5 Questions: Dirgahayu

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Cross Border Showcase - Dirgahayu

1) It is believed that Dirgahayu is a band derived from former members of Akta Angkasa and Custom Daisy. How did Dirgahayu start as a band and what inspired you to make music together? Musical backgrounds etc.,
Yie: Yes we were. On the other hand, Efy was from Susur Masa and a recent addition to the band, Seikan was from Silent Scenery. We used to do something that we really love which is creating music and having good time on stage. We ceased somewhere but after awhile, we realised that we missed it and always feels like to have something more to offer.

Zul: We got the three of us together in July 2013 (well that was only 9 months ago), rehearsed for the first time and never looked back. I’ve personally been knowing Yie and Efy for many years, so the chemistry between us is effortless. By exhanging riffs and ideas to push the envelope a bit, Dirgahayu was in shape and we’re just keep going ever since.

2) The instrumentation for ‘Bahawasa-nya’ was mind-blowingly intense, and high-energy. What bands or artists have primarily influenced your sound and the direction you’ve taken for this single? Who do you take inspiration from?
: Ironically, I have always going back to basics and relied on (some of) the solid emotionally-charged punk rock classics, says Shellac and Fugazi – how these guys influenced us to endeavour new things and do it differently in writing music, composing sounds and live performing. Even though newer modern bands did a good job redefining math / noise rock in all possible way, we always felt there’s peculiar sonic signatures and distinctive quality behind this earlier sound work. Well, you just need to get a little creative, diligent, fosters mutual understanding between respectable members and you could go a long way.

3) Dirgahayu has caught a lot of attention since ‘Bahawasa-nya’ was released last year. The track has been aired on a local radio, BFM, and you guys managed to play on a nationwide tour to promote the single. How would you best describe how much the band has grown musically and do you see that growth mainly coming from touring, recording or something else that helped you evolve?
: We’re still in the early stage of evolving as a band and still finding our feet in terms of musical direction. We never play the same exact live set as far as we can remember. Other than Bahawasa-nya, the rest of the songs are pretty much ‘work in progress’ as we add up bit by bit, here and there before every each show. And as now we have Seikan on drums and Zul switched to guitar/synth role, we were surprised how much the dynamic of the band have changed, electrified with the potential and endless possibilities we could explore with more instrumentation in the house. I’m eager to see the final outcome of our EP release soon (to be expected later this year).

4) We were taken by your lovely instrumental ‘Bahawasa-nya’ not forgetting its accompanying video that gives visual shape to the transient moods in the song under the record label, Senipekik. The synergy was indeed outstanding! How did you become involved with the directors, Carlos Nizam and Khairul Johari?
: First knowing Carlos and KJ (Khairul Johari) when we met up at my now-defunct studio a few years back. These guys were incredibly talented, I remembered some of their creative works that blew my mind. When Dirgahayu started out about a week or two, we literally had this piece of mind, “How about we do something that haven’t been done before, and let’s put it over a music video or so?”. Thus I got Carlos over the phone, talked about the idea, KJ instantly joined in and things just fell into place like skee ball’s perfect shots. Everything was DIY, critically from day one to the final rendering. It was a great team effort, we simply can’t thank enough.

5) Can you tell us what have your experiences been like previously touring nationwide and what states most stood out to you in terms of fostering a good musical environment, and why?
: The tour was a great introduction and musical exposure for us, especially in our case, as a new band. Local bands should do their own tour like a lot, it’s really helpful to promote your music elsewhere, apart from own hometown. Touring showed us different perspectives to appreciate life and do better both as a person and a band. The truth is, when our last tour was over, we can’t stop thinking when the next one would be.

Yie: It depends on how you define ‘good musical environment’. We had different experiences in each states we went to, in terms of the audience, venue and of course how well we performed that day. To choose one, I’d possibly pick on our second stop of the tour. It was held at River Pirate Park where we performed on the banks of Sungai Melaka impeccably under a bright moon and stars. Astonishing view, nice chilly weather and good vibes – perfect combo. However we played a very short set that evening; something we’ll surely make up for, one day. There are hundreds of ways you can always discover from band travelling e.g. meeting new friends, performing to a new crowd, checking out other cool bands, scoring good (authentic) food, show organiser went MIA, etc. The list seems endless.

Catch Dirgahayu live at The Wknd’s inaugural Cross Border Showcase, happening this 9th (at The Hin Bus Depot, Georgetown, Penang) and 10th of May (at Blackbox, Publika, Kuala Lumpur).

Interviewed by Izyan Liyana
Photo via Dirgahayu