I have witnessed many bands performing at rock/pop/country music concerts, heard quite a few bands playing at various occasions, but among all of them one band that really got me hooked to their unique and versatile performance was “Kevin Misquith and The Milestone Band”, when they rocked the crowd at the Nitte Mangalore Marathon held just recently at Mangala Stadium. With their great performance and style of reaching to the audience, they really “made a difference” with their music, thereby promoting their music and connecting with their friends and fans.
No doubt at all that they won the hearts of hundreds of the young crowd that had gathered to watch them play live. I too was so much impressed with their music talents, that I wanted to do a interview with the band members for mangalorean.com. Inviting them to my house for the interview, the band members dropped by at the house the very next day morning, where we had a hour long chat sharing views and news over a few “cold ones” !
Of all the bands that are playing in and around Mangalore at the moment, I can definitely say that one of the most promising are the five-piece outfit, Kevin Misquith and The Milestone. Constantly gigging and gaining a reputation as one of the most hard-working bands in the city, they create a sound which is reliant on the energy and honesty of yesteryear songs and present hits. It is difficult to pinpoint solid influences, but what they produce is enjoyably familiar. As far as I know so far they have been reluctant to commit to anything strictly official, preferring to continue to do their own thing, in their own way and without the hassles and interference of third parties.
Some might say that they should grab the chance right now while it exists, however it is not something that overly concerns the band. They are continually growing in stature and the odds are that such interest is just a taste of what is to come. The band wants to concentrate on their live performances. This is evident when watching them, as it is here where they shine. It seems as if the stage is a place for emotional release, where they can perform without concern or compromise. The musical chemistry between the band musicians is clearly evident. They are all equally competent and fill the role extremely well.
Ever since the band was formed in 2009, every member of the band has getting along good with each other and have been working together in harmony, with determination and enthusiasm to give their best performance and to the sheer satisfaction of the audience. With many bands splitting after a while due to differences with each other, I decided to ask The Milestone Band members if anyone was planning to quit and start their own band – “not at all” came back the reply, the reason one being that they are very much happy working under their band leader Kevin, who has always been nice to them and a good boss. They want to perform together and stay together for a long time, entertaining the society to the best of their abilities.
The main motto of the band is to render the best music that they can provide , to please the crowd, keep their reputation and anticipate good remarks from their audience. Hard work, ignore what anyone else is doing how well or badly they are. Focus on what they are doing-perform at big gigs, network and make friends. Learn music trade through time and patience, and when they have done the best job someone will notice.
Like everything the music industry is one where you need thrown in at the deep end to learn how to swim. Most swim enough to make it to the shallow end then the changing rooms. The Milestone band has reached to greater heights through their intensive practices, thoughtful lyrics, and mesmerizing the crowd with their impeccable performances.
?It’s never the same. You need to learn how to be at the hottest level possible EVERY time you play in front of the audience? there’s no buildup, you have to rule immediately and capture the audience, with an insane amount of music thrown at them. It’s a very interesting job and we are thankful to be together in this “Band” playing with the best and kindest musicians we have ever known- and that’s us !” said the group beaming with pride, who consider themselves the “best among the rest” in the city. I simply agree with them.
The band is essential in creating the energy and momentum that inspire the organizers and audience alike. “Performing live is always precarious. You?re on your toes to make sure things don?t go wrong, and it?s amazing that things don?t go wrong all the time. But there are fantastic people working to make it turn out well.? says Band leader Kevin.
Kevin Misquith, the Lead vocalist, a well known singer and composer, is the main force behind the formation of Milestone Music band. He is well known among the Konkani music lovers around the world. Making his appearance in the Konkani music scene at a very young age, unlike many others he has performed consistently since his entry into the music field contributing to konkani music immensely.Apart from being a musician Kevin is a business entrepreneur having his own business
firms of IT Solutions and Event planners/Productions.
Kevin Misquith released his first Konkani debut album, ?Rupnem? in 2004. Following the huge response for his debut album, he released yet another Konkani hit album ?Tuji Yaad? in 2007. His Konkani rock album ‘He Jeen? in 2008, too had a very good response from the Konkani and Non-Konkani music lovers, and was a huge success. ?He Jeen? was nominated at the Global Konkani Music Awards and won the award for the ?Best lyricist? award and also was nominated in the best composition category. His latest konkani album ‘Thembe Thembe’ is one of the biggest konkani hit albums of all times and has recorded the best sales.
