Having set a solid foundation over the past three years, local punk rock band Keep Your Day Job! is just about ready to release its first album, which will feature the hit new song “The Great Rebellion”, a tribute to Guyana’s National Hero, Cuffy.
During an interview with The Scene the band highlighted the high points of 2012. “Last year ended on a high note for us. We went on our first international tour in Suriname; we played in new venues and put ourselves out there. Our songs got played on Surinamese radios and we took part in a Charity event – Youth Media Guyana’s toy drive, which was very fulfilling being able to deliver toys to orphanages along the highway during the holidays,” lead vocalist Gavin Mendonca said. “You can be dead sure that 2013 will be even better!”
So far the band has recorded six original songs which will be included in the first album of twelve songs. The other six songs are not recorded yet but the lyrics are already prepared. The album, which the band hopes to release by September, is just the first half of another set to be released as a follow-up. “Well the album as an intro track and instrumentals along with some of our songs that are already out like: ‘Ocean Air’, ‘We Are’, ‘Calculus’, ‘The Great Rebellion’, ‘The Man Without a Name’ and currently we are working on two more songs: ‘Sorrow’ and ‘My Valentine’.”
The band is releasing “My Valentine” any time this week. But what really intrigued The Scene was the tribute to Cuffy in “The Great Rebellion”. Asked to comment more on the song, Gavin said, “What I realise with rock music in Guyana is that the stereotype in the air is very thick. People think we are all influenced by the American music industry, but that is not true with us. When we write and compose music we want to add some Guyanese culture in it. We had the experience of playing outside of Guyana and people liked that; in a way we are ambassadors of music to our country.
“The main reason for picking Cuffy is that he is the perfect example of punk rock in Guyanese culture. Punk Rock is always about rebelling against ‘The Man’ and Cuffy was an oppressed human being who fought for what he knew was right. He was basically repressed and he rebelled – that is the definition of punk rock, to rebel.”
The lyrics of the song tell the story of what happened. It is about an oppressed man who wants to break free. To do so, he had to get the help of his fellow kind and find a way to overcome. The chorus is about honouring the past of the slaves and praising their hard work, commitment and undying spirit for their basic human right.
Lead guitarist Ryan Roberts said, “What we want to do is increase awareness for the country itself, blending in our culture into our music.”
But one of the band’s most praised productions is creating an Extended Play for Luk Haas of TianAn Men (TAM) 89 Records. TAM 89 Records was created in 1993 by Luk Haas in the purpose of releasing punk music from all over the world, especially the music from young, aspiring bands that do not have the international stage to be heard whatever the reasons are. Luk Haas travels all over the world hunting these bands down to give them the opportunity to be heard through his network. Keep Your Day Job! will have an exclusive vinyl of its music released this March along with two other bands from Suriname: De Rotte Appels (The Rotten Apples) and ADHD, this release by TAM 89 Records will be the 37th instalment of the organisation.
“The big picture is what we are doing as two young individuals,” Gavin said. “We started off with a dream and… [we have come] a long way. In a sense music is like a ship and we are the pirates. Punk rock music is our ship and we can literally go anywhere we want: we went to Berbice, Suriname and now our music is going to Europe and to the world. We are possibly the first punk rock band to come out on this scale in Guyana.”
With the assistance of its producer Avinash Roopchan, the band is now recording and releasing a lot more demos than before. “Everything with us happens spontaneously. For example: we don’t think about what to write and when, it just comes with what we’re feeling. The only set thing we do is when to release our music, on specific dates to commemorate specific events,” Gavin noted.
The band is going to play again in Suriname later on this year and plans on releasing music in that country as well.
Both Gavin and Ryan are studying music theory at the Dewar Music Academy. “We think it’s important to get more involved in music, actually learn music. Music theory is the mathematics behind music. Music is dying out in schools and that is sad because music is a big part of our culture. We think it is an important part in growing up and so it should be reintroduced into schools on a higher priority,” Gavin said.
In an effort to reintroduce music into schools, the band hopes on going into these schools and expressing themselves in a way children can relate to and understand the importance of music. “We can get them to do so many things in life instead of wasting time, it will be like ‘Hey pick up an instrument instead of going into gangs, engaging in underage sex and drugs which can lead to depression and suicide,’” Ryan commented. “Put down the knife and pick up a guitar!
“Why we find it important is because our band is a patrol of musicians. We share music with each other, experiences with each other we even made experiences with each other. It is not only a means of expression, it is a gateway to absolutely anything. There are no limits to music and its influence.”