Lost Spaces

I discovered something my first night at Merdekarya; it is almost impossible to get a decent photo with your phone here.

Hence, the blurry shot.

Sam Lopez & the band literally lost in space.
Sam Lopez & the band literally lost in space.

Nevertheless, tonight was probably the best night for me step into this local music haven (for the very first time).

Why?

Tonight was all about Lost Spaces.

First off the bat, the band brought the entire kampung along and packed Merdekarya. It was super cool to finally meet some of the people The Backyard Noise previously featured as well as other local artists and fans.

Then, there was that afro-flinging lead singer—Sam Lopez. He was down to earth, witty, and such a joy to watch. He even gave a shoutout to his mum (who came all the way from Ipoh) halfway through the show.

For the rest of the band…

Lost Spaces seem to have lost their faces.
Lost Spaces seem to have lost their faces.

Even they don’t have a decent picture. However, what they do have is a very decent groove and super tight playing.

Meet the band:
Sam Lopez – Vocals & Guitar
Imran Marshall – Vocals & Bass
Keane Chua – Guitar
Lukas Lopez – Drums

Tonight, Lost Spaces played a variety of covers and originals. Oh, I forgot to mention—it was their debut! And it was a great, great debut. The entire evening was full of positive vibes, and the music was tight, clean and pleasing to the ears.

The drummer and bassist were on point today, and as someone from the crowd mentioned, they didn’t overplay and didn’t underplay. Their solid groove made way for the guitars and vocals to shine.

Throughout the night, Lost Spaces displayed a cohesion that was so fun to watch. The band had lots of dynamics and layers to their playing, but they somehow gelled together so effortlessly. They truly enjoyed their playing, and if you saw the drummer’s facial expressions… Priceless!

Still not a decent photo, but hey at least you can sort of make up their faces now.
Still not a decent photo, but hey at least you can sort of make up their faces now.

In short, tonight felt authentic.

The band didn’t just feel real, they were real good. And they showcased a great sense of togetherness—isn’t that what the local music scene is all about?

The crowd felt more like family than spectators. The atmosphere felt more like a gathering than a show. Everyone was there to see Lost Spaces make their first show.

It’s been a while since I’ve experienced this togetherness.

I think I’m hooked.


For more of Lost Spaces, follow them on:
Facebook: @lostspacesband
Instagram: @lost.spaces

The Midnight Sessions EP

Alone.

In the dark and quiet, things get real.

The Midnight Sessions EP is an album that captures the going-ons of the heart and mind during those moments.

“The songs in The Midnight Sessions were all written and recorded during the hours past midnight. They chronicle some of my most vulnerable moments, and display some of the strongest emotions I have personally felt or witnessed others feel.”

Zee Ng, an 18-year-old guitarist and singer-songwriter, began his songwriting journey in 2012 when he realized that the songs on radio no longer resonated with him.

“Music is supposed to connect with the listener. But when all you hear is happy, poppy music with no depth, you are really missing the point of music.”

That’s how The Midnight Sessions was birthed. Zee stayed up through the nights, capturing every honest thought and emotion that came his way.

“These songs are heartfelt and personal to me. In the middle of the night, when regret finally kicks in, there’s no one to say sorry to because everyone is asleep. So, I express myself in the only way I know how to – through songs.”

This album is not for the faint of heart. Its haunting vocals and intricate layers of music give way to an ambience that will burrow deep into your heart.

Listen to this EP in its proper time and place, and I promise you’ll be overwhelmed by depths of emotion.

“If people are feeling sad, I want them to be able to find a song that they can relate to, something that will help them work through their thoughts and emotions.”

So, if you’re ready to do some heart talk and dive deep into layers of meaningful and honest music, here we go.

This is The Midnight Sessions EP by Zee Ng.

**Contact Zee Ng on Facebook to get your copy today.

Darren Ashley

Darren Ashley is a music composer and songwriter from Kuala Lumpur. His music is unlike anything else, with an unpredictable mix of extremely melodious tunes, superb vocals, unique beats and natural sounds.

Maybe this will give you a better picture.

Darren has traveled all over to places like Switzerland, Berlin, India and Shanghai to showcase his one-of-a-kind sound. When he’s back in town, he also plays together with local artists.

What is your musical upbringing?
Dad had a guitar so I started playing on it. I also picked up drums and played for a few bands during school years.

How did you start songwriting?
I think it was most probably to impress someone I had a crush on. I can’t remember which song it was that I wrote.

