Bassment Syndicate: Out of the Basement

source: Bassment Syndicate

Text Naj Frusciante

They could be playing at a black tie event one minute and be on stage at another gig minutes after that and still have the same amount of enthusiasm. Bassment Syndicate takes every live appearances seriously and with that skill in their resume, it doesn’t surprise us that they‘re often booked to play at prominent music festivals and open for international artistes such as José James. Now slated to perform at Future Music Festival Asia 2014 (FMFA2014), Bassment Syndicate’s inevitable limelight in the world beyond their gigging comfort is closer than ever.

It may look like it’s done for a Benetton ad when you have members from three different continents with distinct individual styles all together in a band, but trust that’s just a coincidence. The opportune brotherhood among a classically trained trombone player, an overbearingly eclectic bass player, a coy but adorable drummer, and the funkafied keyboardist came about circa 2009 and it’s been a smooth ride thus far, quite remarkably.

Fook (Johor) and Hiran (New Zealand) were performing together as sessionists while Omar (Kuala Lumpur, also obviously the youngest one in the band) was Fook’s junior in college. Something happened somewhere, and they crossed path with Q Sound, who flew down from New York as soon as he was offered to be part of their music ensemble. The idea of forming an actual band together never hit them until they realised that they had a bit of a following in the KL jazz scene.

After years of fierce gigging, they released their debut album titled Morning in April last year. The album defied what it meant to be categorised as a single genre and it became one of those rare local albums that spread purely through word of mouth like real life viral media — either from hearing it off a friend’s car speakers or their iTunes playlist.

While the Okayplayer-approved neosoul, funky jazz approach seems to be working fine for the band, Bassment Syndicate still wishes to discover other possibilities to mash things up whenever they can. Fans would know, this quartet goes crazy in sliding things whenever they do covers – be it a Jimi Hendrix track, Whitney Houston ballad, or even James Blake’s eerie ‘Retrograde’.

In preparation for FMFA2014, the band is looking forward to sharing their current musical vision and will be doing more new tracks that are said to be off their second album, which is in the preproduction phase at the moment.

Here’s hoping the sophomore doesn’t take two years to get done like Morning did!

Performing at Future Music Festival Asia 2014 on Saturday 15 March ’14, Bassment Syndicate are Fook (bass), Hiran (keys), Omar (drums), and Q Sound (trombone/vocals). Listen to them at and find more info at

Morning is also available on iTunes.