Interview Interrogation: Bhone Zay Yar from A Letter From Caesar (Burma [Myanmar])
"Maybe they will think metal music is so dope, just kidding. They'll think this kind of music is so noisy." [Bhone on their parents thoughts of metal music]
When you think of metal music from Asia, Burma (Myanmar) is probably one of those countries that does not come to mind as having an active metal scene. In truth it does... just a very small and underground one, one that has not had a great deal of international coverage by the mass metal media. It just seems that this corner of Asia is often largely ignored, or not explored by the Western metal media thus leaving metal scenes, like Burma (Myanmar), often in the shadows and confined to only regional, if not continental press.
Flying the flag for the Burmese Metal scene is A Letter From Caeser among other bands, whose unapologetic style of Metalcore may be seen as run-of-the-mill for the hardcore fans of the genre, but would that thought ever stop this quintet? No chance. In fact, back in March they released their latest music video in 'Pyan Lar Mae Nay' and having checked it, GMA thought it would be only appropriate to give the band an interrogation... guitarist Bhone Zay Yar elected himself as spokesman for the band.
For those who have not heard of A Letter From Caesar, could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"We started our band in September 2011, in the beginning it was Soe Pyae Han on vocals and myself on guitars. Later we found another guitarist and bassist, but lacked a drummer and keyboardist. In 2013, we found both a drummer (who played in the band Last Will) and a keyboardist. We had a few line-up changes and settled on our new bassist, Zin Mg Thant.
Towards the end of 2014, our former drummer quit and we recruited a new drummer. Like other bands, we tried to come up with a band name - there were so many names that we discovered and were so confused at the whole issue, we didn't know which name to choose! Funny times.
Finally our former guitarist (Tu Tu) chose one name and we all thought that it would be cool for us, so we chose the band name A Letter From Caesar. However, in 2016 Tu Tu quit and we brought in our new guitarist Kyaw Gyie, establishing our current line-up."
Back in March you released your new music video 'Pyan Lar Mae Nay', what does the song mean? Are all of your songs in Burmese?
"It's about a soldier who is missing his family & home, whilst he is away on a battlefield. All of the other soldiers are dead & he is the only one left, he is wounded and found a way to come back home.
Yes, all of our songs are written in Burmese."
Check out their music video "Pyan Lar Mae Nay" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3lhbiGzEak
What do your parents think of your music? What is the public opinion on metal music?
"They don't say a lot about our music. I think maybe they are used to it, we have been listening to this kind of music since we were young, they heard what we listen to & I think it's OK for them.
Maybe they will think metal music is so dope, just kidding. They'll think this kind of music is so noisy."
Have you had people outside of Burma (Myanmar) listen to your music? Have you played outside of Burma?
"Some of our Burmese friends who travel and live abroad listen to our music. No we haven't played outside of Burma."
What was it like growing up as metalheads in Burma (Myanmar)? What are the challenges that Burmese Metal bands face?
"I think that there is nothing different from other people. We do what we want and that's it."
For metalheads visiting Yangon, what sights / attractions and bars / venues could you recommend?
"Well, there's a lot of places that you can go and see / do in Yangon, I don't know which places to recommend for metalheads. Maybe you should do a Google search or use social media to search for things, I think that both options will work."
What plans do you have towards late 2020 and into early 2021?
"For 2021, we are preparing for our new album."
Do you have any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
"We would like to thank our fans, family and friends but also yourself for interviewing us."
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