What do you think about music?
I like how music is so similar to food. I love how we use terms like fresh, warm, spicy, delicious and tasty to describe sounds. And all this depends heavily on a person’s taste. As wide as our world’s diversity of flavors, I think it’s essential to taste all sorts of sounds to expand our music world larger.

Fun Facts about Darren
– I aspire to be an amazing cook
– I have Japanese ancestors
– I speak Thai
– I’m a Marvel fan

For more of Darren, follow him on
Facebook
YouTube
SoundCloud

Rendra Zawawi

Rendra Zawawi is an aspiring composer and music producer. After graduating from University of Nottingham in UK with a degree in Civil Engineering in 2008, Rendra started performing around KL as a singer-songwriter. During that time, he released his first single, “Faceless,” which went on Hitz FM Malaysian English Top 10 charts for three whole months.


**Music video directed by Kudegraphy

It didn’t take long for Rendra to realize that music was his true passion. After working as a Branding Consultant for a year, Rendra decided to leave it all and go to Berklee College of Music to pursue music professionally.

At Berklee, Rendra discovered his love for music arranging, and became more involved behind the scenes doing composing and production work. He graduated in 2014, and is now based in LA as an assistant composer and music editor.

How did you start songwriting?
Three weeks before PMR (what Form 3 students used to have to take), I asked my dad to show me three chord on guitar, so he showed me A major, D minor and C major. I played around with it because I was too stressed studying, and the next day I came up with a song called “I’m Lost.” That’s how it all began.

Where do you see yourself in the future?
My goal is to become a composer for film, TV, video games and other media. I would also like to be a music producer of sorts, producing music for artists or other music projects.

Who inspires to you to do what you do?
My dad is my creative inspiration. My mom is the one who gives me determination. And everyone else out there, who’ve chased their dreams and pursued their passions – they are my inspiration.

What is most important to you?
My loved ones, who have seen me to where I am today and given me unending support. That includes my Taylor 314-CE guitar that has been with me for 11 years. She has seen EVERYTHING!

Rendra has produced and composed several theme songs for a few Malaysian TV series. He also produced and wrote the lyrics for Razlan Shah’s single “Seperti Baru.”

To check out more of his work, follow him on
Rendra Zawawi Official Website
Soundcloud
Facebook

** Video shot by Teodor Karakolev

Chloe Soh

Chloe Soh is an aspiring singer-songwriter from Kuala Lumpur. At the age of three, Chloe’s passion for music began to bloom. Recalling the day her tiny fingers met the black and white piano keys for the very first time, she said:

I fell in love with the fact that I could make sound.

At age 11, she decided she wanted to do more than just play music. She wanted to make music – music that came from her own heart, soul and imagination.

Ever since people started asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I was determined I was never going to sit in a cubicle from nine-to-five. I was obsessed about making something out of nothing, and I loved music. That’s how I started songwriting.

Chloe started performing when she was 13, but only started dipping her feet into the local music scene waters a few years later. Since then, she’s participated in many competitions and open mics. Some of the places she’s been heard include KLPac and Merdekarya.

Who encourages/inspires you to do what you do?
Those crazy passionate people in the local art scene inspire me every day. It encourages me to know that most of them do what they do without having money or stability as their main concern.

On a more personal note, I had the courage to step towards a serious career in the music industry because I knew the Big Man up there’s got my back no matter what happens.

Things You Didn’t Know About Chloe Soh
– She can move her ears without touching them.
– She makes bath salts.
– She secretly enjoys watching football.
– She wrote a 200-page book when she was 15.
– She can do a cartwheel

Chloe is currently pursuing her Bachelor in Contemporary Music in USCI. Follow her and get to know her more on

SoundCloud
YouTube
Facebook
Musicians Cube
GigFairy

** Photo by Ta Mae Pearl

KissKillMary

KissKillMary is an indie rock band from Kuala Lumpur. Not sure what they’re all about? Don’t worry, they’ve summed it up for you.

“Think of KissKillMary as a hard blend of dance elements and indie rock. Something like adding whisky to Coke while having dark chocolate.”

KissKillMary was formed in 2011, and the band has been writing their own music and performing ever since. Over the years, they’ve been featured at places like IndiePG, No Black Tie and Laundry Bar.

How did you guys come together?
Richard and Adrian were colleagues, while Adrian and Beng had already played together for a long time. We had the band. The only trouble was getting our vocalist Jenn on board.

It took almost a year for Jenn to finally agree to jam with us, and she brought Sonny along (because jamming with three random guys isn’t sketchy at all). Halfway through, we felt something was missing. Sonny picked up the guitar to play with us, and the rest is history.

