A scriptwriter, copywriter, creative producer, physiotherapist, and senior executive in a finance corporation got together to form a cover band just seven months ago, and they’re already set to play at the upcoming Good Vibes Festival later this month. What’s even more mind blowing is how everything came through so effortlessly for the band that thrives on spur of the moment decisions, they are almost happy-go-lucky.
Initially joking about how all four of them matched with Amanda, the only female in the band, on dating app Tinder, the band turned out to be the result of an impulsive decision when a clueless Faiq got an invitation to perform at Merdekarya. With literally nil experience in music performances, it sparked the idea of starting up a band with his friend Khairi, who eventually became the drummer for the band. Khairi then got the rest of the band members together, hence the birth of Faiq and The Manja Mob.
So why Faiq and The Manja Mob? There was a dilemma between naming themselves The Fancy Claps and The Manja Mob, “But Fancy Claps sounds like we all have gonorrhoea,” said Khairi, “And we gotta let people know what they’re dealing with, so Manja Mob it is.”
If you ever searched the band up on Google, your results would consist of only a couple of event listings and a video of them covering ‘My Drug Buddy’ by The Lemonheads – an indication that it’s about time they deserved more recognition. From playing intimate showcases in bars to rocking out on a festival stage in the span of a little less than a year, this self-described whimsical cover band has been making rougher waves in the local music scene than they’d expected by straying from the norm with their peculiar choices in the songs they cover; or anything that fancies their eardrums, really. Anything but Fleet Foxes and Limp Bizkit (hell yes to R. Kelly though).
Here comes the best part: they have started writing their own songs. Amanda was reading a book (and shamelessly, Wikipedia pages too) on Queen Elizabeth I, which in turn inspired the band’s very first original song ‘Versus Robert Dudley’. A raw fusion of Faiq’s and Amanda’s soulful vocal chords, Abel and Rashid’s dexterity on guitar, and Khairi’s foot tapping beats; it ultimately proves the band’s capacity to be more than just another emerging local band with an expiry date in Kuala Lumpur’s limelight.
Manja Mob aside, Rashid, Abel, and Khairi are together in another band called Machasberg – a portmanteau of local slang macha and Carlsberg – whereas Khairi is also quite a promiscuous drummer, playing for four other local bands as well. That slut. Faiq on the other hand is no stranger to the entertainment industry as an actor on The Effing Show, an online show on YouTube revolving around daily Malaysian politics with a pinch of humour and satire. Amanda, while loyal to the Manja Mob at the time of this writing, was a former member of Korean quartet Wui Chook – a revolutionary rap rock band consisting of North Korean defectors.
Unsurprisingly, there are no plans in releasing an album anytime soon. “We’re gonna try to make a Facebook page for ourselves first,” said Faiq, and that recently became reality (the band’s biggest accomplishment thus far). It should be obvious by now that the band is driven by uncertainty, figuring set lists out only after landing gigs. Trust us when we say that these manja bunch are indecisive about who they are as well. After spewing words around, the band finally decided that they were a free-jazz-improv-ambient-shoegaze band. And no, we don’t understand what that is either. Their excuse?
“We pretty much don’t know, we just make sounds I think. All the songs we’ve come up with so far are very different from one another,” Khairi said. One thing’s for sure – the band hopes to play with saxophones or trumpets in the future. After getting all worked up about investing in lasers for their dream show at Tomorrowland, the band thanked us for bringing up all these questions, “Because when we get together all we talk about is stupid shit and then we go our separate ways.” Seemingly oblivious to the stupid shit that preceded the moment.
You’re welcome, guys.
Faiq & the Manja Mob will be playing their first festival at Sepang International Go Kart Circuit for Good Vibes Festival 2014.