Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Interview with Not Famous: Cousins, Chemistry & Caffeine


This is my first interview in quite a while, and I'm stoked about it. I managed to contact Paul Bokhari, drummer of Bruneian punk rock band Not Famous, and he has kindly agreed to be interviewed.

Before I direct you to the Q&A, you might want to check them out all over the interweb. They update their Twitter quite regularly, and they also have a video blog, which you can check out to see what they're up to. Songs from their first album are up for listening/scrutiny on their website.

Not Famous recently performed a series of gigs to mark their comeback after a four-year hiatus and are planning to record a second album very, very soon.

Not Famous is, despite the name, one of the more well-known local bands. Their comeback will definitely mark a change in their sound, and presumably a new-found maturity that might make their second album a more polished, more defined sound than the first. The first was a great pop punk record, akin to early Blink-182 pre-Take Off Your Pants & Jacket/Enema Of The State. The second, well, only Not Famous knows for now. Even Blink-182 had to grow up. And oh, even Blink-182 is planning a comeback record.

I'm M, and Not Famous is NF.

M: What are your primary influences? You remind me a lot of early Blink-182.

NF: A bit of everything. Honestly, we don't see ourselves being synonymous to other bands/groups. We mix it with our juice. Hahaha... and yes, we did started out sounding like Blink182 in the early days but since then, many has changed. Every one of us listens to different kinds of music nowadays.

M: For how long has punk rock been a part of the band members' lives?

NF: It's been way back. We don't think we could recall specifically.

M: The band was formed in 2001. How did that happen? Were you friends a long time before that?

NF: Actually, Adam and Asa are blood brothers and as for Paul, he's a cousin. FIRST cousin. So pretty much, we've been close since we were still running in diapers. Haha. Seriously.

M: Why the name Not Famous?

NF: We were actually participating for a small battle of the bands event held by some friends and we have not named our band during the periods of practice. And it all came in randomly when Paul said 'Not Famous'. Adam & Asa were puzzled but agreed for the name to be used for that event. The name just echoed into our ears from the chant we had from the audience. We kinda liked it and that's how it happened.

M: You recently performed your first show in quite a while. How was it? Any other memorable performances?

NF: It was pretty exciting but at the same time nerve-wrecking. Since we've been on a long 4 years hiatus, things weren't the same anymore. 'We're NOT 18 Anymore'. During the hiatus, we've all learn new things that we have incorporated into making the comeback. There were a lot of hard work and lots of practices as well as new songs to be written to achieve our next goal, the second album for 2010. Although we did screw up some of the songs in on the first show. But we're good. All we need is more practice. As for previous memorable performances, there were many but let's just focus on the future. :)

M: What or who are you lyrical influences? Any musical/non-musical heroes that have influenced you musically or ideologically?

NF: As lyricists, there isn't any other lyrical influences other than life itself. Over the years, we've encountered lots of things. We seemed to be writing our life experiences into our music.

M: I hear you're recording your second album. When will it be released and what's the title?

We have yet to step into the studio for recording until January. We are actually preparing our music accordingly until we can find the best structures and elements for the songs. As for the title of the album, it has not been decided yet. For all we know, we could call it 'The Return Of The PooBags'.

M: Why the long wait for the second album? And what got you guys back into the music scene?

As we got older, life is not what it seems years ago. We've been busy with work and our social lives and in between that, it was difficult to keep track with our schedules together. After all, 'We're NOT 18 Anymore'. Haha :) How we got back into the music scene? Well, its simple really....We kinda miss it! One of the best things being in a band is performing on stage with people you know all your life.

M: How will the second album compare to the first? How have Not Famous developed both as musicians and as people between these two?

NF: It's way different. But then again, we'd rather have the listeners differentiate between the two albums once its out. We'd love to hear the feedback. We've changed a lot over the years as musicians and as people. That's all we can say for now.

M: Suggest us a local band other than Not Famous that you think we should check out.

NF: Well, during our first two recent shows, we got acquainted with a few local bands such as 'Klip', 'D'hask' and 'Bulan'. Check them out.

M: What gear do you use?

NF: Gears? Simply, we are still using our first album equipments. A Washburn Hollow Body guitar, a Fender Jazz Bass and a PDP Drumset. For the second album, we will be using some new equipments to go with the taste of our music including a ukulele, a monkey bass and bongos for audience attractions.

M: What's the song in the first album you guys are most proud of?

NF: We wanna say we like all of them but then, that would be a vicious lie. So in our honest opinion, it's not even a song from the album because it was unofficially released online a month after the album launch and it's called 'Day After Tomorrow'.

M: How far do you think Brunei is from a music industry where musicians become professionally appreciated and can be viable career choices rather than side-projects?

NF: For now, we don't really see that happening but maybe, just maybe in the near future. Don't you think so, Jay? Hmmm....?? Hahaha :)

M: Last question, in five words, describe your band, without using genre labels.

NF: Commitment, Chemistry, Creativity, Curses. And the next other 'C' word will have to be........... Caffeine.

*End of Interview*

I apologise for the constant Blink-182 comparison. I only do it because I was absolutely in love with Blink-182, like everyone else. And I was gutted when I found out they broke up. When I heard that they reunited, I felt like a child again. Not Famous reminds me of that special feeling.

Signing out

Over and out

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Green Light

It's been a while since I updated. Well, after a term of *cough* hard work, I'm now on holiday. For a disgustingly short three weeks.

