Face-painting might be shtick in the cannon of KISS and other glam rock-oriented bands, but when Donamarie dons its “makeup”, it’s almost like warpaint. The quintet, comprising vocalist Aaron Leong, guitarists Richard Lee and Mohd Rezza, bassist Daryl Francis and drummer Amirul Aiman, plays a take-no-prisoners brand of rock n’ roll. Let’s just say, “subtle” isn’t part of the music’s vocabulary.
The band, which began in 2012, has its roots in the rap-rock phenomenon of a decade or so ago. Its sound is a reflection of its members’ individual influences, which, rap and rock apart, is of a funky persuasion.
Its debut album, An Inconvenient Relief, landed some months a go, a four-song affair which puts the band’s best foot forward, mixing tuneful heaviness with a deft touch of clever songwriting. Though still in the midst of promoting its current release, plans are already afoot for a new album, one which will find the band exploring the concept album juggernaut, replete with the theme of the seven deadly sins.
To date, the band has graced music festival IndiePG’s hallowed stage and reached the semi-finals of the Rock The House band competition. The band has a singular goal – to take its music to the international stage.
1. What on earth is the name Donamarie all about? Who’s bright idea was it?
The name Donamarie was a word play that stemmed (pun intended) from the idea of a poisonous flower. Coincidentally, Donna Marie is also the name of an award-winning British adult movie star. So, in a way, it is sort of a poisonous flower.
2. What is the worst response you’ve had to your music, and did you beat those people up for it?
We’ve heard it all. Your music is too loud and noisy. Your music is the devil’s music. Your music is so angry. Well, we didn’t bash them up for it, but I guess our music already beat us to it. We’d like to think we’re lovers not fighters.
3. How difficult is it to get a gig for a band like yours and how have you worked around that?
It is tough to get gigs for our kind of music. Firstly, we play non-commercial music, Secondly, we sing in English, which I think is not as well-received compared to English acts in other countries. The good news for us now is, with the development of YouTube and Spotify, we can reach a wider audience and not be confined to the Malaysian market.
4. Ultimately, what do you want this band to achieve and where do you realistically see it going?
We want to play a part in reinstating music as an art form through the stories we tell through our music. The dream is to be able to reach out to an international audience, and with the power of media today, I would say that it is realistically possible.
5. How would you sum up the indie scene today, and what should the audience look forward to?
The indie scene here is definitely coming along, slowly but surely. Each year, more incredible talents emerge, and it’s good to see that Malaysia can excel in the quality of its music. That said, the scene can be clique-oriented and that is exactly what music shouldn’t be about.