Bringing together music, stories, pictures and social
issues that blend into one sensory journey, the Collective is set
to change the way we look at websites and enjoy music. Marisa de
Silva speaks to the group to find out more
Halo’ (HPH): a Collective. Make any sense? Of course not.
How could it, when it is just one-day-old? HPH is a multi-sensory
experience: musical, visual and textual. It is the brainchild of
a group of nine friends cum professionals from diverse fields, who
have joined their innovative talents together to create Sri Lanka’s
foremost broadband entertainment site. In crux, the nine make up
the Collective and HPH, the site.
read up a bit on the venture and hearing excerpts of it from the
creators themselves, I had a vague idea of what it was all about,
but was still unsure what exactly to expect. However, on meeting
with the ‘The Collective’ and chatting with them about
their “beloved project” for about two hours, everything
seemed to come together, and I was able to see the bigger picture.
What with the new age of blogs, personal websites and online forums,
and with some even claiming the possibility of online writing being
deemed as the Fifth Estate, HPH may well set the stage for the future.
Backtracking to the birth of HPH, I’m told that
it all began when Ranil (Goonawardene) propositioned Marsh (Dodanwela)
to sing a song Ranil had written. Marsh agreed instantly and before
either of them knew it, they had found the ideal match in each other.
Before long, the two new found ‘Rock-Mates’ co-wrote
over a dozen songs and set them to music. This being done, they
made a landmark decision to become a studio band. Quite unplanned,
Hit Factory became the duo’s regular hideout, where they started
out on a frenzy of recordings.
Marsh started sketching various images related to the songs, a visual
interpretation of each of their works, as an attempt to come up
with apt titles for them. As the number of images grew, an idea
of creating a comic strip for the album sleeve blossomed. Then entered
the third member of the collective Marissa (Jansz), who was handed
over the task of conceptualising and writing the plot. Somewhere
down the line, the plan took on a change of course and the comic
strip evolves into a fully-fledged, web-based story, written and
is where the two IT guys Chathuranga (Neminda) and André
(Perera) joined the bandwagon to delve into the depths of cyber
space to construct the website.
(who wishes to remain anonymous) was the next to enter the scene
by contributing his musical expertise with the Collective, particularly
with regards to the recording process. Madhuka (Karunaratne), appointed
co-writer to Marissa, Chamath (Ariyadasa) and Rohith (Pradeep) who
joined forces to introduce, promote and create awareness on the
Collective, were the last of the Collective to saddle up. With the
entire group intact, HPH was all set and ready to go.
One of the most novel features of the site is how each
of the three key elements whilst being linked to each other, is,
at the same time able to stand on its own, said Marsh. However,
experiencing the three elements simultaneously is recommended if
one is to maximise one’s viewing pleasure by enabling the
visitor to experience the core essence of HPH experience.
another unique attribute of HPH is that it is the first time an
amalgam of this kind has been undertaken in the country. In addition,
they are the only group of its kind to produce its music entirely
on its own, as they now record at ‘Studio e’, of which
Ranil is a partner.
with “Black Eye Lullaby” termed Chapter I, every song
will be released with a co-related story, said Marissa. The nexus
between both the song and story lie within the role of the protagonist,
around whom both elements revolve. “Black Eye Lullaby”
as coined by the Collective, is bullet-rock (a mix of industrial-rock,
Nu metal and acoustic), a type of music which they feel successfully
captures the general mood of the song and emotional state of the
the song wasn’t written with any particular intent in mind,
once the Collective sat together and dissected the song, word by
word, they unanimously found hidden references to the theme of domestic
violence, said Ranil. The varying beats interwoven with the overdriven
guitars and subliminal audio snatches, together with the diverse
vocal expressions, help the listener travel through different moods
and tumultuous emotions conveyed through the song. The website will
join together the music with the storyline on one common platform,
piped in Marsh.
song is currently available via streaming audio (utilising Flash
technology) on the site. The songs may not directly deal with a
certain issue but may have more subtle undertones to it, which may
hold some sort of metaphorical significance to the selected theme,
said Marissa. Some of the other social issues addressed via their
music are teenage suicide, clinical depression, psychosis, schizophrenia
and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, victims of which are
generally cast away and labelled by society as badly behaved or
incorrigible due to a lack of awareness regarding the disease, says
Marsh. So, it is quite apparent that it is not just a one-off issue
they would be dealing with, but rather several.
the ‘inner demon’
The overall theme of HPH is quite dark and serious, as
it deals with various social issues that are conveniently overlooked
by society, as they have a tendency to stick to issues directly
concerning them, or what has been considered socially acceptable.
The site deals with the ‘Inner Demon’ within us, being
the demons inhabiting the abuser or the victim, explained Marsh.
They hope to juggle the two concepts, black humour and quirkiness
in their work, but have to maintain a balance between the two so
as not to undermine the serious nature of the issues dealt with.
the Collective had planned six stories to be posted on the site
periodically, which will join together to make one big story. There
will also be a back-story to each individual story, dealing with
the history of the central character, analysing his/her behaviour
pattern and how he/she came to be in the present circumstance. “Hopefully
the link of the main story to the back-story won’t be derived
till the two stories converge,” said Madhuka. All the nuances
will then make sense, added Marissa.
IT duo described the working of the web angle of the HPH. “Basically
we’ll be featuring everything in one big package” said
Chathuranga. There will be a forum set up online, where visitors
to the site can either comment on existent postings put up by them
on various social issues, write up socially relevant postings of
their own or carry on active discussions with one another, said
André. The site will be upgraded quite regularly as they
will be monitoring the site to ensure that the content is in keeping
with the general framework of HPH. They are also working on an animated
storyline by culminating words, sound and images, thus conceptualising
each song or story accordingly, explained André.
As this is an entertainment cum awareness-based site,
they make available links to direct those in need of some assistance,
to appropriate institutions or NGOs, said Chathuranga. For instance,
they’ve linked ‘Women In Need’ as an aid institute
in connection to their debut release and related song.
round it all up come Chamath and Rohith who handled the promotional
aspect of the whole process. They will adopt a two-pronged approach
by means of introducing the Collective and promoting the content
of the HPH. Initially, they hope to carry this out via an e-mail
campaign, the media and word of mouth, said Rohith. If the HPH catches
on they have big plans for the future said Chamath, adding that
one plan could be to publish a book comprising a compilation of
all the stories posted on the site. Releasing their songs to local
and international radio stations could be another means of reaching
as many people as possible, elaborated Rohith. This will fulfil
their goal of taking their toil and labour to the international
arena gaining their recognition as well, adds Marsh. They may even
opt to move out of the studio to take on live gigs, chorused Marsh
term HollowPoint is a bullet with a cavity bored in its nose, which
causes it to rapidly expand upon impact, leaving no exit wound thus,
remaining embedded in its victim. The Halo part of it symbolises
the nine friends, working together on equal terms – in short,
a circle of good friends. Similarly, the Collective hopes their
message conveyed through their creations will remain with the people.
Visit www.hollowpointhalo.com for a ride through cyber space you
are not likely to ever forget…