I’ll play it first and tell you what it is later – MILES DAVIS

That’s usually our starting point and inspiration for our songs. In fact, that was how “Repetition” was written. Beng started playing this catchy bass line, and the song just wrote itself.

Fun Facts about KissKillMary
– Beng came up with the name KissKillMary
– There is no Mary in the band
– Sonny and Richard are metal heads.
– Jenn is definitely not a metal head.

KissKillMary is currently working on coming up with their debut full-length album. Pledge to give to KissKillMary here for some cool and exclusive merchandise.

For more of KissKillMary, follow them on
Facebook
Soundcloud
YouTube

 

 

 

A.RON

A.RON is a rapper from Kuala Lumpur. More than just another rapper, A.RON desires to be a breath of fresh air in the music industry and a voice of change in his society.

A.RON makes it a point to write clean lyrics and isn’t ashamed to write about his worldview or the things he values. Off stage, his actual name is Aaron Lui Teng Wei, and he is currently pursuing a Degree in Mechatronics Engineering at UTAR.

How did you get into rap music?
I was exposed to rap music when I was 10, and I memorized All Rise by Blue when I turned 12. A couple of years later, I started writing my own lyrics for mini rap battles we used to have in high school.

Who has encouraged you along the way?
My friends and family. My friends, especially, have ferociously supported me by giving motivation and encouragement. One of them even bought me my very own Blue USB Microphone. Shout out to Kylie Ooi! Parents are supportive of what I do – as long as I don’t mess up my studies haha.

Where have you been heard?
I started off performing in school and in church. While I mostly do live shows, a good friend of mine Charisse Tay helped put together my first studio track “Da Truth (Intro)” in 2011.

Two years prior to that, I got the chance to perform in front of 2,000 people at the Made2Love concert. That’s when the stage started to truly become my second home. I’ve since performed at many other concerts and competitions.

Photo by Jonathan Cool
Photo by Jonathan Cool

Empowering Story
There was a time when  I wasn’t really supported for what I did, and it got me down and out. I told my 15-year-old self that I would stop whatever I was doing and just be the ordinary kid.

The problem was – I couldn’t. Hip Hop had become so embedded in my system that I couldn’t fake it. I stuck with my passion and here I am today. Moral of the story: Don’t let go of your passion.

For more of A.RON, follow him on
Facebook
SoundCloud
YouTube
Instagram – @dadeft

**Photos by Jonathan Cool

Darren Teh

In the daytime, before the stage is set and the lights are lit, he finds himself in a classroom full of international students. When night falls, however, the scene changes.

Instead of a whiteboard marker, a guitar falls into his hands; instead of a classroom of students, he sees a wave of fans. The lights are lit, and the show begins.

“A teacher by day, a rock star by night.”

Darren Teh is the lead singer and songwriter for pop-punk band An Honest Mistake. During the day, he teaches English to international students at Lim Kok Wing University. At night, he becomes part of the local music scene, whether it is playing or organizing gigs.

As a band, An Honest Mistake has played in places like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. In 2014, they received the VIMA 2014 Best Music Video Award for their song “Giddy Up Horsie! This Chase Ain’t Waiting For You.”

How did you start songwriting?
I just started putting sentences together. The first song I wrote was made up of random sentences that rhymed. It was called, “This Song is so Random, I Don’t Know Why.” Later on, I began writing on what I saw and heard every day. In other words, I began writing on life.

What is most important to you?
Doing what I love. You can do a lot of things and not enjoy it, but when you love what you do, you’ll pour your heart and soul into it. It’s also important to have positive people around you to support you and cheer you on.

Darren Teh_Fotor
Photo by Frenchie’s Photography

The Darren you never quite knew
Being “Dare”-ren, I’m quite the daredevil. When I was 5, I’d climb up the main pipe to the roof of my house. Then, I’d climb from roof to roof, making my neighbors think there was a robber on the roof.

As a kid, I used to stand on the swing and prepare to jump off right when it got to the peak to see how far I’d land. I still do lots of crazy things, even on stage. I swing my guitar a lot, do cartwheels, maybe I’ll do a backflip in the middle of a song one of these days.

Besides playing music, Darren also organizes gigs at Laundry Bar. One of his goals is to keep the music scene in Malaysia alive and kicking. For more on Darren and An Honest Mistake, follow:

An Honest Mistake’s Facebook
An Honest Mistake’s Twitter
An Honest Mistake’s Instagram
An Honest Mistake’s YouTube
An Honest Mistake’s Bandcamp

**Photo by Calvin Alexi (featured image)

 

Jess Loh

Jess Loh is a singer-songwriter from Ipoh, Perak. She turns 24 this year, and currently studies Medicine at Monash University, Melbourne.

