Introducing: Ramayan

Get to know the Sungai Buloh-based rock band

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Ramayan
Photo: Alef Syazwan Ramayan

Who are these guys?
Based in Sungai Buloh, Ramayan consists of Shafi ’i (or Pi’e as he prefers to be known), Amin Jali, Omar Saifuddin, Nadzrul and Naquiyuddin, or Que. Vocalist Pi’e and drummer Que were already friends from school. They met everyone else through Pitahati’s guitarist Zahar at his studio Ruang Irama.

Why are they called Ramayan? Did someone study Indian literature?
No, surprisingly none of the band members were studying Indian literature. In fact, the name ‘Ramayan’ wasn’t intended to refer to Valmiki’s ‘Ramayana’; it’s actually an amalgamation of their initial ideas ‘Isorama’ and ‘Jan’. It’s just coincidence that it’s also the title of an ancient Indian epic.

Okay, I’m listening to them right now. Good stuff, but why are all their songs in Malay?
Mainly because that’s the language they think in, which in turn makes their songs more honest – nothing gets lost in translation. And because they feel the need to create a Malaysian identity, similar to Indonesian musicians who, while staying true to their roots, have proven that medium won’t hinder success. ‘We want to appeal to everyone, not just cool English-speaking indie kids,’ according to quintet. They also explained that the problem with singing in English is that there’s a higher tendency to be compared to matsalleh bands.

So is it true?
What is?

Is one of them really the son of M Nasir?
At this point it’s kind of out in the open that lead singer Pi’e is the son of that local legend. In fact, some of his many idols include his father and Pitahati (his brothers’ band). That aside, the band’s other infl uences are The Beatles, Queens of the Stone Age and (interestingly) Air. They also like local outfits Dirgahayu, Iqbal M, monoloQue and The Venopian Solitude.

Where have they performed before?
Pretty much everywhere really, including Muzium Negara, which according to them was a pretty weird venue: ‘It was a seated show and it was so dark, it’s disorienting. We couldn’t see our audience, it was as if no one was there.’ Some of their favourite venues to perform at are Live Fact and Penvia Studio, the latter especially because it’s where they fi rst performed live.

Have they toured yet?
On their own, no. But they have toured around Malaysia with other artists such as Enterprise and Pastel Lite. They hope to tour once they have their debut EP out of the way, hopefully free of drama (one time, their van caught fi re on the way to Johor for a gig).

You’ve convinced me. What should I look out for from them?
Their self-titled EP will be released under Luncai Emas this month. We highly recommend 'Oh Dewiku’.



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