“I want feel the crowds, I want to feel the words.”
currentMood: What’s your story? How did MOSKO happen?
Kavya Trehan: I was fortunate enough to go to a school called Mirambika, where we were given the freedom to explore what we really like doing. So I picked up music early on. When I turned fourteen, I went for an open mic gig. When the floor was open for anyone to perform, I went up and played the guitar and sang about the lady who was sitting in front of me. I came up with the lyrics on the spot and back then I only knew four or five cords on the
guitar! But that’s when I realised that this is what I want to do. However, I also knew that I wanted to do this with someone else, I like to learn from people vs going to a school. I randomly got a call to play at Ragasthan Music Festival in 2013, made last minute decisions to collaborate with a brilliant guitarist whom I’d never met, Moses Koul and there’s been no looking back since. That’s how it started – it was never a big dream of mine. Things just fell into place organically, and I was inspired by the musicians around me. And they were kind enough to join the band. And tada!
“Performing gives me an adrenaline rush that nothing else can provide. I don’t like feeling inebriated when I’m on stage because I want to feel the crowd, I want to feel the words. I do get nervous, but I feel like I can get through it every single time because I have three incredible musicians who I perform with.”
cM: How easy or hard has it been for you to carve out a niche for yourself within the Indian music circuit ?
KT: Well, we were independent, we didn’t have an agent or a manager. I was the manager at that time. So when we’d just started out, it was kind of tough, but people gave us an opportunity..even though we hadn’t released our music yet. Word of mouth worked for us. Fortunately, we’ve always managed to get opportunities at the right place and time. It’s only now that we have a manager, it feels like the real deal. I don’t know if we’ve carved a niche to be honest. Our music isn’t very common, it’s a mishmash of different things and its anime oriented, so it’s very high energy and probably something new that people can relate to or dance to.
That’s what’s probably different about our music from the others.
cM: Tell us about your first gig.
KT: As MOSKO or as Kavya?
cM: As Kavya.
KT: Believe it or not, I was in grade seven, and was 13. I was really into theatre, and had a gig the same day as my play. With no time to change my costume, I played the drums and sang dressed as a lion! It made me realise that I really like to play different characters when I am performing. Especially for MOSKO.
cM: Have you gotten really nervous before a performance ?
KT: Always. It’s a perfect blend of nervousness and excitement. I love crowds. I don’t drink for two weeks. So it’s not like I even have something to calm my nerves. Performing gives me an adrenaline rush that nothing else can provide. I don’t like feeling inebriated when I’m on stage because I want to feel the crowd, I want to feel the words. I do get nervous, but I feel like I can get through it every single time because I have three incredible musicians who I perform with. They guide me when I hit a wrong note, or when I start a new paragraph and so there’s a lot of communication and everyone is helping each other. But I never get cold feet.
cM: Tell us about your creative process and what inspires you ?
KT: A big source of inspiration in the beginning of MOSKO was anime and Japanese manga. Also, the fact that we [the band] all come from different backgrounds and have different kinds of vibes itself is very inspiring. Our songs are purely collaborative in nature and the process itself results in the development of new tracks. As a vocalist, composer and a songwriter, I end up sourcing new material by turning a real life story into a dramatic one in my lyrics.
“It’s very obvious that there are more male artists than female artists and more male producers than female producers. It’s not a 50-50 ratio at all, but I also think that it’s changing in the recent past. I’ve come across female producers, in fact I’ve also started producing now.”
cM: What’s your favourite song from the band?
KT: I like all the songs! But My favourite would be Drance 109..that song is just ruthless. It’s unexpected. It’s musically very fresh and I think it’s a pretty solid representation of MOSKO. And it’s just so much fun to perform and words are crunchy. It’s also the song we usually end with. So it’s associated with the high you get as a performer.
cM: On a serious note, do you think the music scene in India is sexist?
KT: That is a serious question! It’s very obvious that there are more male artists than female artists and more male producers
than female producers. It’s not a 50-50 ratio at all, but I also think that it’s changing in the recent past. I’ve come across female producers, in fact I’ve also started producing now. So I’ll answer this in two parts – my personal experience and what I feel, because these two are very different. Have I personally experienced some sort of handicap because of my gender, sex or whatever? No. I’ve been on the lucky side of things. I’ve been supported by really really important people from the music industry. But have I heard my peers say that they’ve experienced it? Of course I have. It’s a pretty delicate situation because on the one hand since you haven’t experienced it, you tend to think that it all depends on how you handle yourself. But sometimes things aren’t in your control and the situation is far stronger than what you could contribute to it.
Senses x Kavya Another demo, another clip for me to share of my upcoming music. Thank you @kamakshikhannaofficial – you're a talent house and I adore you. Thank you to the absolute beauty @polka.photos for being my coffee cup. Arigato to my band @mosko.official and the midnight 24/7 coffee breaks. And of course, @moseskoul 🌸
cM: So stuff happens..
KT: Of course! It happens in the industry and I’m aware of it. There’s this entire allure to appearing “sexy” and many women use that as a weapon. However, there are other ways of getting attention – it’s only a matter of where you want the attention to be directed towards – music or persona? To be very candid with you, I consciously stay away from wearing revealing clothes on stage. I’d rather wear tracks than a short dress, because I want all those hours making music to get the attention that they deserve. Like I said, it’s a two handed clap – if female artists think they must wear sexy
clothes to get eyeballs and that’s the only formula that works – well, that’s an outdated thought process.
cM: Moving on to lighter things..which music festivals do you want to perform in?
KT: One of my favourite experiences was definitely NH7 because that was the first time my eyes couldn’t see the end of the crowd. It was limitless love coming your way. It was a lot of fun! I want to play at every music festival..from Magnetic Fields to Echoes to Ziro, Glastonbury to Coachella – everything!
cM: What are you currently working on ?
KT: So currently MOSKO has finished tracking for our upcoming EP, so that means that in the next month or two, we’re going to start the promotion. This is the first time I’m getting to track with MOSKO. It’s very exciting. It’s our first experience of working together not only as live musicians but in a studio, collaborating and coming up with new ideas and producing something that you can listen to in your car! I’m also working on my solo project, Kavya and had my debut gig on the 24th of November at AntiSocial in Bombay. Looking forward to
release my singles and music videos too.
cM: What’s your idea of a good party ?
KT: Good music! I’m also interested in fashion so it will be cool if it could be an anime, old school, hip hop theme party with a bunch of really close friends who aren’t judgemental. Before they get to the party they have to be given some sort of drink or something that just gets them to relax the fuck out.
Interviewed by: currentMood
All image courtesy: Kavya Trehan
Last modified: December 16, 2017