The decade-young music band An Honest Mistake sat down with us as we got to know them on a more personal level, which was— well, very honest.
An Honest Mistake (AHM) is a local music band quite unique from the rest. They are famous for their refreshing style of music that emulates the diversity of their personal taste in music as well as showcase the varied audience they relate to. There is no fixed genre when it comes to An Honest Mistake, and frankly, we think it’s what makes their music very catchy and ever-evolving as they approach their decade-mark in the industry.
Life of AHM as rock stars in Malaysia and the rock-and-roll of their journey thus far
Lead vocalist, Darren Teh founded the group and it was hardly something he anticipated when he was working on an acoustic project. So, was it all an honest mistake?
“The band started off as an acoustic project around the year 2005. It was an independent project for some time until one fine day I realised that this “project” needed more some energy hence I began scouting around for potential band members. AHM was an evolving potential that required pertinence and it grew from the networks within the showbiz industry. Band members were of personal friends circle, and some were networks through shows and gigs. Social media was just coming into the scene, hence it was slightly more challenging to find valuable members back then, but looking back now, I guess we did alright,” mused Darren, with a chuckle.
It was more than just sliding into each others DMs’ back then — it was building friendships with people with passion alike which makes it even better. It came a full circle when AHM made its mark with permanent members of the band who were the bassist, Tomas Tam, the lead guitarist, Leonard Chua, and the drummer, Ian Ng.
Of many hats and tunes
An Honest Mistake is possibly the only music band from Malaysia that has released a mixtape in the recent times which had their fans buzzing. They even released a Hari Raya rendition a few years back as well as an acoustic album. This makes us wonder — how does one describe AHM music?
“To be honest, there is no one fixed genre where AHM is concerned. However, we focus on making feel-good music, that has an energetic vibe. Some do describe us as a ‘pop-punk’ group but if you ask me, we’d rather not be labeled anything because our taste in music is so different as individuals, hence we want our individualism to be translated into our pieces as well,” Ian enlightened, as he continued that the common ground is to explore new techniques and be constantly evolving with time.
Had there been a theme for this sit-down, it was how in-tune the band members were with each other and their fans. It is easy to lose your identity as a music group to keep evolving without a foot-hold on your fanbase but AHM has that figured out too. They believe it is through their music they connect with fans from every nook and cranny in Asia. In fact, they are firm believers of quality over quantity when it comes to their fanbase. In a world where everything seemed to be validated by the number of your social media following and likes, AHM is content with the direction of AHM thus far.
“Our fans have grown up with us, and some did grow out of us, too, but hey, that’s how it is in this industry. We are grateful for the support of fans from all over Asia, especially Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan and even India. At one point, we were touring for two to three times per year, and the reception from all the toured countries had been amazing, and also very humbling,” Tomas recalled. According to Tomas, there are no hard feelings when they encounter a lack of reception from one season to another. He felt so because music tastes vary according to phases and moods, and it should be accepted as part and parcel of the experience. More importantly, AHM makes it a point to constantly work to bridge new gaps within their music and give fans the best of AHM every time they drop an album.
Another day, another adventure
AHM also is a regular in many local gigs as Darren believes it is the best way to garner new interests from different crowds. All of them agreed that the best part of playing at gigs at new places is the opportunity to meet new people, which in many ways than one influence their music too.
“We were playing at Klang the other night, and it was cool to be approached by some teenagers, buzzing about our music and pledging their support. They heard us for the first time that night, so it was rewarding to hear that and makes us want to play at unusual places like schools or even rural areas because you just never know who you could reach out to,” Tomas enthused, as he showed us shots from the previous gig. When asked about their favourite things about touring, they expressed that they look forward to the luxuries of hotel stays. One of the key takeaways that they mentioned from touring to different countries is that the professionalism that goes into stage setups. They felt that stage setups are so vital when it comes to playing at gigs and it is a surefire way to interact with your audience the best way possible.
“Also, when you are in a foreign country on a tour for more than three days, you couldn’t help but notice you start speaking like them, like I experienced in Bangalore, India,” gushed Darren, with a grin.
How about the influence of touring on AHM music? Does the touring experience have an effect on the musical journey?
“Funny that you mentioned it, because we can say to some extent, they do. For example in the Philippines, they love pop punk music and also hardcore nu-metal, so it makes sense to us to compose some tracks in such genre in a way to reach out to our fanbase there. Plus, it is an awesome excuse to learn something new, isn’t it?” says Tomas.
It must be exciting to be a rockstar, hence I could not help it but know — how is it like to be rock stars in Malaysia?
“Broke,” and that brought a guffaw from the group.
“Well, to be fair, we stay away from any notion that we are celebrity and I guess we are surrounded by family and friends to keep us in check. We are thankful for that because it really is not as glamorous as it seems. Rewarding, oh yes, but it is certainly not as how you see on MTV and Hollywood,” Darren explained. They explained that juggling between day jobs and being musicians have a way to level their focus on their goals, which makes them work harder to craft their music as they approach their ten-year milestone.
Speaking of a decade, how has AHM changed professionally and personally since 2008?
“There has been a lot of ups and downs throughout the last decade — certainly instances where some of us had a fallout with each other, misunderstanding, and what-not, just like in any relationship. But with God’s willing, we are still a team, more so than that, we are more than a mere music group; we are basically close friends too. It is natural to change as it helps the growth and maturity of the band too.”
A decade young
Of girlfriends to matrimonial life, boys to men, ten years is an astounding span of changes and growth. Yet, An Honest Mistake soars higher than ever before. In the spirit of New Years, what is AHM’s New Year Resolution for 2018?
“Basically we just want to take AHM music to the next level. Never before heard, or seen from us; we are just aiming for the stars in 2018. On the personal front, we vie to get to know each other better too, so that all of our cards are on the table and our goals are aligned where AHM is concerned,” Darren says, smiling back at his bandmates who all nodded in approval.
In all honesty, be sure to anticipate An Honest Mistake all-game to set the stage on fire in 2018. It has been a great year for them, and there is no doubt that there is more to see from AHM in the years to come.
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*Featured Image from An Honest Mistake official Facebook page.