Backstage with...Pop Shuvit
Kong Wai Yeng talks to Moots of Pop Shuvit to find out how the band has changed over the years and still managed to win over Asia.
Why did you set up a band? Pop Shuvit sounds like a name popped out of thin air.
Looking back, we’re pretty happy we stuck to Pop Shuvit because other names we had in mind were terrible like ‘Renegades’ and ‘Nosegrind’. We would’ve looked really stupid. We’ve been playing music together since secondary school; Rudy and I have been in a band since they were 16. Pop Shuvit was an evolution of that friendship.
What’s the attitude you must have to survive in this indie business? Positivity! You’ll be criticised, scrutinised and torn apart. Put that ego aside. Money is always the number one band breaker but for us, it was always about the music. The more naysayers there are, the stronger the bond between the five of us.
Do you think there’s actual quality in our local bands? Or are they just people who want to look cool in a band?
Those who get into bands for the wrong reasons will never make it in the end. Quality bands are those whose music is relatable and personal. The level of musicianship in Malaysia is as good as, if not better than, other countries and I wonder why we still call ourselves ‘local’ bands.
Just like My Chemical Romance? They called you guys awesome, and you opened for their show.
My Chemical Romance is probably one of the most creative and tightest bands I know. It would be a dream come true one day to headline the stadium just like them. But it was still an honour to play to 20,000 people every night around Asia and welcomed by music lovers in these new territories.
Asia is a great leap and you’re now touted as the region’s leading rock band. Does this add more weight to your shoulders?
I think it reflects the fruit of our labour. We didn’t last this long sitting on our laurels. It’s great to be recognised but the battle is to maintain that position and be constantly relevant in this fast-changing musical landscape.
Is that why you took a risk and experimented for better music? How much risk is too much?
I don’t think there’s such a thing as ‘too much’ risk. What’s important is not to lose yourself because people get lost in the transition and end up doing something that’s not you. Musically, we’ve experimented with everything from rock, funk to drum and bass. We even wrote our first ballad with Man Bai and he’s a legend. But essentially, the Pop Shuvit sound will always be there.
Do you think Pop Shuvit have changed as a band?
The music changed with the band and if we didn’t, the music would end up being boring. We’ve been friends for ten years and we went through all the ups and downs in our friendship. We’ve been there for each other and that bond is something special.
Please tell us why musicians always squeal in rock concerts. And the girls!
[Laughs] Well, no wailing from us… more like grunting and swaggering. Rock posing is optional. Girls? We’re all either married or in serious relationships, and if you think being rockstars get you the chicks, that ain’t true.
So all the love goes into your new album ‘The Cherry Blossom Love Affair’? What’s the story behind your trailer preaching about love, life and music?
This is our first concept album and it’s about our love affair with Sizuka who has been our muse throughout the last ten years. Our single ‘Nebula 11’ is a metaphor used to describe a machine that is Pop Shuvit, who are exploring new musical territories with this album. We’ve gone through many changes and having kids mark a significant maturity on the way we perceive life. And that’s reflected in our music.
What’s your fondest memory of playing in KL?
Definitely the ‘KAMI’ concert in 2009 where we played ‘Marabahaya’ and didn’t have to sing because the crowd was louder than us. It was epic!
KLites have a penchant for foreign artists; K-pop is one. Where do you think our indie bands stand among local music fans?
Everyone is entitled to their own taste of music. There’s been tremendous support for the local indie scene for the last 20 years since the days of underground bands like Carburetor Dung and Project AK. The supply will always be there so long there’s demand … unlike the K-pop craze which will die down eventually.
So you won’t be going solo any time soon then.
Well, the three of us are producers so that seems to be the creative outlet for the band outside of Pop Shuvit. JD, AJ and UNO have produced for various artistes from different genres and that keeps their ideas constantly flowing and fresh. It’s great because whenever we meet up for Pop Shuvit, everyone feels rejuvenated.
Their performance at MTV World Stage 2011 will be aired on MTV (Ch 713) on August 8, 12midnight.