You want it darker: Kuala Lumpur indie duo LUST stick to their guns on ‘Vantablack’ EP

You want it darker: Kuala Lumpur indie duo LUST stick to their guns on ‘Vantablack’ EP

Final month, Kuala Lumpur duo LUST dived into the darkness with their new EP, ‘Vantablack’. It’s named after an artificial materials that’s the blackest the world’s ever encountered, the closest factor to a black gap people will see – a becoming inventive resolution in a bleak yr.

“I don’t wish to put on out the phrase ‘melancholy’ as a result of it’s such a giant phrase,” member Azfar Bakar tells NME, “however a whole lot of the songwriting got here round when lockdown started and that’s the headspace we have been in: a swirling of doom and oppressiveness.”

Self-written, -recorded, -mixed, and eventually -released on December 3, ‘Vantablack’ was conceived by Azfar and Faris Khairi in lower than a yr as they laid low at their households’ suburban properties from March 2020, when the conditional motion order was applied to curb the unfold of the coronavirus. It sits alongside 2016’s ‘chingichanga’ and 2019’s ‘Tekesima’ as a masterclass in modern Malaysian indie, a tapestry of psych pop, post-punk, and rock, tumbling collectively and into each other.

It’s a moist afternoon in late December when NME meets the pair for a uncommon, socially distanced face-to-face over beers. In dialog, Azfar and Faris are in good spirits, driving the excessive of a shiny, well-received launch. They’re already raring to maneuver on to the subsequent. If 2020 had gone as deliberate, they’d’ve spent the yr engaged on their subsequent full-length to comply with up ‘Tekesima’, Faris admits, however they quickly realised they wished to take their time with it. It was Azfar’s concept to place the LP on the shelf to work on “one thing small”, constructing on the 2 tracks they’d already completed, ‘Hedonist’ and ‘Tremendous Trial’.

The 2 conjure up the beginnings of ‘Vantablack’: “All the pieces hangs within the air – after which, there’s a second when all the things clicks,” Azfar says. For Faris, probably the most notable second of the method was when Azfar steered ‘Vantablack’ as a title: “Instantly, I used to be drawn to its means to soak up as much as 99.96 per cent of seen gentle.” He sees a parallel with individuals’s consumption of media: “You’re continuously absorbing shit on prime of shit on prime of shit, and that contributes to this cycle of darkish, adverse ideas.”

“We don’t wish to sound like a bunch of dudes with rock devices making rock songs”

LUST flirt with a moodier, extra sinister sound on ‘Vantablack’, if the identify doesn’t already give it away. The six-track venture combines concepts of an “anti-virus software program in your thoughts”, pent-up informational paranoia, and emotional and non secular void, refracting these themes by an experimental pop sensibility distinctive to LUST.

As Faris approached the EP, his touchstones have been “soundscapes that have been very gray, very black and white, very soiled, very gritty”, such because the textures of failing electronics and the Canadian post-punk act Preoccupations’ debut album ‘Viet Cong’. “Faris was tremendous into beat-making on the time that we have been engaged on ‘Vantablack’,” Azfar provides, “which I feel influenced his leaning in direction of including these very summary sounds and textures.”

That is all in step with LUST’s intention to “break free” from the band mould. “We don’t wish to sound like a bunch of dudes with rock devices making rock songs,” says Azfar. They usually’ve succeeded – regardless of its comparatively quick runtime of 19 minutes, LUST have created a universe all its personal on ‘Vantablack’.

It’s cohesive and concise, whereas side-stepping stylistic leaps and short-circuits – as if defying any definitive interpretation. “We like the concept of together with sure parts and sounds that’ll make the listeners suppose, ‘Is {that a} synth or a guitar, a pattern?’ That thriller actually appeals to us,” Azfar says.

And for all of the musical mayhem on ‘Vantablack’, all the things is richly melodic. The truth that a majority of its tracks have been first takes does nothing to low cost the EP’s many affecting moments. Faris confesses that LUST dislike prolonging the inventive course of, which he describes as environment friendly and instinctual: “We like getting it out whereas the hearth’s nonetheless burning.” Azfar agrees: “I don’t prefer it once we brew too lengthy or once we focus an excessive amount of on a refrain, a tune construction, one thing. That’s when it will get a bit synthetic.”

The discharge of ‘Vantablack’ was accompanied by a recent dance video (with a viewer discretion warning for “vivid, flashing lights”) carried out by dancer-choreographer Eli Orkid, contracting and contorting, for the title observe. It was directed by Krew Filem Sek Kito, with whom LUST are collaborating once more on an upcoming quick movie function commemorating the album. In the meantime, ‘Vantablack’’s Y2K electronics cowl artwork is credited to Najmi Arifin, with 3D artwork by the enigma recognized solely as @404.boi on Instagram.

Azfar and Faris’ aesthetic visible ambitions for ‘Vantablack’ are clear. “When you don’t shiok sendiri [self-indulge] along with your initiatives, nobody will,” Azfar, who works full-time at a inventive company, jokes. He says LUST is a vessel for an outpouring of concepts, describing it as “inventive diarrhoea”.

“We’ve at all times seen LUST as a car for introducing new concepts,” Faris says, including that post-‘Tekesima’, they’ve turn out to be “extra comfy giving inventive management” to collaborators, experimenting with new methods to launch music. They even toyed with importing ‘Vantablack’ to a torrent website, within the spirit of the EP being “extracted from the our on-line world”.

“All the pieces is a numbers sport lately. Spotify Wrapped is a giant wanking session”

Requested then if cash could be a difficulty, Azfar says, somberly: “Fortunately, we don’t depend upon LUST to deliver meals to the desk, to pay the payments.” Like many different unbiased bands, no matter cash LUST make from previous and present releases funds the subsequent output. “I can’t think about us being full-time musicians. I imply, that may be the dream,” Faris says.

The truth is, in majority Malay-speaking Malaysia, Azfar admits, “in case you play our sort of music, and in English, it’s similar to – no method, dude.” They’ve obtained feedback like, “Hey, you must do a Malay tune,” and “Whoa, it is a good album tapi kalaulah diorang nyanyi dalam Melayu, mesti lagi greatest.” [“But if only they’d sing in Malay, it’d be more [sic] greatest.”)

“I get it, and I’m fairly certain we’d get far more clicks too,” Azfar says, “and all the things is a numbers sport lately. Spotify Wrapped is a giant wanking session.” He hopes he doesn’t come throughout too cynical, however asserts that at instances, these concerns inevitably poison their course of: “We’re considering, how can we maximise clicks, performs, views – and that’s not our type, despite the fact that we all know we now have to interrupt out of our shell a bit.” Within the age of the web, “too many individuals count on the lottery of social media, hoping they’ll be the subsequent Boy Pablo or one thing,” he added.

“I don’t even know the way LUST has had this opportunity that we’ve had,” Faris says. “I hope all budding musicians, all up-and-comers do it for themselves, for his or her ardour. Don’t take into consideration whether or not or not you’re going to make it, simply get the music out.”

LUST’s ‘Vantablack’ is out now

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