Image Romeo Shagba
Reading a good book whilst listening to some good music, being indoors and listening to the rain, not be called in to the office and sleeping in till the evening, eating coconut jelly… These are a few of the favourite things some people love doing on a lazy Saturday afternoon, or specifically, Melissa Toh, Fariz Salleh, Deo Mareza, and Dianne Lim, members of the namesake band.
“It was supposed to just be a temporary, working title, due to the fact that we always used to practise on Saturday afternoons, and we used the name to refer to our little music project. It just stuck with us because we couldn’t really come up with anything else!” They laugh, when asked about the origin of their band name.
Saturday Afternoon, the band, began in October 2008, and it was originally an acoustic duo, consisting of vocalist Melissa and guitarist Fariz, all thanks to a mutual friend of theirs, who, after learning that they both write music at their own time, thought it’d be a great idea that they get together and make music. In retrospect, we’d have to say that it is a great idea indeed.
Exactly what you would expect from a band called Saturday Afternoon, their music is “folky, acoustic guitar riffy, topped with fresh summery vocals, and a side of awkward”, although the band would rather describe their music as “coconut jelly, mellow yellow, banana smoothie and pistachio gelato on a warm Saturday Afternoon.”
If Fariz’s family name rings any bell, then you’re probably right on the dot with that, because Fariz is the brother of Reza Salleh, one of the few pioneering singer-songwriters in Klang Valley, who has perhaps singlehandedly brought the local acoustic music scene to greater heights via his open mic endeavours, Moonshine and Feedback.
Having such a seasoned musician in the family, Fariz can always count on an honest feedback from his brother dear on how he can improve himself as a musician. Besides that, he also gets to meet other great local musicians whom he has looked up to growing up, talk to them about their music as well as getting down to the nitty gritty guitar gears and techniques.
“But my passion for doing music has never really been talked about in my family. In fact, no one in my family has ever heard me sing before,” Fariz reminisces with a laugh. “I was quite shy to practise at home, especially when I have to practise my vocals, and of course, it’s a lot more stressful when I know that Reza is downstairs!”
After years of “hiding” this “secret” from his family, doing most of his practising over at keyboardist Dianne’s home – after much persuasion, Fariz eventually came out of his shell, and not only starts performing at open mics, but also, in front of his entire family: “Suffice to say, Reza got the shock of his life when he saw me sing for the first time (laughs)!”
Now, before you bat Saturday Afternoon off as one of “those” acoustic bands, get this: Fariz is responsible for the bit of metal-inspired riffs in their songs. Nothing like a drizzle of chocolate sauce on your run-of-the-mill vanilla ice cream, eh?
“The great thing about the progressive metal and heavy metal genres is that things aren’t always predictable, in terms of song arrangements, and that’s something I try to incorporate into the band’s music,” Fariz says. “I mean, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there are metal elements or riffs in our music, but rather, I’m trying to emulate the same kind of emotions and feelings when I hear a heavy metal piece that’s either fast or uplifting – and yes, metal bands write uplifting songs too!”
Saturday Afternoon is currently working on materials for their EP, which they will begin recording towards the end of the year: a mix of their old and new stuff, albeit more of the new rather than the old, with collaborations with some old friends thrown in for a bit of nostalgic fun. In food talk, they’d describe their EP as “a good dark chocolate”, a little bitter and a little sweet, but goes down smooth like silk.
My, my. Break us a piece of that, please!