A year later, Moksha is making strong waves in the city’s music culture
Hyderabad: In Indian mythology, the word ‘moksha’ means freedom and liberation. And that’s what the music group Moksha aims for every time it performs on stage. They want their audience to forget everything and immerse themselves in their songs.
Moksha is a six member all boy band in Hyderabad. It consists of vocals, bass guitars, keyboard, guitar, flute and drums. Vinod Sharma is the lead vocalist or vocals, Pranay is on keyboards, Sathvik Kondepogu strums the guitar and Akhil Vishwanathan taps sonorous beats with his bass, Swaroop makes the crowd swoon with his magic flute and Thiru’s majestic drums bring out the dancer In you .
Siasat.com spoke to Akhil and Pranay who talked about how it all started, their process of understanding music, their challenges and their future plans for their first anniversary.
Moksha’s journey began during the pandemic in 2020, when the world was shrouded in uncertainty. At that time, five of the band members were part of a corporate musical group called Adronaulix.
Pranay says, “For some reason the band didn’t work out. Also, I was tired of corporate gigs and wanted my music to reach a wider audience. I wanted to perform on stage. It was during this time that the world was hit by the COVID-19 virus.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was tough, for Pranay, Akhil, Sathvik, Swaroop, Vinod and Thiru it was a boon in disguise. In fact, the first lockdown gave them enough time to fall out and figure each other out.
Moksha, who had many mutual friends, met via Zoom. They discussed and studied music ranging from carnatic songs to viral songs. A song will be broken down and decoded and every element and nuance will be discussed in detail.
“We take notes and observations on every discussion we have, even today. It helps us understand music better. It’s a crucial part of our singing,” echoed Akhil and Pranay.
But in addition to being passionate musicians, many of them still work in companies. So how do they find time to jam?
“Well, our weekends are sacrificed. But it really doesn’t concern us because we are driven by our passion,” Akhil said with a smile.
Pranay adds, “Actually, on a show day, we don’t block the songs that we’re supposed to perform.”
Sensing our confusion, Pranay explains, “We have a database of 50 weird songs that we keep tweaking with each performance. We’ve jammed to these songs so many times that they’re ingrained in our memories. So on the day of the show, there’s a warm-up practice and we’re good to go. We jam to songs that we plan to use in the future, say a month later, or similar.
According to Akhil and Pranay, learning mainly takes place off-stage during discussion. On stage, their love for music takes over, allowing them to completely immerse themselves and forget the world for those few hours.
Being a team of six, it’s natural for everyone to come with their own thoughts, views, and vibe. Disagreements are inevitable. Asked about this, Pranay and Akhil burst out laughing. “Oh, we have tons of disagreements. In fact, there are fights. We are brutally honest with each other,” says Akhil.
But they also agree that these disagreements teach them things they wouldn’t know. “As a keyboard player, I may not understand how a drummer looks at a particular song and vice versa. So we both learn together and see the song in a new light,” says Pranay.
Moksha has many precious memories to cherish. On August 25 of this year, they will celebrate their first anniversary. Reminiscing about their first performance as Moksha on the same day last year, eyes twinkle.
Akhil and Pranay agree that although they blocked a lot, the team was uncertain. “It wasn’t stage scare as each of us has performed individually or as a group in the past. It was Moksha performing in front of the public for the first time,” says Pranay.
However, their first performance was a huge success. The crowd cheered and cheered. Moksha had goosebumps and happiness knew no bounds. This performance greatly boosted their confidence and was one of their treasured memories.
“Sometimes we have other bands come and tell us that they experience a roller coaster ride when they listen to us. It’s a big compliment. We try to sing songs from all genres” , explains Pranay.
Speaking of different genres, Moksha is popular for their KGF theme song. One of their signature songs is a crowd favourite.
“Once we were playing Prism when the venue managers shared previews of the movie while we were singing along. It was so high! The crowd went crazy,” Pranay said.
And as they approach their first anniversary later this month, Moksha has come up with some original compositions. “We have three original songs belonging to different genres – folk fusion, slow progressive fusion and carnatic fusion,” Akhil said.
This has been one of their toughest challenges. Composing your own music requires a lot of work, dedication and passion. “This time, we are not taking a song that has already been played but composing our own. We can’t go beyond the seven swaras and it is a challenge. And we like challenges,” says Pranay.
Moksha plans to bring it to their audience on August 25 at the Moonshine Project, Jubilee Hills. You can follow them on Instagram here.