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    Sunday, December 28, 2008

    Me: Check out this new song I am working on.
    June: Doesn't sound like a Malay song.
    Me: What do you mean?
    June: It doesn't sound like a Malay song. It sounds modern.
    Me: What? A Malay song cannot sound modern?
    June: Well, I guess it can. But usually if you hear something like this in Malay, it's more Indonesian.

    How distressing is that? Malay music is now synonymous with old-sounding. And if it is modern, then it's Indonesian.

    I really got my work cut out for me.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    I think we should clear our tables after we eat at self-service fast food places like McDonald's. Because it's the right thing to do in polite society. No one needs to see what a slob and messy eater you are. After all, we are not animals.

    Tuesday, December 09, 2008

    The two singles I am currently promoting are "Hello" and "Selamat Tinggal".

    Farah Asyikin and Nikki. Both have debut albums I produced that were snubbed at the AIM.

    Hello.

    Selamat Tinggal.

    How ironic.

    And speaking of promotions:

    Farah Asyikin's HELLO
    Maxis: Dail *131*111629# and press CALL/SEND
    Celcom: SMS: CMT 56948 and send to 22990
    Digi: SMS: CT BUY 53583 JB and send to 2000
    Get the whole song on Maxis: SMS: FS N70145 and send to 32010

    Nikki's SELAMAT TINGGAL
    Maxis: Dail *131*113588# and press CALL/SEND
    Celcom: SMS: CMT 54851 and send to 22990
    Digi: SMS: CT BUY 57712 JB and send to 2000
    Get the whole song on Maxis: SMS: FS N70154 and send to 32010

    Be my friend. Get a ringtone today.

    Friday, December 05, 2008

    You see that song on the playlist above? "Pada Cintanya"....or "Cinta Padanya". I can't remember what the actual real title of the song is. It's Siti's new song for the second season of Spa-Q. Words by Rina Khan.

    All I want to say is that my work here is done. I got Siti Nurhaliza to record a house track! Who would have thought....

    Let me stress that this is NOT a remix.

    I do want to say a very big thank you to Redza Fahmy and Siti Nurhaliza for giving me all that space and taking chances/risks in letting me do whatever I wanted. (If this flops, you still have your traditional album to fall back on. :) Thank you!

    Unless if it's M. Nasir calling, put a fork in me. I am done.

    Audi Mok has left the building.

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    I recorded Siti Nurhali......pardon me. Where are my manners? I recorded DATUK Siti Nurhaliza last week. Excuse me. But I still can't address her as Datuk yet. I still call her Siti and don't even bother asking if I am ever going to be able to address her as Mak Itie.

    Back to my story. It is the theme song for the second season of Spa-Q. I did the theme song for the first season and the show's producer, Redza liked what I did enough to call me back for another round. I am very grateful for the opportunity because I do not think I'd get the chance if it were based on song selection. (My type of music is deemed to "loud" for her market, you see.)

    This time around, I have gone the other way and wrote a ballad. Not your typical Audi Mok ballad, mind you. I had to summon my dormant inner-kampungself and studied the great ballads of Adnan Abu Hassan, Ajai, Azlan Abu Hassan, David Foster and Diane Warren. And I have come up with the perfect ballad for the masses. Got bells and guitar solo and timpani. This ballad will make "Mahakarya Cinta" sound like "Chopsticks". It's a dream come true.

    Like at our first session, Siti was a total pro. Always nice and pleasant. She seemed a lot more comfortable with me this time. It was a great two hour session.

    I have to complete the song next week and I can't wait to let her fans hear it. It's my statement as a songwriter saying "Yes! I get it. You win. Ballads sell." And my research has shown that sales increase 35% when there's an electric guitar solo.

    I have almost arrived.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    I finally got back to MySpace. I now have a brand new page at myspace.com/audimok and it's finally a musician's profile. And I have no friends.

    Monday, November 17, 2008

    Frankly, I do not mind critics. After all, I am sometimes a part-time critic myself and some criticisms (or comments) have been constructive. But if you are going to criticize, at least have the balls to leave your name. And say something that I can work with.

    Anyway, in response to the writer's block question, I want to first say, stay off drugs. There are other ways to get the inspiration back. That's another blog entry in itself which I will work on. Promise.

    By the way, this is my first blog entry on my iPhone. Wheeeeeeeeeeee.......

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    I will be at this .... thing...for "Camp Rock" this Saturday at 9am! I am supposed to talk to 50 Disney-channel fankids about songwriting and how to be a songwriter. In other words, I will be lying through my teeth. Can you believe it? "Camp Rock" and me. What a dream come true.

    Someone...quick! Pull out my fingernails with pliers.

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    I somewhat complicated my life today by recording horns today. I had Eddie Wan on trumpet and flugelhorn, and Shazzy on saxophone. Unfortunately, I forgot to call the trombone player which I will overdub later this week.

    Also, I learned something new today: The trumpet is an incredibly loud instrument.

    I realise that it is stating the obvious but you cannot appreciate how loud it is until you have a trumpet in your face.

    But more importantly, it reminded me that there are more to live instruments than just guitars and violins; which are the staple real instruments recorded in local pop music. Which is strange because we have so many different types of instruments in the world, and there's the added bonus of Asian instruments. Yet, most of these instruments and sounds are largely untapped in local pop.

    Speaking of pop. I wonder if it would be cool if I rounded up a few young fresh tarts, groom them to be a girl-band and named them "Pop Tarts"?

    In other news, a candle burnt out my salt lamp in my bedroom. Now there's this smell of burnt salt lamp which can only be described as the smell of evil that is hanging out in my bedroom.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    This morning, some guy came up to the studio and painted over our wall.


    It hurts! I'll never be the same again.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    KNOW YOUR MUSICIAN


    For this edition of KNOW YOUR MUSICIAN, I would like to introduce Kelly. He plays bass guitar. He is very good and has played for a lot of famous singers. This man has more funk in his little finger than most people have in their entire body.

    I've been working with Kelly for over two years now and he has done many sessions with me. I almost have him in all my productions now even if I have a keyboard bass line going. I just have two bass parts. You know that age-old question...what's better than one bass line? TWO BASS LINES.

    So God bless Kelly and bananas!

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    We usually have fruits in some form at the studio's dining table and I usually do not pay as much attention as I would have say, it were McNuggets or some other form of deep fried mystery meat.

    But today I had a banana!

    And man...it was one tasty delicious frequently-dismissed-and-under-rated banana.

    If the last time you had a banana was with a side of ice-cream or if it were deep-fried, I highly recommend that you have a banana on its own; just like in the days of yore and the way God intended it to be eaten. You will thank me for bringing back the banana back into your life.

    Welcome back into my life banana! I will forever cherish you and not take you for granted again.

    p.s. And thanks for the potassium too.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    These are good times. It looks scary what with all the fear-mongers and Chicken Littles telling us the sky is falling. But I think all this is great.

    And the biggest surprise for me in all this is our Prime Minister. Amidst all the chaos, he has been quiet. He could have arrested the situation and taken charge...like our former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir, would have done. In a few weeks, things will blow over and we go back to our normal lifes. But that itself has been the problem.

    So now, instead of having a hero, we have an anti-hero. Instead of doing something, he does little (or almost nothing). He is giving those in power so much rope and many of them are hanging themselves with it. And with that, he has allowed this crude form of social Darwinism to take place. Because of our current PM, the Opposition has made so much head way! For once, Anwar actually has a chance! I can't imagine any of this happening under Dr. M's watch.

    Of course you can argue that if the leader was fair in the first place, we wouldn't need all this drama. Right.

    Anyway, to conclude, all this is good. Drink more tea.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    We just completed Farah Asyikin's new track. It's called "Hello".

    Farah wrote the words. Very brilliant lyrics. This was a really fun song to do. I hope you like it. Please request for it on radio. I am also going to make it available as a download soon.

    Check it out here.

    ADDENDUM: In response to the first comment: Please don't get me wrong. I love real instruments...but only if a really good musician plays it. My earlier posts I said real instruments will not help a bad song and it really means just that. It won't help a bad song or bad arrangement sound better. If it's a good song or a good arrangement, having real instruments WHEN IT'S CALLED FOR, will make it sound even better.

    In fact, I always try to have one other musician play, preferably a non-keyboard-based instrument; not just because of the sound of a real instruments, but more for the feel and personality of another musician.

    For Hello, lo and behold, there are real guitar parts! Wait! There's more. There is real bass too. Jamie Wilson played electric guitar and Kelly played bass. Although I do have a synth bass playing with the real bass. I will take it as a compliment that the guitar parts do not sound like usual guitar parts because I was going all out to make it sound different. I thought it would have been boring to have usual rock guitar parts.

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    I would like to acknowledge one of the most amazing things in my life which I realised I cannot do without. It's probably something we all take for granted. I cannot imagine my life without it. I am talking about the reverse sensor in my car. Every beep it makes to warn me of potential damage is music to my ears; how it starts with a beep. Then another one. And another. It gets faster and faster until it becomes one long continous beep. As if to tell me..."Dude...stop already!"

    Thank you reverse sensor! You are so smart and amazing. You just know things!

    Still on the matter of cars, why is it that whenever our car remote-alarm-lock-unlock thing doesn't work, we shake it and smack it? Poor contact points? Weak battery? What part of that action fixes it? And more importantly, WHY does it actually work?

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    I had this strange revelation the other day. What do Nikki, Farah Asyikin, and Elyana have in common? They all have great albums. AND their albums were snubbed at the Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) awards during their eligible year. Why, you might ask?

    Highly competitive year?

    I don't think so.

    It probably had more to do with the fact that these artistes were "strong" female artistes and were singing "strong" songs. None of that "singing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-begging-the-man-to-kembali-kepadaku-because-I-tengah-melara-jiwa."

    While not Alanis Morrissette or Avril Lavigne-potent, our local sisters were making a musical stand. And I think a lot of the "men" in the voting committee cannot handle that sort of thing. They were still expecting a sweet thing whose name is Siti-something, doing Siti-esque-type songs, and not show any form of independence or attitude in their music.

    Truth be told that I was surprised and borderline-pissed that Elyana's and Farah Asyikin's album were not nominated in this year's AIM. I am biased when it comes to Farah's album but I really like Elyana's album and Aidit Alfian (the producer and composer for the songs that really mattered) did a really good job. He and I paint with different colours but we are on the same page.

    So come next year, I am curious to see what happens with Nikki's album and possibly Farah's album. These two will have really kick-ass albums this year and we shall see if my theory is right.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    I am excited about music again!

    I've been quite quiet these past months. Haven't released any music but I did upgrade to a quad-core Intel PC and now working on upgrade the other two computers at the studio to quad-cores and dual 24-inch LCDs as well. Just the thought of it causes a stir in my loins.

    Anyway, I am slowly getting back into my groove. I think I am going to end up doing maybe only three albums this year. That's not a lot compared to the previous years. I just really want to focus a few projects and do my best instead of writing the same song over and over again. I am really looking to do something new this year and I have given myself a challenge with every project.

    I'm working on Nikki's album and we are almost done. I am very excited about this song I produced written by Pam Yuen and it's going to be blow a lot of people away as to what a modern ballad should sound like. I've gone crazy stupid with this album. There is so much colour in this album and you've never heard Malay pop like this before. Kieran Kuek is working on a couple of songs as well. So the direction for the album is going to be tight.

    The challenge for Nikki's album is that I cannot use the crash cymbal in the entire album.

    I am also working slowly but picking up steam, on Maya Karin's album as well. Her's is an interesting one because when it comes to her singing, she is the undergod. But let me go on record here saying that she is one of the best singers I've worked with. Flawless pitching. Her challenge is her unique tone. It's a double-edged sword. And my challenge is finding the right material and direction for her. When we get it right, you will hear a new Maya and I am looking forward to that.

    The challenge for Maya's album is writing the kind of songs that I've never written before. So help me God.

    And finally, album-wise, I am very excited to be working on Farah Asyikin's album. I just finalised the mix to the first song and Farah sounds great. I got this new hybrid synthesiser with knobs and things I can grab, twist and turn. I am going to be using the heck out of this for Farah's album. I am making the effort to design and program new sounds for this production instead of using standard stock sounds. I will use real thing when I need instrument sounds but everything else will be synthesised. This is going to be so much fun for me.

    The challenge here is to use the synthesiser as the main instrument.

    And for something on the side, I am working on a dangdut track for this well-known dangdut singer who is perhaps crazy to risk her career on getting me to write and produce a dangdut track for her. But this is my chance! Whenever there is an opportunity for me to make a complete fool of myself, I am there!

    Friday, August 08, 2008

    I completed this song for Nikki recently. It's called "Relakan."

    Nikki had a hit with "Caramu" two years ago. A hit so big that it overshadowed the rest of the album to the point that radio stations and listeners didn't want to listen to anything else from the album. (We just get too comfortable with our old shoes!)

    Now we are working on her new album and "Relakan" is the first single. Generally, the response has been positive. It's a simple song. I think it sounds new and fresh from the perspective the singer and compared to what's on local radio today.

    After "Caramu", you would not expect something like "Relakan."

    And that's exactly the point. I like "Relakan" because it shows a different side of Nikki's vocals. She is much more restrained and in control. Sorry, no hyper-sonic dog-range whistling (yet.)

    If people are open-minded enough, this song will be a refreshing hit. But given our track-record on the matter of being an open-minded society, it might get trashed.

    Therefore, I feel the need for this preface to explain what is going on.

    The decision to go with "Relakan" as the first single is because it's a new-sounding kind of song. There hasn't been a Malay song that sounds like this, in terms of production or melody. And more importantly, I personally feel that this song could be the song to start tipping the scale against music from last century and the "other" country.

    This song could get people who do not listen to Malay music, listen to Malay music.

    But...

    How supportive will listeners and mass media be?

    And why wouldn't I think listeners will be supportive?

    Because it's not like "Caramu!"

    Nor does it sound Indonesian.

    So the conclusion here is that, people can't label this song.

    So what does it sound like?

    It's fucking Malaysian, dammit!

    Why? You can't digest what modern Malay pop sounds like?
    Why? You need Agnes Monica or some Indonesian to do it first? Then only it's OK for us Malaysians?

    As a "songwriter/producer" (ahem!), there are times when I do something people want. And there are times when I do something I think people want but don't even know it yet.

    (Name drop alert!) Izham Omar sent me this SMS a long time ago which I had some issues and it put things in perspective for me: "If I asked people what they want, they would have asked for a faster horse." - Henry Ford.

    No one asked for Hujan or Meet Uncle Hussain. No one asked for Air Asia. No one asked for Caramu.

    So the point here is that it's really not whether the song is good or not. Because it is. Yes, it may be a matter of taste. But it's about keeping our minds open for more than three minutes and 28 seconds.

    But here's the irony. If I had done something like "Caramu", people would say it's the same typical Audi Mok production and that I've run out of ideas. Damned if I do. Damned if I don't.

    This is more than a song. It's a sociocultural test.

    I personally feel this song is one of my best songs because it's so deceptively simple. And if you know my songs, I have trouble keeping things simple and I have this God-given gift of overdoing things.

    You want proof that this song will work?

    I challenge any radio station to play this song 10 times in a row at a decent hour of the day.

    10 times that's all. If there is no response, never ever play the song again and I will gladly give the label back their money.

    Think about it. To show that the radio station is fair and that they play everything (even though it's at 4.35 am) they might play the song more than 10 times over a course of a month or two. Forget that mercy airplay. So, I am asking for sudden death. Just TEN TIMES in a row. And if you don't have listeners calling in, I will write and produce a song with the radio station's name in it and have Nikki sing it. (Subject to Vernon's approval. Terms and conditions apply.)

    Contrary to what you might think, this is not to call attention to myself. Far from it. I am a rational human being. This is only music! Not a peace treaty. But when I feel it's worth fighting for and does not interfere too much with my blood pressure, I will do it. I really just want to make the world a better place.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    I thought this was interesting...

    Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    I just got back from a weekend in China. And speaking of China...

    Suki dropped by the studio the other day. She is one in a million and recently released her album. She was nice enough to leave a little piece of herself in the studio. Truth be told, she has been the most thoughtful one so far amongst those who have contribute to my gumpile.

    Me: Why are making faces?
    Suki: I am chewing fast because I want to suck out all the sugar before I put the gum on your pile. Otherwise ants will come.

    Now that kind of foresight impresses me.

    So, step 1: Chew the sugar out of the gum.


    Step 2: Shape the gum.

    Step 3: Place the gum on the gumpile. And by all means, feel free to touch, lick, and taste what's already there.


    Step 4: Enjoy the view.

    This is where you go..."Ewwww"

    What a sport this girl is!

    Suki's album "Finally / Akhirnya". Out in stores now.

    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    Famous Artist Manager (but not Mr Manager) [FAMBNMM]: Listen to this production. We don't like it. The original producer says it's completed but we feel like it's not. Now he won't answer my calls. Can you help us finish it?

    Me: How can I help?

    FAMBNMM: Can you add live instruments?

    Me: I don't think the problem here is whether the instruments are real or not. It's the arrangement itself. It just sounds old. You add real instruments, you'd just have a nice sounding old arrangement.

    FAMBNMM: Huh?

    That's the problem right there.

    "It's better to sound new than to sound good" - David Pensado. Mix engineer for a lot of famous pop hits.

    Many people in the business of making music does not know the difference between sounding GOOD and sounding NEW.

    We get caught up when something sounds good and truth be told, there are a lot of music that sounds good out there. But what "good" really means is that if it is playing on radio in the background, the listener will less likely to change stations for something else. They hear it but they may not listen.

    If it's "new" (and "good"), they'd turn the volume up.

    It's not just the music. It's also the lyrics and the mix.

    That's why you hear the difference between a local mix and a current US mix. It's not that the Americans are better than us. It's simply because they are going for a different sound.

    Then there's the audio version of the placebo effect. This is when they are convinced that only real instruments sound good. It doesn't matter who the musician is or how it was recorded. As long as it was a real violin therefore it must be good.

    No one comments on the arrangement or the mix or the sounds. But hell, put in a violin and you're gold!

    Sucker!

    Monday, June 23, 2008

    I am almost done with my life maintenance which involves running scandsk and defrag on my living and work space.

    (That, by the way, was my attempt at old-school geek humour.

    Scandsk is a Microsoft DOS and Windows command that will check the disk for errors, clear out old system files that may have been left behind whenever Windows crashes. Basically, it will clear out crap and lighten the baggage. Defrag will reorganise how your data is stored on the disk so that it will reduce access time and make things more efficient.)

    ANYWAY....

    I've sorted out the four things I'd set out to do.

    1. I've cleared out my work space at the studio and I'm left with just what I need.
    2. I've sorted out the room in my apartment which was previously my home studio and home office. It's now a guest room.
    3. I've cleared out the storage room which was essentially a really huge garbage dump for me to put my crap which I didn't want to throw out because I figured I'd need it some day.
    4. I've re-organised my personal processes for handling the stuff I get day-to-day.

    Do I know how to party or what?

    Monday, June 16, 2008

    In the spirit of simplifying my music, I've decided to simplify my life too. (Actually, I think it has been the other way round.)

    I've been taking inventory of my life this past year. I got bored one day and started questioning my purpose in life....blah blah blah. For a moment there, I thought I was going through a mid-life crisis. But if a mid-life crisis is suddenly getting an idea of what life is about, then I am going through a mid-life crisis.

    Instead of getting a Porsche and dating supermodels, I figured I'd make myself useful and become a responsible earthling. In other words, I decided to become the most boring person in the world. (Which isn't really a stretch for me!)

    Since early in the year, I've started throwing and clearing stuff out of my apartment. Cleared out some personal baggage. Simplified just about everything in including my wardrobe, my workflow, even the software I use. And I "upgraded" from my DUAL 19" LCD's to a SINGLE LCD now. I even got a Mac. And also got rid of some fat from my personal system as well.

    Then something interesting happens...

    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    It usually takes three minutes right after my production has been finalised (at mastering) for me to not want to listen to the song again. Not because I do not like the singer or the song, but usually because I start hearing imperfections in the production or mix and I can't do anything about it. I tweak and fix my productions until the very last minute when I am told by the record label that they cannot wait anymore.

    I figured that it's normal since I improve with each project, my previous works will only sound bad because I think I can do better.

    Anyway, I've been, surprisingly enjoying Faizal Tahir's album months after it was released. Shocking for me. But both Faizal and I realise that we are still in our "syok sendiri" phase. Then two days ago, I found two early mixes of "Cuba" and "Sampai Syurga" which I've posted on imeem and is on the music player above.

    These tracks were quick mixes done right after recording back in September 1997. It's the demo music done on keyboards and drum machines. The vocals are still very raw; unedited not tuned or "perfected" like I'd normally spend hours doing.

    Then the realisation. I overproduced the album tracks. And now I can't, and am almost embarrassed to listen to the album. I am not saying that these early mixes should have been on the album. Just imagine the production and arrangement bumped up 30% instead of 300%.

    Don't get me wrong. I still love the album. It's still the best combination of song/singer/producer for me. And I love the guy! I was wondering when I'd get to the point when I can't listen to it anymore.

    (Thanks, but I am not fishing for compliments or validation that the album is this great. :-)

    Anyway, the moral of the story here is I should stop with the tweaks and leave things alone.

    Here's the irony. I told Faizal after the AIM win that the next album will sound so good that it will make the first one sound bad.

    I guess it didn't need the next album for that.

    Sunday, June 08, 2008

    There is a job opening for a Personal Assistant at the studio. 2-3 years experience prefer but new also can.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Way...
    ..too many......old......white people!

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Today I pay for my parking at Amcorp Mall in PJ and I see this mission statement for the parking operator stuck onto the window of the cashier's booth. Don't remember what the front half was but it ends with "to dazzle the customer."

    So before I hand my cash over to the lady...

    Me: Since you are supposed to dazzle me, how about you give me free parking?"
    Cashier: Aaah. Cannot la.
    Me: But you are supposed to dazzle me. It says that right there.
    Cashier: Aaah. That one ah? Just say only. Hehe. Pay three ringgit.

    Back in the day when I was working at this IT company, the Managing Director got me write a mission statement for the company. Why? Because I was about the only guy in the company who could string a whole sentence in English. And so I did. I don't remember what I wrote but it was probably something that had words like "delight", "customer satisfaction", "excellent", "value" or "global."

    But the real and unspoken mission of the company (and by "company," I mean the chinaman boss) is to screw the employees and make a lot of money for the himself first, THEN for the company. The whole mission/vision statement thing is really for show so they can look "international."

    Just to see how pointless and vague mission statements are, could you please submit your company's mission statement in the comment section of this post. The one that irks/tickles/annoys/amuses me the most, will have the manager of the company get a phone call from me for my highly constructive feedback.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Last night (more like early this morning), I visited the location for Faizal Tahir's music video shoot for "Sampai Syurga." It was at the swanky Shah Alam Aquatic Centre (complete with pool moss and all.)

    From what I can tell, the music video is going to be great! I was very impressed with the whole underwater thing. But the highlight of the whole evening for me was when Faizal almost drowned. Unfortunately, I arrived just after he was rescued and did not get to witness the whole thing.

    Faizal: Dude. I almost drowned. My life flashed before my eyes. My biggest fear is to suffocate to death.
    Me: Dude. It's going to be OK. You won't die today. You haven't offended the mufti of the other 12 states yet.

    Faizal was rather shaken by the whole event. He needed a lot of moments but the turning point was when I offered him the skin off of my Ayam Goreng McD. That always seem to work. And Izham wasn't too comfortable when I said, "Wouldn't it be ironic if he drowned during the video shoot to the song titled "Sampai Syurga"?"

    "I almost drowned. But I can see your house from here."


    Faizal: Dude. I almost drowned. My life flashed before my eyes. My biggest fear is to suffocate to death.
    Me: Dude. It's going to be OK. You won't die today. I don't see any Siti fans around the set.

    "Hey! Look at me. My hair is like, all floaty and stuff. I can be the Pantene man!"


    This girl with very huge lung capacity is in the video. (I mean, she can really hold her breath!)

    Anyway, I thought the crew were very good. It's always very flattering to the point it's weird when I see people work around something I did in my small room on my computer. And I am very grateful to have Izham and the label, Monkey Bone give support to Faizal and the music.

    Faizal: Dude. I almost drowned. My life flashed before my eyes. My biggest fear is to suffocate to death.
    Me: Dude. It's going to be OK. You won't die today. I am sure Izham will make sure of that seeing that you have a three-album deal with him.
    Izham: That's not true. It's a seven-album deal.

    The video comes out mid-June.

    Friday, May 09, 2008

    This is going to come off sounding so politically incorrect and me stereotyping and generalising. So I hope this comment does not offend too much but I really need to get this message across.

    To Arab men who visit and live in Malaysia:

    STOP HITTING ON OUR WOMEN.
    YOU'RE NOT AS GOODLOOKING AS YOU THINK.

    (That's our job as Malaysian men to hit on them. So don't you do it!)

    To those who are offended by this public service message, call your mother.
    I am sure I am not the only one.

    As a child, like most children, I played and laughed a lot. When I'd laugh a lot at night, and make a lot of laughing noises, my mother would tell me to stop laughing and be quiet. Otherwise, I'd get nightmares when I sleep. I don't remember but I guess I'd try to stop. I am not a fan of nightmares.

    Now I wonder if that's true or is it just something grown-ups say to shut their kids up. As an adult, I can laugh all night long and I don't think I'd get nightmares. Perhaps the rule only applies to children.

    So if you are a child reading this, laugh all you want, little person. Laugh as loud as you want at any time. Your mom is only messing with you.

    And as for the other thing, no! It's completely natural and your palms will not get hairy.

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Tuesday, April 29, 2008

    This is how cool Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Best New Female Artist, Farah Asyikin is!

    Not only did she contribute to my gum pile, she even touched it to make sure it stuck in order to have structural integrity. So I gave her the honour of linking the two gum towers.

    Yes, I've re-engineered the gum pile from looking like the liquid metal terminator after he gets shot, to it looking like my favourite building: The Petronas Twin Towers.

    Farah completed the skybridge and made the connection between celebrity gum pile #1 and regular people gum pile #2.

    Visual close-ups soon. Mark your calendars!

    (And I had to remind Farah to wash her hands! How can you not love this woman?!!?)

    Then Anugerah Planet Muzik 08 Best New Male Artist Faizal Tahir dropped by and we all played Wii. There is something about seeing two famous people playing Wii. (I think "Wii" is Japanese for "video game that makes you look stupid playing it.")

    The following day, our bodies hurt. I could moan and groan at home but Faizal and Farah actually performed during Anugerah Planet Muzik the day after with aching bodies.

    Me: Your body is going to hurt like hell tomorrow.
    Farah: No la. I feel great. Fresh and healthy.

    48 hours later...

    Farah: I can't feel the right side of my upper body.

    I was hoping the guys from Anugerah Planet Muzik 2008 Best New Group, Meet Uncle Hussain would show up. Then we'd really have a party.

    Thank you to all you guys who sent nice supportive messages to Faizal and me on our Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) 2008 nominations. We appreciate it! Thank you to those who say we suck.

    We are already working on new music for Faizal's next album which I hope we can drop later this year. We are both really doing this for Malaysian music and we want to have all Malaysian enjoy the music, not just the Malay-speaking audience. Although it didn't win, Faizal and I are also very proud that his album was the only all-Malaysian-made album nominated for Best Album in the recent APM 2008.

    Now all I need to do is to convince Faizal and Farah to sing a version of "Romeo + Juliet".

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    That little Astro box that you probably have plugged in 24 hours a day, consumes the same amount of power regardless of whether you're watching it or in stand-by mode.

    And even sadder is that a large non-Energy-Star-compliant LCD television uses twice the energy used by cathode-ray-tube old school television. Plasma televisions are even worse.

    Now you know.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    I feel like I am living a Mac advertisement. Anything negative you have heard about Windows Vista has happened to me. It's almost comical. OK. Not really. It is devastating.

    So now, I live the next part of the Mac ad. I downgrade to Windows XP.

    The moral of the story here is that Windows Vista is the work of the devil. Do not buy it. If you buy a PC with Vista pre-installed, ask for Windows XP instead. Otherwise, do NOT buy from this vendor.

    I have much more hate for Vista than what I am able to write here simply because I am too beaten and tired.

    I never thought I'd actually yearn for Windows XP. But it doesn't take away the fact that I hate Microsoft and wish I could burn their office down. I will never pay for a Microsoft product again.

    The "Wow" starts now.

    Yes. But it's more like "Wow! I can't believe that I just paid for this piece of crap!"

    Tuesday, April 15, 2008

    Here's something that will make you look at your co-worker across your cubicle and have you go, "Hey guess what? The Titanic sank on this day in 1912!" And then your co-worker will think you are really cool or a total dork.

    The RMS Titanic with over 1500 people (with one guy who looked like Leonardo Dicaprio) sank on April 15 in 1912. The ship, then considered "practically unsinkable" by its makers, did indeed sink. As we bow our heads in silence and ponder on a Titanic movie night tonight, let's remind ourselves and the Barisan Nasional that one should not be arrogant. While "God Himself could not sink the ship", an iceberg did.

    (Although I am sure God put anwarberg there himself.)

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    I am starting to sound like Jeff Ooi. Check out this headline in the April 11 copy of the New Straits Times: Aspiring candidates must have blogs.

    "Candidates wanting to contest for any posts in Umno Youth in the coming party elections will have to set up their own websites or blogs."

    Yet another reason to believe that they are handing out stupid pills in the board room.

    I got this call about a month ago from an old friend. He wants me to meet with this MCA guy who is looking to get online and was asking if I'd be interested in maintaining a website or a blog for him. I can write what I want but he will give me the topic. And of course, it has to be pro-government. They have a huge budget for it.

    Only one word comes to mind: WOW!

    Wow! because I can't get over how some people just don't get it.

    And then I read that NST news story. I now wonder how is this really going to help UMNO or MCA. If anything, it will only show how out of touch they are which will give more credibility to the Opposition. Case in point is the Malaccan Chief Minister's blog. I'd give my left nut if he actually maintains the blog. I bet he still gets his secretary to print his email.

    OK. I'm over it.

    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    There must be this out-of-control circulation of stupid-pills going on in the ruling government when it comes to dealing with the Opposition.

    From the April 9 issue of the News Straits Times, "Azalina: Decision Not Political":

    "She said the move had been made for technical, not political, reasons but it had been misunderstood by many people.

    "It's our prerogative to cancel the MOUs, and we did the same when Kelantan fell to PAS years ago.""

    Now will someone explain to me how that is NOT political?

    This is one sure fire way to get voted out in the next election. Well done. Don't try to hard now!

    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    I have come to the painful conclusion that Windows Vista is not ready for professional music production yet. Especially if your setup includes dedicated audio hardware.

    Just know that whenever you hear my songs, I have unnecessarily and prematurely accelerated my aging for you because I made music on a Windows Vista PC. I am now a different man.

    Apple Malaysia...I am open for endorsement deals anytime now.
    It's the following day and I just only finished moving the few last gigabytes. And I woke up at 8 am for that. And as at 10.42am on April 9, 2008, I now pry the "old" PC open to remove my audio processing cards to move to my new Intel Quadcore PC with 1.5terabyte of diskspace and 4GB of RAM. I shall pray now.

    And in other news......this logo. Errr...ummm....pah...it's too easy.

    Back to praying and installing.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    Let me tell you what a fun day I've had today.

    I have finally taken the plunge with Windows Vista for my production computer. It pains me a great deal to say it because I have become a Mac fanboy. I am consoling myself by constantly reminding myself that this is a transition because I have invested so much in Windows-only software. And in two years or less, I will migrate to Mac and I am now carefully using software that has Mac versions. (But I have to remind myself quietly because I do not want to offend the Windows PC or else it will hang on me.)

    Anyway, I've spent the last eight hours transferring my files over to the new PC over a network. By far, this is the second most excruciatingly boring thing to do with a computer. (The first being moving large files from one computer to another using a 1GB thumbdrive.) I had to move over 350GB of data!

    And then let me tell you about Windows Vista and what a piece of work this thing is.

    Two words: NOTHING WORKS!

    OK. I am being overly dramatic. It's just too easy to hate Windows and "NOTHING WORKS" has a nice ring to it.

    It was close to "NOTHING WORKS". Setting up the network in itself was a minor production.

    And after this, I will pray to dear God and seek divine assistance in removing hardware from the old PC and reinstalling them to the new one.

    Sunday, April 06, 2008

    In the April 5 issue of The Star, in the Bizweek section, there's an interview with Celcom CEO, Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly.

    "By 2010, Shazalli aims for Celcom to be a strong No. 2 among it's competitors by keeping the eye on the ball."

    Man...is this guy an overachiever or what?

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    Someone I know sent me this link a few days ago. I usually ignore links to YouTube with messages that say that I have to watch the videos. After all, how many times can you see a man get kicked in the crotch?

    For some reason, I clicked on the link and watched the video. I suggest you watch it, take a moment and then come back and continue reading. Take your time. I can wait.



    I watched this video about two days ago. And it has bothered me. Enough to not let it go until I blog about it.

    Mr. Anjum Chaudri clearly has his own interpretation of Islam. Differs greatly from mine. As far as I am concerned, this guy is just misguided. But I don't blame him and I don't really have beef with him. He can go bomb a children's hospital and call it population control. I couldn't stop him even if I wanted to.

    I do have beef with the BBC and the guy who sent me the link though. Because I think that's where the problem is.

    There are Anjum Chaudris in every country, in every race, and in every religion. Some call them "extremists." Some call them "holy warriors." I call him "dude who needs more colour in his wardrobe." That Osama-bin-Laden-ZZ Top-earth-tone look is so last season.

    And the last thing you should do with these people is to not give them a platform to air their views without have a counter opinion from someone of the same background. Otherwise what purpose does it serve other than to show some redneck that this guy represents Islam and all "Islams must die because they are violent terrorists?" Or to encourage other misguided Muslims that this is the way of Islam?

    Talking to this guy and hoping to get a real view of Islam is like talking to Paris Hilton hoping to get a down-to-earth view of Americana. Or talking to Michael Jackson and asking him what a normal childhood is like. Or speaking to our Prime Minister and hoping to get tips on leadership.

    On top of that, the host was clearly egging him on. I see no other reason for this action except for the host to show that this is the state of Islam. (Maybe I am seeing this out of context. Perhaps this three-minute interview was the blooper reel of a six-hour "Islam is Peace" musical-docu-drama-comedy.)

    No wonder the radical Muslims hate the Western world. As if George W. Bush isn't doing enough already.

    Then there's the person who sent me the link. His intent was probably the same as the host. (It's now ironic that I am also indirectly promoting video. But I have all these words though...)

    So before you forward another link or video clip showing how stupid or unbelievable a particular race or religion is, ask yourself,

    "WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING THIS? WHAT PURPOSE DOES IT SERVE?"

    Now I don't want to come off sounding like this Islam-kiss-ass or come off trying to be politically-correct. It just makes common sense to me. So don't be a jerk.

    Go call your mother now. She misses you.

    (If this blog isn't updated in three days, it probably means I am in jail for that wisecrack on the Prime Minister.)

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    It seems that "Romeo + Juliet" is dead. The radio stations have been given the song but no one is playing it probably because these Gods that work in radio stations think it's not the kind of song people would want to listen to. Life goes on.

    On a lighter note, I'm sure you've seen or heard or read about these socks.
    And maybe you or your girlfriend thought it was cute.

    Girlfriend: Look honey....little gloves for your feet. You'd look so cute in them. You should get them.
    Guy: Sure honey. Anything to make me look cute.


    Or if you went shopping by yourself and saw these socks on the shelves. And you're pondering...

    You: Those look really comfortable. I should get this for my BF.


    Well, let me tell you right now. Just step away from them socks, turn around and walk away.

    They are neither cute nor comfortable. There's only one way to wear them. There's a left sock and a right sock. You will also spend 1000% more time and effort to put them on. Add an additional 250% on time and effort if you have fvckedup toes like mine. And to top it off, you promote segregation within the foot by keeping the toes apart. Toes are made to mingle dammit!

    (These socks are comfortable in a restrictive kind of way.)





    Friday, March 28, 2008

    I am unofficially releasing Romeo + Juliet online. I completed this track over a month ago and the label hasn't done anything about it. Maybe they are busy. I got crap from them when I leaked the acoustic preview. I wonder how they will react to this! (Oh well! Screw it. I am retiring anyway.)

    Speaking of getting crap, I have decided to include a FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) with this song because judging from the comments and feedback I'm getting, I'd hate having to repeat myself.

    Q: Why Ebi and Nikki?
    A: Why not? It's not my call anyway. Ask the music labels.

    Q: Why such a song for them?
    A: They'd expect a fast song from me. A happy duet like "Saling Terpesona". But how many times can I write the same song over again? But it was a challenge because Ebi and Nikki do not have much in common musically. He is a little bit rock. She is a little bit urban. Instead of finding that common ground, I decided for them to go to a totally different place. (For a moment, it felt like Hell. Other times, it felt like Batu Pahat.) And also, personally for me, I wanted to do a Malay song with the kind of class that Azlan Abu Hassan has with his ballads.

    Q: Why does the string part sound familiar? I think I heard it in the Sims game.
    A: The string line is an interpolation of a section from an opera by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1869 titled "Romeo & Juliet". (What a coincidence!) That section of the opera is popularly known as the love theme and it has been used many times to support visuals of love and romance.

    Q: Why is the song so complicated?
    A: I do realise it's complicated for a pop song. Perhaps it is more complex than complicated. I do think it's good to sometimes have something that is complex with a lot of layers to peel. I hope people can listen to this song many many times for many years to come without getting bored and still discover new things about the song.

    Q: Do you think Ebi and Nikki will be able to sing this song live?
    A: Yes. They might sing it differently but yes then can sing it live.

    Q: How did you begin writing a song like this?
    A: I consider this song a work of God because there is nothing from my music background that makes me capable of such things on my own. It did start with me wanting to do a different kind of ballad because I hate the current state of ballads. I wanted to do this Beatles sounding thing with interesting chord progressions. Then I got the melody. Then I realised how classically European it sounded. One thing lead to another and the concept for Romeo and Juliet came up. But the best part was, I could overlay the chord progression for Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet" over my chorus and it worked! (OK, so I had to make some adjustments here and there but it was close.) It was one of those moments for me. Friday night. About midnite.

    Q: Why Romeo and Juliet?
    A: Lyrically, I wanted a story. I sold the idea to Vernon Kedit and I think he reluctantly bought it. He must have thought I was insane and I was just making things complicated for myself. He has generally been very supportive of my career and sometimes he gives me way too much rope to hang myself. And because I have this thing for having a male writer write lyrics for a male singer and a female writer for a female singer, I wanted to have Ad Samad and Nurfatima to write the lyrics. So it was their first time working together.

    Q: The title is "Romeo + Juliet". Why isn't the title lyric sung?
    A: The thing here is Ebi is Romeo and Nikki is Juliet. They are singing their story. The only time Romeo and Juliet are mentioned is at the end of the bridge by the male choir in the perspective of a third person to describe their deaths.

    Q: I have no idea what Ebi and Nikki are singing about. I am more focused on the music. Why?
    A: That is normal. You do not need to seek professional help for that. There is nothing wrong with you. The reason for this is because the music is huge and it's easier to get lost in the music with so much going on. And the music, especially the last chorus instrumental is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written (I am referring to Tchaikovsky's parts!) Truth be told, my melody pales in comparison. But eventually, your focus will be on the vocals and lyrics.

    Q: Are you happy with the outcome?
    A: Yes. I am very proud of this song. Although I wish I could have recorded a live cannon fire at the end like in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. (OK. Not really. I just want to fire a cannon!)

    Q: Other comments?
    A: I hope that this song can be performed in a context of musical and tell the story of Romeo + Juliet. I would also love to see Ramli Sarip duet with Anita Sarawak, or Faizal Tahir with Farah Asyikin. And all of them in spandex.