He not only has recorded these music albums but also has staged several music shows, he is the only konkani composer/singer to have presented 25 music concerts within the young age of 25. Having performed 28 music concerts by now he is the only konkani composer to do so after a very few great legends like Wilfy Rembimbus, Melwin Peris etc. The 28th Kevin Misquith and The Milestone music concert was held at Pamboor Church ground on Sunday February 2, 2014. The concert was staged to mark the 35th annual day celebrations of Indian Catholic Youth movement of the Holy Cross Church Pamboor, Udupi.Apart from these 28 concerts he has performed for several other events not only in Mangalore but also cross Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai and the Middle east countries.
Moving on to the profile of other members of The Milestone Band:-
Sanjeeth Rodrigues: Drummer- Rhthym Maker and the Youngest member of the band is making Magic With his drumsticks ! Sanjeeth started to like music at the age of 8, and later played in the school band. “To me music is pure and infinite way of expressing myself. As far as I can improve in that I can improve in my music “- says Sanjeeth.
Ashwin Sequeira: is the Acoustic Rhythm guitarist and co-vocalist of the band. He lends his voice to add magic to the music and performance, which defines the band. He started his liking towards music during his high school days, and since then he has never quit music.” From the beginning, I always knew I wanted to be in the music field..at age 22, I started off with the church choir, then the band and everything started falling in place..music is like life to me.. It feels good to see people enjoy your music and “tats Wat “drives me ” proudly says Ashwin…
Clyde Lobo: the Lead Guitarist Of The Band lends his “Magical Melody Of The Guitar “. He started playing music at the age of 10, and later played in the high school band, and was also a band member of “Prophecy” band. He says, “Music is my passion and it makes me feel good. It brings me to another world with so many feelings. Music gives me energy and opens my mind to new thoughts and experiences “.
Jackson Noronha, is the man on the keys, he also plays the guitars and creates magic with his voice.
“I love those moments on stage when we get into that “zone”. Your hands are right, you?re alone, the time is yours. That?s still the biggest nut for me, and when those times happen it?s always special. That?s the beauty of being in this band — we?re a group, and yet we?re individuals. Music can give you peace of mind , with a peaceful mind you can conquer the world ? says Jackson.
Munita Veigas: is the lone female singer of the band . She says, “Music is my passion, music is like food to me, the more I sing the more I grow spiritually and emotionally. Nothing can keep me as happy as music. I love singing, I love performing and I love being in this band”.
Rikith Leonard Soans: Bass Guitarist… An unsung hero, supporting melody while syncing with the team to form the solid Foundation. ” It’s been three years since I joined this group as a bass guitarist, I feel proud to be a part of this youthful and talented group. I always loved music, and I hope I always will” said Rikith.
Following are the excerpts from the exclusive interview with Kevin Misquith:
What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
Music always fascinated me, I was always attracted towards music from my very young age but as I grew up, the peace and solace that I derived from the music around me kept me connected to it and more specifically the joy and the happiness that I got after composing my very first song inspired
me to continue in this stream.
There have been a lot of people who have supported, encouraged and patronized my music right from the beginning- my family, friends, well wishers, friends from the media and many others. It’s hard for me to name them all but when you have asked me this question it wouldn’t be fair on my part not to mention Austin D’Souza Prabhu, who had extensively supported me during my first show even though he didn’t know me very well- also Naveen Ranjith, Loy Noronha, Antony Cony, Loveline Rego, Kishoo Barkur, Mark Dennis D’souza, my friend Canute Pinto who have been there, inspired me through words and deeds, and also who have really made a difference in my career. There are also lot others whom I am grateful to, without whom I would not have made it so far as to what I am today.
How do you feel about people downloading music rather then buying original copies?
Just the other day I read a wall paper posted by one international band on their Facebook page which mentioned ” People are willing to pay $5 for a cup of coffee which takes pennies to make, take few minutes to prepare and is gone forever after one use , yet people wont pay $ 1 for a song that they like, though it costs a lot to record, takes years to practice, can be used over and over again and lasts a life time.”
To be honest it really hurts and more than that it is discourages artists to see their hard work being robbed of without any credit or value. Sometimes our own friends request us for illegal download or to send our music through Bluetooth or other devices, they don’t even realize its absolutely not fair to do so. To be honest it discourages and puts a halt to artists from producing more good music. And for a industry like ours in konkani which is already very small and restricted, its impact is worse. It will just kill the artists.
How do you feel about the music industry today?
When I speak about music industry, I refer only with regards to the konkani music since as I am solely involved in it. It would be difficult for me to talk about music industry in general. Though I would not call konkani music scene as a industry because it does not really have the features of a commercial music industry, I take ‘industry ‘ as just a ‘word’ to describe konkani music scene.
