Artists from neighboring Southeast Asian countries are beginning to draw attention in the Philippines, proof that music is indeed universal and can cross borders.
One such group of singers is Malaysian pop rock band An Honest Mistake who were just in Manila to headline Threadfest at BSide, The Collective last week. They were the only international band to perform alongside popular local bands Sandwich, Chicosci, Gabby Alipe and John Dinopol of Urbandub and Typecast on the show. They then held a solo acoustic show at Zili Bar and Restaurant in Cainta.
The band—comprised of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Darren Teh, Leonard Chua on lead guitars, Thomas Tam on bass and Ian Ng on drums—was formed in 2008 as an independent group until they were signed by Universal Music Malaysia early this year. Since then, the group has shared the stage with renowned international acts like Boys Like Girls, Motion City Soundtrack and Against The Current.
In September, An Honest Mistake released their first major label single “We’re Alright,” which is available on digital platforms in Asia. They hope to take their music outside Malaysia to a larger audience including the Philippines.
Music Geek got to know more about the band in an Q&A week where they talked about their curious choice of name, their sound, their transition from an indie band to signing with a major label, and working with Filipinos.
Why “An Honest Mistake” for a name?
Leonard Chua: One fine day, Darren was lazing around on the couch, watching a sitcom. In this sitcom, one of the characters said, “Oops, it’s an honest mistake.” So that’s where we got our name.
Thomas Tam: It’s actually a pretty common catchphrase.
How was the band formed?
Darren Teh: The band was formed in 2008. I started out as an acoustic solo artist and performing on my own. But then I decided, I needed more troops. I needed more power. So I got the band together. It involved one line up to the other but this is the line up that we’ve been through for a longest time since 2011.
How would you describe your music?
DT: We are a pop rock band. You can associate our style with Simple Plan, Yellowcard or All Time Low. We play happy, jolly music.
How did the transition from an indie band to signing with a major record label happen?
DT: I think for us, we’ve been doing things on our own since the day we began. It was a natural progression for us to end up learning how to do everything like the legal stuff, writing our songs, production, going through the right studios, planning our tours and raising our own funds. We have done all that on our own. When we signed on to a major label, Universal Music Malaysia, it was like an added advantage of what we were doing. Before we could just reach around 10 people. Now, it tripled. With the partnership with Universal and with a name that is known worldwide, we get an opportunity to share our music on a bigger platform.