Music keeps us sane | Sunday Observer

Music keeps us sane

They have rocked gig after gig, and even opened for Mr. Boombastic himself when he performed at the Colombo Music Festival in August this year. Now, the young performers do not seem to slow down any sooner.

Youth Observer sat down with KK and Shamika Makalanda of Unscripted to talk about their journey to stardom and what makes them do what they do. Read-on to understand what makes a successful band with members in their early 20s having their say.

Before we start let’s get familiarised with the six-member group. KK is the rapper, Shane Vincent is the lead vocalist, Joel Fernando provides backup vocals and also plays rhythm guitar, Shamika is the lead guitarist and his younger brother Shaveen is the bassist, while Charith Fernando rocks the drums.

This Monday afternoon only two of Unscripted’s members were able to see us. Others were occupied with other work but their presence resonated in the conversation we had with KK and Shamika.

“We come from different schools but music brought all of us together,” said Shamika explaining how the band was formed.

It is not an extraordinary one, Shaveen and his friend Nadun- who is overseas right now - were playing different instruments when they were in school (S. Thomas Mount Lavinia). Later a few of their friends joined in. Hence sprouted the band’s name Unscripted.

“That’s because no one played one instrument. They played everything,” Shamika explained.

Then, Shaveen asked his elder brother to join in, and then KK. and the others followed.

Even though their origins could resonate in tens of other bands in the island, their music definitely stands out. The young musicians do not restrict themselves to one genre. They experiment between jazz, reggae, funk and hip hop. This could be the reason why they are popular in the Sri Lankan music industry.

“Our music is influenced by artistes and bands like Anderson Paak, Tom Misch, Parliament, and Earth Wind and Fire,” KK said adding that they are now a successful band because they sell music that is sellable. “People like the music we produce. There is a market for it.”

It was an exciting turn of events when they released a claymation video for their EP H.U.S.T.L.E that has garnered over 4000 views since its release in May this year. The video made by Chamindika, a friend of the band, makes history by being the first ever claymation in the country.

Several months later the group impressively opened for Shaggy who rocked the Colombo Music Festival. That was the biggest stage the group has thus far performed at.

Unscripted achieved all of this within the two years after the group took their music seriously and wanted to make ‘real music that entertains’.

“We put more energy in creating our own music than spending time rehearsing covers,” Shamika said adding that KK and he are the main song writers.

What is their music making process like? Shamika or someone in the band will come up with an idea, could be political but mostly of their experiences of how they grew as a band and KK would write his raps.

Then the group will meet, make a riff, jam and patch things up till it's perfected.

Their upcoming single I-0-XVI (1016) is one such song. The song that will be dropped before the 29th this month speaks about how a person could have between one to 16 different personalities. Their first album that will be released mid next year will have a number of numbers that will be focused around different themes.

“We are very excited about its release. We have started to take ourselves seriously,” and that KK says reflects in their new music.

However, the band does not consider that they are in the place where they want to be in. They are aiming to improve Sri Lanka’s music industry so that other bands could also have the exposure they deserve. Also, they want to be signed under a label.

“Music is like oxygen to us. Even if our group was to fall apart each member will make music some way or another. Music keeps all of us sane,” KK claimed.

The young musicians said that the music industry is crippling because there is a lot of bargaining of prices making it hard to make authentic and true music, while making money. Unscripted is past that phase now, the two members claimed.

They thanked their parents for being supportive, especially during the beginning of their career, and a group of friends they dub as the K-town crew who has been around encouraging and helping them.

“We also thank the fans who come halfway across the country to watch us perform,” Shamika said.

The band’s ultimate aim is to make music that makes people feel good.

You can follow the group on:

Facebook- @unscriptedlk, Instagram- @unscripted_sl, Youtube- UNSCRIPTED SL