Swaying to sweet sounds
Article from the Sun daily by Marion Fernando (posted on 11 July 2019)
INSPIRED by old classic rock bands, Kuching-native Allester Shaun was 14 when he joined his first battle of the bands.
“Not just me, there were more people like me during high school,” said the now 22-year-old signed to boutique music label This Way Up Records.
He started writing original songs with the same band and musically inclined circle of friends at 15, playing to a different tune from his dreamy second single after getting signed, Sweet Babycakes.
“I started off with a metal band, actually,” laughed the singer/ songwriter who is bound to take his biggest stage to date at Good Vibes Festival in July.
“That’s where I started making my own songs, like composing for my friends as well.”
With a penchant for composing and creating guitar riffs, Allester only started singing after enrolling into architecture at Taylor’s University, KL.
“I never sing in front of anybody. I usually sing in the shower but that’s about it.”
He soon met “guitar god” Rioan Jasmin Ampuria in uni, formed a band together, and later put music and his studies on hold for a year to return to Kuching.
Rioan is from Sabah and the pair never met until uni, but apparently “his mum used to date my dad,” said Allester.
He flew back to KL, “but this time, I was already wanting to quit performing and focus on my studies. Instead, says Allester: “I got the offer to be in the label,” after record boss Jin Hackman asked to hear an original, which turned out to be first single Blue.
“It was like an adrenaline rush, and I was like, gosh, I don’t know what to write about so I was like I’ll make a song about cigarettes [because] I smoke when I’m like really stressed.
“It took me like a few hours to finish the song, then I sent it to Jin, he liked it, and then he put in my first gig doing a solo, as in by my own name. That was my first gig [Raising the Bar at The Bee] last year, February.
Ahead of his EP Kiss/Kill Me Darling, due out sometime this month or August, Allester will be dropping its title track - Kiss/Kill Me Darling on July 12.
What is the narrative that you want to tell with your upcoming EP Kiss/Kill Me Darling?
This album is like a collective of what I have. I was also inspired by prom songs, cause I’ve been binge-watching like Back to the Future, you know.
They have this soundtrack that is really soothing to your ears. So when you listen to it, it’s pretty cool, and apart from that, that’s just it.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m very emotional, I guess [laughs]. I love the tunes so I just want to put it out there. There’s no other reason. I just want to do it.
What is your songwriting process like?
Most of my songs, are very fictional because I’m more to the guitar, you know, composing riffs and stuff, and I really suck at making lyrics, to be honest. I’m not really good at it.
Sometimes I have to ask my friends, like hey man, is this song right? Is there like a grammatical error or some stuff, so yeah, that’s when I usually put myself in a very fictional situation. And then, I’ll ask myself, how would I feel about this, if this happens and stuff. It’s like ... being in somebody else’body or something.
Do you start with the beat or the lyrics first?
Usually, I will start with the melody, like guitars but sometimes as well, I’ll start singing, and you know, when you have this tune in your head, and you just like [hums tune to weet Babycakes, and I [go] oh, okay, I’ll just record it on my iPhone.
I’ll just [hums tune to weet Babycakes, then I’ll go back to my house and I’ll just try to recollect all the tunes and make a song out of it. That’ what I do. It’ either that or that, so both at the same time.
The music video for Sweet Babycakes says you wanted to direct a love story. Can you talk about the idea behind the video?
Actually, it wasn’ my idea but I loved it. It [was] a friend of mine from RocketMob, he pitched this idea to us, and we ended up [liking] this idea. I think he got the inspiration from this movie, starring Johnny Depp. It’ called Sweeney Todd something like that.
In the video, he didn’ look like he was having much fun, but the end was so sweet.
Yeah, it’s like a person who doesn’t want to show their inner feelings to a person that they love or you know, it’ll take time for him to show his [feelings] and stuff. That’ the idea of it.
What is your idea of love?
Love should derive from, you know, your spiritual feelings. I don’ know, I think love is just a mutual feeling where you can connect with that person or something.
It could be anything, actually, love can be anything. You can love the tree, you can love the guitar.
It’s the thing with passion as well. It’s from your own passion and your own [sense of] belonging, companion or anything, and how you guys can create - what do you call it in chemistry like fuse atoms and stuff –a new element. I guess, that’ how I see love.
A song that never fails to get you grooving: Ode to Viceroy by Mac Demarco. “Anything from Mac Demarco, in general.”
Dream stage: Coachella.
Favourite ice cream flavour: Vanilla.
Current favourite album: Oddments by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizzard.
Which TV/movie character would narrate your life: Jim Carrey from The Truman Show.
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