Malaysian rock firebrands Spooky Wet Dreams: “We can’t seem to get ourselves away from trouble”

The band reflect on everything that’s changed since the 2018 release of their debut album ‘Koleksi Dendangan Untuk Masa Hadapan’ – and what’s next

When Spooky Wet Dreams launched their debut album ‘Koleksi Dendangan Untuk Masa Hadapan’ at The Bee, Publika two years ago, the atmosphere was nothing short of euphoric. Sweating gig-goers clad in plaids, skinny jeans and sarongs dancing the traditional joget as lead vocalist Ze belted out the album’s rapturous political tracks – starting with the slow build-up of ‘Malam Sebelum Revolusi’ (‘Night Before The Revolution’) and concluding with the hard rock of ‘Irama Propaganda’ (‘Propaganda Rhythm’).

With ‘Koleksi Dendangan Untuk Masa Hadapan’, the Klang Valley rockers jabbed at the greed and corruption in Malaysian politics, their songs resonating with listeners who’d just witnessed the country’s pivotal 2018 General Election. And now Spooky Wet Dreams have put a full stop on that exciting era with the single ‘Tutur Dengan Bulan’ – which they announced days before Malaysia extended its Conditional Movement Control Order, putting paid to any dreams of crowded clubs and packed concerts.

Spooky Wet Dreams Malaysia rock politics interview 2020 Koleksi Dendangan Untuk Masa Hadapan
Credit: Yung Meraki (Kekabumi)

“Man, it sucks,” Ze – real name Shazwan Zulkiffli – told NME of the renewed lockdown. “Of course, [the CMCO and its standard operating procedures] affect us to a certain degree but most importantly, it’s affecting the scene as a whole. The local music scene is bleeding and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon.”

Praising a SOP-compliant “recovery show” organised by gig planners Atas Angin in October, Ze remains optimistic about the future of live music in Malaysia “We’re not giving up on live performances just yet, because there’s nothing like it – the adrenaline, sweat and sing-alongs. I think we’ll find a way to make that happen again once things get a bit better.”

Though gigs aren’t possible, Ze still thinks this is the time for entertainers to get to work and uplift the mood on the streets: “The people need their favourite artists and sources of inspiration” who have given them the words and lyrics to get by and adjust to Malaysia’s new normal. And what a new normal it is, following the Sheraton Move last February, threats of snap elections and proclamations of emergencies. The dawn of “New Malaysia”, precipitated by the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition’s triumph in the 14th General Election, is setting fast over the horizon.

“It’s crazy, isn’t it? A lot has changed from when the album debuted,” Ze remarks. “The people really need the individuals in the office to come through and represent us the best way they can. You can feel the tension building up on the streets and hear sighs in the supermarkets. You can see it in the faces of delivery riders, security guards and people who lost their jobs and closed their businesses.”

Ze ends his rhetorical flourish with a simple conclusion: “We’re all tired, dude. So the politicking needs to come with the right intention, it needs to be in the best interest of the rakyat and the future of this country – whichever side you’re on.”

By : Aina Izzah – NME

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