Interviews

5 Questions with Kyoto Protocol On Their New Single, ‘Dispensable’

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We don’t think this band needs introduction despite their rise in our music scene. We got to interview Fuad Alhabshi of Kyoto Protocol, regarding their new single release ‘Dispensable’ which will be out tomorrow (Friday 16/5/2014).


1) You guys will be releasing your new single soon. First, what are you expecting from the audiences response to your new single? Is there any specific message you want them to gain from this song?

Actually, I don’t know what to expect! This is kind of our first new release since last year. I just want people to enjoy the song. I’d like to leave it up to the listener to try and figure out what’s the message. That’s something I always enjoyed growing up, dissecting the lyrics of a new song to get the “between the lines” perspective. It’s sort of like a treasure hunt, so make of it what you will!

2) From “An Album”, you guys moved over to “Pahlawan” and now a new single, I’m sure you will come out with a new album soon too. Are there any differences between your new album and the previous one “Pahlawan”?

I wouldn’t compare it to “Pahlawan” because in that album was meant to commemorate Versus, so that it doesn’t have to end there even if the competition ends. You can still have the songs played on the radio or wherever you go, and that was the purpose of “Pahlawan”. I’d compare it more to our first album “An Album”. Finally we’re releasing some new songs!

If you think about it, there’s quite a big gap from 2011 to 2014 and I hope people are excited about it! “Catch These Men” is longer compared to “An Album”, which only had 5 tracks. We haven’t decided on the final cut yet but it’ll possibly include 7 or 8 songs altogether. What’s interesting about “Catch These Men” is our songs were all recorded live, so it sounds very organic with all the flaws that give a different character compared to the “pristine clean” sound that track by track recording usually yields.

As for the songs, “An Album” was about exploring artistic boundaries in a sense, but this album should see us more assured in our identity. We don’t wanna be super upfront about it, but this album is more about delivering a message. When people listen to it, they’ll understand what we’re getting at.

I hope people will enjoy and will be provoked to think by it. The other thing is, there were lot of fast songs in “An Album” but this new one displays more range, and it shows a different side of the band which perhaps people are not used to. We haven’t been able to show that on stage. Hopefully, we’ll get a good reception, so we could include these elements more into our live shows.

3) Now back to the release of your new single. Tell me a little bit about it, any influences for the song or what inspired you to write about it?

The story is actually quite interesting. It was a while back, in 2011 or 2012, a friend of mine was involved in an NGO effort called Undi Malaysia which was about voting awareness, a cause that I truly believe in. It’s about expressing your opinion as a citizen, your right basic right.

Everyone in the campaign was supposed to contribute something from their own artistic field. There were contributors from very different spheres of the arts like Mano Maniam did a dramatic reading of the declaration of independence if I remember corrected. I decided to contribute by writing a song, and at that point I only written like one verse and one chorus. That was the beginnings of what eventually going to be ‘Dispensable’. So yeah basically, Undi Malaysia kick-started the whole process!

It’s amazing how big an issue it has steamrolled into, the rising cost of living. I’m happy that this song came about from the strive to make a better Malaysia. The title Dispensable is a bit of a lyrical content and about that feeling of being left out of the apparent “economic growth”. You know when you see in the headlines, “Malaysia GDP grows 5%”, how much are we getting out of it? As time goes on we are able to afford less, and on the other hand it seems like the rich just keep getting richer. This is not a problem that unique to Malaysia, and if you take it out of the Malaysian context it’s actually a very real problem in the rest of the world. It wasn’t too long ago that there was a 99% rally, right?

4) I’m sure your fans and everyone else in the music scene is pumped up for this. When is the exact date for the release of this new single and where will it be released?
If all goes well, we’ll launch the new single on 16th May 2014, which is this Friday, exclusively on Deezer. We’re also taking the opportunity to re-launch our website, so you could find it there too on www.kyotoband.com/dispensable. We won’t be doing a physical release for this single as we’re planning to do a full physical release of the whole album which is set to be around September hopefully.

5) Previously Kyoto Protocol has made collaboration with Liyana Fizi for the single, “Jelita”. So in this upcoming new album, is there any collaboration project that you guys are up to?
No, there are no collaborations project in Catch These Men.

‘Dispensable’ will be available for streaming exclusively on Deezer, tomorrow 16/5/2014

Interviewed by Farah Azahar
Photo via Kyoto Protocol

Azim Idris is a senior journalist who cut his teeth in the field covering everything from colouring contests and airplane crashes, to drug wars and geopolitics. A Jefferson Fellow of the Honolulu-based East-West Center, he is also the guitarist and producer for Post-Emo outfit Milo Dinosaur. Follow him on twitter at @azimidris2u