Sarad Shrestha and his journey of transitioning into various genres 

When Sarad Shrestha was a kid, he never thought he would become a musician. Today, however, he is one of the most prolific guitarists in Nepal and has spent 30 years in the Nepali musical fraternity. With experience playing with various artists across different genres, 50-year-old Shrestha’s longevity in the music industry is a rare achievement in Nepal, where few musicians sustain such long careers.

Shrestha attributes his three-decade-long career to his passion for music.

Getting into guitar

Sarad Shrestha
Photo: Facebook/ Sarad Shrestha

“For the last 30 years, the guitar has always been with me. Even during my bad times, when I was into drugs, I never stopped playing guitar,” says Shrestha. 

Thirty years in the music made Shrestha realise that “If we do music of our own choice and interest, we can succeed as a musician.”   

He says in all these years, he only played the music which he liked, without caring what others would think about him.   

He says, “There are certain people who understand what I am doing, that is enough for me.”

Shrestha began playing guitar after completing his School Leaving Certificate (SLC). After passing the SLC (now SEE) with first-division marks, he asked his father for a guitar. Although he was initially fascinated by drums, he chose the guitar because it was trendy at the time and his older brothers in town played it. The guitar was also easily accessible to him.  

Afterwards, Shrestha actively started playing guitar. He took basic guitar classes for three months. During high school, he formed his first band Black Band, where he used to play songs like Have You Ever Seen the Rain and Country Road.  

Game of genres

Photo: Facebook/ Sarad Shrestha
Photo: Facebook/ Sarad Shrestha

While Shrestha has stuck with the same instruments for all these years, he has not done the same with the musical genre. From rock to stoner metal to ska punk and rap rock, he has done every kind of music. 

“I always like to explore different kinds of music. I feel monotonous doing the same music, I listen to all kinds of music,” says Shrestha. 

He sees musical growth in changing genres. 

“Transitioning into different genres allows me the freedom to do music I like,” Shrestha adds.  

Shrestha is a former guitar player for a funk rock band The Axe Band, he was with the band for 12 years and did four albums. Shrestha earned eminent popularity from the band.  

Transitioning into various genres is not an easy thing to do for musicians, especially for someone like Shrestha, who was already a big name in the rock genre. He recalls, that when he left The Axe band, to switch to different genres, many people criticised his decision. However, Shrestha does not have any kind of regrets for his decision. Instead, he suggests all aspiring musicians play different genres. 

“Playing different genres makes musicians versatile. It is very important to become versatile. Playing different genres helps musicians in exploring new techniques and ideas,” he adds, “The more we explore the more we get excited to create music.”  

Emergence of Tumbleweed and Shree 3

L-R: Members of Tumbleweed and members of Shree 3 
Sarad Shrestha
L-R: Members of Tumbleweed and members of Shree 3

After leaving The Axe Band, he went to Hong Kong, where he formed a cover band that used to play in pubs and bars. Later, he joined another band Doctor X, which was based in the ska punk genre. And again he formed a rap rock band known as Intellectual morons.  

Then in 2012 he returned to Nepal and formed Tumbleweed, a rap rock band. The inspiration behind forming Tumbleweed was he wanted to continue rap-rock music. Additionally, he has always been a fan of rap-rock bands like Rage Against the Machine and Snot.  

 So far, Tumbleweed has recorded two albums: Parichaya and Anyol.  

A year back, the band released its latest number Bichitra, a song that tells how strange this city is and how strange are people living here.  

Then in 2016, after performing at Recalling the 90s Grunge Era, a tribute show for grunge bands at Purple Haze Rock Bar in Kathmandu, he formed another band called Shree 3. This stoner metal band included musicians (not all) who had performed at the tribute show. 

On April 19, Shree 3 released the music for its latest song Paatra. The song tells about the various characters that are lost in the chaos. Shree 3 has also released two albums Drabyadharma and Rust in Dust.  

Both the bands that Shrestha is involved with hardly write love songs. Most of their songs are inspired by current affairs, politics and other issues that are relevant to general people. 

Shrestha parallelly plays for both Tumbleweed and Shree 3, now. However, playing in two different bands of different genres has never been a hassle for Shrestha. 

“The musicians in both bands are like family. They allow me to equally allocate enough dedicated time for both the bands,” says Shrestha, “Playing in two different original bands helped me to overcome monotonousness.”  

Shrestha further says, “There are more songs coming this year from both the bands, however, both the band has not decided whether to release an album or EP.” 

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Prasun Sangroula is an Onlinekhabar correspondent, mainly covering arts, society and sports.

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