Having known each other since they were 16 or 17, it will be no surprise that this 3-piece band approaches music-making in such a straightforward and collaborative manner. They simply know each other too well to fight about the trivial or have any misunderstandings – a blessing when it comes to team work. Regardless of rhythm, lyrics or the atmosphere generated through a song, it has always been the three members Mel (vocalist/bassist), Jay (guitarist) and QJ (drummer) working together.
“It is more fun like that. Because, our music tastes are totally different. So (jamming together and collaborating) is the best way to put all of our ideas together instead of having one person write all the lyrics, and someone else doing all the instrumentals. That is how our tracks all sound so distinct,” says Jay, “We are open to everyone’s ideas. Sometimes, one person’s idea alone might not work but when we all play together, our ideas all fit. All our playing is totally different. I think if a music conductor sees us playing, he will go what the f*ck are you doing?”
QJ adds, “I guess we don’t write towards mainstream types of music. We each have our own styles of making music, so we kind of mix-n-match basically.”
hrvst explores the realms of metal, punk and hardcore music. With each member having been part of bands that did not work out in the long run, they are sticking together to create the kind of music they want to hear in the market. Driving emotions through their songs and their individual craft to another level by juggling practice as well as day jobs, this is one band that promises an epic performance during Baybeats instead of just another gig out there.
We are ready to be surprised.
Popspoken sits down with the band right before their jamming session to find out more about their musical journeys and about their up-coming EP ‘Lilith’.
Popspoken: So, share with us an album each that really inspired and informed your identity as a musician.
Mel: The album that inspired me to start playing music would be ‘Chocolate Starfish’ by Limp Bizkit. Not so much on influencing me to write this EP, but that album sure got me on the hooks and it’s definitely one of the heaviest and grooviest album I’ve heard when I was a kid, even ’til this day. It didn’t exactly shape me as a musician but it surely played a huge part to why I wanted to start playing music.
Jay: To me, the album that got me picking up the guitar would be ‘Hybrid Theory’ by Linkin Park. As a kid, the means of listening and discovering music would be either MTV or the radio and Linkin Park’s ‘Crawling’ was my first experience discovering heavy guitars and angry vocals. It did shape my identity as a musician, as it was the gateway album to go on the path to explore heavier music and playing.
QJ: The album that I would choose that inspired me will be ‘Empros’ by Russian Circles – originating from Chicago USA. Although they are a three piece band, they sound massive! It has pointed the direction towards exploring more dark ambient sounding and heavy grooving.
PS: How did each of your musical journeys come about?
M: I started playing music when I was about the age of 13, well you know, as a kid you just wanted to go have fun, listen to punk rock, go to a practice space with no clue on how to play an instrument, just pick up an instrument and start jamming. I had a couple of different bands of different genres in the past years since I started playing, met different people with different influences of music along the way in school and the internet grew along with that and I guess, I just slowly got into it and yeah, here I am. It’s a long way I must say. I would be writing a story if I were to tell you everything.
J: I started playing music when I was about 10 years old; playing in the school brass band. And slowly, picked up the guitar a year later. It was all just noise back then – not knowing how to tune the guitar and just being bad at it. Got into secondary school, met like-minded friends and started jamming, trying to play Blink 182 and other punk covers and totally destroying it (not in a good way). And as I grew up and met other people with different tastes and knowledge of music, it kinda paved the path of this whole journey as guitarist and musician. And here I am now.
QJ: I started learning drums at age 15, during that point of time, I was into alternative/punk rock like Blink 182 and such. Gradually I got into heavier stuff which had double pedaling and fast beats. Soon after, I decided to form a band – played a number of shows which matured me musically and technically. I’m grateful to my good friends whom have accompanied me or have been part of this whole music journey that brought me to where I am now. Together we will work hard towards our goals!
PS: Would you like to tell us more about your EP ‘Lilith’ that is to be released soon?
M: There’s no particular meaning to why we named the EP ‘Lilith’ but it’s definitely something more diverse and different to what we’ve wrote previously as individuals. It’s an EP that is a mix of fast, sludgy, and has a pinch of classic metal thrown in. As all of us are mainly influenced by the heavier side of music. I would say the highlight of the EP are the two instrumental tracks that we’ve put in, ‘Lilith’ and ‘the man who walked the sun’. None of us have ever written instrumental tracks ever and we wanted to give it a shot as we feel that we should try something different, grow individually as musicians and also widening our sights. I’m sure it’s something no one would expect us to write. Our EP will be released in June, so stay tuned for that.
J: This EP represents us as hrvst as we all have different influences and styles of playing. Every song was conceived by throwing ideas around and not conforming or sticking to a particular direction of writing. It’s three of us hanging out and expressing whatever we feel within through our instruments. As cliché as it sounds, every song has emotions from each of our individual inputs. It will be out in June, so check out what I’m trying to say.
QJ: We expressed each of our feelings and thoughts together with our instruments to write our very first EP ‘lilith’. If you guys dig fast, heavy rhythming, groovy and sludgy music, have a listen to it!
PS: You guys have only been in the scene for a year or so, but you guys are getting plenty of opportunities, which is enviable. What kind of advice would you give other musicians out there, besides practicing?
M: To be honest, we’ve been around actively for about a year or so, played a couple of cool shows and stuff, but we could’ve done more if not for our commitments which takes up probably ¾ of our daily lives. I guess we’re just lucky to be part of some cool stuff in such a short span of time and we’re thankful for that. The best advice I can give to anyone who is playing in a band or wants to start a band is that, once you’ve picked that path you’ve got a lot on your hands. It’s like having your own kid. Responsibilities you never thought that you would have. But keep pushing and never stop, because you never know what you can pick out from this choice you’ve made. And the most important thing is that never ever let it get to your head.
J: We are really lucky and thankful for getting all those opportunities, and being part in some awesome stuff in such a really short period. The advice I would give personally is that, be proud and true to your music. I mean, you will definitely have people not liking your music and never let ever that negativity put you down. Make that the fuel to put up something even greater. Sacrifices and arguments are going to be part of it all too, it’s never going to break you but hardens you up. And one more thing, in my opinion, is to play music with the right people. People whom you know has the same goals and aspirations as you. Don’t just think about it as a ticket to popularity.
QJ: We are really thankful for having all these opportunities and having be part of cool stuff in a short amount of time. The advice I would give would be, have ample time with your band as we all will have our daily jobs. Planning, writing, jamming, recordings, shows, merchandises to name a few. Have proper gears/instruments as its gonna play a big part in regards how you want your band to sound like. Be humble, make friends in the scene as that’s where the connections start.
PS: You get to hold a concert on any of the planets within the solar system. Which would it be, and why?
M: URANUS. I just wanna destroy it.
J: URANUS. I wanna be helping Mel to destroy it.
QJ: URANUS. Three is always better than one.
Look out for them at this year’s Baybeats Festival that is happening from 24 to 26 June 2016!
Cover photograph: eugeneOBJ
Photography credits: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan