Magic Box Mixup (MBM) needs no introduction. After their smashing success at TNL Onstage back in 2006, where they won two awards, the band has now become a household name. Over the years, MBM has made quite the impact on Sri Lanka’s music industry, building a legacy that is almost unmatched.
The Morning Brunch caught up with frontman Shaun Perera for a conversation on how things have been going for them so far in 2021.
Shaun Perera is the frontman for the well-loved band Magic Box Mixup. He started off simply carrying speakers to clubs, yet slowly but surely formed Magic Box and rose to fame. Walking down memory lane, Perera explained where the name “Magic Box Mixup” was derived from. “I was watching the show Friends, and Phoebe, one of the characters, comes up with a song name called ‘Magician Box Mixup’, which I shortened to Magic Box Mixup.”
Perera said initially the band was started off with his cousin back in 2005, but after a short hiatus, due to personal reasons, had to break up. His determination to make the band a success led him to gathering more musicians for MBM.
After lots of pitches to his fellow musician friends, the band lineup now comprises Dulaj (although he is currently abroad) on acoustic guitar and vocals, Gayan on keys, Guyrika on percussion, Divanka on drums, Shamin on lead guitar, Vickith on bass, and Shaun on vocals.
“With the pandemic, every industry hit a rough patch where we all had to replan and regroup our strategies,” Perera noted. As musicians, he said, they lost a lot of wedding gigs and the situation took them away from the corporate sector.
Talking about the fact that the pandemic has cost them a lot of opportunities to perform and earn money, he shared: “We do miss connecting with our audience, but we think having the chance to do our music through social media opened up many avenues for us.”
In terms of gigs, Perera observed that the amount of people who attend are fewer, but it has started picking up in 2021. “There’s a deep bond between the band and the audience, and it’s nice to bond with people again,” Perera added.
However, he did note that wedding gigs are a lot less, as fewer people are invited, so couples often tend to opt for a smaller band or a DJ.
Despite the struggles, Perera observed that the pandemic has taught them to be more appreciative of what they have – their success – and that their loyal fans aided them greatly in staying strong during the pandemic, giving them hope for a better 2021.
Perera stated that this is the time for musicians to shine and leave a legacy behind, also noting that a lot of new musicians are using this time to grow as musicians and improve their music while developing their presence on social media, which is what the rest of the industry should also focus on doing.
During the lockdowns, Perera commented, their audience was listening to their music, and “this was the time where we could communicate our message and give them something to look forward to”.
Looking at the pandemic in a positive light, he added: “We now have the time to get our music out there and work on our originals. We want to focus on the opportunities we have, instead of focusing on what we can do to make up what we lost.”
Despite the pandemic, Magic Box Mixup managed to release an original single titled Get up and Dance. Sharing the message behind the song, Perera explained that the song does not literally mean one should get up and start dancing, but rather tells a story of contemplation.
“We tend to get stuck in thought, sometimes neglect to just get up and do something we want to, and eventually regret the missed opportunity,” he said, sharing that the song promotes actively taking control of one’s life and achieving one’s goals, which, during these times, is a lovely message to spread.
The song was produced, mixed, and mastered at the comfort of their homes – Shamin’s house, to be precise. “As musicians, we realised we don’t need much to make music. We set up a studio at home, since we had a lot of time in our hands, and came up with this song.”
What’s in store for 2021
Sharing some exciting news, Perera revealed that he is soon to release a single. Leaving us in curiosity, he added that he didn’t wish to elaborate much on the song, noting that we should anticipate it. He did, however, share the message behind the song.
“If you listen to it, it’ll seem like I’m writing it to a girl, but it’s actually about what true love would essentially mean to me. I want to share that the love I have for everyone, and everything around me is my definition of true love.”
This song was written during the first lockdown, and Perera, although not someone who plays the guitar often, took it upon himself to learn and eventually came up with the chords and lyrics. He also hinted that the song wouldn’t be in English. With help from his bandmates, he perfected the song and it is soon to be released, so stay tuned!
Perera also plans to collaborate with smaller artists and hopes to help get the name of our Sri Lankan artists out there this year. Wrapping up the conversation, he left us with a few inspiring words: “Life is too short; go ahead and do what you have to do!”
With gigs coming back up again, and the world adapting to the new normal, you can catch Magic Box Mixup on Fridays at Sunset Blu, Hilton and on Saturdays at Re.Pub.Lk.