Rock on! | Daily News

Rock on!

The band ‘Rock this Country’ have been creating ripples and making waves in the music industry. And the predominant reason for this is because they are natural. They are in their natural milieu. We can learn a lot from this group of people. They enjoy their music because music is what is natural to them and they are doing what comes naturally to them.

They are not in the business to make money or they are not in the business for the sake of competition. Melodies speaks to front man of Rock This Country Viraj Perera who affirmed that you last longer in an industry when it comes naturally to you.

Viraj Perera. Pictures by Sarath Peiris 

“Rock this country” was founded by two people, Terry Bertus and myself. We had this liking for country music and country rock music. So we thought let’s do something together. Terry is known for her good vocals and we started looking for musicians. This was during the timeline of early 2016. That was when we started looking for musicians,” said Perera.

Love is what drives them. Love for doing what they want to do. No pressure or stress. Just doing it for the sake of loving it.

“We are successful because we do what we are passionate about. More than trying to compete we try to be creative. There is this sense of freedom we get from doing things for the sake of being creative. A lot of things work for you, when you do what you do out of passion, rather than when you just try and compete.

I like working that way. We try to be creative and we are not driven by making money or be trying to rule the industry. Because a lot of things have worked together for the reasons I mentioned above, we have come to where we are today,” explained Perera.

The target is now to release three of their originals by 2018. The songs are still being written. Some of the songs are blues oriented. Ashan, the extremely talented lead guitarist along with the two main vocalists Terry and Dexter are working on some of the lyrics.

“Right now we are only doing cover music, but along with the cover music we do a lot of improvisations. We don’t just stick to the record itself, we experiment with stuff. We are being creative with what we already have. But at the moment we only do cover music,” said Perera.

When it comes to cover versions they do a lot of Eagles. Terry loves doing Patsy Cline and LeAnn Rimes and Dolly Parton. Dexter is very good at Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie.

“I try my best to be organized. We have a lot of good structures behind a performance. Beforehand we try to finalize all the details. All the important details are handled beforehand. We do not walk into a performance unprepared. The dressing room, the food, the travel itinerary and the size of the stage and the preferred songs are all taken into account. The technicalities are addressed beforehand, and it is very rare that we face a crisis at a wedding. Because those things can take away your focus from the performance. If a problem comes up, we try to solve it as a team. We do our homework for the performance,” pointed out Perera.

Perera himself is inspired Dire Straits and the Eagles. He confesses to like John Mayer. He likes Country connected to Blues. He is also interested in Eric Clapton. These types of music inspire him to write the lyrics he likes.

“As for Terry and Dexter, the artistes they like are inspiring them. Dexter would write something similar to what Kenny Rogers would sound like or Lionel Richie would sound like. Terry would do what she loves – Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton or LeAnn Rimes. Terry is also a good rocker and she likes rock. She is a soulful singer,” added Perera.

Perera himself likes Creedence Clearwater Revival and loads of others artistes. Locally he loves the bands Wildfire, Anno Domini, Flame and Misty.

“Playing with all of the performers I have had to perform with has been a huge privilege and most of them are like legends. Rock this Country is performing New Year’s Eve at Melbourne this year. So we are really looking forward to it,” said Perera.

Perera admits that music has very much been a part of his life. It is not something you can run away from he says. It is a calling. It is destiny. It has been an integral part of his life – playing with bands and different musicians.

“Next to God, music is the closest, and I have never lived without it. Definitely this gift of music is from God. It is in my blood. You can learn music but I have with me a group of musicians who have been born with this gift, and they have developed that gift they have already got. It is lovely doing music together with those people. It is a real pleasure,” added Perera.

He summed up by saying that his dream is to write songs and release some music that is their own. That will be popular and people will love it.

The band’s powerhouse front liners Terry Bertus and Dexter Batcho and the amazing bunch of musicians behind them namely, Viraj Perera (Piano / Vocals) Ashan De Silva (Guitars), William Jay (Bass) and Ruwan Perera (Drums) do cater to the toe tappers as well as the hard core dancers. When required, the band is also ready to fill the floor with those inevitable Sri Lankan Bailas. 

Performing live on stage 


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