Musical bands are synonymous with Sri Lankans when it comes to entertainment and we Sri Lankans love a good serving of music being brought out from our local talent. When it comes to bands that entertain us through their musical renditions, there is no doubt a growing number of musical bands found all over the country.
One such group goes by the name OHME, and yes, it’s the ever so popular card game that is also pretty loved by many Sri Lankans, young and old. With a name that spells out the feeling of being together and enjoying ones company as a group, we think the appellation itself is also ideal to their vision of togetherness.
We met up with the leader and founder of OHME, Randika Fernando. OHME first broke into the commercial music industryabout 3 years ago along with a collection of several original songs that quickly grew in popularity among the masses. Randika is also the Director of his own company, AAR Productions which also manages OHME.
Q: Tell us about how OHME was established whilst introducing to us your band members as well.
A: I always had the passion of music in me and was interested in starting my own band. After working for a number of years in a corporate position, I resigned and instigated my own production company with OHME being a somewhat subordinate element to the company later on. I first came out as a solo artist and gradually, went on to form OHME 3 years ago. OHME went through a transitioning process in terms of band members as it took a while to assemble the right people who could bond well together and form this fraternity of likeminded individuals.
And indeed, in time, OHME has succeeded in doing just that and our group of five members are going from strength to strength and we are proud of our journey so far.So, I contribute with the lead vocals where I mainly write and compose most of the material. We have Manji on the base/vocals, Shenal on keyboards/vocals, Praveen on the drums and Choksy on the lead guitar/vocals. I myself play the guitar on and off.We became popular thanks to our original set of songs which comprise of singles such as Mahasona and Mata Lan Wenna to name a few.
Q: You have been around for a while now, but had recently decided to commercialize yourselves. What made you want to make that move?
A: As I had mentioned earlier,wecame into the music scene through our original songs. Apart from that, we don’t limit ourselves to a specific genre. We play covers from English Pop music to the more laidback classical Sinhala songs; anything from Bruno Mars hits to VisharadaNanda Malini songs and more. We cater to a wide array of musical tastes in an appreciative, flavoursome and entertaining manner. Currently, we perform at weddings and corporate events all over the country. With our future aim focused on bringing for our fans more original songs, we decided it was time to make ourselves a bit more prominent in the field.
Q: You have a number of Sinhala original songs. Are you currently working on new material?
A: Yes, we are currently working on at least three original songs that we hope to launch before the end of this year. The aim is not to simply churn out songs for the sake of it. When it comes to creating newmaterial, we take our time and inspire ourselvesto come up with something that will resonate with the audience and which would ensure that everyone would enjoy for years to come. Also, we are treading on a path of self-exploration. We are constantly learning ourselves and this is also one way to teach ourselves about how music is put together in a way that would last for everyone.
Q: Tell us how your typical work day goes?
A: We practice twice a week. We do this religiously. It goes as in any other plan. We also perform two days a week at 7 Degrees North, Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, every Tuesday and Wednesday. We mainly play acoustic or lounge music to suit the surrounding mood so if you are ever there, you can drop by and check us out.
Q: What is your typical fan base? Is there a specific age group that you mainly tend to attract?
A: I would say that we have both, the young and old who have appreciated our performances ever since we first came out. So, it is pleasing to note that without encasing our fans under one particular frame, we have a loyal fanbase from pretty much all age groups.
Q: Have you been to or hoping to go on tour abroad?
A: We have been approached to perform abroad.We haven’t as yet gone on tour abroad but we look forward to commencing on that plan sometime from next year onwards.
Q: With Sri Lanka already saturated with music bands of all genres, what path do you hope to tread on if you want to shine amongst your competition?
A: It might not sound ambitious but, to us, I believe that we are our own competition. We aren’t here to rival anyone but, pretty much the opposite. First, we want to focus on our music and the genre of originals that we work on.
Q: AAR Productions is also involved with the concept known as The Jamming Room. Can you tell us more about that?
A: Yes. The Jamming Room is all about empowering other upcoming bands to come forward and showcase their talent to the country. So, The Jamming Room was initiated to do just that. Under AAR Productions and in collaboration with Yamaha, The Jamming Room comes as a platform for not just new bands but even existing ones to get together and perform once a month whilst also be interviewed.
So, we record the jamming session and promote them through social media. We have been at it for over a year now and so far, we have accumulated a good followership as well as line-up of interested bands who want to join in on a jamming session. So, AAR Productions, whilst engaging in a number of prominent projects, ranging from commercial and radio advertisements and corporate videos for example, also work on the jamming session, offering a more digital marketing aspect to the whole project.
Q: Apart from helping other upcoming bands through a platform of this type, OHME has also come forth as Brand Ambassadors. How does that work out?
A: Currently, we are brand ambassadors for Yala Republic, a merchandising company which is yet to be launchedand set to be run by Mr. Sashen Dharmapala, the Managing Director of Yala Republic. He is currently operating this venture from Australia. So, we perform with their attire at certain events and so this is another mode of promotion wherever we go. Through such recognition and faith in our performances, we feel that we are on a path towards realizing many goals not just for us but for others in the industry as well. So, do watch this space!
To find out more about OHME and to book them for events or weddings, reach out to themvia their contact details on their Facebook page – Ohme Band and you can also follow them on Instagram via ohmebandsl. Also, don’t miss out onthe Jamming Room sessions instigated by AAR Productions and check them out by liking and following them on the Facebook page -Jamming Room Sri Lanka.