The Speakzodiac boys take on retro sounds

by - 14:11

Classic rock as a sound and style, may not be as actively peddled these days, what with the deluge of generic R&B, lame alt rock and disposable pop seemingly all-conquering.

However, feed a bunch of boys from Subang Jaya in Selangor a diet of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and something resembling the halcyon days of 1970s rock emerges.

Speakzodiac certainly seems to know a thing or two about what makes vintage rock tick, and that is displayed in its resplendent glory in its potentially album-of-the-year debut, Northern Drug. The five-song excursion, released at the tail end of last year, belies the band’s generational and geographic placement.

And while legendary classic bands of yore may have been used as a reference point, guitarist/vocalist PA Hafiz and drummer Muzaffar Johar have carved a sound that’s surreptitiously closer to the millennium, grafting from the Liverpool scene which spawned the likes of The Coral and The Zutons.

Opening track Spongy B, St Just and Passerby certainly echo that vibe, though Bonfire is a straight ahead psychedelic blast, ala Hendrix, with some face-melting fretwork by Hafiz.

Northern Drug bucks a lot of trends plagued by the local indie scene, and it’s completely the better for it. For a refreshing taste of how diverse and engaging rock music can get, pop this CD in and sit back.

The Speakzodiac boys have a new album out. Photo: Speakzodiac

The Speakzodiac boys have a new album out. Photo: Speakzodiac

1. Does Speakzodiac mean anything in particular, or merely for the sake of a cool name?

We performed with a different name before settling on Speakzodiac. We suppose it’s self-explanatory, in terms of the meaning, though the more you try to define it, the more ambiguous it could get, and that probably resonates with the music we play.

Speakzodiacs debut, Northern Drug, might just be what the doctor ordered to turn the local indie scene on its head. Photo: Speakzodiac

Speakzodiac’s debut, Northern Drug, might just be what the doctor ordered to turn the local indie scene on its head. Photo: Speakzodiac

2. Would you describe your music as unconventional, and who is into this type of music, anyway?

We never go about making music with any specific direction, be it conventional or unconventional, but we certainly make music without any exterior involvement or motives besides our own sense of purpose. If that is described as either conventional or unconventional, then you might have your answer.

Generally, we would say listeners who are more prone to discover music with a unique identity and sound, could potentially be our listeners. We’re definitely not interested in being another inferior, recycled product, or a copy of another musical act found in abundance these days.

3. How difficult is it to get a gig for a band like yours and how have you worked around that?

That’s not as complicated as most people would think. Local venues here are very accessible for live performances, especially when you have quality recorded material to expose and to recreate live. It’s just a matter of communication and planning involving numerous parties related to the event. We haven’t played internationally yet. It’s a different ball game altogether, and we are looking forward to that.

4. Ultimately, what do you want to achieve and where do you realistically see it going?

Realistically, we think there is no limit to what we can achieve, but we need to make music the best we can and take it as far as possible. At the same time, we have to constantly challenge ourselves as we progress.

5. Who would you most like to share a concert billing with … and why this artiste?

Dead musicians with holograms. Maybe they are more manageable/obedient?

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