A controversial spin to tunes | Daily News


A controversial spin to tunes

Naming a rock band after a car park belonging to a famous car manufacturer might seem a bit funny, and creating controversial content on powerful topics which are often seen and heard in today’s society is even more interesting, since we are compelled to listen to songs which have no proper meaning or sensible content to focus on. Continuing to give good and upbeat music to a particular audience for more than a decade is no easy task. It takes a lot of creativity, wit and talent.

This particular band was originated between two college mates, Buddhima De Mel and Mohammed Firaz, where they had only the box guitar, the bass and the vocals of Buddhi to be satisfied. Later on they were joined by “Maddha” and “Mahesh” who were hometown buddies of Buddhi. Their purpose was to form a full band, and it became complete with the arrival of a few more members, marching on to being Sri Lanka’s most potent and Hard rock outfit. So here they are, six talented musicians united as one family , who have their own talent and style, with Buddhi ,as frontman, vocalist and lyricist, keeps the audience enthralled with his unique style of blending English and Sinhala lyrics, Fira on bass and creating the band’s low end and being the spine of the band, Maduwan Rangika, “Madda” on guitars and Mahesh Aponso, percussionist , and drummer who can easily switch between the band’s classic Rock n’ roll numbers and laid back percussion, while Milinda Batuwanthudawe, “Milo” lead guitarist rocks the stage with his Epiphone Les Paul ,producing numerous blues riffs and mind boggling lead solos , and not to mention Nuwan Tharanga is a multi –instrumentalist , multi tasking with the keyboard, Bass or harmonizing with Buddhi. Whatever they do, they make sure that it gives one hundred percent, which has been a key factor for their success as a band. As a result of their amazing performances and unique potential, they made their mark on the musical arena by entering the finals of TNL onstage and once again provided a packed house of nearly 3,000 people with a truly spellbinding performance of Pink Floyd’s classic “Comfortably Numb”, highlighting never before seen showmanship, to brilliantly executed compositions, they stunned audiences with a truly intense live performance of originals and covers. Today’s focus is on one of Sri Lanka’s best rock outfits , the highly talented ‘Wagon Park’ with their amazing and highly active performances to lively melodies to keep the audience on their toes. Apart from the basics, Wagon Park has also independently released a live performance CD titled ‘NOW IS HERE’ which contains band originals , plus covers from renowned artistes such as Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. Their other album, ‘STONED’ the band continues to innovate, motivate and entertain the audiences to their hearts content! very soon they are in for another surprise , and we had a chat with Milinda, A.k.a “Milo” to know what they have rolled up on their sleeves, new plans and projects , with Buddhi who is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka next month. Milinda was good as his word and joined us for an interview within short notice, a fact which should be highly appreciated indeed!


Q: So how are things going on with you guys these days?

Not bad, we were on a bit of a self imposed break for personal reasons. Buddhi was completing his studies in the US. Fira was in India promoting his label valu records and I was in UK completing my Masters (In Maritime Studies). Good news is we are back now and picking up where we left off in 2016.

We have an entire tour planned out. Also new material are in the pipeline.

Q: As six dedicated musicians with diverse talents , what inspired you to start Wagon Park?

Our two founding members Buddhi and Fira started Wagon Park as a duo in 2007 and quickly formed a full line up with myself on lead guitar, Maddha on rhythm guitar, Maiyya on drums and Chikka on keyboards.

I believe that Buddhi had started songwriting and found that he had a knack for it. He formed Wagon Park as an output for his songs. To quote Fira “I started up Wagon Park with Buddhi when I was really young. ( For the longest of time I was the youngest member ). When we started the band, I felt like I have found my purpose. That this is something that shall last. This is something that shall define who I am. & ‘cause I also Like Rock “N” Roll, Who Doesn’t ?”.

Wagon Park was named after a Car Par belonging to Volkswagen. Fira wanted to name it Car Park, but Buddhi decided to take the Wagon out of Volkswagen and they compromised at Wagon Park. Though we should technically be Vagen Park!

Q: Are you mostly recognized as a Blues rock band or a hard rock band or do you follow other genres as well?

I’d say we are a mix of the two. Our songs can range from Folky to Blues to Hard Rock to even a touch of Early Classic Heavy Metal. We also have a couple of Songs heavily influenced by Baila.

We each bring a different influence to the band. But all from roughly the same eras. Buddhi is heavily influenced by Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan. Fira by Hendrix, Maddha Maiya & Chikka were influenced by the Sri Lankan Music Legends such as Clarence, Amaradeva etc. I was influenced by Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden AC/DC.

Vocals and Mixing was recorded and carried out in the US. We released that this August 2019, and you can listen to the complete album on SoundCloud.

Additionally we released a couple of music videos for two of the songs from that album (Which can be found on our official YouTube Channel - @WagonParkMusic-OfficalChannel). Another video is scheduled to be released next month - December 2019.

So even though we were away we were quite busy musically actually.

Q: Apart from Buddhi and Fira, the two founding members of the band, how did you join? And how do you make the best out of the talent of each individual ?

Maddha and Maiya were Buddhi’s hometown mates from childhood so when he was looking for a guitarist & drummer naturally he turned to them first.

I was approached by Buddhi to play lead through a Mutual friend called Ruwan (Former vocalist of Nemesis), and after we played our first show I knew this was different. Chikka was drafted in to fill in as a keyboardist when I left to continue my career at sea. He is also from Moratuwa and an old friend of Buddhi’s.

Q: You seem to have done some controversial songs such as ''Kannath naa Bonnath naa'' , ''Koheda Yanne malle pol'' , ''I'm insane today'' etc. And'' Hit the floor '' topped the charts. What are the themes which you mostly do songs on ?

Our main songwriter Buddhi wrote all those songs based on real events and the bad side of politics. We try to write our songs with relation to the times we live in and we believe our songs can relate to anyone in a personal sense as most people have gone through the themes we write about in our songs.

Q: What was the response like for your album ‘Stoned’?

Stoned was a learning curve for all of us. Maybe it did not turn out to the standard we would have liked it too, but we did the best we could with the resources we had available at the time. So we will always be proud of that album.

The fans responded well to be honest. We had tracked a lot of their favourites down. Most of the responses were online and you can have listen to it on our SoundCloud page. Your opinion is always welcome.

Q: Are there any particular cover versions of artistes/bands whom you follow ?

Yes, we do covers, but not as much as we used to when we play our own gigs. We generally cover artistes of similar genres. Beatles, The Stones, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Hendrix, Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd to name a few.

Actually we will be playing a few gigs down south and we will be covering quite a few songs from the artistes I mentioned. So if anyone is into that music just follow us on Facebook for more details on the up coming gigs.

Q: Any upcoming projects for the year 2020 ?

The good news for all the Wagonz of Wagon Park is that we have quite a few shows coming up during the December-January period. It’s basically a tour to promote our live album and a chance to get back on stage after three years.

The schedule is:

December 21: No Covers Allowed at The Steaurt

December 26: Live at Dirty South (Midigama)

December 27: Live at The Shack (Devata)

December 28: TBC (Down South)

January 4: Wagon Park & The Soul (Venue TBC)

January 11: Wagon Pafrk & Paranoid Earthling (Venue TBC)

Apart from the live performances we are also working on our second studio album. And hope to release a few music videos as well one is due in December off our Live Album and one hopefully in February off our studio Album.

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