Anyway, upcoming stuff include interviews with a quite well-known punk band in Brunei and a producer/musician recently nominated for the VIMA 2010. I'm also going to see Fran & Josh battle it out in London for a place at the Base Camp Rocks. After that is the long-delayed Lost From Atlas album launch.

I've got myself a new Flip Mino HD, which means from now on gig videos will be so much clearer. In all probability, the first chance I can use it might be in the first week of the new year, since I'm struggling to find any decent gigs in London before that.

Signing out

Over and out

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Rage Factor

Is it that time again?

The Christmas charts. The inevitability of yet another X-Factor winner being auto-tuned into stardom with a hastily recorded cover of an existing popstar touted as the 'perfect Christmas single.' And that single will become number one when Christmas comes. Just as it had been, since The X-Factor came about in 2005.

But wait, what's this?

Rage Against The Machine neck and neck with Joe McElderry in the UK charts? How can this be? A 12-year old track protesting against bigotry against a Miley Cyrus cover about the tough path to fame? Fuck you, I won't believe what you tell me.

Jolly stuff

But lo, 'tis true. A Facebook group with the self-explanatory title of "Rage Against The Machine For Christmas No. 1" is attempting to take back the charts with defiant Rage. Yes, it is quite surprising to find out people are actually quite sick at Simon Cowell trying to manipulate the public's musical taste by churning out pop puppets every year with a massive popularity contest that, as shown by the presence of horrible singers Jedward (amongst many), has never concentrated on actual talent.

In fact, I quite loved Jedward because it exposed The X-Factor for what it is. A popularity contest. It showed that people with no musical talent can make it in the show. At first I thought Jedward was taking the piss of X-Factor, only joining to protest ironically by being as bad as possible and still get through to the next round. I haven't been proven wrong.

So what has Simon Cowell said about all this Killing In The Name fiasco? Well, he finds it 'stupid' and 'cynical.' He has remarked that this attempt 'robs' Joe of his deserved Number One. Wait, what? I know that Simon Cowell is quite conceited, but this just takes the cake. So let me get this straight. The twat actually is convinced that the winner of his reality show has the god-given right to get a Number One Christmas single.

Rage Against Rage Against The Machine

Whoa, Simon. Get over yourself. You are not the chartmaster. Whatever you produce isn't an automatic number one. Like usual, chart-toppers fight their way to the top. They don't 'deserve' it. "Killing In The Name" doesn't have the right either, but it is sure as hell fighting for it. Being Numero Uno is not a right, it's a privilege. And if you ask me, a privilege that's not been handed to the right people most of the time. But hey, if that's what the masses want, I'll get out the way and get back to my obscure band CDs and look at vinyls at the local record shop.

And now a large part of the masses want "Killing In The Name" for Christmas. If more want it than "The Climb," then great. I'm happy, because it shows I'm not the only one disillusioned at the state of the music industry. If Rage gets Number Two, I'll still be happy. It shows that the pop music factory cannot afford to be complacent anymore. They can't afford to be lazy and just expect a Christmas hit single. Rage Against The Machine. What an appropriate name for the campaign.

Do I have anything against the X-Factor contestants personally? Well, to be honest, no. The road to stardom is hard. And it's the likes of Simon Cowell that's manipulating the crowd, not the contestants. But I do find Simon Cowell's choice of song for the single really vomit-inducing. "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus? A song about how tough it is to make it in the music industry? I won't even get into the fact that I hate Miley Montana or whatever her name is. That's another story. But to make it seem like Joe McElderry's climb to fame as something 'epic' or 'tough' is just extremely laughable.

He went from being an unknown to a household name in 6 months in a reality TV show. That is not tough. You know what is tough? The effort put by bands who tour, rehearse, drive their own vans, set up their own equipment, give out their own flyers, sell their own merchandise, write their own songs, and sweat it out in the smallest venues in the most obscure places. Now that's tough.

Unless you're driving one of these

Joe McElderry's "Climb" is more like an escalator than a mountain compared to the bands who's got so much blood, sweat and tears invested into making the music they love.

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's All Clearer Now

After today, when I record gigs, it should be much, much clearer, with better sound quality.

That's because Pill got me a Flip Mino HD for my belated birthday. Woohoo.

Here's a sample. Don't forget to watch it in HD.

It'll also be great for exploring Paris. And a lot of other stuff.

Signing out

Over and out

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tumbling Down

I made myself a Tumblr blog (if that's how you call it).

So if you ever wonder what I think when I'm not writing about music on this blog, go on to Tumblr. But I really doubt any of you are interested. As it is, I don't have that many readers here anyway.

But again, just like this blog, my Tumblr is just a place for me to write about the things I love. And if other people happen to like it, then that's a bonus.

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life
via FoxyTunes

Top Ten Songs of 2009: List

I promised I'd write up about the top ten albums list I wrote the last time I was here, but that can wait. Here's another list. Now it's for songs. It's the top 10 songs in my opinion, of 2009, so don't get uptight because I didn't put in Lady Gaga or Kings of Leon. This list is mine. If you don't like it, make your own. And tell me about it. Honestly, I'd like to hear all about it. No sarcasm there.

