Artists / Bands, Indie / Alternative, Interviews, Releases — September 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Interview: They Will Kill Us All (MY)


In an age devoid of simplicity and overrun with technology, the global music industry is perpetually faced with an audience of diminished attention spans. Everyone is switched on, logged in and doing fifty things at once; music, it seems, must be incredibly concise, or run the risk of being lost in the mess. As artists try fruitlessly to cram as much information as possible into a single track, things get muddied, and bands get frustrated – such was the case with They Will Kill Us All, the Malaysian rock outfit who found creative freedom in the stripped back simplicity of their most recent album, Under The Red Sky.

After realizing that their sound was headed in the wrong direction, band members Edwin Raj, David Leong, Amir Shazlan, Ishan Ariffin and Wandi Saat reassessed their approach, and took another shot at collaboration. The result is a raw and rigorous wakeup call that, while carefully crafted to a specific intent, will shake you from the top of your spine to the tips of your toes.

Describe your sound – do you operate within one genre? Where does it fit into the Malaysian rock scene?
We don’t really classify ourselves as one particular genre. To us, influences are lighthouses, but we steer the ship on our own. We love guitar driven rock as well as the charm of popular music. We think our music primarily interests the Indie-Rock fans here in Malaysia, but we are always reaching out to new listeners.

Describe the songwriting process –What steps did you take in re-evaluating your sound?
Most of our music reflects our personalities, beliefs and our current environment. We constantly evolve and rework our songs. It usually starts with a spark of inspiration from any one of our band members. Everyone will agree on that idea, then we can begin work on structure, melodies and dynamics during rehearsals. We fine tune these ideas further down the track, usually during the recording process.

What can people expect from a typical They Will Kill Us All performance?
A blazing display of energy, and a great burst of emotions. We love playing live.

Which acts would you love to work with in future, and why?
One of our favourite local acts, surprisingly enough, is Arabyrd – a dance/hip hop act who also hails from Malaysia. She is a very interesting artist, and is pushing boundaries of dub, dance and reggae, completely on her own terms. Working with Arabyrd would be an incentive for us to get out of the whole “rock” comfort zone, and to explore new possibilities in music. Internationally, we would like to work with several international producers, rather than a particular artist or band. People like Alan Moulder, Flood and Nigel Goldrich could shed some light on our style, and would most likely improve our musicianship while guiding us towards producing a quality record.

What is one piece of advice you always adhere to when producing music?
Do what you love, don’t lose faith and finish what you start.

What do you bring to the table that others in the Malaysian/South East Asian scene do not?
We don’t intend to compete with other local /regional acts but our band has always been about the signature sound. We want people to recognize our music when they hear it. It’s easy to imitate another band, but it’s a challenge to create your own sound.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?
We hope we have already written few great songs that will remain evergreen within a span of a few releases. We would love to go out touring regionally and from there bring our music around the world. It will be great for more Asian bands to jump out and grab an international audience.

They Will Kill Us All will hit the stage at UpToTheSky Festival in December, 2011. You can also hear them on the SEA Absolute Indie Compilation album, due for release on iTunes in October.

Stay tuned with Music Services Asia’s blog, and visit the band here!


By Stephanie Winkler