Shamsul Annuar, or more popularly known as Sam, is not looking back. The vocalist for Bunkface doesn’t want to talk about how his rock band was formed 10 years ago. When bassist Farouk Jaafar or Youk tries to explain how he met Ahmad Farhan (Paan) back in secondary school, Sam cut in to say it’s a typical story.
“All bands in Malaysia have the same story. We met, we jammed and then we decided to form a band. That’s all,” he explained during an interview in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Instead, he would rather talk about the future … ironically, it involves an event riding on nostalgia.
The band has announced plans for a major concert to celebrate its 10th anniversary in the music industry. Sam describes the upcoming event as a gift for the fans. “All the hard work we’ve done in the past 10 years is for the fans. We can’t really go into much details about the concert yet but it is happening at the end of the year.”
Bunkface achieved mainstream success with singles like Through My Window, Situasi, Malam Ini Kita Punya, Darah Muda and Masih Di Sini (the theme song for local box office hit BoBoiBoy: The Movie).
Over the years, they have gone on tour in countries like Indonesia, Japan, Australia and Britain. Recently, the band launched its own fragrance brand. With 20,000 bottles sold since the release in February, the band is assured that it still has a huge fanbase to rely on.
“We were surprised at the figure too!” said Paan of the two fragrances available.
For next decade, the band hopes to penetrate different aspects of the entertainment industry. It is not just looking at making music and putting their names on items like perfumes and T-shirts.
“We have our vision that in the next 10 years, we want to be like the KRU brothers. We want to have our own Bunkface empire where it’s not just concentrated on music,” Youk shared.
Sam is also eager to share about the band’s plan to develop new talents. The band hopes to establish a record label next year.
“After the big concert, we plan to take a short break and use that time to focus on producing new artistes,” said Sam.
If you’re looking to be signed by members of Bunkface, Sam says they have simple requirements.
“We’re looking for those with character and charisma. Hopefully, someone with a strong image. It’s that simple for us. We don’t want to sign anyone who doesn’t seem to have any purpose being in the music business.”
Again, an irony considering Sam himself states the band never had a plan when it first started out. Sam says the band’s philosophy is to just go with the flow.
Lucky for the band members, the journey has led Bunkface to the top of the music industy. The secret to sustaining its popularity is the raw approach to songwriting.
“When it comes to our songs, we just write about how we feel. We’re putting out honesty. That’s the key as to why we’re still here. It’s the honesty in writing music,” declared Sam.
Previously, Bunkface has stirred controversy with the politically-charged song Panik. Sam also incurred the wrath of local K-pop fans when he dissed the genre during a television appearance. Sam says the band’s intentions are misunderstood.
“When we speak up about the lack of support for local acts, it’s all about educating our listeners. It’s for the good of the industry in the long run. Support local first and the industry will continue to flourish.
“This is not just about us. It’s for the local acts in the future as well,” he explained.
On the controversy surrounding Panik, he offered: “Yeah, we just put our feelings into the song. We’ve always had this attitude in which we don’t care a4bout what would happen.
“We never have this fear about getting banned from the airwaves or whatsoever. We just do whatever we want to do. That’s important to us.”
Youk agrees, saying they don’t have time for harsh critics and gossip.
“If we keep thinking about what people think about us, the band would have been long gone,” said Youk.
But members of Bunkface, who are now in their early 30s, admit that age and experience have taught them a lot about keeping their emotions in check. Youk mentions the band is more relaxed now compared to the days when it used to be out of control.
“We used to be more outspoken. Now that we’re a little bit older, we’ve mellowed down. We need to relax a bit,” Sam added.
This new attitude also seem to have an influence on the band’s upcoming creative work.
The band is set to release two Bahasa Malaysia songs – Orang Kita and Kembali – and then start work on an English album which will feature a brand new sound.
“We’re going for a modern sound best described as Jamiroquai meets The Weeknd. There’s electro, funk, pop and more extended vocals,” Sam enthusiastically elaborated on how the new music is a departure from the band’s signature pop punk sound.
“Of course, we’re still experimenting. We’re ready to expand Bunkface, we want to attract new fans. It’s going to be different and we’re sure people will like it. It will be terbaik (the best) from us.”