In this MC Watch exclusive, we speak to the local pop-punk band about sound, hair, and balancing work/gig life!
I’ve really wanted to ask this for the longest time – How did you come up with your band name?
Darren: I think we should make a bet right now – how many people will be asking this question?
Has someone already asked this?
Leonard: [laughs] Yeah, we get asked all the time. Well this name obviously is very carefully thought up. One fine day, Darren was watching Malcolm In The Middle, and somewhere along the lines a dialogue came up – ‘it was an honest mistake’. Sorry if you were expecting an inspiring answer [laughs].
You’ve already come up with three albums. What inspired your latest song We’re Alright?
Darren: Well I wrote the lyrics and came up with a rift and thought, ‘well this sounds like a really cool rift,’ and I developed the lyrics later on. But the content of the song itself is actually inspired by long term relationships. In relationships like these you don’t really know if the other person feels the same way, basically this is both like a question – and an answer! – in the same song. “Are we okay?” “Yes, we’re alright.”
Do you usually write the lyrics?
Darren: Yes I always write the lyrics and usually I would come up with the main idea of the song, and everyone puts in their ideas and we switch things around.
Leonard: Most of the time it’s about relationships.
Do you feel like you’ve grown differently since starting in 2008, or has your style remained the same over the years?
Leonard: I think our main sound it still there. From time to time we try to work with new trends, and elements with new sound to be infused into our existing sound. We play pop-punk, it’s pretty much our sound. If there are trends of EDM, we’ll infuse some EDM elements inside just to make it more exciting and relatable for new audiences.
Darren: For example our current track – we have the hipster sounding keyboards because that’s the trend now.
It’s always been the five of you for as long as I knew. Where is Ashley now?
Darren: We moved on without Ashley because she wanted to focus on her acting career. Acting, radio hosting, basically in theater. I was just hanging out with her the other day, she’s producing stuff as well. Because of her busy schedule, she couldn’t keep up with our schedule, so we just decided, let’s part ways and you can focus on your thing and be really good at it while we focus on ours. It wasn’t a bad thing.
Did it disturb your momentum?
Darren: Nah, no. We get asked all the time how we write our songs. I’ve always written in the position where I am able to sing with or without a second singer. Basically when she left, it was still alright.
You have quite a big fan base in the Philippines. Why is that?
Darren: I think it’s because they’re very American-ized so they like their American sounds and I feel that our music resonates with them. On top of that, people feel like we’re actually Asians from Asia and they identify with that.
Odd question time: Where did you get your hair done?
Darren: I’ve had my hair this long since forever. And I finally got sponsored this year by this place called Daisuke. Yes his name is Daisuke, real Japanese guy, and I’ve had this hair [gestures to his wild hues of neon pink, lavender, coral, and purple] for 4 months now. And it hasn’t changed or faded much.
Leonard: So that’s our Hair Tips 101 for the ladies.
Do you feel like your hair has become a part of your identity?
Darren: Yes, definitely. When I first started out I told myself ‘I’m going to have long red hair.’ That stuck since the day we started. When people see us from afar they see red hair and they go ‘oh that must be Darren!’
That reminds me of Hayley Williams of Paramore, she also has that whole crazy hair colour thing going on!
Darren: She has really bright orange, bright red hair.
Speaking of busy schedules, you guys all come from different paths. There’s an IT guy, there’s a graphic designer – how do you guys balance work versus gig life?
Leonard: We have our day job, and after that we need to hit the studio to practice, jam, write, or record. Most of our gigs have happened during the weekends. Sometimes (like this month) we’ll be travelling to Penang, and then heading to Manila, so weekends are gone. The only thing we need to cope with is the fact that we’re far away from family and we don’t get to spend as much time with them. Apart from that, it’s doable.
Darren: Once you’ve done something for so long it becomes normal. But at the same time it’s just really careful time management, that’s the true secret.