Rohit Shakya: Fostering Creativity With Fuzz Factory Productions
MTV turned pop culture on its head; it brought a completely new spectrum of music and entertainment into prominence through music videos and it opened new avenues for artists and companies. This was back in the 80’s and through the years, music videos have developed into extravagant mediums of expressions of music and creativity. More so, they were made in conjunction with every major song that was released.
Music videos are as relevant to the real world as ever before. They have become an integral part of our culture of consuming music in the form of visual language, which is why they are so important to audiences. For artists, it is an entirely new platform that propels them into a wider audience and becomes a large part of an artist’s general creative vision and output.
Nepal’s music industry wasn’t far behind either. Kollywood’s music numbers got the ball rolling; although too many of them revolved around the theme of jovial bouts of hide and seek between couples inside a maze of pine trees. There was a gradual improvement in the scene for Nepal, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that music videos really took up speed here.
Like everything else in this world, this did not happen overnight or through any one particular entity alone; however amongst the few names that come to mind when you really start sieving through the several bodies involved, Fuzz Factory Productions leads the way.
Fuzz Factory Productions is a multimedia company that seems to be doing everything right. Although they came into popularity through their production of music videos, they are also involved in documentary production and editing, HD filming, web design, sound recording, sound mixing and sound design.
Rohit Shakya and Prasiit Sthapit, supported by an incredibly creative and fun team, are responsible for bringing new direction to the slow growing industry. We’ve been fans for a long time now even more so after watching their second episode of Fuzzscape: a collective musical effort that embodies the spirit of experiential music and the amalgamation of cultures and artists. We headed over to their workspace to talk to Rohit Shakya about their work.
Rohit was always into music. He was involved in the local underground scene for some time before treading into the mainstream in 2007 when he worked with The Shadows. Come 2008, he met Astha Tamang Maskey and they worked on her first album and it’s production. This was when the duo first contemplated the possibilities of starting a production house; the premise for what would ultimately be Fuzz Factory Productions.
After successfully producing the album, they went on to make their first music video for a single from the album. To find people to get the job done Rohit called upon Rajan Shrestha, a good friend and the right person to set things on it’s way for their filming endeavours.
We want to give the viewers something new that they can talk about, something that gets us noticed, something that might inspire others to try something new.
“Rajan knew what he was doing and he helped lay the foundation for Fuzz Factory,” explained Rohit, reminiscing the establishment of their company, “he taught us everything there is to know about film making.”
This video set the pace for Fuzz Factory Productions. Around 2010, Prasiit Stapith, a photographer pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in India, came to Nepal on vacation. Rohit, who went to school with him, was keen to work with Prasiit. Although reluctant at first because of his commitment to photography, Prasiit tried his hand at filming with Jindabaad’s music video for Rewind. This was a larger scale project compared to what they were doing at the time and with the help of their friends, they put out material that would set them on their way to some serious work. A few months after that, they worked on the video for Sabai Thikai Huncha which instilled further confidence in them.
We felt confIned in the offIce space and making money. but going somewhere and actually engaging with the people and the art is entirely different and much better than staying in one place and looking for inspiration.
FINDING THE RIGHT GROOVE
Nepali music videos seemed to be stuck in a rut for a very long time, each video tweaking one tried and tested formula after the other. There was very little expectation from anyone to step up the ante, but that meant there was plenty of opportunity for it.
Rohit Shakya helped elucidate how Fuzz Factory ended up filling this gap, “we really wanted to put a good amount of effort into what we did because our eventual goal was to explore avenues that took us further from just music videos. We wanted to explore stories and lives. That’s how we came about to making the video for Topi.”
However, going from working for people they knew to more commercial clients was a difficult but important step. Being used to having full creative control of their work meant that relinquishing that to clients was going to be a little different.
“But different was good, it pushed our limits” said Rohit “Initially, our projects were with people from our own circle, like Kutumba and Rohit John Chettri. Working with other big names would mean more pressure and a heightened need of manpower to handle things. So we wanted to take it slow and chill.”
Rohit John Chettri’s Bistarai Bistarai was the music video that nudged their production house into the mainstream audience. Although the team was unsure about their output, audiences appreciated the video.
Music videos were what they started with, and they got really good at it. But, as a company, there were bigger fish to fry. Prasiit got really serious with his photography; adopting and honing a documentary style that even led to him being featured in the National Geographic. Fuzz Factory Productions also ventured into different areas.
They branched out into other types of media formats, delving into the production of small documentaries. Travelling became a regular part of work and documenting their times came as second nature.
FINDING THEIR STYLE
Fuzz Factory has created a sense of style through the years, one that artists valued and audiences loved.
“All our styles from the start were an expressions of ourselves. But quality control is one of the most important aspects of what we do,” said Rohit, shedding light on the importance of bringing out quality products.
He was very candid about deriving inspiration from the global market too. “We are doing things that are already being done all over the world, but it is new for Nepal. There are so many amazing things happening in the world but we put our own twist to it.” Explained Rohit.
Introducing 8-bit videogame styled videos was a first for the industry. Everyone might not have liked it but that was not the only point. The norm has been to resort to traditional ways of doing things, even in the creative field. But that completely defeats the purpose of creativity.
“We want to give the viewers something new that they can talk about, something that gets us noticed, something that might inspire others to try something new.
It is not just about the money, you have to feel happy and passionately about what you are doing
EXPLORING NEW HORIZONS
Fuzz Factory Productions have never been ones to shy away from trying new things. Their work domain has been diverse and expansive. Their clientele ranges from local artists to corporate juggernauts like WWF and Coca Cola, which means they don’t have the luxury of stagnating in terms of their creativity.
A new and exciting part of their endeavors has been their Fuzzscape series. Fuzzscape is a collaborative effort between likeminded artists exploring Nepal’s heritage, people and culture and expressing their discoveries and inspirations through music. And through these episodes they have fused the past, present and future of music.
When asked about the intent behind Fuzzscape, this is what Rohit had to say “Our main goal is to travel all across Nepal and make music. And at the end of that we would come up with an album and do a live show somewhere. It was our initiative to go and so something for the art and culture here. We felt confined in the office space. We were making money but going somewhere and actually engaging with the people and the art is entirely different and much better that staying in one place and looking for inspiration”
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE
The online market is one of, if not the, most lucrative frontier for growth in most markets.
“In the immediate future, we are focusing on our own shows in social media sites and we are trying to come up with a website that will focus on new artists,” explained Rohit “We are also planning on doing some live sessions.”
Rohit studied music production so he is also looking forward to creating a proper studio as well.
“We are very lucky to have a group of people that share the same mutual passion for our art. It is not just about the money, you have to feel happy and passionately about what you are doing.”
Our society is slowly changing, and accepting new ideas and the creative field is being appreciated as a professional line. This has opened avenues for new, energetic people who want to explore their creative abilities and find a profession that does not constrict them to the mundane 9 to 5 jobs.
Fuzz Factory started with the same passion for creativity and they are moving forward with the same values in place. Their work has brought on a positive turn in the media industry that has encouraged more people to experiment and break out of the norms. And thanks to them, we might soon be bidding adieu to the days of love songs filmed in mustard fields and instead welcoming a revamped media scene in Nepal.
Words: TNM TEAM | Photos: Pritam Chhetri