Thanks soo much 2016! It has been a great journey and I look forward to 2017 for more exciting projects and rooms for growth in my music and spiritually.
Thanks to VBuzz Astro Vinmeen team for inviting me over for an interview on 29th December 2016. Special thanks to Sumitra, April, Joanna, Sharita and Jay ..and make up artist Kak Annie!
- How did you go from management consultant and biomedical engineer to singer-songwriter?
I think its one of those ‘Dare to be great’ moments where you push yourself beyond your comfort zones. And then pray very hard it will.turn out okay. Lets see, my career has always been a bit of Games of Throne-ish, I’m not kidding …even an HR manager insist I watch the show. One joť7b in particular got me into a bit of a tiff with the CEO, among others, I prayed for guidance and I got it in terms of a claivoyance vision thing …I tendered my resignation and just right after that the CEO wanted to incriminate me for losing a very important document, originating from Central Bank nonetheless but after the HR manager parlayed the info that I’ve tendered my resignatiin,he waived the accusation and shook it off like nothing happened. I didn’t have jobs lining up for me at the time. So, I had to find lower rent rooms elsewhere if I were to survive longer on my almost non existent savings. That led me to Cheras part of town, new beggining, new start. I did a lot of soul searching back then, n lots of walking. On one of those jaunts, I stumbled upon Kamar Seni, ag coco’s studio. That opened up the possibilities for me making music. There were not many willing musicians who wants to actually help n believe in me. Ag is one of those gifted n honest souls. When i got.the confirmation that he will arrange for me, what I did first was work like hell n paid of my credit cards. I had a few, used to buy books, loads to get to where I was then. After agonizing months, I managed to get the deposit for.ag to kickstart the arrangement for Memori. Its like having ur secret wish fulfilled, thats how it was upon hearing my song sung live backed by live musicians and choir by the champion of talent show. The company I left, I heard recently, got roasted through n thru with external audit teams, few got suspended and the ceo …he claimed innocence but a leader who lets mismanagement runs amok is not the best example of a leader. He’s crafty, good with words. If it was not bcos of him, I would not have moved. N if I hadn’t moved I would not have stumbled upon ag coco’s studio. No music for me. So, thanks. It.was not pre planned this music thing. But Im glad it happened.
- Has music always been a big part of your life?
Yes. As coping mechanism. I am the kind of guy who will.sing out loud by the curb, i walk a lot, thinking the motorist will not pay heed …but some did, to my astonisment shouted encouragement n honked ..
- You were born with a trait called Highly Sensitive Person. Can you tell us about this and how music has helped you?
HSPs are born with a different set of nervous system making them.more sensitive to external stimulants. There’s a spectrum to it but HSPs r misreprented n misunderstood. They r gifted. Bcos HSPs feel more, music is.appreciated greatly. Mussic.is.the language of emotions n hsps feels a lot when it comes to music. Music calms me. It helps distract me, be in the moment. Yes, im drawn more to sad music as all gifted people r but all good music is a slice of heaven.its therapy. Healing. Im able to express unexpressed things in me. Things I wouldnt even begin to know.exist. hope.
- You actually didn’t know how to read music when you first started out. How did you overcome this?
I still.dont. not proud of it. But I think.I have a kind of acute sense of hearing. I can discern dissonance and watching other performers help. For eg I had the opportunity to see ctdk at sound check n rehearsal for AIM, n I saw how she bravely say lets try again ..she didn’t have qualms expressing how the sound appeared to her ..like…tebal ..and I say to myself, n sure enough thats one reason she sings beautifully live.. she takes great liberty in knowing the ensemble, and sound system. The same can be said of Hujan at the last Rantai art concert. They owned it. But I can attest that, they were the only team that painstakingly retune n retune evrything …n the result ..wow..the energy the harmony. It was bliss. You can see the crowds goin wild bcos of it. Byond notes, i have to communicate, be a team player.
- What sort of music do you enjoy composing?
I would love to say spiritual n songs that touches on social issues but at the moment , all I can write is love songs ..a bit sad ..pun intended ..most r sad songs n Its sad that im a bit stuck there but I.think its about who i am right now..i habe to resolve my past issues ..heart aches. Unrequitted love ..i’ve live thru it. So its all me. I am happy but one day yeah it will be swelll to compose.spiriyual n social issues songs.
- As a musician, how important is it for you to be able to compose music for your own vocal ability?
Super important. Who would want to write songs fot me? Am I ct, ft, ayda jebat? Necessity breeds invention indeed. Classical pops. The necessity factor comes into the pic. But doing my own music, enables me to.express what I feel … but there is always limitations when it comes to a song. The voicd n feel have to match the song. One cannot summon 51 vocal acrobatics n ad libs for a song. It has to be just nice. In classical music or classical pop, voice is a much deciding factor. But in pop, its to one’s own. But yes, i wont be singing songs in hi rock notes like Gukkasten korean band. Its a about protecting it. And be able to shine within
- Your first two singles were featured in an experimental dance drama at the Damansara Performing Arts Centre. Tell us about Memori: The Story of Andhika Pramuthya
I could not have done it without the help of Amandus Paul and his team of dancers from Anak Seni Asia and Pandu Puteri Malaysia. It was a challenge from DPAC for me to look beyond performing my songs, so an experimental dance drama was the result. We like the lost art depicted at Angkor and ancient bass reliefs, the court dances which were also a part of our lost culture. So, in a way, this was our way of giving a tribute. That and that the story itself is about finding one’s self and carving a new path in a brave new world.
- We’re coming into a new year in a couple of days. What’s in the pipeline for you?
Thanks to AG COCO, we have a few projects coming up. I nicknamed it #NikNabilxKamarSeni project. We will be collaborating on fresh tunes and it’s an exciting phase in my songwriting journey because I am now able to work with one of Malaysia’s unique and talented musician.