10) The Joy Formidable - Greyhound In The Slips

9) The Lonely Island - I'm On A Boat (Feat. T-Pain)

8) Two Door Cinema Club - I Can Talk

7) Blakfish - Ringo Starr - 2nd Best Drummer In The Beatles

6) The xx - Crystalised

5) Tubelord - Propeller

4) Johnny Foreigner - Criminals

3) Animal Collective - My Girls

2) Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This

Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This on MUZU

1) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Zero"
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2009: A List

I'll update properly soon. Here's a list of my top ten albums of 2009. I'll write up about it when I have time.

10) Emmy The Great - First Love
"First Love"

9) Band of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey

Band Of Skulls - Fires on MUZU

8) Animal Collective - Merriweather Post-Pavillion
"My Girls"

7) Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

6) Dananananaykroyd - Hey Everyone
"Some Dresses"

5) Blakfish - Champions
"Ringo Starr - The 2nd Best Drummer In The Beatles"
No video

4) Gallows - Grey Britain
"I Dread The Night"

3) Tubelord - Our First American Friends

2) The xx - xx

1) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
"Heads Will Roll"

I guess the inclusion of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The xx might be obvious, or even Gallows. Your top ten might be different. I'll talk more in detail next time about my choices. Here are some notable mentions:

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Beirut - Holland / March Of The Zapotec
Red Light Company - Fine Fascination
Asobi Seksu - Hush
Sam Isaac - Bears
Crazy Arm - Born To Ruin
Handsome Furs - Face Control
Enter Shikari - Common Dreads
Antony & The Johnsons - The Crying Light
Local Natives - Gorilla Manor
Loney, Dear - Dear John

Signing out

Over and out

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Newsnight And The New Snide

Did you guys hear? The nominations for VIMA 2010 has been announced. The full list can be seen here. Just to make things easier, here are the Bruneian artists who got nominated:

Adi Rani [Best Pop Category] [Best Pop Vocalist]
Juju [Best Pop Category] [Smoothest R&B Act]
Feez Madea [Best Pop Category]
L.one [Best Pop Group]
Magabu & The White Shoes [Best Pop Group]
Sam Siren (Karacoma) [Best Female Vocalist Overall] [Best Rock Vocalist]
Karacoma [Best Rock Category] [Best Rock Group] [Best Guitar “Goreng” Riff]
I Mean The Snakes [Best Rock Group]
MicBandits [Best Hip-Hop Song] [Best Hip-Hop Group] [Most Mind-Blowing Music Video]
MNC [Best Hip-Hop Group]
NJ [Smoothest R&B Act]
D'Hask [Most Electrifying-Exciting-Exhilarating LIVE Act]

VIMA 2010 will be on 17th January 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Unfortunately I won't be there, since, yeah, I have this university thing still going on.

Blakfish posted a video a few hours ago with a simple description, "Blakfish christmas single." I have no idea yet if they will indeed release it for Christmas. It's ace though. Check it out.

Blakfish - Missing You (The True Meaning Of Christmas)

Which reminds me, I managed to catch them live this Monday night at The Cluny 2, Newcastle. It was pretty awesome even though they had the tamest crowd I've ever been in in a Blakfish show. Blakfish is currently at the end of a Triple-Threat Tour with Outcry Collective and Brooklyn queercore nutheads Gay For Johnny Depp, and when I say nutheads, I mean they are fucking mental. When the frontman for Outcry Collective warned us about them, even ominously saying "may God help you," it might've been wise to heed his warning. But hey, the energy just completely caught us off guard.

I also went to another show two days before that, and it was a lot more civilised. So civilised in fact, that the main band, Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles had a 'backing' of a 60-piece orchestra provided by The University of York. Needless to say it was absolutely magnificient.

Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles with The University of York Orchestra

The Mariner's Children played in the first half, and the acoustics of the concert hall built for orchestra simply just made their music more hauntingly beautiful than it already is. Songs like 'Back I Beat The Waves,' 'Start Again' and 'My Dear' become almost redefined in this new surrounding.

And some short bites:

Diplo will be producing Rolo Tomassi's new album. Lost From Atlas finally got their album, but hasn't launched it, yet. Vampire Weekend's new single, Cousins, deemed to be the closest thing to punk they've come up with. Two Door Cinema Club announces Irish tour dates. Pulled Apart By Horses are hosting a Christmas party in Leeds this weekend with bands like Dead Confederate and Chickenhawk. Hassle Records (Tubelord, Blakfish, Rolo Tomassi, Alexisonfire) are having a 'class of 2009' sale on their website.

Signing out

Over and out

Friday, November 27, 2009

Mixtape Number 5


Here's a mixtape for you all. There's come country punk rock with Crazy Arm, folktronica with James Yuill, post-hardcore instrumentalism with Talons, math pop rock with Calories and Beat! Beat! Beat!, and the now-defunct Data.Select.Party.

Click on the artist's name for the respective website.

01] James Yuill - No Surprise (Earth Version)
02] Talons - (Congratulations) Buff Orpington
03] The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Stay Alive
04] Crazy Arm - Still To Keep
05] Data.Select.Party - Wake Up The Town
06] Phoenix - Armistice
07] Mutiny On The Bounty - Cruz Canerlaria
08] Beat! Beat! Beat! - Fireworks
09] Calories - Adventuring
10] Natalie Portman's Shaved Head - Bedroom Costume

If you're curious what these bands sound like before downloading the mixtape, take a look at their videos:

James Yuill - Over The Hills

Natalie Portman's Shaved Head - Sophisticated Side Ponytail

Phoenix - Lisztomania

Crazy Arm - Broken Wheel

So if you do like any of the bands, I suggest buy an album or buy the song on iTunes. Better yet, go to one of their shows. Admittedly I've only seen James Yuill, Talons and Crazy Arm, but I'll always try and see the bands any chance I get.

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Crazy Arm - Still To Keep
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blakfish Are Immense


I'm very, very tempted to go to Blakfish's show at Fibbers this Sunday. Every single one of the three Blakfish gigs I've been to has been absolutely fucking mental. Should I make it four?

Blakfish - Ringo Starr: The 2nd Best Drummer In The Beatles

I never heard of them before my first time I saw them live. I went to the gig because it was a Christmas party and Tubelord was performing. Colour were also there, and it was my first time seeing them as well, and, unknown to me at the time, the last time I will ever see them perform again. That Kingston gig was one of the best gigs I've been to, ever. Colour, Tubelord and Blakfish in a zebra-striped claustrophobic cauldron of sound. The energy of the bands and the crowd were immense.

The second occasion would be September this year, in Southsea Fest. Post-hardcore at its best, Blakfish absolutely killed the show with their crazy riffs and a sweaty, sweaty frontman. The show was on top of my list at the Fest along with Tubelord and Tellison.

The most recent was at Brainwash Festival IV, and this was also absolutely fucking crazy. The crowd poured onto the stage, singing the words with full force and invading the performing space. Intense, immense, intimate and epic.

Bands like Blakfish are reasons why I prefer intimate venues to arenas. Intimacy is the word here. You don't feel like you're watching a show. You feel like you're part of the show. Of course only a few bands can make you feel that. And Blakfish is one of those bands.

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Blakfish - Jeremy Kyle Is a Marked Man
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two Door Cinema Club @ Fibbers, York

If you remember a few months back I went to see a Foals show in London, and it was in Heaven. Literally. That was the name of the venue. And if you remember that, you might remember that one of the support bands were Two Door Cinema Club, who at the time did not have a drummer. Well, now they finally have one. And they've been touring with him ever since.

So to fully experience the groovestasticity of the band with a full line-up, we decided to check out their gig at Fibbers last Monday night.

But of course like always, there are the support bands. The first band, named The Sockits, would be best described if I changed one of the vowels on their name and changed it with another vowel.

They were so bad I stopped recording halfway to spare you the pain. I'm usually very supportive of support acts. I've discovered some favourites of mine who supported other people, like Youthmovies, Jonquil, Lost From Atlas, The Mariner's Children and even Two Door Cinema Club. But this one was so horrible I was glad I came late to only catch two songs from them. Or maybe I missed the best songs. Who knows.

The Sockits

The next band was Bearfoot Beware. And they were so much better. Math pop punk, that's how I would describe their sound, because to me they sound like Anti-Flag had wild, wild... urm... flirtations with Youves and resulted in this monster.

The audience was kind of, well, not too receptive. And it's too bad, because Bearfoot Beware are very, very entertaining and a joy to watch. So when the frontman decided to abandon the stage and sing in the space between the first row and the crowd of people too 'cool' to even consider watching a support act, it was appropriate when he said "well, might as well use the space then."

Bearfoot Beware - Bamboo Nightlife

Then came Two Door Cinema Club, a band who even Kanye West seems to be excited about. I would make a "I'm sorry for interrupting you..." joke, but it has been officially overdone by everyone and it is now stale. Yes, I have the badge declaring I'm the internet meme police. That shit has got to stop.

Anyway, Two Door Cinema Club is just a joy to listen to. Their electropop groove resonated with the crowd who finally had the common sense to come closer to the stage, some of whom who were screaming teenage girls swooning over ginger Irishmen and reaching out their hands in worship. At least they're enjoying themselves. As did us.

Two Door Cinema Club - Undercover Martyn

Check out their new single as well. It's absolutely brilliant.

Two Door Cinema Club - I Can Talk

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Two Door Cinema Club - I Can Talk
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: Cerumentric - The Progress Of The Transplant

Artist: Cerumentric
Album: The Progress of The Transplant
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
In a nutshell: disillusioned rock 'n roll with synths and laptops

"The Progress of The Transplant," is the second album by the one-man electronic synth rock band, Cerumentric, formed by Erick Fabian Sr., who hails from Philippines. Erick has performed under several bands and under several monikers such as Lewis*Staples, and cites My Bloody Valentine and Toad The Wet Sprocket as influences and notably excludes the expected popular techno/electronic/club names as his inspiration.

I'm very tempted to label his music as 16-bit, or at least 16-bit inspired, because it cannot help but remind me of the 2-D days of Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. Remember that amazing casino level and the legendary background music in Sonic The Hedgehog 2? Yeah, imagine a whole album of that. Now imagine if that Sonic The Hedgehog 2: The Casino Night Zone album had been taken over by a crushing sense of disillusionment. Or simply Holy Fuck taken over by a bunch of video game geeks.

Now I can't say if there's a recurring theme in the album, since it's mostly 'instrumental,' but repeated shouts of 'freedom' on "Freedom (Funkatronic)" seem to be a cry of despair rather than one of empowerment, of bleeps and bloops and bemusement at the current state of the music industry that consistently overlooks and doesn't seem to understand him. This is definitely a recurring theme in Fabian's life, and he's not alone. It's easy to conclude that the majority of the population can overlook so many talented people while at the same time worshipping talentless 'singers' whose only real reason for being famous is being famous in the first place.

