Wednesday, February 23, 2011


PHOTO: Ady Shahrul Shutterscream

Rice Factory: Hello Joe, how’s the Carburetor Dung new album? Is that supposed to be released somewhere in 2010 but it didn’t see the light of day yet, right? Which label supposed to release it? AGE?

Joe Kidd: That's getting to be quite an embarrassment for us (for me at least)! We recorded these nine tracks at a friend's studio in Gombak in 2007 and since then we had gone through three different mixing sessions for all the tracks but each time we did it I hated the results and veto-ed the band's decision to just release it. I've been an ass I guess but I just don't like the mix and I think it would be horrible to release it that way.

Anyway, late last year, we've decided to split the recorded tracks into two different releases. The faster, typical hardcore-punk songs (5 of them) are going to be on a 3-way split-CD release with our old heroes Texas' MILLIONS OF DEAD COPS (MDC) and our guitarist Tom's old band THE BOLLOCKS. This CD would be out on a label in New York next month. I've just finished doing the cover art, and we'll mix the tracks for that this weekend.

The other four tracks, which are slower, heavier, more ponderous songs will be released as an EP with additional tracks to be recorded soon. This one will be put out on our new label RICECOOKER RECORDINGS, which had just released a CD and a cassette recently (PISSCHRIST & WASTED TIME).

There are also two compilations coming out soon. The first is the BERIKAN CINTA PADA SESAMA compilation, again recorded in 2007 but now finally being released under Knot Records and Ricecooker Recordings. This one features one song from us, Fine Line of Numb, taken from the aforementioned yet unreleased album.

The other comp is a new project by Zaki (NUISANCE DRILLED / NEUROTIC EUPHORIA) called SYNTHESIS: ECCENTRIC DECIBELS CONNECTION, which is going to feature about 22+ DIY bands! This one would require us record a few new songs, so that would kick our butts into gear once again. It's always good to be kicked repeatedly, just to make sure we're alive and well that is.

RF: Since you are in the punk scene since the 80’s, what do you think about the recording technology from the 80’s till now? Can you assume what will happen in local punk scene in the year 2050?

JK: The 80s, especially the early part of it was really a bad decade for many independent bands, no matter whether you're playing metal or punk etc. There was no infrastructure for the scene to record cheaply and getting good results. Two factors there; first is the fact that the bands were mostly poor, street kids with crappy jobs. The second factor was that there was no cheap recording studios. At the time, the recording studios were charging RM120 and more per hour. So unless you get signed to a label, you wouldn't be able to record. By the late 80s, some jamming studio would start offering 8-track recordings though but again, it was still quite costly. THE BOLLOCKS was lucky to find a studio experimenting with that sort of recording and managed to get it done cheap for their REVOLUTION cassette, but that's already around the mid-90s.

Bring that situation forward to the last 10 years, things have improved a lot. Anyone can just do home recordings if they have a computer with a good soundcard or interface. That said, we are still in need of people with good ears, those who understand the sound we want and that's still quite rare. It is however getting better though as heard with recent releases by local bands.

On the future of Malaysian punk, well, I think "punk" will be around still, especially if you take that term as a nebulous, free-form idea that's not trapped by a certain rigid uniformity. Punk was supposed to be that free-roaming, questioning, intense spirit that would escape any sort of attempt to encapsulate it into an easily-definable idea. It seeks new things, fresh ideas, new sound etc. But too many kids like it to be a uniform, either in terms of sound or look etc. and that would really kill the spirit. It's been happening for years that way but if you look around, there are a few souls and groupings who are keeping that spirit roaming free.

RF: Your first album with VSP has lotsa socio oriented lyrics (friendship etc) and catchy chorus melody but nowadays seems all your lyrics are narrowed to political protest and less melodic. Is this have something to do with lineup changes? Or….?

JK: No. It has nothing to do with line-up changes. I wrote all the songs since day one, so if there's anyone which should be "blamed" for the shift, it would be me. But I've always believe that "honesty" and passion are vital arteries to this punk rock thing, and I was and am just being honest with what I was/am feeling at the time of writing those new songs. The other factor is I hate to repeat what I've done before. I mean, we could have put out songs which would follow that old first album template, but what's the use of rehashing, when you can go out and look for new influences and ideas. I believe that would make me happier than writing another 10 versions of "Boo Hoo Clapping Song". Just look at that song "Happy", that's a rehash of Boo Hoo in a different way. I don't want to keep doing that.

