In the daytime, before the stage is set and the lights are lit, he finds himself in a classroom full of international students. When night falls, however, the scene changes.
Instead of a whiteboard marker, a guitar falls into his hands; instead of a classroom of students, he sees a wave of fans. The lights are lit, and the show begins.
“A teacher by day, a rock star by night.”
Darren Teh is the lead singer and songwriter for pop-punk band An Honest Mistake. During the day, he teaches English to international students at Lim Kok Wing University. At night, he becomes part of the local music scene, whether it is playing or organizing gigs.
As a band, An Honest Mistake has played in places like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. In 2014, they received the VIMA 2014 Best Music Video Award for their song “Giddy Up Horsie! This Chase Ain’t Waiting For You.”
How did you start songwriting?
I just started putting sentences together. The first song I wrote was made up of random sentences that rhymed. It was called, “This Song is so Random, I Don’t Know Why.” Later on, I began writing on what I saw and heard every day. In other words, I began writing on life.
What is most important to you?
Doing what I love. You can do a lot of things and not enjoy it, but when you love what you do, you’ll pour your heart and soul into it. It’s also important to have positive people around you to support you and cheer you on.
The Darren you never quite knew
Being “Dare”-ren, I’m quite the daredevil. When I was 5, I’d climb up the main pipe to the roof of my house. Then, I’d climb from roof to roof, making my neighbors think there was a robber on the roof.
As a kid, I used to stand on the swing and prepare to jump off right when it got to the peak to see how far I’d land. I still do lots of crazy things, even on stage. I swing my guitar a lot, do cartwheels, maybe I’ll do a backflip in the middle of a song one of these days.
Besides playing music, Darren also organizes gigs at Laundry Bar. One of his goals is to keep the music scene in Malaysia alive and kicking. For more on Darren and An Honest Mistake, follow:
**Photo by Calvin Alexi (featured image)