Okay, let's focus on the music before I go off ranting. Nobody wants that. Cerumentric's premise is simple. Play rock ' roll, and replace the traditional instruments with synths, keyboards, toy pianos and probably Sonic running around grabbing gold rings. And oh, play all the instruments yourself. In the hands of less talented musicians and composers, this would have gone down like a piece of brick in the ocean, but with Erick Fabian, it works wonderfully.

Filled with melodic hooks, grooves and bloops combined and a knack for crafting wonderfully imagined songs with some help from technology, Cerumentric's album is an incredible amalgamation of passion, disillusionment, honesty and hard work.

Have a listen and buy it here.

Signing out

Over and out

Now playing: Cerumentric - Don't Back Down
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Interview with A Band Once

If you're a fan of alternative Indonesian bands such as Sheila on 7 or Padi, and if you're looking for a band with a local Bruneian flavour, then look no further than A Band Once. Already gathering quite a following amongst Bruneian music fans, they're poised to break through the local barrier and into the international mainstream consciousness.

The story of how the band formed seems like one accident after another, snowballing into the culmination of their band as it is now. Since then they have been championed by local radio, Pelangi FM and stormed into their charts, and recently they've won the Best Newcomer category for 2008/2009 Pelangi Awards.

The most important thing though, is the music. Their songs are of heartbreak and hope, almost an apology to past relationships that never worked out. Does that differentiate them from other bands? No, but does it matter when it's done this well? A Band Once are talented musicians, with songs to match.

Anyway, the interview was done with Syafiq Affendi, who will be shortened to S. And I, as always, will be initialled M.

S for Syafiq

M: What are your primary influences for this band?

S: Kerispatih, Samsons , d'Masiv, Peterpan, Sheila On 7, Padi, Switchfoot, Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Muse, Silverchair, Maroon 5.

M: When did all of you start listening to Indonesian Rock?

S: Since 2001-2003

M: When was A Band Once formed? Are all the original members still playing?

S: A Band Once was formed initially by three of us - Syafiq, Izzat and Padil. From a three-piece, we became a six-piece slowly from 2006 until now.

M: Any memorable live performances?

S: The most memorable live performance has to be a private function in 2006, when Faizul just came into the band. We performed in front of hundreds of people our age, and their response was overwhelming, despite us not being well-known at that time. On the other hand if you consider the fact that the band is now quite well-known in Brunei, the recent Pelangi Awards 2008/2009 was definitely THE MOST memorable performances. As we played our songs we could hear the 3000-strong crowd cheering on throughout. Plus, we only found out when we watched the recording of our performance that the crowd was all cheering and singing along to our songs. Most memorable, and very heart warming indeed. :D

M: Your two most famous songs are 'Te'a' and 'Kembalilah.' Do you have anything else written or plans to write other songs? Any plans for an album?

S: We have submitted three songs to Pelangi FM, Kristal FM and Pilihan FM, the two you mentioned above as well as 'Waktu Berakhir'. Our fourth recorded song is on its way, and we actually have more songs up our sleeves. We are planning to release an EP, once we get everything organised, our music mastered fully and we're also waiting for the right timing to release the EP.

A Band Once - Kembalilah (Live)

M: What or who are you lyrical influences? Any musical/non-musical heroes that have influenced you musically or ideologically?

Faizul: The fact that I'm a singer, I sing my ass off different kinds of genre except for Dangdut and with that it gave me much exposure for me to write lyrics and honestly it's never been easy , ideas come spontaneously..

M: Local support is obviously vital to help the local music industry thrive. How has the local support been for your band? How has the reception towards your band been?

S: Local support has been very, very overwhelming! Initially of course we were very nervous as to if the public will have a positive or negative impression of us, releasing a song which sounds Indonesian. But at the end of the day, we kept receiving requests for new songs, and thus we're out in the Brunei music scene with three songs on air, and more up our sleeves.

M: What's the story behind your band name, A Band Once?

S: Well, this one's quite long, you can get the details from our Facebook fanpage biography, bro! :D

M: Some local people are very skeptical towards the positive progress that has been made by Bruneian bands. Do you think these people are justified in thinking so, or do you think they're just being cynical?

S: We've met lots of people, with different views - the negative ones tend to be more cynical towards bands like us, calling us copies or whatnots but hey, the majority of the people out there love our songs and we are glad.

There are some of them who are just skeptical, but most of them, if not all, have changed their minds after seeing us progress, and we hope that all of the local artists including us, continue to open up the minds of the negatives.

M: How far do you think Brunei is from a music industry where musicians become professionally appreciated and can be viable career choices rather than side-projects?

S: Brunei is still far from reaching that status, although we are progressing, it's very slow. I can only see ourselves as the people who starts the spark where the music industry in Brunei will become as big as overseas, and future artists may benefit from our efforts.

M: Last question, in five words, describe your band, without using genre labels.

S: Fun, friendly, open-minded, positive, neutral.

*End of Interview*

If you're reading this in Brunei, please request on the radio for their songs to be played on Kristal FM, Pelangi FM and Pilihan FM. You can request for 'Kembalilah,' 'Te'a' and 'Waktu Berakhir'. Support our local scene.

