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With his enigmatic solo performances, concocted with a vocal rasp of the blues and a yearning on the guitar, Abhishek S. Mishra aka ASM has well and truly, burst onto the Nepali music scene. Hailing from a family of 6 generations of musicians, ASM began his journey as a run of the mill school kid playing in a band. It was at 18 when he started performing around the biggest music al hub in all of Nepal, Thamel located at the hear t of Kathmandu City. But life as a musician is an arduous journey, one full of dif ficult but right decisions to make. With a want for a stable career creeping in, ASM chose to leave the music scene for 6 years. A sabbatical that saw him pursue meditation, a foray into communications & branding before finally realizing what everybody had told him for years: You were made to be on stage. Making a comeback in 2010, ASM started out as a bass player for a band called Ants on a Mission. Another project titled Last One Standing had him playing the rhythm guitar and singing while a third called Kamikaze is where he let loose fronting the group with Plantesque force & fury. Being in 3 band sounds pretty rad, but keeping it up is the par t where most fail. With his last show a Led Zeppelin tribute gig with the band Kamikaze, all 3 bands split in a span of 3 months in the fall of 2012 leaving ASM back to square one. It was a time for contemplation and ASM learnt to persevere. Then a chance meeting in2013 with a fellow musician visiting from the UK, Katie Mackay led to the forming of his next musical ensemble simply titled ‘Katie & Abhishek’. The duo performed around Kathmandu garnering much attention and repute and while Katie shone with her sultry singing and trumpet solos, ASM took the opportunity to delve fur ther into his blues and eventually formed the band known today, as Spirit X.
Spirit X The 60s and 70s saw an influx of wide eyed Westerners looking more inward and eastward, as a part of the bigger Hippie Era movement. The allure towards the mysticism of the land and it’s magnificent natural beauty brought them to Nepal in the hordes and with them, came their gifts of arts & entertainment. Names like Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Jim Morrison were not unbeknownst to the normal Nepali back in the day. It was the absorption of this roaring style of music that would inspire iconic bands like Prism and Cross Roads in the 70s and 80s. The blues/classic rock scene in particular (still championed by local bands around the musical hubs in major cities in 2017) was accepted whole heartedly and birthed today’s blues staples in ‘Mukti and Revival’, ‘Robin N’ The New Revolution’ and ‘Newaz’. Watching them play was how ASM saw life after ‘Kamikaze’. His friend Nikesh ‘Monster’ Joshi from the Last One Standing persisted also in his own dreams of having a band together and the duo set out to explore the music scene and auditioned bass players. One after the other, talented players came but, there was something missing and by the fall of 2013 they were at the verge of giving it all up again. As a last ditch effort they contacted Ants On A Mission guitar player Gaurav Joshi to see if he could step into the role. Their first jam and they knew, he was the one. As a band of the blues and booze Spirit X has been a regular presence in the Nepali blues music scene. They released their debut single titled ‘Goodbye’ along with its music video on August 19, 2016 and have performed at the acclaimed Kathmandu Blues & Roots Festival on an annual basis. Their musical endeavours has seen them tour around the capital and the lake city of Pokhara multiple times and currently are in the undertaking of their next music video. Subsequent to putting out music, Spirit X has also been at the forefront of English Blues Rock charts in Nepal and continue do so with roaring live performances.
ASM The music journey that started with Katie & Abhishek also encouraged ASM to pursue his songwriting interests. He released his first original in September 2013 titled ‘On My Way’. With Spirit X slowly gathering momentum Abhishek would still keep his solo acts/shows going with small coffee shop concerts around town and in the gloom of 2015 that saw Nepal hit with a calamitous earthquake and a crippling economic blockade, ASM’s conviction towards making music only strengthened. ASM followed this belief and decided to revive his high school interest/project titled ‘Covers of My Songbook’ where his playlist consisted of songs from artists that were the building blocks to his kingdom of music. Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd and others were featured as ASM shares his stories regarding how he developed a lifelong bond and memory towards the songs that he covers in this series. He later released his 2nd single and first ever music video in ‘Hold On’ on the 25th of January in 2016 and has never looked back. ASM is accomplishing his goal of taking his talent to the international scene with his recent tour of the US in March 2017. Travelling to cities like New York, Washington D.C, Chicago, Port Aransas ‘ Corpus Christi in Texas, he managed to mesmerize a large section of the audience with his powerful vocals and blues guitar. Embarking on his first tour also brought him the acclaimed Neck Illusions endorsement with his own signature style overlays. A couple of hallmarks from this tour were ASM playing at Buddy Guy’ Legends Club in Chicago (where the likes of BB King, John Mayer and Buddy himself have played) and playing in front of a packed house at the largest music & arts festival in the world SXSW 2017 in Austin, Texas. Upon his return ASM promptly hit the studio and has released session videos from around the city.
LeoAries And then there is LeoAries, a passion project close to the heart of ASM and Bbek Tamang (ex-drummer of the legendary metal band from Nepal - Underside) that started out as a nonchalant jam session in the studio; now is an electronic rock group garnering much attention. LeoAries took off with their first song titled ‘One’, as the single made its debut in February 2017. ‘One’ explores a more existential approach to songwriting as ASM and Bbek gave into all their cosmic inclinations and still do. Having released their first music video and second song called ‘Never Too Late’ in July 2017, ASM is fully committed to completing the voyage of a concept EP with Bbek Tamang as the duo pilot LeoAries to newer dimensions with a core emotion at heart.
"I always believed that our generation would be the one that would introduce Nepal to the international scene whether it is through art or music anything."
"Seeing the rich and the economically unblessed together on the streets huddled as the aftershocks hit only made me realize, if you don’t use your existence to pursue what you love, what good is living after you have secured survival?"
"The greatest adventure that you venture upon, is your life itself.”