Down Memory Lane With The Sensational Koco Of Agnee


Quite unplanned, music just ‘happened’ to Koco aka Kaustubh Dhavale, Composer and Guitarist of prominent Indirock band Agnee. Music lovers consider Agnee to be Pune’s best band and among the finest rock bands of the country.

Pune365 met Koco this week who walked down memory lane for our readers:

“During my early days, I never planned to get into music. I used to play in a Pune-based band (Tall Fat Thin) for four years, but purely as a hobby. I was just waiting to complete my graduation so that I could pack my bags and join my cousin in his business in Africa. But fate always has its own plans…

“By the time I completed my studies, my cousin had suffered huge loses and had to return. At that time, my entire future looked very bleak. I had no clue what to do. On the suggestion of an acquaintance, I started teaching music in an apartment and in the very first month, I had around 160 students,” he recalls.

Although, music was never his first choice, it did come to him, albeit unplanned. Being asked to be a part of the then famous hard rock band, ‘Agni’, he was initially sceptical. Leaving his current lot was something he never wished for.

“Agni was a band of passionate college going students. They played metal and I used to grimace at that time! When we (my earlier band) won Mood Indigo in 1990, Agni was also one of the participants. Ours wasn’t a very sought after band then, but we were in vogue and played music which was seen to be sophisticated within the rock genre.

“When they approached me to play guitar for them, I was in two minds. I used to play rhythm guitar and learnt a lot from Sheetal Kulkarni, who actually invited me to this band. Whatever I learnt in that span of time was from him.

On the flip side, I also wished to break away from his shadow and grow as an individual. After giving this much thought, I took that leap and went with Agni,” he adds.

Within six month, Agni ended up recording seven songs and soon they were recording at Digital Domain in Bombay.

“Overnight we became a cult band. We started flying to destinations for concerts and shows. But the honeymoon period went on only till May 1995, when our bassist Juggie, our manager, Mandy and another friend Avinash, (who was a vocalist from my last band), met with a tragic accident.

“Since then, it was a huge vaccum in my life, till the point we started work on the album, ‘Mrityunjay’ which was the idea of our late bassist. It took us nearly 2-3 years before we decided to release it.”

In 2006, after taking a sabbatical from Music for 6 years, Mohan Kanan and Koco, with the consent of the former members of Agni, formed  ‘Agnee’, a Indirock band that became a sensation across the country with their very first self-titled album, Agnee (2007). After which there was no stopping them…

The band composed music for films like Dil Dosti among others, and their songs Sadho re and Lamha were well received. Sadho Re and Kabira (based on Kabir’s doha’s) created a new wave in the genre in association with Sony BMG.

They became the talk of the town by composing their most popular song till date, ‘Aahatein’ (the theme song for Splitsvilla), for which they won the 2011 Best Pop/Rock single Global Indian Music Academy (GIMA) Award.

Apart from that they also composed the theme song for the reality show, Roadies and featured in shows like ‘MTV Unplugged’.

Speaking on the changing trends of Music, he said, “Initially, the concept of being ‘a cool guy’ was, if you listen to international music. The pride of listening to home grown music was absent. We used to play three cover songs and then push in our original.

So at that time, if you could play covers well, that made you a good band.

Indian bands were not accepted for singing originals and that entire concept has changed over the years.

“Now, cover bands are not really looked up to. The pride of following home grown music is something that has increased dramatically. But the flip side, is that the Indian audiences are only listening and promoting Bollywood Music, which often needs a celebrity to become a sell-out.

Internet is the only option to promote independent music,” he adds.

He believes that the lack of acceptance for individual music is creating a gap for individual artistes to foster. The need to have a face for a song and that’s rendering the good soulful music off the shelves.

“We are working on figuring a way to make independent music pay for itself, even if it’s for the label says Koco, signing off.


Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur