Music & Me

When I was young, I used to listen to my dad strum the guitar while singing his favorite Lobo songs. He had gigantic chord books filled with all his favorite songs. I never appreciated it when I was younger, but it probably planted the seeds of music in me. These seeds were watered by my buddy Seng Yip back in school when we decided to make some music together. It was a two man show – Fuzzbeaterz. Seng Yip, his guitar and pedal and me, with my tape recorder. He played some riffs over drum beats from his pedal, while I sang and rapped terrible lyrics over it. It was far from good, but it was a start.

In college, we decided to enter the Battle of the Bands, so we learned some songs that I liked (in hindsight, they were probably the wrong choice for the competition, but whatever – I got to jam songs I enjoyed haha) and auditioned. We didn’t qualify, but it was a fun experience. We continued jamming and went through some lineup changes. We even changed got new band names (from Hostile Takeover to dreamingtosleep). Again, we didn’t get anywhere, but at least we landed a few gigs. After recording a demo, the band split up due to the guitarists leaving the country.

I wanted to continue making music – I had so many lyrics left lying around that I didn’t have any music for. So what did I do? I picked up the guitar and decided to make music of my own. Since I had no experience making solo music, I started from square one again. But it was a good learning experience. I applied what I knew from learning songs by other people. I churned out a bunch of bedroom demos and was content. Back then I had no idea that the singer/songwriter scene in Malaysia existed so that was pretty much it.

Until one day, a colleague at my first job told me about open mics. She encouraged me to attend my first open mic and that night changed my life. I played my first show in front of a sizable audience, and they enjoyed my set. Whether it was genuine or out of politeness, it didn’t really matter. It gave me the confidence to go out and play more shows. I was spurred on by the feeling I got being on stage. There’s something about the audience applauding and cheering for you that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

I continued performing at every opportunity I got and wrote more songs. Eventually, I wrote enough music for an EP and recorded it. That was my first time getting songs recorded properly in a studio (dreamingtosleep’s EP was done live with no click track). I learned a lot during my sessions in the studio. Looking back, there were so many things I could have improved on, but hey – that’s always the case. The main thing is I managed to put the record out. Because I can always play better during live shows or on newer songs. Whatever I had recorded is a moment frozen in time. Something I can look back on and laugh at.

After that, I formed another band with Jason and had the time of my life. Playing music with a band is so fulfilling. Sure, solo can be fun, but when you’re playing music with a bunch of guys – the combination of drums, bass and guitar takes the activity to a whole new level. I can’t explain. Is this what an orgy feels like? Side note: doing things with friends is almost more fun every time (i.e. gaming, checking out restaurants, drinking).

These days I still play music, but on a less consistent basis. I haven’t written a new song in ages, but that’s okay. It’s not something I should force. Besides, I should channel my energy into my other hobbies (like working on my game) and catching up on cartoons and movies that I’ve missed over the past couple of years.

Initially, I wanted to write something about reports of Gibson going bankrupt but then I realized I had no idea how to contribute to the topic and it devolved into a story about my music. Kids, playing guitar is fun. Go pick one up and start learning now if you have any inkling of an interest. It’s not going to be easy, but it’ll be worth it in the end. It’s definitely up there as one of my favorite hobbies of all time. I assure you, it’s as fun as wanking.

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