Sitting down with The Slipping Chairs

By Natasha Fernandopulle

I first heard The Slipping Chairs perform a few years ago at Breeze Bar at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. When they began playing, it appeared that they were making music simply because of their love for it and one could feel their passion.

The type of music they play is probably what catches your attention as their numbers are all acoustic tracks with their song selection varying from well known and loved songs to some unfamiliar ones to their originals. The genres vary from rock to soul to RnB.

So why not chat to the fab four of The Slipping Chairs--Dylon Manuel (24), Shivane Wickramasekera (24), Jith Sirimanne (25) and Chandu Fernando (26)?

My first question was how they came up with the name for the band, to which Dylon says, “It was because I fell off a chair while at Seven Degrees in Cinnamon Grand, while it was raining. So one of our friends, Previne, suggested we should call our band The Slipping Chairs!” A simple explanation!
“Playing music was a way of keeping my grandad’s spirit alive,” says Dylon who is also the director of a company.

“I have been playing for about eight years now and I must say that it was my father who helped me become a musician,” says Chandu, who works at Janashakthi as an Assistant Business Promotion Manager. Chandu says when he was around 10 years old, his father bought him a guitar which he didn’t expect him to play... and now, he is in a band.

“I feel I can express myself more through musical instruments than through words,” Shivane, who is a graphic designer, adds.

These guys, along with Jith, (who wasn't there the day of the chat) who is their percussionist and has a day job at HSBC, said, when contacted later, that they were brought together because of their love for music.

“Shivane became a fan of the music I played a few years ago,” Dylon says, and that was how he joined the band however Dylon has known Chandu for a few years. “We connected at different levels and we knew how to put things together,” Dylon says adding, “It’s the simplest form of music – it’s raw and it sounds best this way.” They say that they tend to pick out songs which they feel would sound better when they add their twist to it.

“We are giving music the place it deserves,” says Dylon, adding, “Back then we played it because we could but now we play it the way it should be played.” And as much as they try to push the boundaries they know that they need to take into account the Sri Lankan audience.

Paul Topping had been the man who spotted them and started working on them, Dylon says adding that the last eight months was when they actually grew into a tighter unit. “Our manager, Heshini, was the one who set us on the right musical path.”

At the launch of their EP a few months back, they realised what a following they had as they had to print an extra 100 invitations. Their first album will be launched on July 4, and will consist of their usual type of music along with alternative songs and a few tracks which will have a jazzy feel to it.

“I feel we can compare our music to two different colours, with both colours being good but different,” says Dylon, adding “Our parents, families and Nishan from Audio Image have been tremendously supportive along with our regular groupies who include one of my closest friends, Chinthaka!”

The Slipping Chairs plays at Breeze Bars on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as at The Bavarian on Saturdays. On Sundays the group performs at Park Street Mews.

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