Music, Melody & Rhythm feat mutesite, Mei Linn & Golden Mammoth

Updated: May 1, 2020

People die without music. They really do. Although we can't find any statistics to back up that claim. According to Capital Cities, they'd rather sell their beds than their radio and so, let's meet some people who may or may not share the same feelings about music. For our second episode of The Straight Talk, we spoke to musicians. Members of an instrumental rock band, mutesite, the brilliant pianist, Mei Lin Hii, and the neo-psychedelia outfit band, Golden Mammoth!

Instrumental rock band, mutesite

From left, Jolynn (keyboard), Purnama (drums), Anthony (guitar) and Teoh (bass)

Mei Linn, Pianist

Image courtesy of Cheryl J Hoffmann

Neo-psychedelia outfit band, Golden Mammoth

Syabil Alyahya

PT: Last week we had a motley crew of artists (part 1 and part 2), and that was fun; today we've got a big crowd, so why don’t you guys explain the magic that you do?

Anthony: Hey guys, it’s good to be here. As for your question, I gotta say It’s witchcraft. Put everything in a cauldron without a recipe and BOOM, EXPLOSION! What you hear in our music is pretty much ‘too many cooks makes the soup taste better’ haha. (I hope).

Mei Lin: Hi everyone, I’m Mei Lin and I play the piano.

Calligraphy by Chia Koon Ong

Image courtesy of Cheryl J Hoffmann

Golden Mammoth: Hey everyone, I’m Syabil and I'll be representing Golden Mammoth for this interview. Most of the music is written, produced and recorded by myself, but I decided to call it a band because at that time I could only think of a band name, not a solo artist stage name.

PT: How have you adapted your work through the pandemic?

Jolynn: Hello everyone, my name is Jolynn and I’m on the keyboards in mutesite. First week was challenging — trying to find the perfect spot in the house with enough sunlight and ventilation, trying not to fall asleep, and the hardest part was trying not to be distracted by my pets. Now, I think I’ve adapted well to this ‘new normal’.

Purnama: Good to be here! My name is Purnama and I’m the drums in mutesite. I own an AV company, all of my events got cancelled. Lucky for me I have a home studio so I can compose songs and have been doing drum tracking for various artists.

Mei Lin: With zoom and mirror.

Mei Lin disappearing into her art

Image courtesy of Cheryl J Hoffmann

Syabil: It hit me real hard when they announced the Movement Restriction Order as I had just launched an album, and we had tour dates planned out.

PT: How do you go about sharing your music? Is it working for you?

Jolynn: I'd have to say social media. I don’t know how to market our music in person. I’m not a people person.

Mei Lin: Through FB and Instagram. After 2 days, both platforms blocked my videos due to ownership issues.

Mei Lin with feathers on her fingers and her sleeves

Image courtesy of Cheryl J Hoffmann

Syabil: I distribute my music to most major streaming platforms and so far it's working fine for me but it's not as impactful as playing live and selling physical CD’s and merchandise.

PT: Now that you’re stuck at home, has it given you more time to write and compose new songs? Is it easier?

Anthony: Actually our new album ‘re:’ was released on the 22nd of February, when the the pandemic was taking over the world, we had a great launch with caution (obviously). So we haven’t really composed new music, we have wrung the creative juices dry for a while. We’ll rejuvenate and come back stronger for the next release.

"re:" by mutesite

Teoh: Nope.

Mei Lin: About the same. I did the Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concerto, now I'm on Bach’s Art of the Fugue.

U - En Ng on Viola Da Gamba (left) and Mei Lin on piano (right)

Image courtesy of Cheryl J Hoffmann

Syabil: I find that isolation helps a lot when I’m writing/recording music especially because I’m a person who loves to work alone. Less distraction, less daily plans, more zoning out with music.

PT: What’s the difference between music, melody and rhythm?

Anthony: It’s like a math equation, Music = Melody + Rhythm. The rhythm is like rice and the melody is your dish/condiments. If you don't have good rice, the music is meh. Purnama provides the best rice, and the rest of us try to come up with the flavours that go with the rice, melody. It all comes together in this messy plate of nasi campur that’s finger lickin’ tasty.

Jolynn: Wah. Can’t top that.

Mei Lin: Melody and/or rhythm is/can be part of music.

