The Sunday Leader

TNL Onstage 2014 ‘Best Band’ Constellation

  • Taking Home the Gold

By Ryan Johnson

This year’s TNL ONSTAGE winner, Constellation, consists of four young lads that share the same passion in music; Eshantha Perera – Lead Vocals/Drums, Janith Wijenayake- Guitars, Dihara Wijetunga-Guitars and Aseka Wickramarachchi – Bass Guitar.  A very unique band that shredded the stage with ‘Time’, ‘The Blight on Gaia’ and the cover of ‘The Outsider’ by Perfect Circle mesmerised your attention with their originatily and talent, which got them to where they’re today which is taking home ‘Best Musician’, ‘Best Original’ and ‘Winners of TNL Onstage 2014 – Best Band’. What more could you ask for?

Formation of Constellation

Eshantha: Well, Aseka called me up many months before Onstage was even going to happen, and he asked me whether I could join him and his band as their drummer, and I was definitely down for it. While I initially joined as a drummer, the vocalist kind of left before anything even happened, and I had to take front stage as a vocalist, and we had another drummer who came in. Unfortunately, the night before the preliminaries of TNL Onstage we had a bit of an internal issue with the drummer and we ended up without one, and then we decided to take the bull by the horns, and I took on the job of drums and vocals simultaneously. That’s pretty much how our band of misfits came together.

Awards and Feelings

Eshantha: Wow, this is an intense topic for all of us.

Starting things, I myself got the Best Musician award. I was actually backstage trying to calm my nerves and just chilling when I heard a chain reaction of shouts calling for my name all the way from front stage. Then someone came running into the room and told me to go on stage. I think the video would’ve captured me going on stage looking extremely bemused. Jokes aside though, receiving the massive honour of being the best musician among a group of extremely talented musicians is a big deal for all of us, not just me. It was humbling and at the same time exhilarating. But personally, at that time, all that was going through my mind was how badly we wanted the big prize.
Getting the award for Best Original was very personal and very important to us, cuz we put an incredible amount of effort not only into the composition of our originals, but also to the execution of it, making sure that our pedal tones and transitions were picture perfect. When we got this award that’s when we knew that the big prize was also going to come our way. It was an amazing feeling.
And finally, the big one. I don’t really know if we’ve still processed the fact that we’ve become the winners of TNL Onstage 2014 quite enough yet. Putting it in a nutshell, this was a serious, childhood goal for us, and we weren’t just another Onstage project created just to bag the prize and go our separate ways. We wanted this win, and we wanted to use it to go higher.

Simply knowing that we’ve joined the ranks of legends such as Tantrum and Hollow makes us feel so proud of ourselves. It’s been a long wait, and we truly feel like we’ve earned it. It feels amazing. I’m still up in the clouds and I doubt any of us will be coming down for a while.

Drumming and Singing

Eshantha: I can’t say I took to it with a lot of happiness at the beginning, as we were covering The Outsider by A Perfect Circle, which has challenging drums and vocals, and I was extremely apprehensive about doing it, but I’m proud of the fact that it was a conscious decision of mine to do it. Go big or go home was the one thought in my mind. As far as concentration goes, I think it comes down to muscle memory, or something of the sort. I think, that if you know the song well, and if your hands and limbs know where they’re supposed to go well enough, you can unconsciously drum while simultaneously concentrating better on singing, and once the singing is also mapped in your mind, both of them actually come together and then that eventually lets you do even more, and then so on. It’s a very, very good lesson that I’ve learnt and I know it will help me greatly improve myself and become more versatile as time goes on.

Influences

Eshantha: We are greatly influenced by the gods of Progressive Metal: Opeth. But at the same time, we draw influences from diverse genres varying from progressive jazz to death metal. Bands and individuals such as Scale the Summit, Animals as Leaders, Nevermore, Jeff Loomis, The Mars Volta,Tool among a few others, and our guitar riffs, compositions are greatly influenced by Keith Merrow, Ola Englund, Jeff Loomis and Michael Keene of The Faceless.

The Future and the Prize Money

Eshantha: Well, all of us have already decided on what we’re spending the money on. I myself am going to buy a good recording interface so I can record anything from drums to guitars and vocals, but especially drums, as I’m a major believer in live drums in recordings (I hate programmed drums). I’m also planning on buying some good cymbals for my drum set as my cymbals are frankly, quite sad. Don’t ask. Dihara is planning on getting a 7 string guitar, cuz our music is only going to get more and more challenging from now onwards, and Janith is planning the same, I believe.
Aseka plans on getting 5 string bass guitar. We are only going to go higher and higher from now on, and winning Onstage gave us the perfect means through which we can take it to the next level.

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