Son of a Policeman aka SOAP aka Sabun band is a mix of 6 members with diverse background who bonded for the love of music.Dubbed as our very own King of Indie Rojak, SOAP drops their latest single Colours Of The Skin (Rasa Sayang) today which coincides with the Malaysia Day weekend. Read on to learn more about them!
1. Hello, Son of a Policeman! Tell us more about the band and the members of the band.
Son Of A Policeman is a six-man band comprising Joshua Ganesan (vocals), Zijunn Tan (bass), Axl Grey (guitar), Mikha Chan (second guitar), Nathanael Tan (strings), and Jonathan “JJ” Michaels (drums). Besides these core members, Son Of A Policeman also plays with several members of what we informally call the “Sabun Squad” – musicians unofficially in the band who work closely with us, such as Banni Basyishar (saxophone), Jermaine Wong (keys), and Naranjan Singh and Kiret Singh (dhol drums). They’re not officially part of the band, but they’ve contributed quite a lot to the band lately.
2. How did the name of the band come about?
It came about during the time where Josh went for a house party during his varsity days, during the first iteration of the band with completely different members. Noise complaints were made, the cops came, and one of our band members managed to get the group out of trouble by claiming that his father was a policeman and that he had his “CID number” and everything. For some reason, that worked with the cops, who just let them off with a warning. We thought that sounded cool. We still do.
3. The real reasons behind the self-proclaimed title, Kings Of Indie Rojak?
We call ourselves an “indie rojak” band, which is our way of saying “Malaysian indie pop”. All our members have different musical backgrounds. Josh grew up with pop, RnB, and hip-hop. Zijunn is more into the classics like The Carpenters, Eagles, etc. JJ is a gospel drummer, Mikha likes his alt-rock, etc. Which is probably the case for many bands out there, to be honest. It’s not a unique situation. There are a few bands out there who put in their biographies catchphrases like “an eclectic mix of genres” or some stuff like that. We’re probably just the first band to put a name to that claim and make it really ours. “Go big or go home” and all that.
4. Tell us more about “Sleepless In Subang”.
That’s the name Josh has for our upcoming EP. Upcoming as in we’ll announce when we finally have a date for it, because it’s been “in the works” for the past couple of years. Right now, our plan is to release single after single, then compile that into an EP and hopefully an album. It’s just cheaper that way for a indie band with no real funding beyond what we make from our day jobs.
5. Who was the first to pen down the lyrics for Euphoria?
Josh made the chorus for Euphoria. He’s good at that sort of thing – catchy earworm hooks. Mikha wrote the rest of the verses because he’s a nerd. We like to tell the story that we wrote it in one night in Josh’s beat-up old Kancil, but it was really after maybe two or three months. Tiger Jams came along at the right time for us to use stuff we had already bouncing around in our heads.
6. Are there any big plans for SOAP which we should look out for in 2018?
Absolutely. We’re releasing our latest song, “Colours Of The Skin (Rasa Sayang)” on digital platforms this Friday (September 14), and its music video on September 16, i.e. Malaysia Day. It’s a rework of the old “Rasa Sayang” folk song – which Indonesia claims is theirs, but no, still ours – that Zijunn wrote in the band’s first year or so, and that’s become a sort of signature song of ours. Besides that, we’re also working on some stuff that we hope to release not too long after, hopefully this year.
7. Aside from creating music and performing, what are the other things you enjoy doing together as friends?
Mostly just chill at the mamak or over drinks. We don’t really have time to chill together because we live so far apart and have day jobs and everything, but we try to take every chance we get, such as after shows or practice sessions, to hang out.
8. Is everyone on the band pursuing music on a full time basis?
Only JJ is. He’s studying music full-time at Sunway University. The rest of us have mostly unrelated jobs. Josh bartends and manages The Gaslight KL, a music venue. Zijunn works in events and sales, while Axl’s a programmer. Mikha’s a sub-editor for a news portal, and Nathanael teaches violin and works in marketing.
9. What are the most bizarre encounters which you’ve experienced so far as a band?
Probably the time one of our friends was stabbed with a craft knife by an angry random dude in Setapak who didn’t like the way he laughed. Setapak is the butt-end of Kuala Lumpur. K-Town Clan likes to rap about how “karat” Kajang is, but Setapak gives it a run for its money. We have some fond memories of the place, as Zijunn used to stay there, but we’ve not moving there anytime soon.
10. Share with us some of the highlights of your career as a band.
In 2016, we were one of the three finalists of the Tiger Jams competition, and got to play at the same event with Scottish synthpop band CHVRCHES. That was what really shot us into the public eye, since it also gave us the opportunity to record Euphoria. Before that, we had played a couple of times at the annual IndiePG event in Penang, which was pretty memorable for us.
Tiger Jams also gave us the boost we needed to play at Rockaway that year. That was amazing. We got to play at the same festival with Scorpions, The Darkness, and Taking Back Sunday, not to forget legends like Hujan and OAG. Josh hit it off pretty well with Radhi OAG. Radhi’s the nicest dude you could meet. He actually offered to carry Josh’s guitar for him. Josh could not stop talking about it for the next few days.
We’ve been pretty quiet since then, though, but not for lack of work. Besides playing the occasional show or so, we’ve been working on polishing our old songs with our squad, and writing new songs that we hope to show you guys soon.
11. Where do you see SOAP in two years’ time?
We want to be one of the most exciting live bands to watch in Southeast Asia. Or anywhere, really. We’ve always been particularly good with big live shows, and we’re not afraid to claim that. That said, we also want to make catchy songs you can jam along to in your cars during 5pm traffic jams, and continue doing that for a long time.
12. Words of advice for aspiring musicians out there?
When you’re onstage, the first thing people look at isn’t how good you are with your instrument, though that’s a very close second. They’re looking at you, not your instrument. It sounds like pretentious motivational nonsense, but… anybody can play the instrument you play, but nobody plays it the way you do. There’s probably a better way to say this. Give them a show only you can give.