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

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