KOKO Asia Exclusive

KOKO Asia Approved is for those from the region or are touring the region. We watch a local band and we love it then we will review it. We watch an international band touring the region and we love it you guessed it we will review it.

Goodbye Oblivion... Hello Club KOKO

Date:26 May 2009
Interview by Mayho

KL indie heavyweights Deserters will have the honour of being the first band to play CLUB KOKO come June 5th and with the hype surrounding their new album ‘Goodbye Oblivion’ the stage is set for one almighty show from Zack Yusof and co. KOKO Asia managed to pin front man Zack down and pick his thoughts on the new album, playing at KOKO and the counter culture scene.

KOKO was lucky enough to hear some of your new tracks when you performed at Road to Sunburst earlier this year, musically what sort of progression do you feel the band has taken for ‘Goodbye Oblivion’?

With Goodbye Oblivion, we made the conscious effort to give the songs a lot more space to breathe. We really wanted to make every overdub count this time and not fall into our usual habit of layering loads of guitars and weird sounds on there. We also wanted to work harder on the rhythms to make the songs swing and groove more naturally. Lyrically, I tried to be more direct and to the point and a lot less oblique. Overall, I think the songs have really benefited from this ‘less-is-more’ approach.

New tracks ‘Levity’ and ‘Speak My Truth’ seem to show a more polished side to Deserters. Fair comment?

Definitely. With the new record, we took our time to make sure that the songs were performed and recorded in such a way that they would stand out for the listener. As the old saying goes, god really does live in the details. Some of the songs on the new record demanded to be produced in a more sophisticated fashion so we just went along with the flow to see what came out of it. Goodbye Oblivion is definitely not a lo-fi record even though it was recorded on a shoestring budget.

Are there any new bands that influenced your style on the new LP?

To be honest, I haven’t really heard too many new bands of late that have got me excited enough to make me want to emulate or cop ideas off them. Personally, I just wanted Goodbye Oblivion to sound lush and melodic like a Super Furry Animals album production wise but with a little bit more of an edge to the material. Writing the songs for the record, I remember listening to a lot of SFA, Bowie, The Smiths, Broken Social Scene, Wilco, The Velvets and Brendan Benson. Whether or not they influenced the songs directly is debatable but I’m pretty sure elements of what they do and how they do it did affect our record in some way. That’s only natural.

Creatively, how much of a challenge was it in the recording studio this time round?

It’s always a challenge to try and make a record that would live up to every one’s expectations on a strictly limited budget. As usual, we had to be very mindful of not getting too precious when we were working in the studio as the clock was ticking. Luckily, we were able to ease the pressure off ourselves on occasion by recording some of the tracks round our producer Eric’s apartment, which was very enjoyable, as we could smoke, drink, eat and work at whatever pace we wanted. I much prefer the laidback vibe of home recording to being in a posh studio, to tell you the truth.

What are your plans for Deserters when the new album drops?

Gigs, gigs and more gigs all over the place. Hopefully, the new record will enable us to take our music to a wider audience and that is something we are really excited about. Ideally, we want to travel around a lot with this new record - regionally and beyond. Seeing the world from the back window of a smelly tourbus with four other guys sounds like a lot of fun to me, strangely enough.

What do you think of the indie scene in Malaysia?

Well i think it’s something that’s definitely growing and given time and the right kind of development and support, a lot of great music could well come out of it. Deserters have always been a little bit outside of the scene, but from outside looking in, I can see that it has a lot of potential to grow into something substantial.

What’s the top 5 most played on your iPod right now?

I don’t own an iPod but if I did, I’d cram it full of the classics. I mentioned the likes of Bowie, SFA and the Velvets but I’d also find space for lots of Iggy, T-Rex, Roxy, Neil Young, Air and Daft Punk. Oh and Beck, Flaming Lips, Tortoise, Stereolab...

How excited are you to be playing at the launch of CLUB KOKO?

Very! I can’t wait man! I just know that it’s going to a lot of fun. Deserters will be previewing songs from the new album so I’m really looking forward to doing that.


Simon Subsonic Speaks to KOKO Asia

Date:19 May 2009
Interview by Johnny Mayo

This will be your first gig in Malaysia, what can they expect to hear from you?

Yes it is and I am very excited! I always notice that there are a lot of Asian people at KOKO in London and they always seem well up for the latest tunes, so I am going to try to bring as much of what is cutting edge in London (as I can get away with) to KL... Read more

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