Everything you wanted to know about Robin Tamang but didn’t have the guts to ask
by AARTI BASNYAT
FROM ISSUE # 118 (October 2005) | IN THIS ISSUE
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Born in Singapore on 17 April 1963.
Grew up in the far-east but moved around a lot. Father was in the 10th Gurkha rifles of the British army.
Education Alexander School, Singapore; St George, Hong Kong, then studied mechanical engineering from Humber College, Toronto.
Worked as manager for a bar called Club Z, opened a no alcohol rehearsal-cum-party place, two years later started a nightclub called Still Life. Few years later started another named Scorpio, then a small bar called Killing Time.
Bamboos I came here in 1996 and worked for Prerana, an NGO. I needed something to do, so I figured why not create a venue for young musicians to play in? That was Bamboos. I got this place so I could eat and play for free (laughs).
Looza Hooked up with them in Pokhara where we jammed for a few days. I lived there before moving here to form Robin 'n Looza. We played live for nearly two years at bars before our first album was out. Rest is history.
And The New Revolution As an artiste, I need to experience as much music as I can and work with as many people as possible. Revolution was handpicked because I had decided on the people I wanted in my band. Right now, I have three: Rajesh on the drums, Dipesh on guitars and Prabin on bass. The name Robin and the New Revolution will remain regardless of who is in the band. I don't see members changing in the near future though.
On love I met my wife, Helen, in Nepal. She had been here four times before we met at one of my gigs. She is an artist too. We hooked up, decided to live in Nepal and follow our dreams—my music and her art—and see if we could have a family, and move forward.
On being a father Tara is six years old. She was born in France and is now studying in the French School here. Being a father is always a very eye opening experience. For me now, my priority is my family and music. I really enjoy it.
On jail and drugs Hmmm… I didn't actually go to jail, well, actually, twice. All misdemeanours. Once for shoplifting, one of those reckless things: I was 18 and had money in my pocket but did it for laughs. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, had a comfortable life, maybe too much. That's not too good for teenagers who don't realise the true value of what their parents go through to support their education and lifestyle. I was a young, hot headed, rock and roll kinda guy and also a kick boxer. I just went along with it for the ride and saw a lot of bad things happening around me. At times it's hard when your friends are doing the same thing but it takes a bigger man to say no.
On being called the prophet of the young I think people see me as a reflection of themselves, still doing what I want to do not what other people want me to do. It wasn't always like this. You have to earn your right in life. Young kids look up to me because they see me as a rebel, which I am in many ways but there are other aspects which are very normal like my family.
On rapping Raman's song is sentimental but my rap isn't. I talk about 15 years of oppression, maybe it's too political. If you listen carefully to the rap it is geared toward social progress and what is happening around us. Raman is a friend who helped me with my fifth album and took a chance with Robin and The New Revolution. And I'm willing to experiment. My ideal thing is to do a film score.
On music I don't want to glamorise music because if you are true to yourself, there is no need. One has to keep in mind that it is an institution and a money-making machine though that has barely touched Nepal. Deserving musicians need to be recognised.
On religion I don't believe in God per se. I do believe there is a superior being, I can't give him a name but I believe in something.
On tragedy My mom had a brain tumour but we didn't know about it. It all happened so suddenly—one day she was complaining about headaches and a few days later she was in a coma. Then in 1982, my elder brother, a pilot died in a plane crash, and in 1992 my oldest brother, a doctor, also died. Tragedy either makes you stronger or a wasted psychotic individual. I came out stronger and realised that when you die, you can't take all that sh*t with you. What matters is the difference you make to the people around you and that difference is shared in the world you leave behind.