Paper art done by Anne Deguerry

Image courtesy of Cheryl J Hoffmann

Syabil: Ok guys, I make music but I never learnt music. To me, rhythm is a pattern that supports the flow of sounds so you get a steady going pattern/vibration. A melody is the icing for the cake, or most of the time, the ‘money shot’ positioned on top of the rhythm. In my opinion, melody gives a song colors and a more pleasant ride. Put these 2 together, you have composed music.

PT: To you, is there such a thing as “bad music”?

Purnama: I consider insincere work to be bad music. Music is an art. If you rush something or put something else above the emotion that the music is supposed to bring, subconsciously listeners can feel it. So, please put more time into knowing the art and tell stories through it.

Mei Lin: Yes, when it is badly played.

Syabil: Nah, I don’t really believe in that saying. Everyone has their own taste and they should keep listening to anything they like. If you don’t like it, then don’t listen to it. I don’t think music should be classified as bad or good.

Syabil zoning out with his music

PT: What do you think music represents today?

Anthony: Self-Love, and mostly breakups.

Jolynn: Expression. When you’re feeling in love, sad, hurt, wacky, or crazy; music helps you show it.

Mei Lin: Depends on each person.

Syabil: I think music serves as a channel for someone to be emotionally connected to. Music becomes their companion when things are hard, feeling content, overwhelmed or almost all emotions. It’s the only companion that they want to listen to, no real social interaction. I find that it’s also important on what musicians deliver to their audience because it does affect them greatly.

PT: Who is the Kurt Cobain of today's generation?

Anthony: Matt Healy (The 1975).

Jolynn: Err… Not Puddle of Mudd. I don’t think there can ever be another Kurt Cobain… Just sayin’.

Purnama: The game is different nowadays. So. I can't say.

Teoh: Doesn’t exist.

Mei Lin: Who is Kurt Cobain?

Syabil: Kurt Cobain was an iconic and influential musician back then. If I had to name someone from today’s generation who’s as iconic and influential as him, I would say Billie Eillish.

PT: We think it’s a good time to go for a lightning round! Say the first thing that pops into your mind. Go!

Name a musician you would play Dance Dance Revolution with.

Anthony: Sophie Ellis Bextor, and we’d do ‘Murder on the Dance Floor’.

Jolynn: Bilmuri. He looks like he’s down to dance.

Purnama: Pamela Anderson.

Mei Lin: What is that?

Syabil: Easy! Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips.

What's the last game you played?

Anthony: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Jolynn: Pokemon Sword

Purnama: FIFA 20 (still playing)

Teoh: World War Z.

Mei Lin: Backgammon

Syabil: I’m really bad at games. The only game I was hooked on to was Call of Duty: Black Ops back in 2010 because I love the concept of zombies. I suck at gaming because I tend to give up halfway through.

What would be your soundtrack as you are buying groceries, or doing the laundry?

Anthony: The Midnight - Sunset.

Jolynn: Lizzo - Juice

Purnama: John Cage 4'33"

Teoh: You Never Can Tell

Mei Lin: No soundtrack

Syabil: Heroes and Villains by The Beach Boys. So many moods going on in that song.

What music do you think will be playing when death comes for you?

Anthony: Metal, Killswitch Engage - My Last Serenade.

Jolynn: Mogwai - Take Me Somewhere Nice

Purnama: John Cage 4'33"

Teoh: Lonesome Town.

Mei Lin: Let’s see at that moment.

Syabil: Led Zeppelin – Houses of the Holy. The whole album.

PT: And what would you play at your funeral dear readers? With that somber note we'll end today's session. If you enjoyed listening to these cool folks then do come back for Part 2, you wouldn’t want to miss that because we will talk about the undead and how our guests will survive a zombie pandemic!

Selamat jalan!

As usual, do follow us on our socials on Twitter (@personatheorymy), Instagram (@personatheory) (@firesatmidnightgame), and Facebook (@personatheory) (@firesatmidnight) for more info on us and our upcoming narrative interactive video game, Fires At Midnight — which centers around a young couple living in late 90's Kuala Lumpur, struggling to make ends meet while being stuck in a toxic relationship.

We'd also like to announce that Fires At Midnight's demo is out now on!

Let Love Burn - Fires At Midnight's latest teaser

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