Ever heard the fusion of a few different types of music like psychedelic folk-rock music before? Time for you to take notice in this four-member band which comprises of the first original member by Billie Blue (lead vocals) and Soheil Sanjabi (Guitarist / Backing Vocals). Soon after, Reuben Devanesan (drummer/backing vocals) and David Harding (Bassist / Backing vocals) joined the band and has been around the music scene for about three years now.
They recently strike the jackpot when they announced their first upcoming and anticipated album “FIND GOLD”. Catch them at their debut album launch on the 8th of September at The Bee, Publika, 8 pm. Another reason you should be coming to this event is also that it’s supported by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Marshall Music Malaysia and Epic Tribe. That’s when you know you’re in for a groovy party weekend!
As we’re excited about their launch, 2CENTS had the pleasure of interviewing these talented musicians on their journey. I bet you must be thinking about how the name came about and why they choose this genre as their signature music style. Don’t worry we got you covered.
What is the story behind the name “Billie Blue and The Nowhere Men?
Finding a band name is very important for us and it also has to suit our vibe and style of music. Someone suggested to us to use the name Billie Blue and find the rest of the name. At the same time, we don’t want it to be like a person’s name and the rest sounds like her side artiste. We all collectively love The Beatles. There’s this song from them which is called “Yellow Submarine”. It’s a cute song that is also an animated film of the same name. Jeremy, who is the lead character in the film is the nowhere men. I (Billie) remember being obsessed as a little girl with this character and I thought why not just stick to the name Billie Blue and The Nowhere Men. What started out as a joke for the name of the band turn out to be a hit favourite among our friends.
When did you all realize your talents for music?
Reuben – I started off playing the piano at the age of 12 years old. One week into my first week of piano classes, I realized how much I hated playing the piano. My parents spend a lot of money investing in my piano classes and didn’t want me to stop now. So, I was forced to learn it for the next five years until one day my parents told me to choose my own path. During that moment, I was into rock music and would consistently turn on MTV after school and watch the drumming specifically. Ever since then, I started drumming at the age of 16 years old and never looked back.
Soheil – I remember being in middle school and had zero interest in the subject that I was studying. I couldn’t picture myself having a career with no passion and soon became clueless. One day, my dad suggested that I should take up Mathematics. To be honest, studying Maths was the worst years of my life. As I grew up during high school, I saw videos of people playing the guitar and slowly decided to take guitar lessons. I couldn’t stop playing so much so I would be on it for about 6-7 hours, sometimes the university has to kick me out as they were closing. Then there was this moment where I happened to see one of my long lost kindergarten friend and my journey to music began. I started taking guitar lessons with a great teacher (shout out to Mark Thaddeus!) till today and here I am now.
David – Music definitely runs in my family as my mother play and teach me and my siblings the guitar. However, I never really had the initiative to learn until one day I was listening to U2’s With or Without You song and picked up the guitar and just followed the song that was playing. Bass line to the song was just four chords. Confidently, I started playing Seven Nation Army song by The White Stripes and realized at how I was adapting well to the song. Through that experience, I was constantly on the guitar and started learning the chords by myself. That’s where I was more gravitated to the bass of it.
Billie – I’m much more comfortable when I’m singing up on stage although I do play the guitar and the piano. Singing is such a freeing thing for me to stand up on stage and to use my voice to express myself. It’s always been my way of the following music hence why I started making songs and melody. I grew up in a music household as my mother is a singer/songwriter as well. Though I was exposed to music at a very young age through my mother’s gig, doing music on my own is really tough. Well into my teens I had no confidence to sing and sometime would lip sync in my room. After a tremendous amount of nudges and support from my parents, I finally mustered up the courage to sing on my own. Singing took a lot in me to believe in myself and I’m glad I choose that path.
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Billie, how does it feel like to be in a band with all male?
I am super blessed to have these guys in the band because they are all super chilled out and nice. They offer me constructive criticism so there are no heart feelings and we work well as a team too. Being able to be assertive is something I have to remind myself to do and no harm in saying no. For example, I’ve gotten comments like “I should shake my ass more” or “this band only got the opportunity because the girl is the main star”. Lots of people see a woman in a band of all male specifically, as a marketing tool and the message of being a talented woman or individual gets lost in translation. Although, I don’t get this internally within the band externally sometimes we do.
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Tell us more about your album debut, Find Gold. What’s the story behind it?
As for the title of the album, Find Gold has a nice ring to it and gold has a different meaning for each of us. Find Gold is actually from our single “Emperor” and the first song we wrote. Emperor is basically about everything that has happened before and will happen again. While we were writing for that song, we are all fans of Game of Thrones and I (Billie) read up a lot on historical fiction specifically I, Claudius that is set during the Roman Empire. It’s interesting to read a story that happened a thousand years ago and come to realize it’s actually happening right now too. The lyric “so long till the emperor finds gold” was driven by wanting more power and how some people can never be satisfied especially those in higher authority career is sort of the inspiration behind the song.
Who wrote and create the rhythm for the album?
Emperor was written together by Soheil and Billie but the rest of the lyrics were written by Billie. As for the rhythm, Soheil comes up first with the guitar tune then the bass line and eventually discuss together as a band on the melody of it.
What’s the biggest obstacle in putting this album out?
Soheil – I would have to say that we have to be very fast while recording as it’s a live recording of us and not multi-tracking. One of the good things we can get from this is, it’s faster, 4 to 5 takes are only needed and plus the energy is alive and out there. There’s something about playing together as a band and the vibe is there. The downside we had to overcome to live recording was it’s if someone screws up during the session, that’s it. We have limited takes to re-do as recording can be very costly. To be honest, we wouldn’t change a thing and will do it again for our next album.
David – We overcame that also because all of us have experience singing live and when it comes to recording, I have experience with recording an album with my other band, KAYA (the band) but live recording was something new to me. Certainly opens up mind and respect for those who do a live recording in their album.
Favourite part about being in this band? Why?
Billie – I love performing.
David – Opening to new types and style of music!
Reuben – It’s the flavour of the music.
Soheil – Doing original music, giving it our all and receiving the same or more love back.
How important is it for people to recognize the genre of music you’re doing?
It’s important especially in our generation now to remind people that this kind of music and mode of expression exist. Based on our experience, most of our audience was not necessarily exposed to these kinds of music and we have most people who took the trouble to tell us that they enjoy the songs we play, just they have no opportunity to experience it. Sometimes we got to shove music to them to let them decide on what they want to hear. It’s like how the music industry or media works nowadays, people are forced to like a certain kind of music, and what is cool to them and not be exposed to the many genres of music you have now.
To listen to their songs, you can find them performing in No Black Tie, Pisco Bar, and major events/ festival. Their single Emperor is now only Spotify here: Emperor .
Also, the line during the album launch will be Margasatwa, Golden Mammoth, Twilight Action Girl (DJ set). Remember, the place to be is The Bee, Publika, 8 pm on 8th September! Billie Blue & The Nowhere Men ”Find Gold” Album Launch. See you folks there!
Follow them here:
Billie Blue & The Nowhere Men (Instagram)
BBTNM band (Facebook)