Signing out

Over and out

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lost From Atlas @ Fibbers

My (extended) weekend, if you care to know, was wonderful. Friday started with me missing a seminar and going to one lecture, and picking up Pill from the station. Nothing special, much. Saturday morning was me and Pill watching (re-watching in my case) the excellent Ross Noble just surreally improvising his jokes and making a legend out of himself while we munch Crunchy Nuts with some Alpro Soya Milk. Saturday night belonged to Lost From Atlas.

The night out started with a foot long Veggie Patty sub from Subway. Which is excellent with sweet onion sauce and double cheese. I recommend it to you, even if you're not vegetarian. It's excellent, especially with a 50% off voucher you can get from your local University's Fresher's Fair. And it's a hunger-buster too, even if you don't get the meal option. With less calories than...

Wait, no. This isn't a food review blog!

Yes, this is a blog centered mostly around music and my attempt to sound just a bit knowledgeable about it and act like I've got a superior musical taste to most of you just because you listen to Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga and things on Radio One and I listen to obscure bands that most people have never even heard of. Yes, obscure tastes = cool. It's in the hipster handbook. For which I was never issued because I was deemed too uncool, too unhip.

To start off, I'm pretty sure you've never heard of Tom Welbrock unless you're one of his friends and family, which I would consider cheating. A Google Search would only yield his Facebook profile (which is set to private). So I'm forced to assume he is friends with the guys from Lost From Atlas. That's why he got the support gig. Which is okay, because the whole thing does feel like a party amongst friends.

Did I mention this was supposed to be an album launch for Lost From Atlas? If I did, did I mention that the whole thing got mixed up and now it's going to come out much later? Check it out, it's in the interview with the band.

So what can I say about Tom Welbrock? Well, he plays his keyboard to the tunes of some famous theme songs from films and video games. Which sounds geeky, but it's not, just because. He got a very positive reaction from the crowd, which might be helped by the fact that most of them were drunk and friends with the guy. Which is again, okay with me.

Tom Welbrock, everybody

Then we have Trophy Club, a newly-formed band who I'm told are ex-members of Swimwear Juniors. This piece of information does not help me because before Friday night I did not know who Trophy Club or Swimwear Juniors are. But hey, again it's fine. Because they're very, very good. Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a drumset, this duo churns out charm like Rolland Emmerich churns out abysmal disaster films devoid of character development or plot. That is to say, I like Trophy Club very, very much, which is why we bought their CD for a bargain £1.

There's a video for all your troubles reading that very messy paragraph. Unfortunately the video is equally messy, the lack of quality being in the video-taking and has nothing to do with the actual performance, which was ace.

Surprise! It's a fire! That might probably be way below the lists of things you want to be surprised by, just below being killed by Ewoks and Darth Vader being your father. Actually, having Darth Vader as your dad might be quite cool. I won't mind migrating to the dark side if it means a kickass bring-your-dad-to-school day. That kid with the fireman dad just can't compete, no matter how many lives he's saved.

Despite the dangers of unexpected embers, Surprise... Fire is quite a good treat. When their myspace said to expect a party, a party was what we got.

Oh how we danced and jumped and let ourselves go. It was all quite merry, and we did enjoy ourselves.

Surprise... Low quality video! And high quality performance!

Last but definitely not least (which is quoting Captain Obvious since they're the headliners) are Lost From Atlas. My last post was an interview of them, who were represented by the guitarist, Danny Gallagher.

And he is this guy here

Do I really need to describe them again? I had just described them in the interview (which used a description from a previous write-up), so please read that one if you're curious. It's the post before this.

Orlando Lloyd

I thought the second half of their gig was a lot better than the first, which might have been due to technical problems. It took them a while to get into gear, but once they did, there's no question who's the headliner of the night. They're not a band you can sing along, which might be best explained by the fact that they're an instrumental band. But you wish you could. The only lyric to be found in the whole of their setlist was sung by so much fervour by the crowd you fear that they might just chant that throughout the whole show.

Liam Ledgeway

But nay. Sanity prevailed, but just about. If any band deserves to be labelled as Progressive Orgasmic Rock, Lost From Atlas might just be it. No, you have not heard that sub-genre before, because I just invented it. That's right. Lost From Atlas is so [insert adjective describing being in a states of ecstasy] they deserve a new sub-genre. I might just shorten it to Atlasism.

Next time I'll write up about that time I went to a Two Door Cinema Club gig and that it was awesome and that I like Irishmen playing infectious indie with the help of technology.

Signing out

Over and out
Now playing: Trophy Club - Always Ups & Downs
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interview With Lost From Atlas: Salamis, Gypsy-Tech & The Wildebeest of Deceit

Lost From Atlas is, using their own words, a band that "challenges the conventional ways of performance, interlinking song structures and playing whole sets without any breaks or gaps between songs." Now their music is, according to my words a few months ago, as if "Foals had an illegitimate baby with Explosions In The Sky, and Yannis Philippakis wasn't involved in its rearing."

They are definitely a talented group of musicians, that's for sure. Their songs are an assortment of incredible guitar work, creative drumming, unorthodox breaks and changes, all dipped in a powerful mixture of emotion, passion and intelligence.

The video below is the guitarist, Danny Gallagher, with an acoustic guitar. That video is in itself an amazing piece of work. Imagine what the full band sounds like. Intrigued? Check out their myspace then.

