From Jada to Daddy | Daily News

From Jada to Daddy

‘Daddy’ is one of Sri Lanka’s most well established and loved bands comprising of Viresh Cooray, Nimantha Kaluarachchi, Dila Hettiarachchi and Shamila Siriwardana. Interestingly it was known as ‘Jada’ way back then. The original ‘Jada’ cast did not feature Viresh but featured the rest of the crew and Sunil Perera’s son Gayan Perera and his cousin.

Of course at that time Viresh and Gayan were good friends having studied together at APIIT. However interestingly enough Viresh was invited by the group to feature alongside them at a gig. Then Gayan’s cousin left and Viresh was asked to come and join the band. After that they started calling themselves ‘Daddy’ and then the rest is history! However three years back Gayan left for studies abroad. The guys have played in school bands but have not played with other bands at a professional level. Dila has his own company Oareeses and the other guys pretty much have their own engagements.

“Music is not my career, I am working, but my idea is to make it my career. For the time being I am working at a bank, like most of the other guys who do part time jobs,” said Nimantha.

Viresh and Lahiru Perera who sings Rambari started Music Oven Institute.

Technical knowledge

“I have a studio as well with Lahiru and then there is the band (Daddy).” Music Oven is a studio. And then there is the music oven institute. At the Music Oven Institute they teach audio engineering. They have a qualification from the London examinations board, so they offer this qualification to students. There are not many schools for audio engineering these days. Viresh and Lahiru both studied Audio Engineering abroad and they decided to start teaching. “There were not many people who had the technical knowledge of how to mix songs. Music Oven initially started out as a studio, it is a production house. Then we moved on to Music Oven Institute,” said Viresh.

“When it comes to Daddy, it has been 10 years since we released our first original. Jada was started in 2003. Then Daddy in 2006,” stated Viresh. The group say that they do not really have a genre. “It depends on whatever melody we make. We mainly focus on originals. If the melody is more towards rock, the production will be rock based, if it is more jazzy the production will be jazz based. It depends on whatever melody we get,” pointed out Viresh.

When asked who comes up with the melodies, the group unanimously declared – ‘All of us!’. All four come up with their own melodies and they simply pick one – the best one and then they produce it.

Original songs

“We have been here for a while and it has been about ten years, so when it comes to concerts we could have done a couple of hundreds. We have done two albums and in the recent past we have been focusing on singles. The first album was called ‘Massina’ and the second album was called ‘Arabiya’. The two albums have around 12 songs each, so that makes it 24 songs and so altogether we have done 30 odd original songs,” said Nimantha. The group say that they have been inspired by international bands such as Toto, Maroon 5, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, and new bands – Alter Bridge and Creed, Aerosmith and Cold Play.

“Locally Rookantha Gunathilake has inspired me, I have listened to all his songs from my small days, and when it comes to International artists it would be David Foster,” stated Nimantha.

Daddy has toured many countries such as Australia, India, Dubai and Oman. “We had a crazy concert in Melbourne which was an awesome crowd!! And the venue was also special. The venue was where previously Boyz II Men and Kesha had played and even Enrique. It was the first time we had performed at a venue where international artists had performed.” said Viresh.

The guys first toured abroad in 2006 in India. “That was our first ever tour – December 31st night at the Taj Palace. We played for half an hour. It was the wedding of a very wealthy Diamond dealer.”

The guys said that when they play live they have three more session musicians. “They tour with us because just the four of us can’t get the sound that we want when we play live. Even when bands like Maroon 5 perform they have additional musicians, to get the sound that they want,” explained Viresh.

They are four diverse guys with different ideas and sometimes the ideas don’t match so sometimes they depend on the majority vote.

“We had a few sell out concerts, but we had this one particular concert where there were about 10 – 15 people, because the day before or the week before there was a murder in that location. We did not know that!!!,” said Viresh.

The guys admit that the music industry in Sri Lanka is competitive.

“Now the money has started flowing in. Back in the day there was not much money and it was hard to convince our parents that we wanted to do this. As parents they wanted us to go into something that would make us some money. But we believed we could make enough money and live a comfortable life. So we are heading there. We have pretty much got there. It is a competitive industry and it is a matter of becoming unique. For us it is going quite great. There are a lot of wealthy musicians living very comfortable lives. Even bands who just play for weddings they have a lot of money. These musicians make really good music and the fans love them. There are lots of people who come for our concerts,” added Viresh.

The band confesses that in the future the plan is to go international.

“We have some international arenas in mind that we want to play at. We want to make this a career. To do nothing else but go to the studio and record and play. We like the chemistry and we like how we work together.”

The group are planning a ‘Daddy 10th Anniversary Concert’ on July 29th. They will be having a series of concerts. We will be touring abroad as well. “This will be two hours of full Daddy Concert. It is something that is completely us.”

Viresh was quick to add that we have talent in Sri Lanka and we can compete with other countries musically. “Right now where we lack is sound wise. The newer generation that has come out is completely outstanding. They are in a different league. Musically we can definitely compete. Where we lack right now is audio quality and technology. What we don’t have is the equipment. We don’t have investors for studio sound. Now we have investors for live sound. Businessmen who want to invest on studios, they don’t have a way to recoup the money that they would potentially spend on a massive studio. Because of the lack of equipment we can’t compete yet. Technology know how is there. But we are miles better from where we used to be five six years ago,” elucidated Viresh.

The sky is the limit for these boys who practice really hard, they just keep raising the bar. Their combination is simply magical.

Pictures by Sarath Peiris

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