After a week of eating good food and visiting relatives, our Raya mood has officially come to an end. But you know what are we in the mood for? Our monthly Men Crush Issue! This month we introduce you Kyren Thomas, frontman of the funk band RYÖTJONES who is killing it in the local music industry now. Dedicating his life solely to music, Kyren Thomas enjoys playing big stages for huge events like the upcoming Fête de la Musique, and Good Vibes Festival for the second time! Let’s get to know him better through our exclusive interview with this talented lad.
1. Give us a little insight on what you do for a living.
Currently, I am pursuing music full-time. So, all I do is write, compose, and perform music. Living my dream essentially.
2. Tell us more about your band, RYÖTJONES. How did you get involved with it in the first place?
Well, RYÖTJONES is a 9-piece band. We play really loud funky music best suited for live audiences. It’s always a party when we’re up on stage. I founded the band alongside my guitarist, Deo Karmawan, who hails from Jakarta, Indonesia.
3. Did you always wanted to sing in a band?
It’s the one thing I’ve always dreamt of doing since I can remember. I’m just super thankful that I get to live out this dream and pursue it whole heartedly. I’m one lucky fella.
4. What was your best experience with RYÖTJONES so far?
There’s plenty! Everything from writing amazing new tunes to sharing hilarious times together on the way to shows. But I’d say two amazing experiences that clearly standout to me is definitely opening for Grammy nominee Joss Stone and playing our first massive festival stage at Good Vibes Festival in 2017.
5. What other things do you do when you have some time off?
I do a whole bunch of stuff. I do freelance designing, writing music, sometimes I get called to be a talent in brand adverts. No idea how and why for the last one but yeah.
6. What is one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m super nice! That’s weirdly the thing people who meet me for the first time always tell me. They’re always like “yo, I always thought you were going to be this super sombong (stuck up) person but turns out you are super chill and nice!” I’m like “whaaaatt?! Why?” because I’m super laidback.
7. Do you incorporate fashion into your music?
Style and music have always come hand in hand to me. To me it’s always been look good, sound good, then you’re definitely going to do good!
8. How would you describe your style?
Hella versatile. I change up styles super often. I reckon it is because I look at style a lot like I do emotions. Whatever I’m feeling is what I’m putting on, no matter how crazy. Still waiting for the day I get to rock a massive pink feathered suit on stage!
9. Who do you look up to in the music industry?
My biggest inspirations locally are definitely Sonaone, Salammusik, Darren Ashley, and Sudirman!
10. If you could have a lengthy conversation with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
Alive: Erykah Badu, Jay Kay, Anderson .Paak, CeeLo Green, Caleb Followill.
Dead: James Brown (the version when he was high on live TV), BB King, Prince.
11. Who is your celebrity crush?
Isla Fisher and Zoe Kravitz…. legit just, woah…. both of them. Also, Paloma Faith. Lord, don’t ask me about them pretty ladies.
12. In your opinion, what is the one thing people should pay more attention to?
Local art; in all its aspects be it music, poetry, videography, writing, photography, dance. ART!
13. What song instantly puts you in a good mood?
“Goodbye to Yesterday” – Incognito.
14. We see that you also model quite a bit. Are you taking that seriously as you do for your band as well?
Hahaha nah. To be honest, I have no idea how I get these shoots and stuff. I just do it whenever photographers or talent agencies call me to do shoots. Besides that, I just let that side of things pass off as something that is just fun to do occasionally.
15. What is the most valuable clothing item that you currently have in your wardrobe?
My dad gave me this amazing Saddle King denim jacket he had while hitchhiking India in the 70’s which has a genuine bullet hole (they were playing with a hunting rifle) in the back. That’s priceless to me.
16. What would be your dream lineup for a music festival? Who would the headliners be?
Jamiroquai, James Brown, Siti Nurhaliza, Hujan, Salammusik, RYÖTJONES; this list could go on forever.
17. If your life was to be made into a movie, what would the title be and who would play you?
“The Death of the Motivational Speaker”. Why? Because I’d want a movie to be made about me posthumously. I’d want it to be about how I lived my life to entertain people and was able to inspire those around me. In terms of who would play me, I’m guessing Dev Patel. He’s the only little Indian I know who is killing it in Hollywood right now. Or Aziz Ansari? Brown excellence right there.
18. Which local food would you recommend to foreigners to try first when visiting Malaysia?
Nothing tops nasi lemak.
19. Any advice for kids who have just started playing in a band?
Do you! Don’t try to be anyone else. And please don’t be a cover band if music is a serious dream of yours. Write your own music. Don’t let people tell you what and how you should release your art. Sound like yourself. Look like yourself. Start trends. Don’t follow them.
20. Every man in Malaysia should know how to….
Treat a woman with love. Treat his family with respect. Treat the people around him with compassion and love.
You can check Kyren Thomas out on Instagram @kylofiren where he posts about his latest work with RYÖTJONES and some other stuff that he is involved in.
Who do you want to see as our July Men Crush Issue? Do write out suggestions at the comments section below.