Thursday, 30 January 2020 06:38

Rocking it right!

Being in the show business for 32 years is no easy task, and to be so, it needs determination, commitment, and also patience. From his early days our interviewee in today’s article was determined to reach his goals, interested in music, inspired by the Gypsies, and went on to experience how it worked, how it blended together with different genres of music, how to create good music, and so on. In fact, music was his first love.

He sure had a bright future as the Head Prefect of St. Mary’s College, Chilaw , and ‘responsibility’ was a key word , As an outcome of that initial step, today he holds the responsibility of being the front man of one of the leading and noted bands in Sri Lanka, and being securely established in the music field for more than three decades, but still rocking on as always, being one of the most versatile bands for their unique sense of style in catering to any audience and genre, be it pop ,semi- rock, and western classical.

They have released 15 audio albums including ‘Clarence Unplugged’, ‘Marians Acoustica’, ‘Marians Miyesi Mantra’, and ‘Marians Sangeetha Nade’ in 1989. They started in 1988, and have been to numerous concerts overseas, and are loved by the Sri Lankans living abroad, as well as their audiences here. Their list of overseas concerts is endless. Their first tour was to Dubai, and they have toured around the world including countries like USA, Canada, Italy, France, Australia, Austria, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Bangladesh, UK,and the Middle Eastern countries. Their singles turned out to be popular hits such as ‘Hitha Hoda Kollo’, ‘Palamuwa Sinase’ , ‘Prema Nagare’ , ‘Thambili Pata Thambili Gediya’ and the list continues. Their concerts include, CT, Clarence, Marians unplugged 2017, Band of Legends 2017 , The Legendary band members of Clarence live in concert 2017 .

They were the stalwarts of introducing ‘Unplugged Music’ to Sri Lanka, which took the Sri Lankan audiences by storm, and up to now the concept which they introduced has set a bench mark in the local music industry, as a band performing house full unplugged concerts over the years.

That was not all. The Marians launched their own recording studio in 1997, which has now been relaunched as ‘Marians Studios’ equipped with state of the art multi -track recording facilities, powered by AVID High Definition 5.1 surrounds. The studio is capable of accommodating a 15-member orchestra, and does live postproductions, Cinematic music productions and dubbing. The Marians Sound Gear was launched in 2004, which is highly equipped with modern sophisticated high end and professionally maintained Sound reinforcement gear, which delivers a clear and smooth sound to their audiences. The Marians have proved that they are among the best of the best, being a most sought-after band in any concert, corporate event, dinner dance, sing along, party or an event. If you need to know about experience, you should look no further, because Nalin Perera is the ideal person to ask. He goes on to say that his worst overseas experience was in South Korea. Never a boring moment, one could listen to his stories over and over again! this friendly and amiable veteran in the music field took some time off his schedule to have a chat withy us on his career, experiences and opinions of today’s music industry.

Excerpts:

Q: Can you recall how you started the band, and what inspired to do so?

When I was small, maybe 7 or 8 years old, Sunil Perera and the Gypsies came for a show in Chilaw. So I went to see this show, and I was right in front of him you know, very close to the stage and I was watching him, and throughout the whole event, I never took my eyes off him because I was so enhanced. He was the character, who inspired, me and still is my hero. After the show I was thinking, ‘Okay, I want to be an artist like him one day ’ and that was my dream. Time passed. When I was doing my O/L’s, I used to sing in the choir, school events, etc. Then I wanted to start a band. That was in 1988. At that time, I was the Head Prefect of the school, so during that time, I used to sing Sunil Aiya’s songs CT Fernando songs, and after I started this band , my singing part took to several directions , like , I was the first Bassist of the Marians band. When I started the band , my mind always went after Sunil Aiya’s theories, systems and all .We tried to maintain that standard , what he did, and after that we produced our first album , “Sageetha Nade’’ I created six original songs, and on the other side , there were non-stop music. In that album also I tried to maintain the Gypsies style. So, whatever said and done at the end of the day , he was the one who inspired me to become who I am now.

Q: Ever since 1988, you have been a noted band playing all music genres, even in overseas audiences. How have you found the experience?

That’s really great. We started travelling out of the country, which was in 1993.Dubai was the first country we visited. The first time, when we were in Dubai, we had to do with the different types. I mean, most of the people were Sri Lankans, including the audience, but when it came top sound engineering, editing, writing, we had to deal with different people. That was the first experience. It was not like these days, we didn’t have the proper tech items, we didn’t know what to do. But however, we had to facer those challenges and I learnt a lot of important things from them, especially to know when we are travelling overseas, what kind of equipment, sound and facilities we needed to prepare. You know, as a professional band, when you travel you should have proper professional arrangements made. These overseas trips made me learn a lot, of course there were a lot of mistakes. This kind of job actually doesn’t have any degree or diploma in the Industry. This based on born talent. We have to find our own way when dealing with these things. However, that was our first trip to Dubai, and thereafter we have been to a lot of countries all over the world.

Q: How does it feel like, to be together as a band, dealing with people who have different concepts and ides, and keep the mutual understanding between the band members?

As a leader, who has experience, that is the most difficult part. Music is not the difficult part, but to keep people together. As you said, ideas differ, thinking patterns differ, behaviors differ. So as a leader I actually had some experience. When I was in school, leadership skills came to me initially. The experience I had helped to manage different types of people. Earlier I had the schoolboys. But after that they were dropped and new people came in, and still I’m finding the ways of how to treat them. Fulfill their dreams and needs, so that is the hardest part actually. This is our 32nd year. I think, first you have to listen to them. You have to fulfill their needs give the facilities, all the logistics, and then the others. So you have to fulfill first, and you have to act like a ‘businessman’ in that case, not like a musician. I think it’s a very interesting part, and today I have a very united team. They also already understand who I am and what I am expecting, what my boys are, etc. Wherever you work, you have to work withy different people. But the magic is, you need to have patience. That’s the most important thing. You have to listen to them, otherwise, if I get angry, everything will be ruined. Still I’m carrying on , god gives me the strength and patience to work with them . I think with time, people learn. Every month we have band meetings, and we discuss a lot of things, what they are expecting from me and what I’m expecting from them. Today, the band is moving on very smoothly, So overall, I think that is the secret behind that.

Q: As a band, what kind of genres do you mostly focus on?

As a band, we do all the genres. Because you know what, as a Sri Lankan band, most people expect them to play Sinhala oldies, pop, and as well as the English, Hindi and Tamil. We do everything. That’s why a lot of people say, that ‘Marians is the best band’. Actually I have those talents in my band, to sing all kinds of songs .It doesn’t matter whether we have the foreign audience right in front of us, we can cater to them. We have also done a lot of Hindi songs. Well, leadership all about understanding languages, at the end of the day. Be it taking it as genres, as you can see we do a lot of pop, rock, ballads, jive types. It’s really great as a band, it’s very nice to experience all types of songs and styles in this world. When we started the ‘Unplugged’ concert in 2006, the Eagles were the band who inspired us, from English music. We followed them and still we are learning through you tube, you know, today you can find a lot of tunes and styles from the internet. You can use those videos and documentaries to learn a lot of things. Even the sound engineering, lighting, concert experience, lot of things can be taken from global market. That’s how we are maintaining this kind of standard. And each of my band members are individually learning their singing, percussion, drums ,keyboard and guitar skills, patterns and styles ,so they can improve their standard and the quality. That’s how I maintain the band.

 


Q: How do you see the music industry now and the audiences?

