I recently had the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with the one and only guitar virtuoso Mr. Dev Lama himself. And as someone who absolutely loves music and the guitar, it was like a dream come true. Being able to share some words with one of the country’s greatest guitarist was truly an amazing experience and is a moment I will cherish for years and years.
Watching his fingers float up and down throughout the fretboard was quite an amazing sight. Almost made me forget why I was even there. And as much as I would have liked to just sit and watch him play all day, I did have some questions I wanted to ask him. So, here’s my Q/A session with Mr. Dev Lama.
- How have you been passing your time during lockdown?
I am currently giving virtual one on one classes. I’ve also been trying to create some new music but its hard to be inspired with everything that’s going on. Other than that, I also work out and am also entertaining myself by learning to cook some of my favorite dishes. So yeah, keeping myself occupied throughout the day.
- At what age did you first pick up the guitar and what made you want to become a guitarist?
I was interested from a very young age. I remember picking up a guitar at the age of 14. I really enjoyed the sound of guitar and wanted to be able to make the same kind of music that I used to listen to and wanted to create something similar. I loved the way playing the guitar made me feel and that’s how my journey began.
- Who were your inspirations or idols growing up and who are you inspirations currently?
My main influences in early days were Metallica, Guns n Roses, Pantera, G3 and many more. One of my idols was Steve Vai. Now however, since I’ve explored many more different genres of music, I find myself motivated by so many artists. So, it wouldn’t be fair to point out anyone in particular.
There’re so many great artists out there. It’s kind of hard to just name one and I also feel it wouldn’t be fair to pick just one.
- How does it feel to be regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of Nepal?
I feel extremely grateful and humbled that people are showering me with so much love. I feel extremely blessed. I don’t feel I would be what I am if I didn’t have so many people appreciating my work and what I do. Their love, encouragement is also one of my greatest sources of inspiration.
- You run your own guitar school called DLC INSTITUTE. Could you talk a little about that?
DLC (Dev Lama’s Class) was established as in institute in 2017. We provide guitar lessons in all genres and styles in music. Right now DLC only offers one-to-one classes as we are more focused not only on the student’s ability to play but also in helping them gain knowledge both of practicality & theory as a musician.
- How do you feel about the current scenario of music here in Nepal?
Nepal is so rich in music. We are blessed to have so many different cultures influencing us. There are so many potential and unfound gems all over our country but our platform is very indefinable. We don’t have a concrete means of measure to bring them forward. These days we have a few national and international reality shows that are giving good opportunities for musicians and tech musicians. There are also a lot of musicians working as session artists, sound engineers, technicians, producers, teachers, etc. are doing equally good in their sector.
In terms of music but to be honest I wish it was better. I am not saying it’s bad because things could be so much worse. People should come up with new ideas and originals and something that has never been heard in Nepal before. Commercial and fast music that takes a few press of buttons and strokes are taking over. I am not saying they are bad but musicians who work hard and pour their souls to create originals are devalued.
- Was there ever a moment in your life when you felt that you might have to leave music and pursue something else to make a living?
Yes there were plenty of times I felt I’d quit in my early days. Whenever I thought of giving up, many good opportunities always knocked on my door. Sometimes I think, may be this is my calling and God doesn’t want me to quit. I felt I was born for music and am more focused and kept on going working hard. That’s the reason for who I am today.
- What suggestions would you give to a young aspiring musician or a guitarist?
Never stop learning. Never hesitate to correct your mistakes and never be shy to ask. Be curious. Explore music and every possible way you think you can.
- They say that it takes about 10,000 hours to master an instrument. Do you think it’s true?
I’d say it takes your whole life to master an instrument.
- And finally, any new projects, new album releases for us to be excited about?
I’m mostly working on producing music for various artists and bands. Currently I am working on an album with Sajja Chaulagain, who is the winner of Nepal Idol 3.