KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — Malay Mail spoke to Altimet & The Kawan Band ahead of their performance at Toyota Good Vibes Festival (GVF) 2018.
Adeep Nahar (vocalist), Gideon Yogan (bassist), Omar Ibrahim Mohd Azmi (drummer), Muhammad Akmal Mohamed Nor (trombonist) and Altimet shared their journey together, the difficulties in being a performer / artist, the importance of a music festival and how prepared they are to rock the Blue Stage from 5.30-6pm this Saturday.
How was the experience at 2016’s South by Southwest?
It’s been a while but there was nothing much said about the whole experience.
Omar Ibrahim (OI): It was a unique experience. I’ve never been to a music festival like that and the scale of the festival was huge, that even the whole city was involved. You can walk from one end to another with rock playing on one side, reggae on the other while a marching band is performing in front of you. It’s amazing how different genres of music can come together under one roof.
Gideon Yogan (GY): It was eye-opening. We managed to listen to a wide scope of music and it was a wonderful time on stage. A memorable occasion as we managed to deliver our unique brand of Malaysian music on an international stage.
Since you guys were speaking about wide scope of music, how important is it as an artist to listen to a variety of music rather than just that one genre?
Adeep Nahar (AN): A wide scope of music is as important to the fans as it is to us. On our side, it opens up the doors to more creativity and understanding of a particular genre. For the fans, it gives them a chance to listen to ‘not so famous’ bands.
How hard is it being a musician in Malaysia?
AN: It’s not easy being a musician, and I’m sure you’ve heard this before. You need to know your craft and it’s not about playing the guitar, singing, or hitting the drums. Over here if you really want to be one, you have got to dig deep in to it and understand what it is all about.
How important is an outdoor music festival such as GVF2018 to artists?
GY: This is a chance for us to showcase our music and abilities as a musician. Often people meet us and ask “Who are you? Where do you play? Only in a club?”. That is the truth of people’s perception to performers like us. But with something like GVF around it’s nice. It’s another chance for us to open our doors to the fans.
How prepared is The Kawan Band for GVF 2018?
GY: We’ve already gotten our set list, and what songs to do and what not to do. I’m relaly looking forward to playing some of these especially – Kotarayaku and Keliling Dunia.
OI: We really haven’t played in a while and this is the first show we will be playing with Adeep and without our late percussionist Rav Singh. We will also be playing a new song called Muda – which features rapper, Kidd Santhe.
Do you think a live performance is the best way to showcase your music?
GY: It can be the best way, if you are looking to showcase your talent. But there are others who can sit down in the studio and produce good music too. Every artist works in different ways to produce music for the fans.
OI: There are pros and cons and the debate can go on but what I find unique about live sets is that moment on stage where you get that one-on-one connection to your audience.
How has 2018 been for the band?
OI: There hasn’t been much happening for the band together as we have been more focused on our individual stuff. Nothing much has been planned throughout the year too, but we’re in talks to release a single with Altimet by the end of the year.
GY: Nothing much. But on occasions we play with one another at smaller gigs and it allows us to gel with one another for The Kawan Band.
How has the journey been with The Kawan Band been?
Akmal Mohamed Nor (AM): We started off as a band to back up Altimet and it’s been great, simply because of the unique music we produce. We mix all sort of flavours in our band. I’ve been in and out but to be part of the band has been great.
A: I’ve always wanted to perform with a live band. Some of them were not permanent musicians of the band, but I’ll be frank – they’re some of the best musicians I’ve known. Originally, they were just playing here and there for me and it was a struggle because organisers always think a rapper is just one person. Often times, I perform with The Kawan Band, I don’t pay myself, it’s all for them. But what I get from performing with the band is satisfaction.
What drives you guys to make music?
OI : I always believe in this quote “ If you take care of the music, it will take care of you” by Trumpeter Roy Hargrove which has stuck to me since day one. What he meant was if you practice hard, money and gigs will come.
AM: Being sincere to my music. I do not think about the money or fame, just practice and hard work. Some people are born with talent, but if you rely on talent with no practice you are going nowhere.
Describe The Kawan Band in one word?
AN: As per the name rojak, sounds weird right? BUT lazat bila dimakan (tasty when eaten).