Local underground music goes above



KOTA KINABALU: Having to swallow condemnation and listen to people badmouthing about local underground music scene has instead turned into an inspiration of a song composition for local band Me Gusta (stylized as Me Gusta!! – with two exclamation marks).

The 4-piece band who has recently thrown a listening party for their self-titled debut album wrote and composed ‘Joker’ in dedication to those that like to bash or underestimate those in the underground music industry.

“People who like to badmouth other people, bash and condemn them down, talk behind them and such… they are a joke. That is why the song is titled ‘Joker’,” said Me Gusta’s vocalist Daryl Jones Junior, who is also the second guitarist.

The listening party which was recently held at a newly opened live venue called M.A.R.S, Foh Sang aimed to gather creative people in the music community while also introducing their debut album consisting of 9 songs.

Me Gusta, which was formed in 2011 was just a mere hobby at first when they signed up as participants in the Battle of the Bands competition during college years. Although the band did not win, they managed to obtain a free single recording.

In their self-titled album, the indie-rock band applies a concept which has a blend of different music mixtures such as disco, post-punk, alternative rock and psychedelic rock.

“Our influence is universal and various as we sound more orchestral because we are using all of our voices while also playing our own instrument at the same time,” said the 28-year-old vocalist from Inanam, adding that they would choose the British rock band, Queen in reference to their music’s similarity.

Daryl further explained that another song from their debut album which has a personal impact in the band members’ lives is ‘The Wanderer’ which tells a tale of their movement and hardship.

“The song is basically about the negative perspectives that we have received along our journey and it usually does not come from strangers. Most of the time it comes from people who are close to us who strongly believe that music will not get you anywhere. But still, we kept pushing hard and the result is this, our debut album,” he expressed.

Eldon Tang, the bassist urged the local people to get out of their comfort zone when it comes to music industry where he also expressed his disappointment as the underground music scene is not really accepted in Sabah.

“As a local musician, I wish that the listeners here would open up their mind,” he said, suggesting that those who would wish to understand more about underground music to try going to local gigs (live musical performance).

“You will be surprised as there’s plenty of talented local bands who I believe is up to the international level,” the 28-year-old Sandakan-born bassist added.

Me Gusta’s 28-year-old drummer, Vitalian Paulinus from Sandakan also advised aspiring musicians to never give up in making music despite not being fully accepted by the society.

Believe in yourself, he said, because in music, when it is done half-heartedly, it will bring you down.

“Soon enough, we will be too old for this so we are hoping that the new generation will keep the music going on,” said Daryl, half-jokingly.

Me Gusta’s lead guitarist also hoped that more aspiring musicians will come forward to showcase their inner talent, being unafraid of criticism.

“If you don’t know how to start, come down to gig. Get to know one another and don’t be afraid to talk to the local musicians because we are always open to those who wish to venture into the music industry, said 28-year-old Azmi Asbi, from Sandakan.

He disclosed that he did not take part in any music classes and that he was a self-taught guitarist, adding that he usually mimicked guitarists on live music videos.

Meanwhile, Eldon also disclosed that he never knew how to play any instrument albeit being really interested in music until he was taught by his brother to play the guitar.

“My advice to those who wish to learn music is, don’t start with metal music or anything similar. Just go for simple chords and you are good to go. The rest will come easier,” he said, reassuringly.

Daryl, the frontman, also took the chance to share his experience before he first stepped into the music industry.

“I learned to play the guitar from YouTube and I also went out to meet people with the same passion and then decided to form a band. It was honestly tough at first but after sometimes, I met more people who helped us get through music recording places in Sabah. Eventually, we invited music lovers to listen to our music on social media and that’s how we obtained a slot on our first gig,” he added.

Me Gusta has performed alongside with other well-known artists such as Hujan, Bunkface, Gerhana Ska Cinta, XPDC, OAG and more during the Rocktober Fest 2017 in Miri, Sarawak.

By :
New Sabah Times