    Q: Production credits?
    A: Lyrics by Ad Samad and Nurfatima. Guitars by Jamie Wilson. Bass by Kelly. Male choir parts by Hazami's guys. Violins, viola and cello by these people contracted by Genervie Kam. Mastered by Nick Lee. Faizal Tahir and Jenny Chin gave emotional support and encouragement. Michael Ang hates the song. I produced, wrote and arranged the music and vocals, recorded, mixed, played the piano, harpsichord, and drum parts.

    Q: Were you able to spell "Tchaikovsky" before this?
    A: No. I still can't without double-checking.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    romeo + juliet...


    has landed.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Suddenly everyone is a political analyst.

    First off...I did not vote. I've never voted because it is just one of those things for me. Being between a rock and a hard place. The devil and the deep blue sea. It's also largely because I never thought voting would really make a difference. (No need for you to go on a rant here telling me how just one vote can make the difference.)

    Anyway, from my political-simpleton view, I think I figured out why the opposition made so much headway in the elections.

    Most Chinese people, have this thing for wanting to vote for the opposition to keep the government in check. We are an unassuming lot and we'd vote to quietly protest, or to give the opposition some hope in order to have a checks-and-balance system in government. We know the opposition will not win, so we might as well vote for them. But this time, enough people actually thought that way and then BLAM! They won.

    I am sure the morning after, once they are sober and wake up to the news that Selangor and Penang are under the opposition, the first thought could have been, "Oh crap! They actually won. What have I done?"

    Or maybe people are just sick and tired of the present government and really want a change.

    For me, it's almost comical because now I am just curious to see what happens next. I am glad for the change. Also, watching Samy Vellu in all his shamelessness is just too entertaining for me.

    I can't wait to see how the opposition are going to bring now petrol prices. (If they can do this without subsidising and without putting the country's finances in the hole, I am sure Anwar Ibrahim can become the president of the U.S. too.) I also want to see the business-friendly implementation of the RM1500-per-month minimum wage for the lower income groups.

    Tell you what. Just bring down petrol prices, and let me address God as "Allah" in church and we will call it even.

    All in all, I am glad for the outcome. As Captain Obvious would say, "Now we wait and see..."

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    The words "political tsunami" should never ever ever be used again.

    Especially in a conversation with me. NEVER.











    EVER!

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    I was at Nick Lee's place. If it were up to me, I'd send ALL my mixes to Nick for mastering. And I encourage others to do the same. I met him through Sharon Paul two/three years ago and I like his tastes and preferences. It's the difference between sounding like an international record versus sounding like well... a local record. And I can give you examples but that would offend the other local "mastering engineers". I have enough people in the music industry hating me as it is.

    Anyway, this is Nick's new place. He was on the second floor and he recently took over the ground floor of this shoplot. (Nick took over @19 Records office/studio after they "moved out.") He kept most of the physical design of the place and now he has this really nice room for a 6' grand piano.

    It's quite a lively room and very warm sounding. The last room I heard with this much reverb was the studio in Synchrosound. But if you're looking for a drier sound which is good for pop, you can't go wrong with Babyboss Studios.

    When I heard the piano, I wish I had recorded a real piano for "Romeo + Juliet". Then I remembered how badly I sucked at piano and the thought went away.

    I desperately tried to let out a fart in that room just to hear what kind of acoustic wonderment I'd be responded with. Sadly, none to be let out. Nick was pleased with that conclusion.

    Next to it is this very nice vocal room. It is very very very quiet. One of the very few "room - within - a - room" recording rooms in town. It is essentially a floating room which means, a bomb could go off outside and you wouldn't hear anything until the roof collapses on your ass. Well, at least this is what Nick tells me. He could be just lying to make be jealous because the room I work in isn't really even a real room.

    I must now try to convince Fuse to put some furniture in our vocal booth now. I always thought it would be cool for the singer to leave their butt print on the couch while they wait for me to Melodyne enhance their vocals.

    And then there's the mastering suite where nice things happen to my otherwise, average good mix. "Romeo + Juliet" was mastered here. As you can see, Nick is taller than I am. Must be difficult for him to buy pants.

    Thus concludes my visit. It is a very nice studio. Very warm and fits well in an issue of MIX magazine. Very much like Fuse, the studio I record and work at. And it's no smoking too.

    If you need a recording studio, a mix engineer, and/or a mastering engineer, I highly recommend Nick Lee. He is also quite a capable producer but most importantly, he will get the job done right. And he also likes turning knobs.

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Chris wanted me to inform you readers that he does not always hog the claws of crab; evident by exhibit A below of Chris lovingly feeding me crab claw through my nose...just the way I like it.

    Ning, Chris, Maple, Federico, and I had an artery-clogging session at Fatty Crab.

    You can tell by the pictures below that we are one classy sophisticated bunch.

    Before...


    After...

    Nick Lee is mastering Romeo + Juliet today and I will listening to the final master in about 8 hours at Nick's studio. After which, I shall deliver the final master recording to the creative hub and Akademi Fantasia mothership that is Maestro Records.

    I might have some lunch. And while I lunch, I will contemplate on whether I should put the song online without Maestro's knowledge or approval.

    "It's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

    I am listening to the new Janet Jackson album "Discipline" and I quite like it. I am happy whenever I hear house tracks in pop albums because I've been trying to do house music with Malay pop and the songs have not had mainstream success. I feel people here need to hear the Americans do it before they can accept a Malaysian doing it in pop. Pity.

    "Somethings are just not worth going to jail for."

    Janet still does that whole sex thing with her songs but this time, it sounds freaky because she sounds like Michael Jackson. All a little bit too troubling for me.

    Anyway, back to the mastering. Nick and I are doing something different again at the mastering process. Instead of mastering the final stereo mix like 99.9% of the music made in Malaysia, we will be sending groups of stereo tracks to be mastered individually.

    Maestro Records, start your lawyers' engines.

    And then we will regroup those mastered tracks and rebuild the final track. We are going to break it down into a few groups: Drums, the bass, the guitars, the strings, and the supporting vocals, and the lead vocals.

    I am not sure if this is necessary. It's a lot of work and might be overkill. But it might also sound great. Whatever it is, I am quite sure only three people actually care what I am talking about.

    I hear it is really nice at the Maldives this time of the year.

    Sunday, March 02, 2008

    Please request for ROMEO + JULIET on radio.

    1. Call ERA at 03-9543 3355 between 6pm to midnight and ask for the song.
    2. Then call HOT FM at 03-7710 8822 and ask for the song.
    3. Repeat 1 and 2 in 24 hours.

    Thank you. I love you.

    Friday, February 29, 2008



    I am filing this post under "Potential Lawsuit" because this song isn't officially released yet. But what you have here is not the final actual arrangement of the song. And I am putting this song online because I personally think that this is my best song so far. (Although to be honest, I think it ties with "Aku Punya Kamu" for Faizal Tahir as my best song yet.)

    But I am nervous about this song because it came to a point during the post-production of this song where I went, "Screw it! I am doing this for me. For once." This is not my usual approach of "what-is-best-for-the-singer" and "how-do-I-make-it-a-hit-song."

    This time, I just almost didn't care about that. Can they sing this song live? Is the song too big for relatively new singers? Is it too complex? Is it too much for the local market where the majority are used to sing-along songs with five chords?

    My answer? Who gives a flying fvck!

    And because of that, it has caused me to lose a few nights of sleep. And I am now a bundle of nerves. But I am prepared if this song fails and people say it's a "syok sendiri" song for me.

    So far, NO ONE has said they like the song except the manager of the singer, which may very well be a courtesy compliment. Or maybe the daring of the song makes for good potential entertainment as to what will happen once the fairly conservative music label who paid for this song hears the final version of the song.

    And when I say NO ONE, I mean, NO ONE.

    It's the usual diplomatic "Personally, I like the song BUT I don't think the market will get it."

    That's another way of saying, "I don't want to offend you in case I need songs from you in the future, but this song really sucks ass. I don't know what you are trying to prove. Next."

    So this here is part of the song. It's a duet between Ebi (from Akademi Fantasia) and Nikki.

    You may not be able to tell from this edited version of the song, but it's the story of Romeo and Juliet. I wanted it to be an epic ballad and have it sound almost like a musical. I had two of my favourite lyricists, Ad Samad and Nurfatima to write the parts. Ad wrote Romeo's parts and Nur wrote Juliet's parts.