Me and Fendi (the only two who are still around from 1991) are both fans of many sorts of music, and we always like different genres and styles. As an example when we started to write a few songs for our 2nd album in 1994 (a year after the debut album came out) we were both crazy over the post-hardcore sound of Washington DC scene, with songs both more personal and away from the typical 3-chord punk rock. We presented two songs to the other band members but they said it was too far away and very different from our first album. In short, they didn't like it much. So me and Fendi formed a side-project called THE SHITWORKERS, just to do those songs.

As for the lyrics, I believe the new songs (well, not so new now! ahahaha) carry forward the ideas we had with Oppression and Carburetor Dance. Oppression being a blatant political statement against the ISA and Carburetor Dance was pondering upon the human condition. These two songs are our favourites from the first album; the only two songs which we still feel right about and relevant in terms of the political outlook of our country and the world, so the spirit of these songs are still with us today, alive with the newer stuff, a lot more political too.

A friend of mine recently compared the lyrics and sound of the old Dung with the new Dung and came out with this: different times reflect different attitudes and outlook. The early 90s was quite a good year economically for the country, thus we have more happy sounding tunes, where people singalong and have a good time. Since the past ten years, things have changed tremendously in our country general well-being. It's going down the drain with lunatics at the helm, so Dung responded with a more political lyrics and faster, far more pissed off sound. I think he's quite right!

The more melodic ones from the debut album, especially Boo Hoo and Jump Down Lemonade, were both about personal relationship whether it's among friends or lovers. The thing is for the last 10 years, me and Fendi have settled into being adults, with longtime life-partners beside us. We are happy in that part of our life. We have a stable bunch of good friends and also families of our own, so it's hard to write about that stuff when we have no complaints about it.

That said, we do have plans to record a full acoustic album in the middle of the year. The songs we have for that are of many different stuff, from funny. lighter ones to darker shit like The Gibran Song. We'll see how it goes though.

RF: Do you still remember few years back when people are putting Pay No More tag at their tape/zine/releases? Do you think punk is dead?

JK: Well, "pay no more" tags was the rage for a while, but was it effective? Nope. We had our PAY NO MORE tag on The Allure of Manure cassettes but then shops such as Auntie's would copy the songs onto blank cassettes, photostated the cover (complete with the Pay No More tag) and then sold it at a price more expensive than what it says, and kids still bought them. Whatever, man.

Punk is dead? It's a hip thing to say ever since CBS signed The Clash back in 1977. It didn't mean much to me though. The best thing about "punk" is that it's an idea very hard to pin down and caged. So if you subscribe to that free-form, ever-changing yet always confrontational version of "punk" then it could be alive and well everywhere. BUT! If you think "punk" is a regimented, narrow and fossilized form of youth subculture and fashion, then it's truly dead, and good riddance to that!

RF: In your opinion, which one is better for a local record label, either to release local band or oversea band?

JK: I would think record labels were supposed to die years ago. What we have now are zombies basically. It's an inconvenience. I mean, the ideal way to distribute your songs nowadays is to put them up FREE on-line. Or frisbee a bunch of CD-Rs into the crowd at all the gigs you play. The problem to that model is that we still need to PAY to record the songs; pay to buy blank CD-Rs and pay for the time we used up making them. So once you paid, some of us need to get back the money spent. And so we had to keep the old model alive somehow, to at least recoup the investment. What a pain in the ass that one!

What many local DIY labels are doing is a convenient method to get other releases/recordings they want, either for their own collection or to sell/trade for more. Like our own new label RICECOOKER RECORDINGS. We put out two releases recently, both from foreign bands, so we can use those two titles to trade with overseas labels for items which we want to carry in our shop. That's it. Yes, we also want to share the items with our friends; pressing them locally made it cheaper for kids to get, but that's NOT the only reason.

As for labels doing local releases, yes, I would like and support that more, of course. At the very least, it's a documentation of the local scene. I would salute any local label who'd still do that, and they are still a few who are doing that, when they know not many people are buying them anymore and the fact that labels overseas are NOT interested in getting them.

Best is to do both. One for the "re-sale" value, the other for the sake of documenting our very own backyard. I believe they can both work very well together.

RF: What are your playlist now (local band)? Any last word? Thanks.


Thank you, and eat your veggies! I would recommend lightly boiled, freshly-picked ladyfingers dipped in budu. Yum!


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