Indie music in Myanmar has yet to really take off, but that hasn’t stopped local talent The Peacist from trying, and gaining a growing following.
The band, which will release its debut album this month, played its most recent gig at the Yangon Yangon Rooftop bar.
The small acoustic concert titled 9 Night recording, drew an audience who, though unfamiliar with the songs, waved emphatically in appreciation.
The band formed in 2013 and is made up of four members: vocalist Aung Chan Min, lead guitarist Nay Lin Htet, bassist Nyan Yal Wint and synth player Yarzar Myo Thant.
“We were all friends before starting the band. We wanted to do different music from what’s out there currently. That’s why we started making indie rock music,” said 22-year-old, Aung Chan Min, who has dark skin and a chubby face.
The local music scene is largely dominated by K-pop, pop, and hip hop music.
Prior to forming The Peacist, some of band members had set up a metal band, said Nyan Yal Wint.
“Aung Chan Min and I had a metal band before The Peacist, but we didn’t have a chance to produce our music at that time. Then, we met and talked with Nay Lin Htet and The Peacist was formed,” said Nyan Yal Wint.
Their first recording was ‘Nya Chan Mhoun Yi’ (The Evening Dark Time), written and produced by the band itself.
“We are all the same -- like brothers. We never argue with each other and always have a good time,” said Nyan Yal Wint.
The band played their first gig at a Nelson Mandela tribute concert in 2013 at the Institut Francais in Yangon.
Though the band is gaining momentum, they say their hardest problem is getting support from their families, who are yet to be convinced music is a viable career choice.
“We wish they could understand our music. They think indie musicians are not professional and that we can’t make money from it. But the truth is we can’t restrain our enthusiasm,” said Nyan Yal Wint, adding that hardship simply makes them stronger.
“The more problems we face, the more we are determined to stand up and beat them. We can overcome all our problems with The Peacist,” said Aung Chan Min.
The band takes its inspiration from bands such as Coldplay, The Strokes, local musician Khin Maung Toe and other indie rock bands.
The band records all of its material in Yarzar’s home studio, with the instruments played through computer software.
“We don’t even use guitar effects,” said Aung Chan Min.
The band has finished recording a total of six tracks for their duet album, which also features the band General Tiger Gun.
“When the album comes out, please listen to our songs and give us feedback,” said Aung Chan Min.