Monday, November 2, 2009

Mixtape Number Four / Magabu & The White Shoes

I've got another mixtape out. Here you go. Half of these bands I've seen live, and they're all amazing. Three Trapped Tigers are, in the words of the Pill, "mental." Tiny Masters of Today are a band consisting of two siblings, one is 15 and the other is 13. And for their age, they're really good. When they're not so tiny and when it's no longer today, it's obvious they'll gain a lot more experience from bands their age because they've started so early. In fact, they've already got a second album out.

01] Two Door Cinema Club - Undercover Martyn (Live at Glastonbury)
02] Three Trapped Tigers - 6
03] Local Natives - Airplanes
04] Johnny Foreigner - More Heart, Less Tongue
05] Brontide - Crunk Anansie
06] Sam Isaac - Sticker, Star & Tape
07] Tellison - Gallery
08] Tiny Masters Of Today - Hologram World
09] The xx - VCR
10] Tubelord - Night Of The Pencils (Acoustic)

Anyway, I know I don't really talk about bands from back home (Brunei, that is), but it isn't for lack of trying. It's quite hard to actually find Bruneian bands online. I'm so used to myspace as a one-stop band-search machine, but apparently Bruneian bands don't do that.

But I have found a few good ones. So today I'm going to introduce you to one, called Magabu and the White Shoes.

On the link there's only two songs so far, 'Aku Tak Kan Lari,' and 'Duhai Kawan,' which translate to 'I Won't Run' and 'O' Friend' respectively. 'Aku Tak Kan Lari' is certainly the most reggae-heavy of the two songs. Influenced by fellow South-East Asian ska/reggae bands such as Gerhana Ska Cinta and Republic Brickfield and legendary Californian ska punk band, Sublime, they express the desire to make the local scene in Brunei more 'colourful' and 'fun.'

It's not exactly myspace. It's another music service called Popfolio, one which I'm unfamiliar with. Right now the website is a blog on Blogger, and not much is on except their biography, contact details and a video.

I did an interview with them by contacting Rudy, and he's been nice enough to come back with me with answers.

1) What are your primary influences for this band?
- FUN comes first and money comes later... Okay, please translate this, "kalau kita buat lagu and dedahkan kepada dunia kita akan cipta sejarah..tapi kalau tidak ia akan menjadi harta karun...." TQ.

Translation: "When we make music and expose it to the world, we create history.. But if we don't, it becomes a piece of treasure, lost and hidden.

2) When did all of you start listening to Reggae/ Ska / Punk?

- We can't remember when, but I'm sure it was since we were first able to switch on the radio (hahaha. Just kidding) and buy CDs from the local store (hahaha). If we're not mistaken it was since we listened to reggae ska bands from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and from a few other regions such as Gerhana Ska Cinta, Republic Brickfield, Tipe-X, Ska-P, Sublime, The Times (the best one), One Buck Short (our inspiration) and a few others... Hmmm... thinking in progress... And also, Steven and Coconut Treez.

3) When was Magabu formed? Are all the original members still playing?
- Hell yeah, the band was formed last November, and yup, all the original members are still performing well (we are still young lah... Haha... What did you expect?)

4) Any memorable live performances?
-Yup.. Our first ever paycheck from playing a Saturday night show at Jerudong Amphiteatre. And B-Mobile's Who's Got Talent competition that was held at the Mall, Gadong (for which we won BND1000 for getting second) and with the prize money we invested it in our first recording session. Hehehe..

5) How hard is it to thrive in a local scene where reggae and ska aren't as appreciated as other genres?
Hmmmmmm... Real HARD... That's why we're trying to convince people that our local acts can do better than foreign ones.

6) You said on Popfolio you have several songs already written. Any plans to record them or even make an album?
- Yeah, we do have 21 songs in our list (100% written by Magabu and 100% Bruneian). But I want you to know we are actually searching for management and sponsors. At the moment we have only 3 recorded songs (the budget is tight, bro)

7) 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?
- Wow... Hmmm. Okay, basically our fan base consists of mostly family and friends, but I can state now that we have our own Facebook fan group, 80% of the people in it are people we totally don't even know. Thanks Facebook. Hahaha, okay. But we wish for our fans, please and please be as crazy as they can... Hahaha. I wish for a crazy crowd in our next performance in the Gadong area (still in negotiation).

8) Your band name Magabu stands for Makan Gaji Buta, isn't it? Is this a dig at the current work ethic of the locals? If it is, we totally understand. Haha. What's the story behind the name? And what about the white shoes?
It's a long story, Jay. Hehehe. Okay, The White Shoes is only there to make the Magabu name sound a bit longer, and we do love our white sneakers. Hahaha. Tahun 60-70an (in the 60s-70s) they were worn only by players/playboys... Hahaha.

9) What are the ideals you've adopted from reggae / ska / punk?
- Lots

10) 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?
- It's gonna be ages, Jay. You know what I'm saying, bro... I think.. It depends on our locals... They (the local organisers) should try and revolutionise our local music industry, Rerevolution... Hahaha. (We might sound like we're trippin', but hey, we're totally clean).

11) Last question, in five words, describe your band, without using genre labels.

*End of Interview*

If you're reading this in Brunei, please request on the radio for their songs to be played on Kristal FM and Pelangi FM. The two songs that can be requested are 'Aku Takkan Lari' and 'Duhai Kawan.' Support our local scene. We have some very talented people here, and Magabu & The White Shoes belong in that category.

Signing out

Over and out

Listening to: Colour - Unicorns

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