    Why?

    Because it has never been done before.

    No. Really. Why Audi?

    OK. I was bored out of my skull. Bored of boring songs. And bored with the ballads we have on radio.

    And that's the story. I may have gone overboard. But I am praying for a breakthrough and hopefully have the captains of the music and media industries say "Wow! We have underestimated our local music market. Let us retire and let new young people take over. Clearly, we don't know what we are doing anymore."

    Anyway, I am not fishing for compliments with this song. So go easy with the comment box unless it is constructive. The only thing you can do for me is to request for this song on the radio, download it and play it repeatedly to everyone you know, and have karaoke sessions with this song.

    I am on a mission.

    Please like this song!

    Thursday, February 28, 2008

    There's this Forbes list of Asia's most "generous and interesting" philanthropists. (I don't know what constitutes "interesting" when giving money but I am sure Forbes knows best.) Anyway, four Malaysians made the list: Syed Mokhtar, Hishamudin Ubaidulla, Zaid Ibrahim, and Amar Leonard Linggi Tun Jugah.

    Then there's the other Forbes' list of richest people on the planet. Nine Malaysians made the list. Still at number 1, Robert Kuok. Then followed by Ananda Krishnan, Lim Goh Tong, Syed Mokthar, Teh Hong Piow, Quek Leng Chan, Lee Shin Cheng, Yeoh Liong Lay, and Tiong Hiew King.

    We have seven out of nine of the richest in the world being Chinese. But zero when it comes to being generous.

    Before all you rich Chinese people piss all over me, I know, maybe the rich do give their money away but perhaps it was "interesting" enough for Forbes to be recognised. Or probably, they do give. A lot. But they don't tell the world about it. Or they give anonymously or through their businesses as tax write-offs. Or maybe they are Christians, and Jesus did say that if you give, don't announce it to the world. (I read Francis Yeoh saying something like that.)

    Whatever the case, we can argue either way. But this list just makes the Chinese look bad. No wonder people hate rich Chinese people.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    I actually feel sick last week on Wednesday. I rarely fall sick (which is actually a lie!) and I've not been to a doctor in years. But I feel ill from "that flu/cough/fever bug that has been going around". That seems to be the default response from a person when you tell them you are sick these days. Then they will tell me who else in their office is sick. Let's all then get together and party?

    Anyway, I am feeling better now but let me tell you the impressive output I've had while I was sick. I am not talking about creative works (although I can argue that point to be true), I am talking about phlegm.


    This is the first one out and the first sign of recovery. This little klump of phelgm brought a little joy to my otherwise dull day.

    I apologise for the next picture due to its poor picture quality. I was driving and I coughed. And with the cough, I felt this huge gunk follow through. At that point, I had two options: Either do the China-Ah-Beng thing by rolling the window down and spit OR swallow it. Spitting was not really an option for me for one reason. I am not a good spitter. It might backfire on me and I will get the spit on my car, or worse, a failed spit with phelgm running down my mouth, chin and neck.

    Unfortunately, I went for hidden option three, which is to open my mouth to have a look in the rear view mirror. And when I did that, out it came and it landed on my mouth. Exhibit B:


    Check that that impressive texture and volume! I now look forward to my mornings!

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Things I Know Now I Wish I Knew 15 Years Ago

    1. Invest my money in the stock market early. It is ignorance when a person says that the stock market is risky and that I can lose everything. The stock market is the best investment tool for someone in their early 20s given their time horizon. It starts with RM500.

    2. The fundamental challenge with business in Malaysia is that the population is just too small for ideas and concepts from developed market that I read or hear about.

    3. The secret to life is finding that balance between family and work/love and money. Folk songs and movies on the Hallmark channel already tell us this.

    4. There is no quick or easy to legally get rich. It all boils down to hard work and not getting enough sleep. Every time I gave up, or changed jobs, or changed my goals, I was actually looking for an easier way.

    5. 85% of the problems in my relationships are because of me. Not the other person.

    6. The whole concept of “keeping my options open” is a waste of time. See Point 4.

    7. It’s always my fault. There is no one else to blame but myself. At the very least, I have to blame myself for following or trusting someone without cause. I spent the larger part of my 20s blaming others for the way the world turns.
    8. 95% of my pride and confidence is really arrogance.
    9. 98% of the things that I thought mattered, really did not matter after all.
    10. There is a God.

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    I realise that this may be dated but c'mon McDonald's! 20 sen from every Shrek Cushy Pal sold will be donated to RMCC? TWENTY SEN? Are you sure you can breakeven now with that kind of generosity?

    Thursday, February 14, 2008


    True story. But I am not sure if I am even allowed to post this picture here.

    Anyway, my love to Omar and Ning! Congratulations!

    Perhaps not many people know this but Ning and I are good friends. Never mind about the singing thing and all that show business nonsense. Just as a human being, she is one of the nicest and fun people to have around. If there is one person that you'd want to have around on a down day, it is Ning. She will take you back to the day where you'd be running around naked as a child in the backyard without a care in the world. Of course, most of you out there won't get to see "that Ning" since you're probably not worthy. So she is one person I really want to see happy in life because she deserves it. The only thing that would probably suck a little is that she probably won't have time to go eat crab with me now. Even if we go, Omar will come along and he will hog all the claws of the crab. But I still love them anyway.

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008


    Paul:
    Michael, We're not going to fight about this OK?

    Michael:
    Paul, I think I told ya. I'm a lover not a fighter.

    Paul:
    Ahhh....I've heard it all before Michael. She told me that I was her forever lover you konw, don't you remember?

    Michael:
    Well, after lovin' me she said she couldn't love another.

    Paul:
    Is that what she said?

    Michael:
    Yes and she said, "You keep dreamin..."

    All that my heart, ladies and gentlemen. And that's probably the only time we will see the word "doggone" used in the lyrics of a song without the listener bursting out in laughter.

    Ahhhh....if only Michael Jackson were black again. The good old days.

    Thursday, January 31, 2008

    I'm one of those people who say that I do not regret...blah blah blah. But then, things do happen in life that makes me circle in the neighbourhood of regret. (What the....)

    Loloq, one of the better lyricists/writers in Malaysia passed away this afternoon. I do not really know the man but I know his work. We have met a few times at industry events. When we see each other, we do that head nod thing and then find some other distraction so we can get on with our own business. We know each other exists but I do not think I'd be on his list of people to babysit his kids.

    Having said that, I do feel very sad. I hope that he knows that I have great respect and admiration for his work and style. And about the regret. I never worked with him. I was getting to it but it is one of those things we take for granted. That he will always be around.

    One of the reasons I feel, is that I am intimated by the man. I'm afraid that he would think my song is crap. (You put my song next to a M. Nasir or Aidit Alfian song, and you will just see what a shameless sell-out I am. And let me say it now, I am NOT saying this to fish for compliments to reinforce my songs or "talent.")

    But I did call him late last year to work on a song but he was busy. He was nice about it.

    So there. I lost my chance to work with a great lyricist. When they make a movie or documentary about Loloq one day, I won't be interviewed or Jack Black won't get to play me. If I do get interviewed, it would be because I'm the only idiot composer who never used Loloq's lyrics.

    The moral of the story here is not that life is fragile. Or that we should take advantage of each day. Screw that. Take as many naps as you can. But the moral of the story here is, if you are a composer, work with Loloq. (I think I am missing something here.)

    I don't really know the man and I miss him already.

    Aidit, if you need a hug, give me a call. ("Bukan nak ambil kesempatan la...")

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    So I went to the Anugerah Juara Lagu thing last night. Parking was a bitch. I spent over 40 mins in the parking lot and finally when I did find a spot, it was about a mile away from the stadium. Not fun when you have your 60-something year old mother with you.

    Anyway, I decided to go because I had wanted to show off my date. I had thought that, like in previous years, the composers and the lyricists would actually be introduced on stage before the song is performed. Unfortunately, this year, that didn't happen. (Who cares what the composers look like right?)