Konkani music is not organized, there are no proper ways of distribution or a established marketing network. Forget royalty issues, konkani musicians sometimes are deprived even of being recognized for their own work. There are a whole lot of copyright issues, credit issues, there are no bodies or institutions that protect or talk for the right and interests of artists. There is no quality control or anything that differentiates between junk and quality. There is no support to konkani artists even from the Government. And above all there’s no financial independence to konkani music, so it cannot sustain on its own.
To sustain here or for your mere existence itself you need to have the support and patronage of your fans and well wishers. Apart from being a musician you need to do something else to earn your daily bread. Hence it cannot be called a industry itself.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
To sing, compose and make good music always, regardless of what I loose
or achieve, no matter of how small or big stage that I perform, I just want to keep doing what I enjoy to do the most.
Do you think singer/songwriters are the best interpreters of their own work or do you believe some cover versions can be better then the original?
It may be different for different people. Singers who are songwriters will obliviously be more comfortable with their own compositions but that does not restrict them from doing equally good cover versions. For me, though I prefer my own compositions I also like singing covers of my favorite artists.
As you are starting out your career in the music industry what steps do you plan on taking to reach your goal?
Do my work promptly, work hard. Hard work never goes waste, that’s a lesson I have learnt in life.
If you could have asked anyone for advice when you were starting out. Who would you have liked to ask? What would you have liked to ask? What would be your answer now?
During my initial days I have asked for advice with a lot of people whom I consider with high regard and I still continue to do so whenever I feel its necessary, and trust me most of the time they have guided me the right way.
From your experience in the entertainment industry what advice could you offer people looking to get where you are today?
Work hard to realize your goals, there cannot be a substitute to it.
What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in the music field ?
It would always be of great help to start early at a young age if you want to make it really big in the music scene. I personally started off very late but as they say its never too late to start. It would be great if singers could take proper vocal training and off course knowing to play musical instruments will be a added advantage. To be real professional at the national and international stage, the more in depth knowledge of music you learn, and the more you practice will only help you in a long run..
How many years were you fighting to get to where you are today and what was that time in your life like?
I have been fighting right from the beginning, still fighting and will have to continue doing so. It has been a very satisfying journey so far, and I feel proud of what I have achieved so far.There have been very difficult times of struggle, there are still but there have also been equally good moments of happiness, joy and I have savored every bit of it.
From your experience so far, what have you found to be most challenging? And how are you dealing with it?
The most challenging thing for me was to make a career decision, Few years back in my initial days I was in a situation where I had to take a decision on whether to go for a full time job or continue with my music. Full time job would curtail my music and full time music would lead towards a difficult situation in life. It was a mind-boggling and a very confusing situation for me, but I slowly overcame those feelings.
Those days after passing out from college I had offers to work abroad and was also forced to take it up. To take it I should have either minimized my interest in music or should have gave it up completely. But my passion for music I was reluctant to take up the overseas job offer, instead I made up my mind to stay back-which was the most challenging situation.
But I was well aware of the my limitations and the financial restrictions of the music scene in Mangalore. It would be always difficult to live on music alone so to support myself and my music I decided to start my own business. This incidentally realized my one more dream, apart from being a musician I always wanted to be a entrepreneur, to have my own business. Doing this helped me realize it.
Though my business takes a little beating because of my hectic music schedule, but being your own boss enables me to provide ample time for my music and today I feel glad that i am doing two of my dream jobs simultaneously. Sometimes I find it difficult to switch between the two ,but I definitely enjoy doing it.
Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
The proudest moment for me as a composer comes every time I see the audience sing or hum my tune or when they call foe encores. Be it in a show or anywhere else whenever I notice anyone singing my tune I feel happy about it. There can be no bigger joy for a composer than to see the audience sing his tune.
What aspirations do you have for your group?
All of us in our band are passionate musicians but everybody including me have some other profession to deal with so it is a little difficult for us to think too far beyond Managlore, but yes within our limits we have a lot of dreams and aspiration to do a lot of things which we will reveal with time. But for right now we want to tell our fans that we will continue making good music for everybody.
Can you tell us about the formation/reformation of the group? What made you and how did you all got-together?
I started as a individual solo artist, in the year 2004,and same year released my first album. The band was formed in 2009 and was named as “Milestone”. I started the band with my parish mate Ashwin Sequeira, who happens to be the co-vocalists and also rhythm guitarist . Later few other amateur musicians joined our band, and we started playing locally and on a small scale since many of the new band members were beginners, and were just budding musicians. Those were the initial start-up days of “Milestone”.
