Unscripted and unrestricted: The K Town boys
The brisk and buzzing sound to have descended onto the local stage like a whirlwind belongs to the six charismatic and buoyant lads of Unscripted. They sprung up to local fame in rapid speed and took centre stage in no time.
We have Shamika Makalanda, the band’s lead guitarist, Charith Fernando on drums, Saveen Makalanda on bass, Shane Vincent on vocals, KK their rapper and lyricist, and Joel Fernando on rhythm guitar.
From “unscripted” genres all the way through to creating music at their cherished “K Town”, read the scoop right here as they let us in on their story.
Our originality sets you apart from the mundane. Care to comment on this?
Shamika: Well, the band was already in existence for a few years. We were jamming and felt the urge to do some originals. We did one track with KK and he joined our band during that time. It was during our EP launch in 2017 that the current lineup came into being. We started the band because we wanted to start something different, to cut through the clutter.
KK: Our music is about our stories and our lives. Things we see and the things we experience. H.U.S.T.L.E is essentially a mix of frustrations, and perseverance, whereas Desire is about a lady. Lyrical Attack is essentially on an ego boost, back then we made music despite monetary means.
Saveen: Our music, to an extent, denotes the system as well, because no matter what we do, it would come down to our roots.
K Town seems to be a constant in your lives and one that many fans question you on. So, what is K Town?
Charith: It’s Kotte, where we are all from.
Saveen: We dedicate a lot of songs to K Town. Even in school, we were always the guys from K Town. It could be a thing, a brand in the future, we’ll see!
As a group, your music isn’t restricted to one particular genre but is an accumulation of many. Could you guide us through this choice? And any particular reason for it?
Shamika: We come from various musical backgrounds. For instance, Shane and Joel like a lot of reggae. KK is into full-on hip hop and rap. It was Shane who gave us the idea to include some funk on one record. I’d say it’s a pop, funk and jazz fusion. But all in all, when people ask us what our genre is, we’d say that we’re Unscripted. Regardless of the genre, be it reggae, pop, or funk, we always have one sound in common. So to us it’s more about sound than genre.
Who are some of the musicians you derive inspiration from?
There’s so many! Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Anderson Paak, and Tom Misch – just to name a few. But we derive inspiration from anyone that sounds good.
Quite correctly, Unscripted denotes raw local talent. Is it appreciated enough in Sri Lanka? Can it be better?
All: No it’s not.
Shamika: It doesn’t revolve around the ideal workings of a music industry. It doesn’t have a mass following like the Sinhalese music industry. English music is pretty much a niche market. We don’t really have an industry per se, it’s just a scene, a vibe.
Charith: We delve further into the niche because we play originals. Even when it comes to media, because our music doesn’t suit the commercial platform, there’s a bit of a drawback. It’s not big enough to hit where we want to. However, having said that, we’d like to thank everyone who has supported us by attending our concerts and events, as well as those radio stations that have promoted our music. Improvement will have to start by listening to good music, ideally from school, teaching kids that good music isn’t just commercial.
Saveen: It would depend on the event organisers and how they treat their musicians as well. For instance, if musicians are treated badly, it wouldn’t incentivise, but would discourage them from wanting to work with them. Additionally, people dismiss musicians despite the fact that they’re good, and don’t give heed to the fact that these musicians might actually do something for the country.
Joel: People need to be open-minded and appreciate good music.
Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians and artists?
It’s all in the want to do music and how badly you want it. We have an entire song about it – H.U.S.T.L.E!
What can we look forward to from Unscripted going into 2019?
Our three-song EP is based on a live recorded concept. It’s going to sound very different from the album we released in 2017. It’s going to sound very emotional because it’s essentially a note to our younger selves.
EP comes out on 15 February. Tune into their social media for further details!
Spotify and apple music: Unscripted
By Chenelle Fernando
Photos Saman Abesiriwardana