Local Indie Rockers The Reasonabilists to Take 1st Step Overseas With Concert in India

By Lwin Mar Htun 27 November 2018

Yangon-based indie band The Reasonabilists will be rocking at next month’s 5th Orange Festival of Adventure and Music in Dambuk, in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

“We’re really excited about this trip—it’s our first-ever overseas gig,” said vocalist and rhythm guitarist Paing Lynn Aung, a restless, energetic 23-year-old with an appealing, powerful vocal style.

“At the moment, we’re completely focused on the gig—it’s all we talk about. That’s how excited we are about it,” he said.

The Orange Festival is India’s first event bringing together adventure sports and musical performances on one stage. The four-day festival will be held on Dec. 15-18 and will feature adventure sports including the 4×4 fury challenge, whitewater rafting, scuba diving, quad biking, zip-lining and others.

“I heard more than 30 bands from different countries will be performing. We’ve played a lot of shows at bars but have only done one big concert. So we’re a little nervous about performing with many other bands on the same big stage,” he said.

The band will fly to India from Yangon on Dec. 14 ahead of their performance on Dec. 17.

“We’ll have a total of 45 minutes to perform, and plan to play about nine tracks. They’re all original songs, mostly with English lyrics but one is in Burmese,” Paing Lynn Aung said.

The Reasonabilists’ front man Paing Lynn Aung (Photo: Aung Kyaw Htet/ The Irrawaddy)

“Most of our songs are in English; I just prefer writing in English. But we have Burmese songs as well. Most Indian bands’ songs are in English. We’d be a little wary of how audiences would respond if we got up and sang all our songs in Burmese,” he said.

The Reasonabilists were introduced to the organizers of the Orange Festival through a woman named Susanne Kempl, whom they met at a show. Previously, she had helped another local band, Side Effect, contact concert organizers overseas and participate in international gigs.

“She introduced me to the organizers and our band was invited to perform at the gig,” Paing Lynn Aung said.

The Reasonabilists formed in October 2017 and have four members, the three others being bassist Kyaw Lynn Aung, lead guitarist Pha Pha and drummer Ye Khine Oo.

“I’m really into music and started the band after I finished school. I don’t want to get a job and earn a living that way—music is the only thing in life that interests me,” Paing Lynn Aung said.

When he first started, he would write and record songs by himself and send them to the organizers of the Jam It series of local underground concerts.

“They told me I needed a band,” he said.

He got together with some other musicians including his younger brother Kyaw Lynn Aung, and their musical journey began when they formed The Reasonabilists.

“We all knew each other because we were doing music individually before. We share similar taste in music and are all into indie. So there are no big problems,” he said.

He added that, “We didn’t set out to make this kind of music; [the style] developed after we started arranging songs with all the band members. We love indie because it’s so free and really independent.”

Drummer Ye Khine Oo agreed. “It’s the same for me. I feel so free with this musical style. In the past I listened to a lot of metal and I liked it, but as I got older I discovered indie music.”

The band has performed many gigs at local bars and released a four-song EP, “Amour”, last September. The record, released by Bipolarbear Record, includes two songs in English and two in Burmese.

In Myanmar, the indie music style appeals more to underground audiences, and doesn’t yet have a mainstream presence.

“It’s gotten more popular in the past few years. Many people accept indie now, and there’re a few other bands. Each has its own style and is going well. Personally, I play the music I like and I’m perfectly happy with that. It’s enough,” Paing Lynn Aung said.

He added, “My family lets me do this music even though they weren’t enthusiastic about it. On the other hand, they didn’t try to stop me.”

The Reasonabilists recently signed a contract with Jam It records and plan to release their first album next year.

“All the tracks will have Burmese lyrics. We’re targeting a March release. We would love to reach international audiences with our music and this India trip is our first step. We will keep moving and trying to reach our goal,” Paing Lynn Aung said.

You can listen to The Reasonabilists’ EP “Amour” on iTunes here or via a different streaming service here.