The band itself consists of Liam Ledgeway (drums), Orlando Lloyd (bass) and Danny Gallagher (guitar), and all three are extremely talented. I've seen them live a couple of times, and both shows have been incredible experiences. This tour of theirs will get them the exposure they deserve, as music this beautiful should not just be kept for the people of Leeds and York. Hahaha.

Much thanks for Danny Gallagher for representing Lost From Atlas for this interview.

D for Danny Gallagher
taken from www.freddybulmer.co.uk

And as always, M is for Me.

M: First off, why the name Lost From Atlas?

D: We honestly cant remember, so we'll put it down to God blessing us with the name. Like Damien the Devil's son had 666 on his head, each band member just had a word on theirs. It spelt 'Lost From Atlas', this is how the band name was born.

M: Your album was supposed to go out tonight and launched at Fibbers, but due to a mix-up, the album won't be for sale yet. What exactly happened?

D: Basically the printing company that was printing our album said that our albums would be ready in 2-3 weeks. We sent off the order around 10th of October, so we should've definitely had the albums by the 14th of November. But the company emailed us saying it won't be ready until the 26th! It's so fucking annoying, but we can't do anything about it. Orlando's going ape shit about it though, stupid ginger.

M: How do you guys know each other? When did you start the band?

D: Liam had the Triforce of Truth, Orlando had the Triforce of Power, and Me (Danny) had the triforce of Wisdom.

No that's a lie, we met at school and started the band in our last year of 6th form, we have been going just about a year now!

M:What's the name of the debut album? Does the album sound like the Lost From Atlas we all know and love? Or have you done something different?

D: The album is self-titled, i think it's what everyone knows and loves? We just do what want really and hope people like, it's gone down well (ish) so far so we'll see how this one goes down. Well we hope!

M: How does it feel to have recorded your first album?

D: Sick.

M: How do you go about writing songs? Who or what are you influences?

D: Erm that's tricky, we usually just 'jam it out' at practices or we each have the odd riff or idea somewhere and we build on that. Our influences vary really, for example Liam loves stuff like Aphex Twin and Johnny Rabb (whoever that is), and I love stuff like Brand New and Bloc Party. But we all love stuff like 65daysofstatic and Battles. We like anything really. I like the new Susan Boyle song and i dont give a shit!

M: What was the best gig you performed at? The best gig you went to as an audience?

D: Our first gig was about a year ago at Fibbers, and the best gig we went to would either be The Dillinger Escape Plan at Leeds Cockpit or maybe Metallica at Leeds Fest 08, fucking insane! Or Swimwear Juniors in York, sick.

M: So, you're gonna be on your first tour. Any particular places you are really looking forward to go perform at?

D: Yeah, we're excited about it. We're looking forward to playing Oxford and Leeds mostly I'd say! The whole thing will be fun though, I hope.

M: Who is the Tom Robinson from your (incredible) song, "Tom Robinson Must Die"? And must he die, really? What has he ever done?

If you know the band 'Ghosts On The Intercom' it's the lead singer, we are actually really good friends with him and I spent a lot of time with him at 6th form. It's just funny to take the piss out of him sometimes. We love him though. Love you Tom.

M: Non-musical heroes. Name three.

D: John Carpenter, Chris Morris and Ant or Dec. Either one will do.

M: Musical heroes. Name three.

D: Ben Weinmen, Jaco Pastorious and 'The Cheeky Girls'. Any one will do.

M: What is your favourite place in York?

D: To play? Or to go? Early Learning Centre, so much clunge. Or to play, hmm, The Basement Bar probably.

M: For Orlando. Where do you get your ideas for your artwork? Who is your biggest influence in your art?

D: He says "I don't know I don't really have one specific influence, I juice off the top of my head. I look in the fridge and it comes to me like a piece of Salami from the depths of hell.

Pictured: a piece of salami out of the depths of hell

M: What's the meaning of life?

D: A goose in a barn in Shropshire fighting against the Wildebeest of deceit.

M: Describe Lost From Atlas in five words.

D: Gypsy-Tech, Wabzansm, Salmon-Core, Post-Pigeon, Nu-Wench.

*End of Interview*

If you're around York and are free tonight, then please do come to their first headlining gig tonight, with supporting bands Surprise... Fire and Trophy Club (ex-Swimwear Juniors). It's sure to be a magnificent experience.

You can download their EP for free below:

Be sure to buy their debut album when it (finally) comes out.

Signing out

Over and out

Friday, November 13, 2009

Brunei's Independent Music Group

I'm just here to make an exciting announcement.

I am now the official media reporter for the Brunei's Independent Music group. It's a group dedicated support talented Bruneian musicians no matter what the genre. It's a place where musicians from Brunei and their fans can update themselves on the news, events, shows, video premieres, interviews and photos.

My first task is to interview the Bruneian contestants for VIMA 2010 (Voice Independent Music Awards). You can view all the submissions so far here.

The Bruneian musicians that are nominated are:

I Mean The Snakes [myspace]
Karacoma [myspace] [facebook]
Iza Hazirah Safwan [youtube]
A Band Once [facebook]
kLip [purevolume]
Magabu & The White Shoes [popfolio]
Burn & Soul

Anyway, this is all very exciting. The genres of these musicians are quite diverse, but my music taste is quite diverse as well, so I don't mind doing this. I'm not an expert on, say, hip hop, Indonesian alternative rock, but I'll try my best to cover them.

