RYÖTJONES’ frontman, Kyren Thomas, gets candid with us on how the band got its name, their new single “Radio” and what makes RYÖTJONES the most exciting act at Good Vibes Festival 2019.
1. Let’s start with the basics. How did you guys come up with the band’s name? And how did the band come together?
Kyren: It all started in 2012 when I got the opportunity to play at a local festival. It was the first time I put any sort of band together and got to perform on a stage like that. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not always super confident on stage and till this day suffer from stage fright. So, I told myself at the festival midst a nervous breakdown that I could either go up there and be nervous and mess it all up…OR pretend to be this super confident character and just kill it up there and be fearless. That’s exactly what I did and do till this very day! Since Beyonce named her alter ego Sasha Fierce, I was like, “Hey I need a cool name for myself”. So I just came up with RYÖTJONES. I kept the name with me until it came to naming this band (which was a grueling 3-day process of continuous nonsense being thrown via WhatsApp). The boys loved the story behind it and they found it symbolic. So we just decided to call the band RYÖTJONES.
2. How would you describe your music to those who’s new to the party?
Kyren: We call it “Festival Funk”. We make music for festivals. So it’s always gonna be a party with us whether your in a janitor’s closet or on the Main Stage at Good Vibes Festival 2019 (GVF19).
3. Can you name some of the major influences for the band?
Kyren: Here comes a long list.
Internationally: Jamiroquai, James Brown, Electro Deluxe, Stevie Wonder, Mayer Hawthorne, Pharell, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, TUXEDO, Malique & D’Essentials, The GAP Band, Aretha Franklin, BB King.
Locally: Salammusik, Noh Salleh, Yuna, Altimet, Sonaone, Darren Ashley, The Venopian
Solitude, Tilu, Masdo, Black Dog Bone.
4. What have you guys been up to lately? Is there any new music in the works?
Kyren: We’re dropping a single before GVF titled “Radio“. We’re currently in the midst of recording it. It’s super pop-ish with our very own RYÖTJONES twist of flavour with horns and quirky lyrics. Hopefully, a month or two after GVF19 we’re gonna release a crowd favorite called “Blessed” which channels ’em old school rock & roll soul vibes.
5. A little birdie told me that you guys all have day jobs. Mind sharing what each of you do?
Aaron: He works for Amex!
Deo: He’s a full-time musician and sessionist for practically everyone in Kuala Lumpur.
Joelle: Currently works in a production house and also sessions for everyone.
Laura: She runs productions as well! All hail the bass queen!
Jazmi: He be showing us what life goals are. He’s all stable with Shell and also playing for us and Salammusik! Man’s a workhorse!
Monk: Plays for the DBKL Orchestra and also sessions for bands around Kuala Lumpur!
Amir: Also and orchestra lad!
Banni: The big man works for a production and sound team whilst being one of the most sought-after sax sessionist.
Kyren: I basically do RYÖTJONES full-time. My fat ass should be looking for something else to do just in case this all goes up in flames. HAHAHA.
6. How do you guys feel about the music scene in Malaysia?
Kyren: HOPEFUL! I strongly believe we’ve got talent to rival any nation in the world! Southeast Asia (S.E.A.) is like a volcano that’s about to erupt culturally worldwide, in my opinion. Culturally, we’re the last big frontier world wide. Just wait for it…S.E.A. and Malaysia about to be massive in the next few years. There’s so many hidden gems here.
7. Is there a plan to release a music video for “Dancing Shoes”? If so, when can we expect the drop?
Kyren: HAHAHA. We actually shot one which was supposed to come out. We basically indie-d it! Brought our own equipment, rented a supermarket for a day and shot everything ourselves. We just decided not to release it, though. Who knows, maybe we’ll release it as a bonus goof in a couple years if we take off! A solid/embarrassing throwback.
8. If you would have to pick an artist to collaborate with (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Kyren: SonaOne, Jamiroquai, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Beyonce, Bruno Mars, Stevie Wonder and Siti Nurhaliza!
9. What was the most memorable gig or event that you guys have ever played?
Kyren: Good Vibes Festival 2017!
10. If you have to describe RYÖTJONES in 5 words or less, what would it be?
Kyren: Most Exciting Act at GVF19.
Photo: Daniel Adams