Austyn Goveas and Kishan Hebbar are both lawyers – turned – musicians. They are both graduates of SDM Law College and started their band KA-19 together with Austyn as the Lead Vocalist and Kishan as the Lead Guitarist. They hope to bring back the musical experience of old school rock and roll; add to that some alternative favourites and a sprinkle of catchy originals.
Q. Could you tell us a little bit about yourselves, your experience at SDM Law College and how you both met? What were your inspirations for choosing law?
Austyn Goveas: At the time, the law seemed like a stronger choice compared to commerce or even science. It was the ability to speak in public that pushed me towards law. Reasoning also played a part in it. As a realist, I love throwing facts at people *chuckles*. I met Kishan in High School and we’ve known each other since then. From High School itself, we decided law was a good choice.
Kishan Hebbar: The law curriculum seemed to be a natural extension of the subjects that I liked in High School. Also, the importance given to personal development through extracurricular activities like public speaking drew me into taking up this course.
Q. When did you realize that music was something that you wanted to take up full time? How did this transition flow from Law to Music? What was your experience in forming your band, KA-19, like?
Austyn Goveas: Have you worked in a law firm? I have! That experience in itself is enough to make you want to pursue something you love. Don’t get me wrong, I love a streamlined and routine life, but when you work for something that you build from scratch, that’s where real happiness lies! KA-19 was something we decided to start because we were serious about making it in this industry. In India, original music doesn’t have much footing. So we decided to play music that everyone could enjoy, in our own style. You need to play covers to make it in India.
Kishan Hebbar: By the time we were in our 4th year of law, Austyn and I were in a band and gigging became a regular feature. It was during this time that I seriously contemplated taking up music as a full-time career. Once I completed my law degree, I had made up my mind that I wanted to get some formal music education for myself. For the very same purpose, I enrolled myself in Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music where I completed my diploma in music performance. I then moved to Bangalore where I re-grouped with Austyn which resulted in the formation of KA-19. Forming the band was the easier part. The real challenge lay ahead in tailoring our performance to a wide range of audiences in a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru. Staying relevant and making it in the industry involves a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Striking a balance between your artistic side and meeting commercial expectations is the hardest part of being in this business.
Q. Did having a background in law help you in any way? Were there any unexpected skills that you took from law school and implemented into your musical venture?
Austyn Goveas: Absolutely! I have drafted all of our contracts for shows and with the ability to speak to clients we have moved KA-19 from just an ordinary band to a semi-corporate organization. Apart from our manager, PR reps, chartered accountant, photographer, our dedicated sound vendor, and engineer, we work with more than 10 people who play different musical instruments. All of this would not have been possible without the organizational skills one gets from the legal field.
Q. What were some things you factored in before making such a major decision to switch completely from law to music?
Austyn Goveas: Money and the audience. Everything else apart from this, such as the people we wanted to work with to the music we wanted to play, was decided and fixed easily. However, the money factor and audience were always hitting us at the back of our heads. In the first two years, we played so many free shows that I can’t tell you how bad things got. But from nothing to a 6 figure payment per show, it only goes to show that everything takes its own time to grow.
Kishan Hebbar: My passion for music was the main factor in making this major decision. Honestly, I knew that music was my true calling and I could not see myself in any other career role.
Q. Every career has challenges. What were some of the challenges you faced while making such an unconventional career switch? How did you push through those setbacks?
Austyn Goveas: Both Kishan’s and my parents used to hate this idea – emphasis on hate. I used to get reminded every single day that I wouldn’t make it and I don’t blame them. Parents do what they do – they look out for you. It’s up to us to show them and prove that it works and we did that. Now, whenever my mom says – “Why don’t you go do your masters?” I ask, “Can you see that new French Fridge I bought you?” She gets the idea. *laughs*
Q. Many of our readers are either currently in or have finished the 5-year law course and as a result, feel compelled to take up a career in law and are hesitant to take up a career path purely driven by passion. What are your thoughts on taking up interests as a career choice? What advice do you have for our readers?
Austyn Goveas: I have had a corporate job and I have done music purely. Honestly, I have siblings and amazing friends that pushed us to reach new heights with the band. I can tell you without a doubt – You need to figure out how you are going to get money. That’s what it boils down to in the end. If anyone tells you “Hey! It’s not about the money” or that you don’t have to do it for the fame, they have never spent a day hungry. A friend of mine told me this line – ‘Don’t let your passion feed you. Feed your passion’. If you let your passion become like work then you will ultimately lose interest – trust me on this. Additionally, if you don’t get a show at this point, it’s a depressing state. But if you have a backup, it allows you to keep up the fight because you know you can sustain yourself, without anyone’s help. Music is my release, and that is why I find solace every time I sing, be it on a stage or at a karaoke bar. My advice would be to follow your gut and back up your passion with an easy job that doesn’t need much time or skill.
Kishan Hebbar: The first thing to ask yourself is that whether doing this gives you the highest level of satisfaction and purpose in this world. The main upside of choosing your passion as your profession is that you are going to enjoy every moment of your work but this does not imply that life is going to be one big easy ride. You are still going to face all the hurdles like in any other profession.
Q. What parting message would you like to leave for our readers?
Austyn Goveas: You will have good days and you will have bad ones. Just don’t keep waiting on them, but, at the same time, don’t keep your hopes down. Solve each problem as they come and just ride the wave. Life’s really too short to be worried about something that hasn’t happened yet.
Kishan Hebbar: It is the journey that matters, not the destination. Remember that sticking to something that you love doing will eventually pay off in the long run.
Find out more about Mr. Kishan Hebbar and Mr. Austyn Goveas –
- Instagram: @ka19theband
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KA19TheBand/
- Austyn’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/austyn-goveas-554935146/
Disclaimer – All views and opinions expressed in this interview are personal and belong solely to the interviewee(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the LAABh Foundation or the individuals and institutions associated with LAABh Foundation.