2013, the year that Jess started her medical degree, was the same year she started a YouTube channel. Since then, Jess has performed at Merdekarya and “The Rock Show” at Laundry Bar. She has also done busking gigs at the Abbotsford Market in Melbourne.

While she posts music on YouTube and Soundcloud quite often, Jess enjoys playing live the most.

“I definitely prefer performing live, because I love the energy from the crowd. Mistakes are also quickly forgotten (hopefully).”

Who inspires you to keep doing what you do?
My friends, who tirelessly watch my videos and show up to my gigs.
My parents, who provide for me so I can do music in my free time.
My sisters, who critique my songs.
And everyone that takes a moment to leave a nice comment on my videos or send me an encouraging message before a gig.

What are your aspirations?
Serve on the music team in church in Australia. Collaborate more. Do more gigs. And of course, graduate!

Next year, I plan to come out with an EP if everything goes well. You know what? I would really love to tour and play music all around the world. Now that would be cool.

A story totally unrelated to music but funny anyway
One time when I was 11, I had to stay back in school for marching practice. I wasn’t very happy, so I decided to stomp around the field.

Eventually, I felt my shoe insole curving up, and it started to bother me. As I removed my shoe, I  saw a yellow-greenish lump inside. Terrified, I dropped the shoe and called my friends over.

It was a frog, and the poor thing was flattened and quite dead. By then, the frog had been in my shoe for nearly 8 hours. We gave it a proper burial in the field beside the rain tree, with a stick cross marking its grave.

How the frog died? I’d like to think I stomped it to death, which is cruel enough, but my friends are certain that it died from the noxious fumes of my smelly feet.

For more of Jess Loh, check out her
Facebook
Soundcloud
YouTube

**Photo by Calvin Alexi

Volatile

While sitting down at a wedding one day, Antoine and Jaime saw an electric fence labeled “Volatile.” They looked at each other and said,

“Hey, let’s start a band and name it Volatile!”

Six months later, these four fellas banded together, and Volatile was formed.

volatileVolatile is a four-piece rock band from Penang. The band is made up of spontaneous and fun individuals that have grown to be family.

Over the past few years, Volatile has been featured at events like IndiePG and the 5 Degrees North Music Festival. In 2014, Volatile also won The Band Star Hunt at Gurney Plaza.

NOT your conventional head banging rock band, Volatile plays more of a swaying, dancing kind of rock. Just like in this original song.

How did you guys start songwriting?
One day we were having our usual band practice, and all of us sort of came to this revelation. “Why don’t we just write our own music and see what happens?”

It turned out to be the best decision we ever made. Sean is usually the genius behind most of the songs, but everyone brings ideas to the table, and we work together really well.

What are the band’s aspirations?
We’d like to play in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. That would be our next step. Eventually, it’d be cool to play at Wembley Stadium haha.

We definitely want to get an album out but we’re struggling a little bit with funds and time. Look forward to it, though!

Meet the Band
Antoine Loncle
, 20, is the drummer. He loves photography and is the person behind Frenchie’s Photography.

Jaime Gunter, 21, is the guitarist. She learnt guitar from Kelvyn Yeang for a while, and the picked up rest on her own. By the way, Antoine is her nephew.

Yeap Wei Wen, 19, is the bassist. The band couldn’t find a bassist, so he taught himself to play the bass when he joined Volatile. Wei wen and Antoine were childhood friends.

Sean Choon, 17, is the lead singer and the only band member still stuck in high school. He was 13 when he first joined Volatile. He is also the only one not directly related to Antoine in some way.

Volatile 2
Volatile rocking it out at IndiePG. Click to hear Volatile’s full on rock version of “The Rush” featuring Kimmy Choon (Sean’s older sister)

Funny Story about The Band Star Hunt Competition
Lead singer Sean Choon forgot the competition date and went to Nepal on a school trip without his phone.

His sister Kimmy Choon filled in for him, and Volatile won the competition. After the results were out, Sean decided to arrive on the scene. Just one of the band’s many stories.

Find out more about Volatile and their upcoming shows on
Volatile’s Facebook
Volatile’s Instagram
Volatile on ReverbNation
@VolatileBand

Follow Antoine’s photography at
Frenchie’s Photography
Frenchie’s Photography on Facebook

A blog about Malaysian songwriters

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