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Asela Perera, Sri Lanka's newest indie-folk musician, answers a few questions for The Colombo Spirit on his music and the inspiration behind it.
November 1, 2011 (TCS) : Asela Perera is Colombo’s very own brilliant Indie-Folk and acoustic musician. Asela released a collection of home-based recordings in 2009, called the ‘Simple Plan’, which also resulted in two chart-topping tracks. Needing a breather, he took a break from song-writing until four to five months ago when he returned to create his latest album called ‘Paper Boy’. Meet Asela as he answers a few questions for the Colombo Spirit.
How did you get started?
From a very early age, music in many forms was available in my surroundings. Members of my family being musicians, it was quite natural to find a lot of reggae music playing in my house 24/7. Ironically, I didn’t start playing any instruments or attempt singing till 5-6 years ago. My first live performance was at TNL onstage in 2008 and although I didn’t get far, I didn’t exactly fall off stage either. It was quite the experience and helped me on the way to do far more creatively.
Who encouraged or inspired you?
My family’s always been quite supportive but the one person who constantly motivated me was my best friend and can even be called family. She’s an amazing singer herself and is a feature on the new EP as well. I’ve also always been inspired by the song writing and music of people like Jon Foreman, William Fitzsimmons, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons and Sufjan Stevens just to name a few.
Does anyone else in your family sing?
Not necessarily any singers but most of them play instruments such as drums and keyboards. My dad was a percussionist himself.
Do you listen to music which is different from what you produce?
My tastes have changed a lot over time. I predominantly listen to indie and folk music but I do sometimes listen to a range of alternative rock to reggae as well. I generally stay away from the radio though.
What’s on your iPod at the moment?
Atlas Hands by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Tell us a bit about ‘Paper Boy’?
‘Paper Boy’ is a seven song EP I started on a good year back. I’d done a collection of original stuff including an earlier EP “Fickle Kings & Drama Queens” but this time I wanted to do it proper. So I invested in some home studio equipment and took my time in writing the material and music.
It’s a personal reflection on events that unfolded in a certain period of my life and the songs are mostly acoustic driven. Influences played a part but for the most I felt that from all the material I’ve done so far this collection remains the closest to an identity I could have. A couple of the songs such as “Let’s Build A Taj Mahal” and “Run” have already received positive airplay on radio as well.
If you could try your hand in another genre of music what would it be? Do you plan to try out another genre?
Electronic. It intrigues me, it’s a vast area and to be honest I’m not an avid fan. But if mixed with the right elements it could be a fun genre to dive into. I’ve already done one track which has touches of that element on the previous EP and it was a fun experience, so I might branch out to experiment in the future.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
My closest friends
Any advice or motto that you live by?
“If you ain’t crying, why are you singing it?” – I think it rings true for everything in life.
In ten years you will be?
Me. I hope.
Haha, honestly I don’t plan that far ahead, but as long as I see myself doing what I love doing I’ll have no complaints.
Listen and download his music on http://aselaperera.com/
You can also visit Asela’s page on Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/aptunes
"These tunes are simply an effort to pull myself together in a world that's falling apart. No more, no less." - Asela Perera