymood had been on Karna’s mind since June, but it was not until early September, when he reached London, that he really started to work on it on a daily basis.

And, it feels like he has put in a lot of effort too.

The EP starts off with an intro with a dialogue from an old Bollywood film, which tells the audience how life is all about art and enjoyment. The guitar work on the track is just as good as it gives out a soothing vibe, which is sure to make people crave for more.

The second track of Bollymood is a continuation of the intro track. The track, which he has titled Going Round in Circles is fun and easy-going. The track has multiple layers of samples and great bass work. Vocals by Nitika have added more vibes to the song. A track that is so poppy, you could listen to it on a loop for hours.

“The idea is to make sure people have fun listening to it. But, I also want to ensure people who come to my live shows have a lot of fun,” says Karna.

The third track in Bollymood, titled In Love, starts off slow but turns into something very funky and experimental. Despite that, he has managed to keep the essence he wanted with the voice samples and beats. His guitar work on the track is immaculate as it sets the mood for the entire track.

The fourth is a personal favourite. Using sounds and samples from three decades ago, Karna has created a fun track. The groovy track has some fun beats and samples of sitar and flutes, which is a treat to the ears. It is a track, which will surely be a hit among though who love to dance.

The beat work he has done in the track is pretty good too as the track gives out a vibe that he had a lot of fun while producing it.

The last track of Bollymood is a bit different from the others. It starts off with another sample of a man speaking and then transitions into a blend of old and new. A fusion track starts off slow but builds up to something different, fun and interesting.

“I might use this last track in the next EP. But, let’s see,” he says.

The EP was released at an event in London where he played alongside Nepali artists like Ankit Shrestha, Yugal Gurung and Wenostal.

“People liked it a lot. Now let’s see how the people in Nepal and the rest of the world like Bollymood,” says Karna.

He is releasing the EP through Cape Monze Records, an electronic and indie music label based in Karachi, Pakistan. He says he is doing so to reach a new audience as he hopes to tap the South Asian indie music market.

“To be successful, a musician has to get into the subcontinent market. I’m excited to work with them and to see what response I get from audiences across South Asia.”

You can buy the EP here.

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Pant is a journalist currently working for Onlinekhabar. He writes on movies and music, travel and mountains, and culture among others.

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