Despite their single What If being a huge hit on local radio stations, the boys of electro-pop/rock band Paperplane Pursuit have managed to keep themselves grounded thanks to their humble beginnings.

Formed in 1998, Paperplane Pursuit started out with the name Stop Sunday back when the boys were still secondary school students at Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur. In 2006, they decided to call themselves Silent Scream.

Clearly fans of alliteration, when they decided to change their name again in 2009, they settled on their current name, Paperplane Pursuit.

Along with the new name came a whole new image for the band – one filled with good vibes and endless optimism.

“It’s all (bassist Tan Hiang) Liang’s idea actually,” said frontman John Oommen, 29.

“He felt we needed to have positive vibes. People must listen to our music and feel happy! Even if we write an ‘emo’ song, it must have hope at the end.”

With that, the band began recording in their own studio, Breaking Records, under their own record label, Breaking Music.

Unlike some bands that rely heavily on social media, Paperplane Pursuit have followed a different strategy to promote their music.

Drummer Andrew Yap said: “If we put our heads down and we work hard, everything else will follow.”

The band has stuck to that philosophy by “knocking on doors” and speaking personally to radio music directors to give their music a chance.

They’ve also made a conscious effort to make significant relationships with the people they’ve met in the industry.

Instead of hoping to produce an instant hit single to make their mark in the industry, the musicians are more concerned about making music that would entertain their listeners.

And as they do not fancy being referred to as a one-hit-wonder at any point in their career, they keep churning out singles and other material which their fans can download for free from the band’s official Facebook page.

Right now, their main concern is to get as much of their music out in the local scene as possible.

“We’ve told ourselves that it’s okay if our songs don’t become massive hits.

“We want people to say ‘wow, this is pretty good’ rather than having to ride on the coattails of one massive hit for the rest of our lives,” explained Oommen.

The band’s ultimate mission, however, is to once again get Malaysian music on regular rotation on local television and radio stations.

“We grew up in an era where local music was on radio all the time,” said Oommen, as he reminisced the careers of local musicians like OAG, Poetic Ammo and Too Phat.

“We’re hoping that having our music consistently played on radio will open the door for more local musicians.”

Download Paperplane Pursuit’s music for free at


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