Interview: Khottal

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It’s finally here! Their full-length album that promises to deliver all the Melaka goodness we’ve all been waiting for. SISU is Khottal’s proper full-length album since the band first came into the scene a few years ago and will definitely mark a new chapter in this amazing band’s career. Straight from Hafidz their singer-songwriter, he talks about how the album came together, the many generous people who’ve come along the way to help and a little sneak inside of what to expect from it.

1) Most of the of the songs on the album we’ve heard and enjoyed before, have you guys made changes or added anything new to some of our old favorites?
We made no major changes to the songs. Let’s take YMFT for example; we just added some guitar parts, and re-mixed and re-mastered the old version. It’s like giving the song a brand new life in the same old body.

P/S: Toya of Laila’s Lounge contributed a cool guitar line in YMFT. He’s been in the band for a year.

 2) How about the new tracks on here, could you tell us a little about them and how they fit in with the rest?
If you noticed, most of them are old numbers. They were in the show’s/gig’s song list for quite a while. But somehow, not all of the songs made it to the recording studio. Some are scrapped or even forgotten, only 1/2 of the songs made it into the debut song list.

This album is actually a semi-concept album with Woo Song as the central idea. We start to work on the introduction and the ending part based on Woo Song.

3) Launch party. We’re hoping for a launch party. Will there be one?
We’ve already planned a nationwide tour (it’s going to be an intimate/small scale gigs in small studios around the country, plus one that will be held in Singapore) is in the to-do list. Launch party? We’re looking into one and if it happens, all y’all will have to make a road trip down to Malacca.

4) Where did you do your recordings and mixing at, and what’s it like working with so many people in the studio? How do you guys make it work so well?
The recordings and the post recording process were made in a various interesting places. Three places in KL and one in Melaka; The Ark Studios and Zulhezan Mohtada of Akta Angkasa/Dirgahayu’s Pangkin (now-defunct) for everything from guitars to xylophone except for the drums part. We did the drums part at our friend’s the newly open (at that time) jamming studio in Sunway Mentari; Penny Lane Studio. Khottal’s drums sound is an important thing, so our biggest challenge is; finding the right place to record the drums in order to get the right sound just like what we want them to be. The Penny Lane Studio’s less sound treatment and high attic seemed perfect for us.

P/S: All Song recorded by Johari Salleh at Pangkin & Penny Lane Studio except ‘Woo Song’ and ‘Oceanic Panik’ by Keith Yong at the Ark Studios. All vocals recorded by Adik at Rebana Biru.

All song mixed by Faiz Fadzil except ‘Woo Song’ and ‘Oceanic Panik’ by Keith Yong at the Ark Studios, KL / ‘Hello No.04’ and ‘Another You’ by Adikat Rebana Biru, Melaka.

It’s not a big deal I guess, since we’ve divided the band into several departments based on each part of the song. There are about 3 to 4 people in each department. So it’s like a normal band’s recording session, but as long as the department is not needed to re-do their tracks, it should be no problem.

5) Is there anyone besides the other band members that deserve a shout out for making this album happen?
We are glad that we have always been accompanied by friends especially when we need  a little favour; the big bad bass and warm guitar sounds that you hear in Woo Song and Oceanic Panik came from Amir of TWKUA‘s Gibson bass and Ham of SCTS‘s Ceriatone and Telecaster Deluxe. We owe Faiz Fadzil big time. He came in when we’re stuck in the middle of the recording process, saved the day and automatically became the man of the match. Thank you bro.

6) Why now or why even bother?
I don’t know actually, but personally; we are just playing our part in the scene. And we do enjoy every single thing we do as a band.

7) When did you guys collectively decide that it’s time to put out an album?
Since day one; right after finished rehearsing our very first song back in 2007.

8) What really pushed you to making it happen?
The scene is dying in Melaka. It’s really different in the past where you can find bands/counter culture kids almost anywhere in Melaka. With that thought in mind, this is our way of saying “Hi! The scene is still here. We’re here, alive and still kicking.”

SISU is now available for purchase on iTunes.
Check out the band’s Facebook & Twitter page for more info and updates.

Here’s Khottal performing live on The Wknd Sessions:

Interviewed by Mark Joshua
Photo via Khottal