Is it a need? Is it the shift in interest? Is it the dearth of fan base? Or is it the right time? What is the actual truth behind musicians going acoustic from the highly regarded genre - Metal?
Curiosity got the better of me and I set out to find the mysterious reason behind metal musicians going for the acoustic sound. In today’s music scenario, it can clearly be seen how except for a few bars and restaurants, many have acoustic bands entertaining their live audiences. The question - Why are acoustic bands prevailing in all corners of Thamel and only a few metal heads are heard performing?
Whether you agree or not the truth can never be hidden! Musician by profession and winner of Pepsi Voice of Nepal Himal Shrestha acknowledges that indeed musicians are shifting from metal to the acoustic one frequently. Former drummer in metal bands like Cry of Agony and Vaishnav turned drummer in an acoustic band; Shrestha is a prominent figure in the current Nepali music scenario, who has crossed the bridge from metal to acoustic. To get a clear picture no one but Shrestha himself is the man about town who can unravel the mystery for why musicians are going acoustic.
Started his musical career with metal bands, and currently residing as drummer of the Acoustic band coined Innov8, Shrestha says the metal genre was what got him started on the journey of music. Although his previous metal band Vaishnav, groomed him and the band won the first runner up prize in the 10th ICMC Competition which let to unprecedented fame yet he adds, "Certain concerns made him to shift from metal to acoustic band.
This adage proved true for Musician Shrestha “As time passes by one’s interest definitely starts to change from the previous one”. Despite the success and fame Shrestha earned in metal genre, as time went by and his progression from one band led to another, the success in metal genre couldn’t retain his interest anymore. Having worked for two years in a row as a drummer in metal bands, he says, "To indulge in something new was specifically what moved him to the acoustic sound. After leaving his metal bands, he shifted to the first acoustic band in his with the band called Artha. In fact, he sums up: interest in trying new things is what has led many metal bands to go for the acoustic sound. Everybody wants to try and go for something different, so do musicians.
“Interest to do something new”, is it the prime or one of the reasons for musicians these days going acoustic. The thing in here is more than mere Interest, Shrestha says, Besides seagerness to try new things, current drummer of Innov8 band suggests three major things have enormously influenced the musicians including me. These three fundamental "reasons includes: Fan Base, Commercialization, and Interaction.
Shrestha’s journey from metal to acoustic band was instigated by the fact that the fan base, commercialization, and interaction in acoustic is much higher than in the metal genre. He says, playing in an acoustic band has brought him in front of larger crowds than playing in a metal band. In the context of Nepal, his years of musical experience has led him to the conclusion that there are more audiences for acoustic than for metal bands. Thus, here is something that he has to say that you cannot help but agree, “8 out of 10 of the musicians would prefer to play to the huge masses than the smaller crowd. And acoustic music provides the platform with the huge audiences, and, one would hence certainly go for acoustic if he/she wants to to showcase their musical talent to a broader base”.
Just as in every other profession, to sustain in the field of music, it is necessary to get commercialized. However, during his tenure in a metal band, Shrestha barely was managed to refrain from going ommercial. He says it was due to the small audience and the lack of of a regular platform in the metal genre that earned him far less than in the acoustic field. Now, as a member of an acoustic band, Shrestha says it’s not only paying him well but it has also provided a regular platform
Being a part of an acoustic band, Shrestha is very happy that he is able to call his family to see him performing live. Playing acoustic has provided the musicians with an interactive environment that metal had deprivied them of. Every musician would love to perform in front of his near and dear ones. However, he laments, he couldn’t do that when he was in metal band, as metal music was not appreciated by his family. On the contrary more young groups of people were more enthused. In general, playing acoustic is more about interacting with the audience. It is preferred by all age groups and encompasses the majority of Nepali music fans - which eventually captivates musicians from other genres as well.
The metal turned Acoustic drummer sums up stating that the answer to “Why musicians are going acoustic?” lies in the three fundamentals - huge fan base, commercialization and interactive enough to include all age groups . Hence, in conclusion, we agree that there are no other significant reasons besides these three fundamentals for musicians turning to the acoustic sound.