Now it’s different. The newcomers are very talented, and I can see some people are doing really well. I must say this. Most private FM channels are not doing the right thing. Because at the end of the day when we talk about our fans, you have to get the super quality ,the standard and the meaningful things to maintain a super audience. But FM channels are delivering what they want, not what the audience expects. When you see the society , from a small kid to an elderly person, I think I have a responsibility as a proud Sri Lankan, I’m a father , I’m a husband , and I’m an artiste. So in that case, when you say something or say something, it has to be very responsible, because all the people are listening. You have to give all the good stuff. Today, the problem is they are free to do whatever they want. It’s killing the society. As a father, I will say, yes they can listen to and see anything , but our responsibility is to show them that this is good and this is bad. If you listen to a private channel for an hour today, there is nothing you can get out of it. All they use are filthy words, even in presenting. They are ruining the industry, so it’s high time it changed. The law of this country has to change. Social media is the other thing. But I believe in one thing. There are so many responsible people in this country, and you have to work from the bottom of your heart to change all this. To change the society, you should have some programmes. The laws should be tough, not only in the music industry, but in any field. As an artiste, I have understood, doing concerts with quality people, doing some quality music, the people who really want to enjoy the quality stuff will always spend their, money to come and see the concerts. Even in countries like Australia, UK, you can see different classes. Wherever we go, we can see both sides. When I go for concerts, I have experience, some so called ‘Educated people behave so badly with no manners, that it seems to me they are only educated in their subject, that’s it’. The problem is, today parents only want their children to learn the subjects , not how to respect people , talk politely and behave, even table manners and even in going to the washroom . My opinion is, you have to start from the kindergarten these qualities. When I these issues, I feel so sad and disgusted. We need to have all the kids belonging to different religions in one class so that will respect each other. Today people are selfish and won’t think of other people.

Q: As an established band in Sri Lanka, what’s the reason behind your success after all?

I would say, as time passes, day by day, there’s always something to learn. Only thing you will do one mistake, but don’t try to repeat it because mistakes are the most valuable things to learn something .As an established man, my opinion of success is, I’m not a greedy man, to earn money and pocket it and go. I always think of delivering quality music to my fanbase. I’m always thinking of maintaining the characters individually in the band. For the last 15 years, the band is still like this after all what we have gone through, all our members have completed more than 10 years being with the band. The secret is, before thinking about the customers and the audiences, I have to look after my band boys, and listen to their needs. That’s how you can get the correct output. As a band leader I know what is sound engineering, I’m a guitarist, I’m a singer and I know how to present. I’m always concerned individually about the band members, and I always analyze their talents. I talk to them personally if they don’t perform well, giving them warnings, how they dress, those decisions have to be taken at the right time. As a band leader I have the vision to think today, about the future, not tomorrow. That’s how I think about the band. Also adding new products and different types of concerts matter. So we are really doing well in the industry, weddings, corporate events, concerts, overseas trips, everywhere we’re doing really well. Already I have gone through all the obstacles, through my lifetime I have dedicated my whole life to this band. From morning to night I’m thinking over and over about the band, how to present the music stuff, keep the good relationship with the fanbase , our social media stuff, studying about the marketing stuff. But I know what the marketing in this industry is, after all my experience. So success means, is not my destiny. I will continue my journey. I’m still working so hard, tomorrow is a new day, so I’m not taking it as an easy thing. I love to take hard tasks, and work for that task. My band members too work in the same way. They know what to do and how to give support for my decisions. I’m really privileged to have such a band. Unlike those days our thinking pattern is totally different, we are thinking of giving the best of the best. In success you can’t point out and say ‘This is my success’. It’s a continuous journey. Day by day you have to improve. My motto is actually, ‘Say what’s good, and do what’s right’ if you can maintain those two steps, you’ll never do any wrong thing, and you have to do it from the bottom of your heart. Love people. At the end of the day we’re not taking anything. We have to keep everything and go. I love people as a human being. Religion doesn’t matter. It’s the way I deal with them. That’s the beauty of living that life. So I have to teach the next generation of how to do the right thing. You can make your life beautiful, when you decide to do the right thing. Think of all the beautiful things. That’s how you can be a successful individual in life.

(Daily News)

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