My first performance ever was probably during my college days. When I got a few friends together to play as a band in the Taylor’s Battle of the Bands competition. We didn’t even make it through the first stage, but we had tons of fun. And it was then I discovered my passion for performing.
We did manage to secure a couple of gigs after the band competition experience, playing for a couple of schools and one college event. But man, getting on stage, rocking out, yelling till I had no voice – those were great times. But the best part was hearing the yells and applause from the audience. I don’t know what it is about being applauded which makes it feel great, but it does and I loved every bit of it.
It wasn’t long till we started writing our own music and we recorded our first and only 4-track demo. Not long after we recorded it, the band split. One guitarist travelled abroad for his studies and another was busy with med school leaving me with a drummer and bassist. Sure, I could try to create drum n bass music, but I wasn’t into that.
Anyway, I still wanted to perform but I didn’t have a band to play with. However, my head was still full of song lyrics which I wanted to put down and turn into songs. Since I had no more guitarist, I decided to pick up the guitar on my own and write my own music. It was shit. I was shit at guitar (still am), but I didn’t really care. I just wanted to release all these pent up words.
I didn’t realize it back then, but songwriting to me was a cathartic process. It took me a while to figure it out that the reason I’m usually carefree and positive is because I don’t like spreading negativity (why be Debbie Downer when you can be Pollyanna?). However, since I couldn’t just get rid of my negative feelings like that, I resorted to songwriting.
I made some recordings in my bedroom and put my music on the internet for nobody to listen to (anybody remember the gEmo days?). I did this for a while until I started working at Inspidea and a colleague introduced me to the world of open mics.
She was like, anybody can perform, come on! Don’t be afraid! I missed the feeling I got from performing live, and so I decided to do it. My first session didn’t go so well, I messed up quite a bit, and there were like 2 people in the crowd (thanks Andre!). My second one came not long after that, I didn’t mess up so much (I think) and the crowd loved it. I don’t know, maybe because of the social commentary in my lyrics (I was singing about Friendster back then, can you believe it?). But whatever it was, they applauded and cheered. Even after the show I bumped into someone who told me he really liked my Friendster song.
After that, I started playing more and more gigs, and pretty much became known as the open mic guy because I was playing at every open mic I could. I started another band with a good friend of mine, The Wishing, wrote new tunes. Wrote more tunes for myself, continued playing. I took a break last year to write some new stuff, which I did, and decided to resume playing this year. I’m still a little rusty but it’s good to be back.
Anyway, I’ve got two shows lined up this month – so do come hang out if you’ve got nothing to do this and next Friday!
Gig #84 SHANEIL DEVASER – Live at The Gaslight Cafe Vol: III
28 August 2015
8:00pm – 11:30pm
Gaslight Cafe & Music
Unit 15-2, Jalan Medan Setia 1, Plaza Damansara, Bukit Damansara
Shaneil Devaser plays his guitar and sings tunes that come from the heart of a madman, lover and best-friend. Notorious for his slightly-odd behavior, autistic-like attitudes, half-construed sentences and ever-misguided truths, he often dives into a foray of lateral-thoughts and misguided-chords.
Shaneil Devaser will be playing three gigs at the Gaslight Cafe this August and has promised to add a twist at every show and curate a slew of musos for our daily open mic. Here’s the schedule for Friday, August 28th:-
2030 Bobby Tan
2045 George Wong
2100 Winnie Chua
2115 Ian Tai
2130 Shaneil Devaser
For more info on Shaneil Devaser, visit: www.shaneildevaser.com
Gig #85 – Merdekaraya with An Honest Mistake
4th September 2015
800 – 810 derpstep
815 – 825 2storeyheart
830 – 840 lux spectra
845 – 905 kent sim
910 – 930 jon liddell
940 – 1000 relent
1010 – 1030 army of three
1040 – 1130 an honest mistake