    But if that were to have happened, my date, Dr. Tahir would have gone up on stage in my place, with the lyricist. Yes, Faizal's dad attended. Can you believe it, Faizal was not given tickets. His dad had to ask me if he could go with me. And that was the reason why I decided to go. So you can imagine my disappointment when Dr Tahir didn't get to go up on stage.

    After that, the rest of the evening was pretty much a test of my endurance to stay awake.

    Now, for the record, I am not at all disappointed that "Mahakarya Cinta" did not win. I am very glad that Estranged won with "Itu Kamu." Honestly, I am just always glad whenever a ballad does not win...even if it is my own song. "Itu Kamu" and "Papa Jahat" by The Fabulous Cats were the two songs for me in 2007.

    I was also very impressed with Bob's performance of "Kasih Tercipta." His vocal control was, by far, the best. I look forward to working with him. Mawi was highly entertaining. And sitting in the front row will give you a tan.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    I have not yet decided which one of the following is the revelation:

    1. The Anugerah Juara Lagu is the centre of the entertainment universe in Malaysia.
    2. I have no clue as to what I have gotten myself into.
    3. Those in the Malaysian entertainment industry really ought to reevaluate what is important in their lives.

    Perhaps it’s a combination of the three.

    It’s Day 5 of the Faizal Tahir ban. And I am getting calls, SMSes, email, Facebook messages from friends, strangers, industry people, and from the one group that has me sitting at the edge of my seat just waiting for their call, the press.

    This here is my official statement. It should save you that phone call to me.

    Faizal Tahir is officially banned from performing for any live telecasts for the next three months. In other seemingly related news, 8TV is not allowed to do any live broadcasts for the next three months starting January 15.

    As of today, I do not know who will perform this Sunday at AJL. Faizal’s record label, Monkey Bone, is currently appealing to have Faizal perform just for AJL. TV3 may have other plans. There is no official word yet.

    I met with the producers at TV3 and with Monkey Bone this morning and my final position on this matter is that both TV3 and Monkey Bone duke it out and figure out who they want to have perform the song since the competition is pre-judged and the performance will not affect the outcome of the competition. In other words, it doesn’t matter who sings the song. And what that means for me is that I don’t really care who sings the song. It is more for the singer and the exposure he/she will get.

    So it boils down to TV3 having to put on a good show with a replacement for Faizal Tahir (Good luck with that!) and Monkey Bone not blowing this chance to showcase their artist and sell a few CDs in the process.

    To answer the highly original questions I’ve been getting....

    Yes, I am disappointed that Faizal Tahir would not be singing “Mahakarya Cinta”, which, by the way, is hidden track number 14 on Faizal Tahir’s debut album “Aku.Muzik.Kamu”.

    Who will be performing the song this Sunday? I don’t know at this point but I am sure who ever sings it will do a good job blah blah blah.... But seriously, Faizal Tahir’s new album, “Aku.Muzik.Kamu” is out in stores.

    Who would I like to have perform this song? Rumours have it that Fiq would be the one to sing it. And it’s the obvious choice since Fiq is a rocker whose debut album isn’t “Aku.Muzik.Kamu” since it is Faizal Tahir’s debut album which is available in stores now.

    But being one who hates the obvious choices, I have three options which are based on direction, rather than who is the better singer. I am torn between using known singers and presenting a new upcoming singer who could use the exposure.

    On using a known singer, it would be between Awie with a good old Malay rock arrangement...complete with the big canyon reverb on the snare drum and...on just about everthing else; AND Farah Asyikin to turn things on its head and have a female sing the song instead.

    On presenting a new talent, I’d go with Badri, the runner-up at LG MyStarz. This guy’s potential style is in between Faizal Tahir and Anuar Zain. I would tone down the guitars and bring up the orchestra and give it a more classical feel. And right after I remove the baton that Ramli MS have stabbed into my chest, I’d bring out the all-male choir at the last chorus along with the swans and fake snow.

    What am I doing to prepare for the replacement singer? Absolutely nothing at the moment.

    What advice would I give to the replacement singer? Sing well. Don’t embarrass yourself. If you have to remove your shirt, remove your pants as well.

    Are you going to the show this Sunday? Yes.

    But in your previous entry you said that you were not going? I changed my mind because I am representing Faizal Tahir. And also, I am bring my mom.

    In conclusion, if there is one thing I am reminded of is that there are more important things in life than this. To encapsulate my official response and my final word on this matter: BFD.

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    Faizal Tahir is banned from TV appearances for six months. Which means he won't be performing at next weekend's Anugerah Juara Lagu. Personally, I would like to thank the Malay media for highlighting Faizal's wardrobe malfunction and making a big deal out of this. But I believe this will be for the better in the long run. At least now I do not have to go the darn thing. (Or so I think.)

    In other news, Aidit Alfian and I had a writing session today. Imagine Bob Dylan writing with P. Diddy. I am not sure what to make of it just yet.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Today at the press conference Faizal explains himself. He did it because he thought it was something fun to do. It was inspired by a "Smallville" moment where Clark Kent gets the Superman "S" on his chest. He didn't think it would become such a big deal. Since it has, he is truly sorry.

    Fair enough.

    Then we have some reporter asking (in Malay.)

    "Were you on drugs or alcohol?"

    Now if you think about that for a second, you will realise what a dumbfcuk question that is. What do you expect the guy to say?

    "Oh yes. I just snorted some cocaine before I got on stage."

    I had no idea it was so easy to amuse these reporters.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    In the late afternoon just now, I get a phone call from Faizal Tahir, the guy who sings "Mahakarya Cinta" and a few other songs that you can hear on my imeem page. He starts off with the weirdest opening line:

    "Dude. I just want to be the first to tell you...whatever happens, I am sorry."

    Well, since the label had already called me to tell me about the incident, I wasn't too surprised.

    You see...Faizal performed at this concert the night before, which was also televised live on 8TV. During his performance, he starts taking off his clothes and he ends up with his shoes and jeans. And so today, there is hell to pay. All this is coming from a guy who got so excited that he did a power slide on live TV when "Mahakarya Cinta" got into the finals of Juara Lagu. Evidently, there was hell to pay there as well.

    For the rest of the day, I get calls and SMS telling me about the strip job. One even suggested I plan for a back-up singer for "Mahakarya Cinta" because there was talk that Faizal will be banned from radio and TV. Well, to hell with that. Personally, if Faizal gets banned, I won't go to the finals of Juara Lagu as a sign of protest. I would go as far as to withdraw the song if the lyricist agrees. And I will tell you why.

    Because, ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a honest-to-goodness rock star!

    Yes people! Surprise surprise! In case you do not know what kind of species this is, Faizal Tahir is a rock star! It seems that with the endless surplus of ballad singers in this country, we have forgotten what a rock star looks like, their characteristics, and feeding schedule.

    If you cannot accept that, then you are the very reason why the Malaysian music industry is still in the stone-age. Therefore, it should come as no surprise if he takes his shirt off. It's all part of the act. Wait till he gets into videotaped orgies, starts wearing women's underwear and heels, and then changes his name into an unpronounceable symbol. But he is not weird. I don't think he'd go there because this guy is just fueled by honest and pure passion. And God knows, we need more of that in our business.

    Yesterday, Faizal Tahir rocked the boat.

    We cannot appreciate his form of expression. (And I am waiting for the critics to say it's un-Islamic because apparently, Muslims are not passionate people....well, not out in the open anyway.)

    As much as I love the whole "soft and gentle way of the Asian culture", we really just need someone to grab us by the balls and say "Hey! There is still some life yet in this scene." As a fan, I love it. I love it when there is some excitement in a performance. And when was the last time something like this happened?

    So tomorrow morning, Faizal and the label will be having a press conference. And I am sure the press cannot wait to ask that one question: WHY?

    And I am sure Faizal will give some stupid politically-correct answer like he (if) was (you) just (have) excited (to) and (ask) got (you) caught (will) up (never) with (know) the (you passionless nutsack!) crowd.

    Reporter: "Do you think this will affect your career?"
    Faizal: "I (only) leave (if) this (you) all (make) up (a) to (big) the (deal) fans (out) to (of) decide (this)!"

    So everybody, just mop it up and move on.

    By the way, go buy the CD. Faizal Tahir. Aku. Muzik. Kamu.