Just recently, we looked at amazing local bands that are already pretty darn successful. But this week? Let’s look at bands whose following isn’t as crazy but they’re definitely taking the nation by storm a gig at a time.
Formerly known as Brian Gomez & The Have-Nots, Sons of the Soil is a rock band based in the Klang Valley. They describe their music as “sedition-defying beer-rock”. Their songs mainly deal with Malaysia’s social issues and they’re also unafraid to tackle controversial subjects.
They will also be releasing their first album this year and plays an energetic two-hour live set every Friday night in Merdekarya.
Sons of Soil is made up of the jack-of-all-trades, Brian Gomez (Lead Vocals) who is also a writer, journalist, copywriter and owner of Merdekarya, Riz Rashid (Guitars, Vocals) and Kristopher Chong (Bass, Vocals) who are also in other bands such as the Endleaves (a band we covered in another article)
Billie Blue Blackstone and her Nowhere Men is a folk-rock band fuelled by their interest in early American folk music as well as psychedelic rock. Usually described as raw and vintage, the band is influenced by the late 60s and early 70s with a tinge of various musical touch that individual members bring.
Billie Blue & The Nowhere Men comprises of 4 members; Billie Blue Blackstone (vocals), Soheil Sanjabi (Guitar, Backing Vocals), Icco Elnoel (Bass), and Reuben Devanesan (Drums), all meeting each other in Kuala Lumpur.
3. The Propositions!
The Propositions! (the exclamation is silent) is an eyebrow-raising powerhouse, lead by a “chubby Chinaman with a Fu Manchu-contestable beard”. The band has performed in various venues such as Merdekarya, KL Live Asia, Frontera, Gaslight Café and more. They often cover songs about hipsters, zealots, ex-girlfriends and even the unsuspecting middle class populace.
Fun Facts from the ever-lovable frontman, Ian Tai:
– one quarter of the band is vegan
– one quarter of the band is Malaysia-Japanese (which means one eighth of the band is Malaysian-Japanese)
– one quarter of the band is Catholic
– and one quarter of the band hopes not to be a constant revolving door of bassists
The Propositions! are Ian Tai (Lead Vocals, Guitar) who is also a solo musician who “somehow convinced three other fellow musicians to help him out”, Hilmy Amin (Guitat, Effects), Kristopher Chong (Bass) who’s just everywhere and needs no introduction, and Brendan James de Cruz (Drums) who is also a solo artist making a mark in Malaysia with his own music on national radio and even on Spotify.
Skies Are Red was formed in 2011 and is a rock band with a serious intention of sending out a message via their music. Not only do they cover themes of individual life experiences, their music also touches important elements of the human experiences such as love, freedom and spirituality. They’re influenced by the Foo Fighters, System of A Down, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, U2, Deep Purple and other artists they’ve met on their musical journey. They’ve also played at Talent Experiment (2011), World Youth Jazz Fest (2012), Passport to Fame (2013), Youth Expression (2013), New Blood Rock Fest (2013), amongst many others.
The band is made up of Danielle Williams (Lead Vocals), Dervin Frank (Guitar), Malcolm Ambrose (Drums, Percussion), and Fabien Thomas (Bass).
SEDSUNA is like a fresh mint in the local music scene, and brings a new brand of “instrumental rock music” which offers the invigorating mixture of progressive rock, post-rock and world music. The band has launched their first album at ATAS by Bijan FX last year in October. The band is inspired by cinematic music like Hans Zimmer, whoever in early ears, they were inspired by local band Dejavoodoospells and later on bands like the Icelandic Sigur Ros, Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky.
The captivating band is made up of Aaron James (Bass, Percussions), Charles Boey (Guitars), Mark Lee (Keyboards, Synths), Ravi Shankar (Drums, Percussions), Victor Low (Guitar).