Later gaining more experience while playing at various occasions, new fold of talented artists joined in, and through our practice and hard work we started getting booked for many events, shows, parties etc. With Jackson Noronha on Keyboards, Clyde Lobo on lead guitar, Rikith Soans on bass guitar, Sanjeeth Rodrigues on drums , Munita Veigas as the female vocalists along with Ashwin and me working together, we eventually have become one of the top bands in the city-and we are extremely proud of our stature.
What kind of music influences your song writing? Are there any artists that inspire you?
I have had exposure to various kinds of music, as a school going boy the only music that was played at home was on cassettes from some konkani composers and old hindi movies, also Hindi film music that was aired on Doordarshan which I got hooked to. As I grew up along with the wide expansion and increasing impact of media from just doordarshan to modern day Internet I got exposed to a whole new world of music from around the world from folk to rock, Jazz, pop, fusion etc cutting across the barriers of language and genres.
The music that I heard as a school going boy till the present day has always had a influence on my songwriting and has been instrumental in shaping my own compositions. I have derived my inspiration form all kinds of music that I am exposed to.
When you write, what comes first usually-lyrics, melody , feel? How many original songs have you composed, and what are they mostly based on ?
I have worked in all different forms, there are songs for which melody was composed first and then the lyrics were written; there are other songs where the tune was composed for the already written poetry; and then there are some other songs where the tune and lyrics flowed together. Apart from writing my own lyrics I have also composed music for the poetry’s of some of the great poets of konkani.
As of now I’ve composed around 100 songs, of which 50 plus are already been released, the rest of the songs will will get get the final touch when the right time comes. My compositions are based on various topics like Music, Love, Women, Rain, Wine, Nature, Environment, Social Awareness issues, Morals, Human values, Hope, Passion, Youth and so on.
Are you planning on releasing any album shortly? What’s next stored for you guys? Any upcoming events?
Yes we have shows coming up after the lent season- We are proud of the fact that after the great legends like Wilfy Rembimbus and many other singers, we have been the only among the younger generation in konkani music to have consistently performed and presented so many shows. We have strived hard in inducing new, fresh blend into konkani music with our experiments and innovation adding wide variety of genres, lyrics, presentation etc, thereby getting good response for it from all around. And we intend to continue doing so. We are looking for more and more opportunities to perform this at various destinations and unleash our music talents and present it to a new and wider audience.
And about the Album I am not sure when it would be released, but definitely yes when the right time comes, since there a still lots of compositions which are waiting to see the light of the day. Apart from these we are stormed with lot of gigs, wedding bands etc already lined up.
Are you proud that you are a musician now ? What if you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing or what do you think you’d be doing?
Yes I am very much proud, happy and satisfied of the choices that I have made as to what I’m doing now. I would have been a entrepreneur may be as I said earlier but apart from that I have no idea what I would have been doing otherwise.
What would be your words of wisdom to the budding musicians?
If you want to achieve what you desire for, then work hard and be ready to sacrifice those things which most people cant refuse. Never give up. Believe in your dreams, set your goal and try to achieve it. Dedication is the important mantra to attain success in life. Do not constantly judge your work but believe in just performing it – and surely success will be on your way.
In conclusion all I have to say is that, it?s fascinating and noteworthy to consider that Kevin Misquith and The Milestone Band has been able to make such a widespread impact on the music scene, and whose impact is much more long-standing. My message to “KM and The Milestone” one of the successful band of the decade is:
” You very well deserve the congrats for your hard work, determination and dedication for always fulfilling the expectations of the people when you perform. Making the impossible into possible is your own and unique style, which needs to be appreciated. Living up to the expectations is itself a great success and you have made it. You are an inspiring group and you are an inspiration for the budding musicians. I can say that strength, determination, challenges and confidence counts your success -and no doubt that’s the secret of your success. The latest success of yours in the field of music is yet another ‘milestone’ in your success story. You are for sure going to attain new heights with lot more successes. Keep up the good work that you are all entrusted with, and may God bless you all. I feel proud that I met you guys, and indeed it was a pleasure to do a write up on you. Long live Kevin Misquith and the Milestone Band ! Long live your music “.
Band Contact Info:
Phone : 9964667653; Email : ; Website: http//www.kevinmisquith.com
An Exclusive Interview by Alfie D’Souza, Team Mangalorean
Author: Alfie DSouza- Illinois