What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
When I was growing up in Sri Lanka, we were facing a 30 year old civil war. It was a frustrating time especially for a teenager not knowing what the future will unfold. I was trying to find ways to express myself artistically and gave up my first passion, game of cricket for the love of Rock music, which inspired me to write my own stories based on the experiences I’ve had. Getting introduced to music of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and all the great bands of the 60’s & 70’s motivated me to become a Storyteller which led me to form my band, Wagon Park in 2007. I decided to move to Los Angeles in 2016 and ever since, I have been involved heavily in music projects with bands and my solo project.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
My latest release is the second single of my upcoming full length concept album which is based on a fictional character who’s a reincarnating rebel living from the past to the future where he becomes a leader of the people. Each life he dies by getting shot from behind by the same villain. The second single, I Have the Freedom releasing 20 July shows a present day situation life in a pandemic and fighting for freedom. The video is a live recording captured remotely by Guy Longstreet, a talented videographer from California and edited by Alexander Rodriguez-Hernandez. The musicians who’re shown in the video sent in video performances from their homes while being quarantined. The video features Bhargav Choudhury on Guitar (India), Blair Shotts on Drums (USA), Lucia La Rezza on Violin (UK) & Oneila on Background Vocals (Italy).
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Many great individuals from the past and present have influenced me in both music and non-music sense. Freedom Fighters, Poets, War Heroes, Musicians, Survivors, etc. Musically, the lives of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Freddie Mercury and Jim Morrison have had an enormous impact in my life. Furthermore, the true heroes, friends and musicians from my home country Sri Lanka have influenced me.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
My music comes in a cocktail of western and eastern influences as I was exposed to both at a young age thanks to the tastes of my parents and friends. My lyrics / stories come with a lot of pain and can be related to any listener as I’m sure, a lot can in some way or the other, to what I say from my songs. My sound is a social tone and the message is politically challenging.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
I’m not much of a reader but my all-time favorite albums are Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, A Night at the Opera by Queen and Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan. My top three movies are Goodfellas, Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I enjoy both studio sessions and performing live. In the studio, I get to explore my creativity and make art without any limitations, and during a live performance, I get to release all that creativity sharing it with hundreds of people who are having a great time releasing their stress and pain listening and watching me doing my thing.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
During the debut album release show of my band, Wagon Park, we had a friend cross-dressed to dance off as a hot model to one of our originals. Sure, we could have got a female dancer or belly dancer, but we went with the crossdresser and took live rock n roll entertainment in Sri Lanka to a stupidly different level.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
My previous single, Colors of Hate (No More) has a special place in my heart as a unique production since it has a powerful social message addressing racial issues, and the fact that I was able involve musicians from all over the world to be a part of the project made it extra more special.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
As a storyteller born in a third world country where English is not the first language, traveling more than half away across the world to do what I love, I have dedicated myself to producing music, telling my stories through melodies till my last breath. With the support of my fans, I know I will wake up every day just to do that.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
I would have never come this far without the support of my fans, family, mentors and friends so I take this opportunity to thank them all for pushing me beyond my limits to achieve what I never thought possible.
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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