By Shazwan Zulkiffli
The common understanding is that: Shah Alam isn’t the ideal location to find a solid indie rock band. I mean, for a place that’s popular for their no-cinema zone, roundabouts and the state mosque, so it comes by no surprise that the general public perceives Shah Alam as kind of an oddity just outside the metropolitan PJ/Subang area. But beneath the conservative silhouette, there are small tremors of arts and culture scattered around the sleepy suburbs. Azrul and Omar make up Jaggfuzzbeats, an act that lights up the darkness of that part of town with hits like ‘Talk To You’ and ‘Wasted Night’ from their debut EP, Rest Now.
In conjunction with Good Vibes festival, I drove to the Beverly Hills side of Shah Alam, where the hipster cafes are well and alive – at least until 10pm. There, Azrul and Omar talked to me about their first time performing at Good Vibes and why they’re totally stoked for it.
This is your first time playing Good Vibes Festival – how are you guys feeling about it?
Omar: Oh, we’re feeling very excited. We went to last year’s Good Vibes and it was fun. When we were there, we imagined playing on the stage and one year later, we got the opportunity pula!
Azrul: Very, very excited to be able to play on the same stage as the same musicians we follow like The Kooks, Phoenix, Kodaline, G-Eazy, Gnash, Dua Lipa.
Out of all the international artists in the line up, which one is your favorite and why?
O: Phoenix lah, their album Bankrupt! is very meaningful to me and their song Chloroform is my favorite. I knew them from that album.
A: My favorite is The Kooks, because I’ve been listening to them ever since I was younger, maybe after sekolah. My favorite album would be Konk because it had most of my favorite songs – so I’m very excited to see them on stage.
Which local act in the roster, would you recommend to the readers check out?
O: Most probably Alextbh, because he’s like, the God of R&B in Malaysia right now (chuckles) then Airliftz, Killeur Calculateur and Najwa.
Any hint of the setlist will be like?
A: I don’t think we’ll be doing covers, but there’s definitely new and unreleased songs that might be on our on our album or might not also, we don’t know for now.
Out of all the songs you recorded on Rest Now, what would be the ‘dream song’ that you guys imagined to performing at Good Vibes in front of the crowd?
O: I’d say Lovin’
A: Oh kau Lovin’ eh? I would say Empty Moi and yeah, Lovin’. Empty Moi simply sebab it’s the heaviest song we have and we wanna see people go crazy, Lovin’ because it’s upbeat and we wanna see people dance and stuff.
What do you think of Good Vibes’ lineup this year, including the wealth of local bands in their roster?
O: I think it’s cool because Good Vibes is promoting that the local music culture exists, because a lot people might not know these musicians exists. Normal people who don’t know or care about the local scene would come to a festival that big and having the local scene being showcased is cool. It contributes to the enhancement of the music industry.
A: Sama (points at Omar)
Other than the ones performing, which local artists do you wish you were performing with?
A: Captain Trips, Orang Malaya, Youth Portal, Insomiacks maybe? *laughs again
In this particular scene you’re in, what’s essential for you guys to stay relevant in this scene? Especially being one of the few bands playing this genre?
A: I think people acknowledge that kind of lo fi sound that we have is like our identity. I guess our identity is what will keep us relevant.
In three strong words, describe your identity as a band.
A: Jangles, tangles, and bedazzle
O: Rock and roll lah
Tell us a bit about your new material.
A: A lot of them are still in writing, nothing solid yet, but we’re going towards a more vibrant and lively direction. Rest Now is quite dark lyrics-wise and I wanna get out of that. So the new material will be a lot more, I’d say, colorful.
What was your ‘ilham’ while working on the new material?
A: I would say the tiles in my bathroom. Because I feel like whenever I wanna shower its a zen moment for me and I get random ideas. Everytime that happens, I’m facing the tiles. (both potty and showering hours)
O: It’s jaggfuzzbeats with rainbows.
Any message to your fans out there?O: Stay in school
A: Don’t do drugs
O: Come to Good Vibes Festival, and we’re excited to see everyone there
A: We hope to see you there!
O: If you’re a fan buy the CD!!
Tickets for Good Vibes Festival 2017 can be bought here.