KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — “The pen is mightier than the sword” by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton is one of those sayings we often use.
While the context and how it is used may vary, the real meaning behind the quote is to indicate that communication ― particularly written language, or advocacy of an independent press — is a more effective tool than direct violence.
For five-piece Malaysian rock band Kyoto Protocol, the phrase does not have much relevance in today’s society.
“Think about it, why do we still need that phrase? No one carries a sword these days, why don’t we just make a statement: The pen is mightier?” lead vocalist Fuad Alhabshi said during an interview with Malay Mail.
And that was how Fuad along with Hairi Haneefa (guitarist), Shakeil Bashir (bassist) and Shanjeev Reddy (drummer), Gael Oliveres (keyboardist) came up with a name for the band’s upcoming album The Pen Is Mightier.
“I feel 2018 is the right time to release this album, and personally I’ve never been this excited for a release.
“This album will have seven songs and the real meaning behind it is to tell people there are other ways to overcome problems you face in your life,” Fuad said.
In his own words, the album is the band’s best craftsmanship to date.
“We’re getting better and whenever a new album comes out, we feel a bit shy to play our old songs.
“This is because new songs provide fans new ways of connecting with us and I hope when they hear it, some of it will be something they will listen to on a daily basis.”
Fans have already been asking the band how different the new album will be and Shanjeev’s take is simple ― it is going to be very different.
“The first and second album sounded more or less the same, but this one sounds more matured and definitely offers better music to the fans,” he said.
Six of the seven tracks have been written over the course of the last one-and-a-half years and the album comes after Catch These Men in 2015 and the band’s highly rated EP’s An Album released in 2011 and 2013’s Pahlawan.
Shakeil added that fans can expect a diverse style of music from the album that will be released before Toyota Good Vibes Festival 2018.
“This album is definitely something special, and there is no one way to describe the feel of the tracks on this album.
“It is influenced by different genres and artistes as our taste of music is very different,” he said.
It has been a long time coming and despite being active in the scene for close to a decade, Fuad said it felt as if it was just a couple of years ago since the band’s inception in Kuala Lumpur in 2009.
“It is definitely a long time, but at the same time it does not feel that way.
“Simply because we work during the day and only compose and produce at night.
“In a blink of an eye, two years can fly by quick,” he said.
All the hard work over the years had paid off for the band.
In 2011, they were nominated Best New Artist by Anugerah Industri Muzik and the band’s lead single Pussycat from the cheekily titled EP An Album topped local radio charts.
More success followed, being the opening acts for international bands such as We The Kings, We Are The In Crowd and The Killers, performing at Urbanscapes music festival and 2013’s Good Vibes Festival in Sepang.
Shanjeev could not hide his excitement during the interview, particularly because he felt the band’s strength lie in live performances.
“The new album is a way of showing fans and telling ourselves we have come a long way and how our product is much more refined now.
“But what really got me in the mood was after getting confirmation to perform at this year’s Good Vibes Festival.
“It was just so much ‘wow’ for me. Performing at a festival is something different, especially after seeing pictures and videos showing our audience had a good time during our set.
“We don’t really talk much about it, but we love performing at festivals,” Shanjeev said.
Fuad added Good Vibes Festival was the closest thing to Coachella ― an annual music and arts festival in United States ― that Malaysians could get to experience.
“It’s not a local gig, because if it is, people will always give it a miss.
“A festival or concert is an occasion where everybody sets time aside.
“If you miss this event, it will not be a repeat experience this year.”
He agreed that the band gained valuable knowledge each time they perform live.
“There is always something special about a festival. Our first, Urbanscapes, was scary as hell, but we got better during the second show.
“As a band you learn so much, and this is why everyone should come experience a music festival.
“For me, it’s a milestone. If you miss it, you cannot relive that experience by going to a similar festival,” he said.