Volatile is a 4-piece rock band that started in 2011, and since then, have performed at several notable festivals such as IndiePG 2013, Penang Island Jazz Festival 2015, White Canvas Festival and many more. They’ve released their first EP “Last Calls” in December 2015 and released their album “Taking Flight” in January 2016 – selling more than 250 albums at the launches alone.
This feel good rock band is fronted by creative genius and vocal powerhouse Sean Choon, and is made up of other members; Jaime Gunter (Lead Guitar), Raul Dhillon (Bass) and Jordan Scully (Drums).
GTXperiment is a mix of sweaty grooves, easy soul, R&B, pop, rock and roll, and even jazz. They’re unique in that they have more than one vocalist and on some occasions, even features an equally magnetic female vocalist. The band was formed as they got together to perform as finalists of the inaugural MTV AloftStar competition and were subsequently crowned as champions of South East Asia – bettering India and China. Their debut single “Highdrated” reached the top of the HitzFM MET 10 Charts while its music video was featured on MTV, alongside other global artists.
This unique band is made up of Daryl Diengdoh (Lead Vocals), Jude Macson (Vocals, Guitar), Clinton Liew (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard, etc), Mark Jay (Drums).
M.O.B was formed in April 2013 and was claimed by the members to be an “unholy union of the oddest duo”; a former pop vocalist and a metal guitarist. They fuse blues, funk and metal, creating a unique sound. The band just came out of their hibernation and is back on the stage. Keep an eye out for their next few gigs!
Ministry of Blunk consists of Shane Tan (Lead Vocals), and Vishnu Krishnan (Guitar).
Blister is a hard rock and roll band formed during Christmas in 2000 when they began jamming on an impulse. They began playing professionally in 2005 after participating in Blast Off and was placed in the Top 10 in a nationwide battle of the bands. They’re inspired and influence by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and more. They’ve also released their single “I’m Not Your Slave” on national radio and is working on an album. Blister considers their performance alongside Amy Search as one of the opening acts for SLASH in 2010 as one of their highest achievements. The band had also won the award for Best Rock Act in the Vima 2011-2012 Awards, against bands from all across the region.
The head-banging 5-piece band is made up of the Serani trio; Ramon “Solo” Singho (Lead Guitar), Mario “Mangz” Singho (Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), and Julio “Jubz” Singho (Bass, Backing Vocals), alongside Darian “Captain” Henry (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar) and Zachary ‘Zack Attack’ De’Costa (Drums, Percussion).
10. Shh… Diam!
Shh… Diam! is a feminist and queer all-girl punk band taking a strong pro-LGBT stance. They were formed in 2009 when the frontman told an event organiser she had a band when she didn’t. LOL!
She was a solo performer who was looking for bandmates to get “shit-faced” with on stage and managed to pull in 3 other people to share the stage with her; her cousin, colleague, and her friend.
“By our book, this band certainly has enough quirks to put some sunshine in our lives.”
— Ng Suzhen, Malay Mail Online
The band is made up of Faris (Guitar, Vocals), Yon (Guitar, Vocals), Jellene (Drums) and Yoyo (Bass).
Formed in November 2009, TEMJIN is influenced by several rock genres, that ranges from metal, jazz and even the blues. Japanese rock and pop music have also been major influences when it came to their music. They’re inspired by bands such as L’arc En Ciel, Avenged Sevenfold, BECK, Nirvana and more. Their famous song (below) appeared everywhere on nationwide televisions and they’re back this year, hungry for blood, with many gigs lined up. Do check out their music on Spotify too!
The charismatic TEMJIN is made up of Khairul S. (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Mohd Adam (Lead Guitar), Abdul Adzim (Bass) and Silas Low (Drums).
NEVER ever say Malaysia doesn’t make good music just because the only musicians you know are like Siti Nurhaliza, P. Ramlee, Yuna, Zee Avi or maybe Bunkface. There are tons of amazing musicians overlooked possibly because of their ‘seditious’ songs, their pro-LGBT stance or maybe just because… they’re weird.
Support local acts and do tell us if we’ve missed any local bands. You might see them in the next article!