Experienced drummer Jay Ram Karki begins teaching drums
This is Jay Ram Karki’s 12th year in the Nepalese music industry. Popularly known as Jay Ram, Karki is one of the most prolific drummers in the industry today. During these years, he did the same work without losing any of his enthusiasm.
Lately he has started something different, more exciting and more productive.
“The joy and energy I found playing the drums is incomparable to any other instrument,” says Jay Ram, adding that he now wants to pass that energy on to other potential and emerging drummers.
Recently, 30-year-old Jay Ram Karki, associated with the TMR Trio, started doing drum tutorials on his YouTube channel. He wants to use his skills by giving proper lessons to the younger ones.
“There are people from afar who have access to the Internet and can even afford the drums, but they lack institutions capable of properly supervising them”, explains Jay Ram. “So for those people, I started doing video tutorials on YouTube.”
The tutorial gives lessons from the basic level. He says he has received successful responses regarding the videos. “I tried my best to make the lesson clear and understandable,” he says, “I believe my little effort can greatly contribute to the Nepali music scene.”
A change he wants
There are several reasons why Jay Ram Karki was one of the few drummers to rule the industry for over a decade. The Nepalese music industry lacks in number of well-played drummers. A single drummer plays in several bands. Also, there is no consistency between the batsmen. Either they change their instrument, or they leave the country, or they quit their job.
“Drums are financially unaffordable for many musicians and similarly not easily shareable like other instruments such as guitar and keyboards,” says Jay Ram. Likewise, the advancement in technology is also another important factor that has hampered the opportunities available in front of the batsmen.
“Most studios currently prefer programming drums rather than playing them live. This reduces the cost of studios. Programming is easy to do as it takes less time, space and effort.
Likewise, to some extent, instruments such as the djembe and cajon have also replaced the drums, making a drummer’s career less attractive.
But, Jay Ram wants to change that.
A competent leader
It’s highly likely that Jay Ram Karki will be able to make this change given his dedication on the pitch.
He started playing drums in his high school years. Before that, in school, he was a guitarist and keyboardist. Since there were already much better guitarists in his musical circle, Jay Ram says he took up drums. Similar to the present day, back then too, the number of drummers was less. Therefore, playing the drums fascinated him more than playing any other instrument. Subsequently, he joined a drum class at a musical institution to hone his skills.
While many drummers have failed to maintain consistency in Nepal, Jay Ram is an exception. Despite huge ups and downs, he continued to play the drums. There was even a time when his family was against his love for music and drums. But, somehow, he managed to keep the music going.
When he started playing it 12 years ago, he never thought he would devote so much time to it.
“I was just preoccupied with practice, hard work and improving musical skills.”
So what prompted him to continue music?
“The financial and emotional support of my friends, supporters and senior musicians helped me maintain consistency in the music. Even someone I didn’t know appreciated my work,” says Jay Ram Karki. “To recognize and respect their efforts, I continued to play the drums. These things always inspire me.
Jay Ram says, “Maintaining consistency is really a tough job, especially when it comes to music.
According to him, you should never be result-oriented, but rather focus on the best.
“Once you start offering the best quality, people will recognize you. All you need is patience. Things don’t change overnight. »
Jay Ram says he continued the work because there were so many people who inspired him. But, the inspirations were different from time to time.
“Today I may be inspired by one artist, while tomorrow I may be inspired by another. Mainly, whoever works hard to deliver quality music is my idol.
For him, it doesn’t matter whether they (the idol musicians) are popular or not.
The value of versatility
Jay Ram Karki was an active musician in a Nepalese metal scene. Around the time he started playing drums professionally, Nepal’s metal scene was booming. Every week there were metal concerts. Bands like Pantera and Lamb of God were the talk of the town.
He even toured different places in Nepal and India associating with metal bands. Jay Ram was also a drummer for Binaash, one of the most recognized death metal bands in Nepal to date.
But later his interest in metal music waned. Playing in a metal band made him continuously monotonous. “I started to get bored with the metal.”
“As you have to focus on speed to play for metal, I felt like it was limiting my drumming skills. To hone my drumming skills and knowledge, I switched to another genre,” says Jay Ram Karki.
He thinks it was his best decision because it was so hard to sustain just by committing to a metal band.
On the other hand, he also wanted to become a versatile musician. Subsequently, he even played for pop, jazz and rock bands. It made him realize that every music is beautiful in its own way and all these genres helped him understand music vividly.
He believes this versatile experience can help him teach young people more effectively.
Apart from producing YouTube tutorials, he is also a drum teacher at Rivals Music Land, a music institution based in Lalitpur.
A voluntary commitment
He says he doesn’t teach drums for money.
“My main motivation is that I want to give a number of top notch drummers to the Nepalese music scene.”
There are a few students of Jay Ram Karki who are already potential drummers. He says if he had asked for money, they could never have come to his contact to find out.
All he expects from them is dedication, determination and hard work.
“Our music scene is in dire need of quality drummers and I want to fill the void,” says Jay Ram.
But many musicians in Nepal are going through a financial crisis. It’s very difficult for them to become financially independent just by making music. Still, Jay Ram suggests there are a few other ways to tackle the challenge.
First, he says that musicians shouldn’t stick to one genre.
“It will be better if musicians try to explore more genres from folk to rock and metal,” says Jay Ram Karki. “Similarly, they should avoid dwelling on one platform and try to do everything, including studio work, teaching, live sessions and the like.”
Another way for musicians to overcome financial problems is to start a music-related business.
“For example, there are still very few standard music stores. We can think of making it work,” says Jay Ram.
For him, music has never been more than a source of money. Instead, it’s a religion for him, he says.
“Music just didn’t teach me about sound, but it did enlighten me about the art of living,” says Jay Ram. “Over a decade I’ve dedicated my life to music, and I’m not going to stop it anytime soon.”
Instead, he wants to pass it on to many others like him.