The large turnout was impressive and why not; here was a Nepali post rock band from the UK performing for us for the first time. With a number of concerts lined up ‘Haami’ is here to wow audiences in Kathmandu. They kicked off with a show at Moksh which went very well with supporting act ‘The Elements’ warming up the crowd, paving the way for Haami. While The Elements told stories through their songs synched with amazing visual narration, Haami mesmerized the crowd with their near perfect and energetic stage performance. However the P.A. did not do justice to such a fine performance especially when the drum fills became inaudible which left us frustrated.
This being their first appearance in Nepal, the band was eager to get feedback from the audience. For the kind of music they play, it was surprising to see such a large turnout which was comparable to performances by mainstream rock bands. I overheard someone in the audience say how watching Haami made him feel like playing an instrument while other bands made him want to dance or head bang. Well, that’s Haami with their guitar driven and math based artsy music which they describe as post rock, mostly soft and spell binding music punctuated by transfixing blasts.
Haami is comprised of Salil Thakuri on bass, Pujan Rai on guitar and vocals, Rajesh Rai on guitar and Yugal Gurung on drums. Residing in North West London, they are all family and friends first. They started out as a band in 2012 to take part in a Nepali Band Competition there and at the time, importantly for the prize money which they did pocket by wining. But what was more important was the audience response and feedback which was overwhelming. The band members agree that winning the competition was what made them stick together as Haami. And in 2014, the band released their first extended play record (EP), ‘Via’, which started out as a college project of the drummer, Yugal. Since then they’ve been performing regularly and working on new material. A major highlight in their career has been their spot on the ‘Zoon Festival’ last year in Basingstoke, U.K., a festival that is gaining ground as one of the major Nepali festivals there. For Haami it’s been their most dramatic and memorable gig. Here in Kathmandu, ‘Yaad’ from Via turned out to be the most popular number. Although CDs weren’t available, the album has been online for streaming or purchase.
“Performing in Nepal feels like a dream come true,” say the band unanimously. They came to Kathmandu not knowing how the audiences would respond to their music. They were actually here in Nepal to attend a family function and the idea of doing concerts quickly developed. But Haami wants to come back with a planned tour and play all over the country once they’ve released their full length album in 2019. They have all the materials ready for recording an album which they will be working on back in the U.K.. While Via had only five songs, the new one will include at least ten originals. Furthermore these do-it-yourself everything guys have teamed up with Fuzz Factory Productions, the industry giants for innovation and great production, to make a video of the band. Prior to this, the whole EP was written, composed, produced and released by Haami themselves. They even produced their videos with the help of some friends.
The band sees a good future in the days to come as they fuse together post, math, alternative and progressive rock. However what they really want is their own distinct sound and structure. With Haami, it’s all about experimentation and improvisation which is an important factor for the ever evolving nature of their music. That they will come out with some really great music, there’s little doubt.
The name ‘Haami’ meaning ‘us’ came from the fact that they have a close relationship with each other. Besides Kathmandu, the band is performing at a few other major cities as well. Look them up on social media and stay tuned to find out about further developments.