Saturday, December 03, 2022
Rhythm of Love

Rhythm of Love: In Conversation with Abdon Mech

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Mar 12, 2020 10:18 pm

Meet Abdon Mech, a gifted upcoming singer and a songwriter who feels strongly about “respectful” community conversations, Naga musicians and the music scene in Nagaland, besides his love for music. Mech, who wrote his first song when he was in school, also feels that people, particularly Naga musicians, should know the difference between criticism and trolling.

This upcoming talented young artiste shares his passion, future plans and more with Eastern Mirror’s Rhythm of Love.

Eastern Mirror: Tell us how you started making music.

Abdon Mech: I can’t trace it back to an epiphany moment but music was always around me and my family of sorts. It eventually came to me as I grew older and I started writing my own material. It has been and continues to be a process.

Eastern Mirror: What influenced you to become a singer-songwriter?

Among many things, I realised that the capacity to share my own story through my own material was a liberating prospect and I took that path. Singing covers are always fun and you can learn a lot but creating a new universe within/by and for yourself is a different experience. Words are as powerful as melodic notes and the coalition of the two is an effortless elevation of art and I have been taught the same by so many songwriters that I look up to.

Eastern Mirror: How would you describe your style of music?

I’m not sure if I fit into any single box but my music is a blend of Indie-soul / pop / folk and has some jazz influences too.

Eastern Mirror: What is your creative process like? What’s your source of support?

My creative process is not static. It involves having written an unhealthy amount of bad songs. Sure, I spend hours writing and making music on a daily basis but that part essentially is my practice routine. Once that base is strengthened, the songs that are true and honest eventually find their way out.

My practice routine of writing bad songs helps me gather enough vocabulary and when the atmosphere of inspiration strikes, it becomes natural and easy for me to pick the right words and notes from my storage unit and put them into a song. The support to write continues to come from those around me and from the drive of aspiring to be like my heroes someday.

Eastern Mirror: How many songs have you written so far? Which was the first and what was it about?

I recently crossed the 190-mark inclusive of songs I have written myself and also collaborated with others. Only a few of them are in my performance repertoire though and the rest of them are just junk. I think the first song I wrote was back in the tenth grade and it was probably for a high school crush back then but I can’t be too sure.

Eastern Mirror: Have you noticed any improvement in your song-writing skills since the release of your first song?

Definitely. Song writing is a craft that requires a lot of practice and like any other craft, you improve everyday with practice and the learning never stops. I make it a point to improve and widen my facility and vocabulary everyday and my songs have matured with time. You can only have good songs if you have a lot of bad songs and that comes with a lot of practice.

Eastern Mirror: What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Playing at the Hornbill International Music Festival main stage last year as an invited artiste has to be the highlight for me till now. Growing up, I watched many legendary acts play every year and so to have played in the same stage just a month after I turned 23 was something that I will remember for a long time.

Eastern Mirror: Considering critics not being supportive to most Naga musicians, what are your expectations from the people?  

From my personal experience, I have always received critics along the way and friends who know me know that I wholly welcome them. These critics have thankfully been authentic and constructive ones and I’ve grown because of the same. But I feel people should understand the difference between criticism and trolling/bullying. There is a fine line between them and Nagas unfortunately still cross this line. I have fortunately not been a victim of these trolls but there are many that are bullied and made fun of and I’m sure that’s an area where we can all work together on.

Eastern Mirror: What do you enjoy and dislike most about being a musician?

The best part about being a musician for me is the joy of travelling, performing and connecting with people through my music. The fact that you can make someone’s day better by doing what you do is truly rewarding. The hard part about being a musician for me, at least in Nagaland, is the negligence of many in downplaying our craft and underpaying us among other things.

Eastern Mirror: Is there any new project you’re currently working on?

Yes, I will be releasing a single next month hopefully and then work on my debut EP will follow after that.

By Henlly Phom Odyuo Updated: Mar 12, 2020 10:18:19 pm