Rishikesh Thangjam – vocals
Kamlesh Khundrakpam- Bass guitars
Ton Arambam- Guitars, Keyboards
Sumit Lukram- Guitars
Goroba Huirem – Guitars
“We’ve been inspired by so many things. I don’t know where to start from. But I think being honest to what we are playing is the most important thing,” enthusiastically replied Rishikesh Thangjam as I asked him about their inspiration. The answer though might be a cliché, but is the truth which they justify by all means.
‘The mind and the beard’.
Their fascination for the beard intrigued me to know more about them.
‘The Koi’, still in its infancy, has a lot to offer since its inception in 2012. The band members, with the iconic John Lennon glasses and the similar hairdo are heavily inspired by the early Hippie movement in the United States. Still gingerly experimenting, they prefer to categorize themselves as an alternative rock band.
I was an instant fan the second Freedom song started playing. The guitar started strumming with declining ebb to let you get the feel of the advancing tide to soothe your senses. Every chord strum is so detailed that you wait for your ears to catch more of such precision, only to realise your body and mind perfectly in sync with the music already. Lyrically they are not just teenagers rambling gibberish, but their words are powerful and make sense.
‘…It’ll remind you the smell of the dust
your powers fallen
your brother’s stolen
flowers fed with their bloods
but your freedom is free
so your hope never dies…’
Chapter Three: Ivory Tower is a subtlety. Even though the song starts with an ‘underfed demon’ I can only think of the most peaceful, pleasant things while it plays in the background. The guitar-xylophone combination is sweet, literally! The lyrics convey a very country-like feeling.
‘She said she was just a friend from the sunflower fields
Where butterflies, magicians and daddy’s old radio
were the only pollution’
As a personal favourite, it is already on my playlist. The lyrics, utterly simple, convey a predilection towards something naiveté, a kind of feeling which you last got on your innocent first love.
However, the recording of Rusted Love disappointed me in the initial listen. The music is not a matter of worry at all but the lyrics are hardly audible. That again, I would assume is a result of an amateur recording. The drum work however is very good and maintains a steadiness all throughout.
The Dead Chief exhibited a few flaws but it shows how The Koi has matured with time and experience. While the lyrics make sense, the accent needs a tiny fix. A little concentration on the phonetics is all what they need. The song all over keeps a very steady ebb and flow from the beginning to end. No sudden changes, no sudden fluctuations. Thangjam mentions “It’s about us being conscious inside this reality we perceive Maya – (“Eye inside a kaleidoscope, bending lights and gramophones”), which can be so brittle, flimsy and fragile (“paper landscape paper dreams”), and I’m afraid we are all going mad trying to make some meaning out of it. So I ask of them to see me when the lunatics have taken over the asylum (‘Promise me to meet me around the bend’).”
The lyrics present a very vivid mental imagery.
The Koi is in a stage where they are still ‘confused’ on quite a few things. They are experimenting with newer styles and their abilities to find a concrete base but eventually they are producing good music and that’s all what matters. For me, putting genres to music is like boxing blossoming creativity so I would just prefer saying that The Koi is a band with a great potential which can transcend beyond genres in the coming years. Not having performed a single gig till date, they still stand strong with their work and success will find a way to them whenever they are ready to accept it. This is a kind of a band where you listen to their music and before you know it you are hooked to their welcoming, full-of-life songs. Need proof? Ask me.