Updated: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 06:10:34 GMT | By Shakila Rajendra, MSN Malaysia

One Buck Short: Interview

This punk-indie rock band have seen and done it all, almost. They’ve opened for acts like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance and plan to take over the music scene one gig at a time. Perching themselves on beanbags, Mooky, Imran, Izal and Rahul talk of mad fans, piracy and maybe even doing a track with Good Charlotte.


One Buck Short (© Photo courtesy of 8TV)

One Buck Short (Photo courtesy of 8TV)

Being a band that’s been around for around 6 years now,  who is coming into their own in the local indie music scene?

Mooky: The bands that came out 2/3 years ago are doing very well now. Bands like Bunkface, Pesawat, Meet Uncle Hussein, Hujan. Besides them there are a lot of bands who have been around for awhile who are still doing well like Pop Shuvit, Estranged and even Love Me Butch.

When is the next big gig you have lined up?

Izal: We have a series of 11 shows that kicks off in Kuantan this August.

Where in Malaysia have you had the best gig?

Imran: (In) our experience, Terengganu has the best crowd.

Mooky: The crowd was very responsive.

Izal: The thing is we only had enough time to play two songs but those were probably the best two songs we’ve ever played.

Mooky: It was done by the kids - they even set up a barbeque for us before we even arrived at the venue. It was this one bungalow house and we were there with other bands and we were interacting with the crowd, the kids. We just ate together and chilled out and talked about music and the bands.

Izal: It was one of the most tiring shows but it was memorable. 

Mooky: Besides that, there was Rock The World 5. That was around 2004 I think. It was good because the turnout was more than 40,000 people. When we did our set, it was around prime time and it had started to rain. People started to go off and all we saw  were empty spaces on the grounds. We thought “Oh no! How are we going to do this?” But when we came out, people just started filling up the empty spaces. It was like a splash of people. It was crazy!

Where’s  a good place in KL to watch indie bands play?

Imran: The MCPA Theatre. It’s near Stadium Merdeka.

Mooky: Venues usually move when you go and watch bands. It’s different from pubs and clubs. There’s a MySpace page that lists Malaysian gigs though. I think it’s myspace.com/malaygig.

Rahul: The page basically lists flyers from all the shows that they (the page creators) can find and they put it up on their own resource. There are places like Laundry at The Curve, and there’s MCPA that’s more underground.

One of the oldest and best venues is where Ruums used to be.

What do you think about piracy?

Izal: Piracy sucks man.

Imran: Piracy sucks but you can’t stop it.

Mooky: It’s one of those things like volcanoes erupting and hurricanes…you can’t stop it from happening. You just have to deal with it. Find another way. If people really like you, they’ll buy your stuff.

Have you ever seen any of your stuff being pirated?

Imran: Yeah we have! There was a bag. It was really quite cool. This actually came from one of my drum students, he came back from PD (Port Dickson) and he said, “I got something to show you,” and it was a One Buck Short bag and I was like “What?!” But it was pretty cool because you’re at that level where people want to pirate you. We take it as a little compliment. We’re kind of ticked off that we didn’t think about it first because that bag was really cool!

How do you think the local music industry is getting on? Are people becoming more supportive of this music as compared to when you started out?

Rahul: The quality and the standard has gotten so much higher so more people are starting to appreciate it. When we started, we would just record our demos and it would sound like sh*t. Now everyone is sending their stuff to get it mastered and obviously if it sounds good, people will start picking it up. Radio stations will start playing it. There are stations like XFM (XfreshFM) that just play local music and they already have a huge amount of listeners and it’s growing.

Mooky: The support is there. There’s a lot of support from not just other bands but also from corporate companies. I guess anyone who is indie now are quite supportive. Not just in rock but even in hip hop, and dance and house. They always have their own groups. And even these groups are expanding.

Are there any artists out there you’d think you’d like to collaborate with?

Mooky : We were thinking of doing stuff with Zainal Abidin, and even Ramli Sarip, just that we haven’t really had the opportunity to do it yet.

If a song came up and we thought, “Hey Zainal Abidin can do it” then we’d definitely do it. Even with Joe Flizzow, we’d probably do something with him. Besides that, we have a lot of international acts that we want to work with.

Rahul:  If we’re talking international acts, we’d probably like to work with a producer… Some big shot producer guy who would have really cool stories to tell you because they would’ve produced bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Foo Fighters.

With artists, it’s harder because they’d probably have to suit the style of the song. We’re talking to Good Charlotte at the moment and we’re probably going to do a track with them. We played a show with them a few years back here in KL and we just kind of kept in touch so hopefully if they are free, and if it happens, it happens. Right now, we’re working on seeing who suits the right track.

How difficult is it trying to make it without being signed to a label?

Mooky: It’s very difficult. At the end of the day, it boils down to the amount of cash you have to spend. With the bands over here, we don’t have a luxurious amount to spend but we do make an effort to save up and try our best with whatever we have.

Rahul: With the labels here, they don’t really know what to do themselves. They’re kind of lost, they’d be asking us what to do and if we’re doing that, we might as well do it on our own.

What’s the craziest fan experience you’ve ever had?

Imran: There was this one time in UiTM, we were playing a show with V.E. After the show we were supposed to go back to our cars and they had cadet soldiers that lined up and made a wall from where we were to our cars to prevent the fans from getting to us. Of course there weren’t enough of them because the distance was quite far! The crowd was trying to come in. We were walking and out of nowhere….

Izal: Imagine this, it was me and the guys from V.E. and the rest of us.

Imran: And this girl just broke through and she went up to him (Izal) and just kissed him! After that they just pulled her off(laughs).

Izal: The V.E. guys were like, “was that real?” And I was like, yeah.

Mooky: There have also been a few incidents where bras have come up on stage. And we just go “Alright, thanks” but we don’t touch it.

Any shout outs for your fans?

Mooky: Just visit our website but don’t just look at it, interact with us. Send us your fan scribbles and any pictures that you took. Some fans drew pictures of us and put it up and that was cool. We love it when our fans give us their fan mail or fan art.

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