They are Kyoto Protocol and we caught up with their moustache-sporting frontman, Fuad, to ask him a few questions unrelated to climate change.
First up, who are you guys?
Kyoto Protocol is made up of:
Fuad – Vocals/Guitar/Tache
Gael – Vocals/Keys/Noise
Shakeil – Bass/Lots of hair
Hairi – Guitar/The face
Shanjeev – Drums/Those shorts
Kyoto Protocol is a band that clearly has a lot of fun playing music and entertaining. Was that something you planned when you formed?
I have to admit, very little planning is done with regards to a lot of aspects of the band as detrimental as it might be. The music definitely comes first. It’s made with a message (no matter how frivolous) and we aim the deliver that first.
The “having fun” part came after and was really the result of all of us just a bunch of mates having a laugh. Initially it started out as a way for us to shake off the nerves, and now it’s become our “thing”. I think our reputation as jokers was cemented after we did the Pussycat video. We get many requests for Shan to wear the shorts.
Will this be Kyoto Protocol’s first overseas tour?
We’ve played in Singapore once for Baybeats Festival in 2010 just before the Handsome Furs which was pretty cool, so not really our first time. But the major difference is I don’t think any of us have been to Taiwan before so it’ll be a completely new experience for all of us! We’ve heard many great things about the country especially about the burgeoning underground scene. I’ve been listening to a bunch of the other acts and so far I’m really impressed with what I’ve heard so far!
The expense and logistics of touring overseas can be prohibitive for many young bands. What things did you have to really consider before deciding to play in Taiwan?
The expenses involved are quite daunting. For us it came close to 20% of our band savings just for the flights! We wanted to make sure that we were taking the right step in terms of getting the right crowd, the kind that would be open to new music. After some furious research (and failed attempts at getting sponsorships) we figured we’d just roll the dice after hearing about the success of the previous installations of the BeastieRock Festival.
Aside from your CD, will you be bringing other merchandise to sell at shows?
We used to have t-shirts but they sold out! Unfortunately we’ve only got the CD to offer… Unless we can pull off a miracle in the next week haha
What is Malaysia’s music scene like? Do you have many overseas bands touring? Which bands (aside from yourselves!) should we be listening out for?
Malaysia’s scene is surviving and hopefully improving. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to tell if there’s progress. There are a few platforms for good bands to get their music out there, and local radio has specific segments for Malaysian music. As for overseas acts, we do alright by ourselves. It’s not an flourishing as in Singapore, but at least there are some promoters out there who are willing to take the risk, bringing down quality acts e.g. Livescapes and the inaugural Future Music Festival (an established franchise in Australia) in Asia, Pineapple Concerts who just brought down Incubus; Soundscape Records servicing the more independent scene. There are plenty more and we’d be happy to share with anyone with the curiosity.
A big gripe with the Malaysian music scene is that only a few are hungry for original music. The masses are content with the crap that’s played on mainstream radio. A concert with a couple of hundred people would be considered a decent turnout. Malaysians also generally have the impression that local music sucks compared to foreign counterparts. It’s really hard to change that perception so we’re taking the initiative to find new listeners in a completely new place. Hope it pays off!
Your album (titled ‘An Album’), released mid-2011 was very well received, with reviewers’ main qualm being that it was too short - they wanted more! Are you doing any recording at the moment?
Ah yes. The EP called “An Album”. Sure they want more, but it’s not like people are going to actually fork out money for it. In the end the reality of the music industry in Malaysia is that it doesn’t make economic sense to spend a lot of money on recording a full length album, because it’s unlikely that you’ll cover the cost of doing so.
As a band we have more than just 5 songs, it just didn’t make sense to record them all at one go. We’ve been in the studio thanks to a competition that we won a while back that gave us free studio time, but going forward we have no guarantees. [So this is what it’s like to die a slow painful death.]
Nonetheless, the 5 songs on “An Album” were the crème de la crème of our repertoire. So much so that it sets ridiculous expectations on our next potential offering!
According to one YouTube commenter, “u better watch them perform live.seriously awesome..”. Care to share with your Taiwan audiences what they can expect?
Haha good spot there. Taiwan can expect us to give our all as we always do. The trials and tribulations get tough, but playing our music for a crowd that’s going mental makes it TOTALLY worth it. I reckon most ears could take to us on first listen, but if any of you reading this would really like to get a sense of what we’re about please have a listen to us at youtube.com/kyotoband
We’re also on Spotify and iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kyoto-protocol/id473034152
Kyoto Protocol play at Beastie Rock on Sunday August 26. More details here: http://gigguide.tw/event-5510