Interview | We chat with Yndian Mynah about 2020, the future & illuminating the power of kindness with their new single RAOK

Photo by Tom Peppler

Yndian Mynah is a South African instrumental band based in Cape Town. Their sound can be described as post-rock music with hints of dreamy psychedelia, post-punk and prog rock that vacillate sounds between explosive edges and nostalgic narratives. Influenced by DIY culture, the band started off by playing tightly packed intimate floor shows and quickly elevated to festival stages across South Africa. 

“RAOK was written about the feeling of being in a constant spiral; about not being able to shake a bad feeling,” says the band. “But, at its heart, it is about the impact that someone showing any form of kindness towards you has – and the immediate sense of belonging that even a random act of this nature instils.”

*Yndian Mynah releases RAOK at 7pm on Friday eve (4/12/2020)

We decided to catch up with them to find out what’s been happening in 2020, where they’ll be gigging in the coming weeks, their thoughts on the music industry and their latest single ROAK.

MCBN: What’s up guys, thanks for chatting to us. For our audience, let’s get started on some formalities, who are you guys and how did Yndian Mynah come together as a band?

Roughly 7 years ago we met Matt (guitarist) through a mutual friend and fellow musician Manny Walters. Matt needed a place to live as he was about to move to Cape Town from Stellenbosch after studying classical guitar and John, our previous drummer had a place to stay. James, Kenan, and myself (Jonny) grew up in Somerset West together and often spent evenings together as we all lived in the same block of flats with John around the time of Matt moving in. It didn’t take long for us to connect through music and playing riffs together as we all had played in various bands together before. John had to pursue his career in cheffing further which led to Kenan playing drums for us. Kenan brought a whole new energy to our band and we’ve been pushing hard since his arrival into the band. 

MCBN: Awesome, nice to meet you – so what’s each of your roles in the band?

Matthew plays guitar, James plays guitar, Jonny plays bass, and Kenan plays the drums.

MCBN: Your name, Yndian Mynah, how did you form this name and what’s the meaning behind it?

Matt grew up in Johannesburg where the Indian Mynah bird was always considered a nuisance and a pest, when he came to Cape Town no one had ever seen or heard of one, it was quite amazing how something can be beautiful and intelligent when seen from another perspective. The name was taken by a not so active band in Australia, so when we inquired about using the name they said no. So we just changed the spelling. 

MCBN: What are your thoughts looking forward to 2021 and your plans with COVID-19 still very much in the background. Has it slowed your tour plans down but allowed you to release more music? 

We’re actually on tour at the moment in JHB and PTA. We are steadily recording our second album and are very excited to release that in 2021 and would absolutely love the ability to tour the world with that album but we live in a strange time and can’t really make plans yet but at the same time we are prepared for anything and will hopefully be able to take this album places in the not too distant future.

MCBN: This is a very broad question but as the current situation has left a lot of people in an own known position, what’s your thoughts on the music industry moving forward in a post Corona era?

I feel we’ve all learned a fair amount through this difficult time. I feel it’s benefitted musicians in a way that we’ve upskilled ourselves with technology and creativity when it comes to producing music. Sometimes hard times cause us to grow in areas we thought we couldn’t. 

MCBN: For the music industry, 2020 has been an interesting year for most, you are releasing a new single called ROAK on the backend of our lockdown – talk us through how the recording process has been and more importantly about the track itself?

We have been dreaming of releasing a track with this kind of energy since last year July after we attended Mad Cool Festival in Madrid. That festival made us realise that we can achieve anything we work at and after watching acts like Chemical Brothers, Carpenter Brut, and Black Midi we were very inspired to create something people could party to. Random Acts of Kindness coincidently was the name we decided to give this track pre-pandemic and recording it during the pandemic was actually quite special as now more than ever we have witnessed empathy in the people around us be it, bosses taking pay cuts to keep supporting their staff or giving the needy a sandwich or two. It’s been rough for everyone on different levels and when you witness acts of kindness it truly is something special.

MCBN: We see you have some epic gigs planned for December around South Africa – could you give us an update on that and where our audience can find you guys?

We are currently in Gauteng for the weekend and we have a show that may or may not happen over the news years weekend in Natures Valley.

MCBN: You have a very unique sound – how would you describe it to someone if they asked what genre of music you produce?

Boston without vocals

MCBN: South African festivals have been something that’s lacking this 2020 so let’s get nostalgic – what’s the best festival in South Africa that you’ve played at, and why?

Endless Daze for sure. While the band was taking a break, we attended the festival together which sparked a new enthusiasm towards performing again. It’s amazing to be a part of such a great collective of like-minded individuals who really appreciate the more alternative acts from South Africa –  words cannot express the gratitude for the people that run that festival and what they’ve done for our scene.

MCBN: What are your favourite indoor/club venues to play – and why

Mercury (RIP) and Wonderland.

For every band, Mercury was the ultimate venue to play and will be sorely missed for it’s amazing sound, lighting and staff.

Although not a live band venue, we had our album launch there last year in December. We wanted to try something new and Wonderland worked out perfectly with it’s amazing lighting and acoustics. We’re hoping to make something happen there again in 2021.

MCBN: Are you fans of a big stage with thousands of screaming festival-goers or do you prefer a more intimate and closed off session with guests

We enjoy both. We strive to be the kind of band that can adapt to the environment we find ourselves in.


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