Shaneil Devaser has been around the block. From his modest days of trying to break into the indie scene with rock Silverchair-inspired grunge outfit Crossing Boundaries, the guitar-toting (and sometimes screaming) frontman has been in the game long enough to know how fortunes function like the tide.
He saw downtime when Crossing Boundaries dissolved, but, learning resilience is key early on, sought to put together another band, The Endleaves, in 2013. Having released the band’s second album not long back, River Rock, the quartet is looking to take its alt-rock ambitions that the listening audience here has thirsted after for more than a decade.
River Rock features a lush pastiche of catchy tunes reminiscent of the 1990s, augmented by melodic rock guitars straight out of the 1980s. Tunes like All I Need and Happy underscore the band’s ear-candy songwriting approach while After and Under Water (Anna’s Song) add a melancholic twist to the proceedings.
The band today is not the lineup that began the journey, and with fate having shuffled its pack, the quartet now includes Shaneil on guitar and vocals, Riz Rashid on lead guitar and backing vocals, Cheryl Lee Yesudas on bass, and “Jarvy” Chamberlain on drums.
Q. What on earth is the name The Endleaves all about? Who’s bright idea was it?
A. Once upon a time in Timbuktu, a boy sat thinking through and through. Of a band name to call his own, this is true, with the colours green, yellow, red and blue. So, he wrote songs trying to find a clue, in the endleaves of all his books. Honestly, though, it’s just a band name!
Q. What is the worst response you’ve had to your music, and did you beat those people up for it?
A. The response has been good, so nobody got hurt!
Q. How difficult is it to get a gig for a band like yours and how have you worked around that?
A. Well, in the beginning it was tough, but I’ve realised balance is important. The Endleaves is a rock band, and should rock bands play unplugged gigs? Well, ask your drummer, it’s his or her call. If it’s yes, awesome, if it’s no, you gotta respect that.
But basically, we started with listing open mic nights in town via the Open Mic Malaysia platform, but it slowly grew into much more. Open Mic Malaysia now runs two weekly open mic nights in KL and PJ, and a monthly one in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
We’re a small outfit working on a small budget aiming to create sustainable and consistent open mic nights. This in turn will create an avenue for anyone who wants to express something new to anyone who wants to hear something new.
Q. Ultimately, what do you want this band to achieve and where do you realistically see it going?
A. Sustainability. It’s getting better all the time!
Q. How would you sum up the indie scene today, and what should the audience look forward to?
A. Merdekarya! It’s where all indie bands are welcome and the perfect model for an indie haunt.