Signing out

Over and out

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Interview with Tubelord: The Meaning Of Life, Tubelord & Shiny Red Cardigans

I've mentioned Tubelord way too many times on this blog. Way too many. And I've always contemplated asking them to do an interview for this blog, using the contact that is the Pill (Deylah to the rest of you), since she is well-acquainted with them. And voila! I got my Tubelove.

Wait. Tubelove sounds so wrong. Scratch that. Love of the tube. No. Still wrong.

Check them out on their myspace. Because it's ace.

Here's the interview. Introducing:

J is for Joe

D is for David.

M is for Me.

M: So, any chance of any explanation at all where the name Tubelord comes from? I speculate that it 's got to do with being the King of the London Underground. Close? No?

J: The name for us, is related to Dave's cousins in Scandinavia. To yourself the name means something entirely different I'm sure.

M: After Sean left, how did you go around looking for a bassist? How and why did you end up with Damien? And where did he get that shiny red cardigan? Because I want one.

J: We went around thinking about looking for a bassist, knowing full well that one would appear.

D: I think it was two weeks before tour was due to begin that he messaged us about joining. We really had no choice.

J: He stole the shiny red cardigan from my bag whilst I was stealing the silver braces from his rucksack. During the performance we both realized the robbery that had ensued and accused each other of being the thief. Neither of us were found guilty.

Shiny red cardigan. Damien included

M: What made you sign for Hassle Records? How did working with BSM (Big Scary Monsters Records) feel like?

J: An intense game of bowling led us to put pen to paper, any team of peoples who can strike down ten pins as hard as they can is worth being locked in with right?

D: Working with BSM felt nice, like part of a disjointed family, with bastard children all over the place. It does mean that we have many places to crash all over the UK now.

M: How did it feel to finally get your first album out? And how do you feel about the album itself? Personally I love it. Class.

J: The day of release was a peculiar feeling, like time-travelling yet without the vortexes and paradoxes to overcome. I think next time around we need to add group animal choirs. Squirrels or badgers?

M: Why do you not publish the lyrics to your songs? A lot of Tubelord fans claim they just make up lyrics when they sing along. How do you feel about that?

J: Every action is pure economy. I was writing the lyrics for the album sleeve with white pen. So much ink runs from pen to paper that the pen itself can't provide for my needs. Cycle to shop to buy new pen. Card transaction fails due to being in band and a lack of sufficient income (yet fulfilled pleasures of writing music for people to digg). Deadline is due. Deadline is missed. Morale of the story? There is never enough ink in my pens when I need there to be.

M: 'Our First American Friends'. Any plans for a States side tour?

J: Yes, but it's purely imaginary. In my head we've already played a bar in Alaska, transversed the dock of a bay with our musix in San Fransisco whilst perusing record shops in New York prior to the concert itself. We're everywhere at once and so are you.

M: What are the qualities of a bear that would attract you if you're a moose?

J: The constant influx of porridge on the table.

M: What was the best gig you performed at? The best gig you've been to as a part of the audience?

J: Southsea Festival had such a thoroughly consistent line-up throughout the whole day and across the various stages/venues. Stag and Dagger this year was absolutely nuts, look at the line-up again...look at it. Offset festival was so well pieced together, all in all the most serene juxtaposition of musical entertainments I've had the pleasure of being a part of.

D: The last night of tour in Tunbridge Wells was fantastic, the best way to end a tour, on an utter high. One of the most memorable shows for me this year was Mumford&Sons album launch. An actual hoedown. Rad.

M: Which band did you enjoy touring with the most?

J: With every tour the elemental matter of circumstance varies, and thus with every band we've performed and travelled alongside, new personalities and characters are processed and with that in mind, large amounts of encompassing knowledge and understanding is absorbed into our spongey, grey boxes. Yet 2010 will see exciting plans materialized for touring with our Falmouth friends, all aboard the Lords Ship!

M: You describe your music as 'pop songs for rock kids.' Would the reverse (rock song for pop kids) still work, you think?

J: The reverse always works, just never tell the people in charge!

D: I think we can all think of quite a few notable examples of where the reverse works, for considerable financial gain - Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon etc. Please don't think I've got anything agains those bands, I am in constant awe of their songwriting capabilities.

M: What's the best memory you have of being on tour? What's the worst?

J: The most enjoyable memory I can extract is one specific moment yet it's strung to many others and I can't begin tugging to reveal the pieces otherwise I'll be typing all day. However, the worst memory is the realization of an impending day off teetering over the horizon.

D: There are too many to think of right now, as Jo said, so I will instead turn to my peers for a quote: "We had a day off so we drove to Alton Towers. Me and Josh couldn't afford the entrance fee, so we spent the day in the car park, with a couple grams of Ketamine trying to climb a 3 foot high embankment"

M: What's your favourite poem and your favourite poet?

J: My current favourite poem is Meatloaf by the American poet Derrick C Brown (http://www.brownpoetry.com/)

M: What's the meaning of life?

J: To accept death as the beginning.

M: Describe Tubelord in five words

J: Est-ce que c'est très grave?

*End of Interview*

Tubelord's debut album 'Our First American Friends' is out through Hassle Records. You can buy it here.

Tubelord's first single, 'Propeller' is out on 7-inch and comes in 500 unique designs, all done by a collection of artists. You can buy it here.

Signing out

Over and out