Let’s face it. Aren’t we all getting a little tired of those so-called indie rock bands? You know, those cutesy teeny pop darlings with goofy haircuts? Luckily for us, there remain those still willing to push the boundaries of twee rock. The 10-piece Khottal is a prime example of such a band.
Led by Hafidz and Uzir in their hometown of Jasin, Melaka, the band started a year ago “with the mutual purpose to be the messiest band in Malaysia,” jokes Hafidz before concluding that it was their passion for music that brought them together.
Childhood, college and long lost friends, Qairul, Chorie, Ezha, Hafidz, Uzir, Farhan, Azfa, Zarul, Suboh and Nona have expanded their sound beyond the normal band set-up to include instruments such as accordions, melodeons, glockenspiels, ukuleles, mandolins, recorders and violins.
Before you can say Arcade Fire, Zarul is quick to point out that the only reason people compare them to the Canadian baroque pop band is because of their numbers. “Our response would be like ‘Hey, why not Broken Social Scene?!'”. And although they shun the comparison, on their Myspace page, Khottal admittedly list the aforementioned 2 bands along with The Vaselines, The Velvet Underground and British Sea Power amongst their influences.
Being eccentric usually pays off in music. The band’s name is shrouded in mystery. Hafidz relates, “We googled Khottal and found that it was related to ancient Chinese medicine. Later, we tried again but the article didn’t appear. Weird but that’s why we used it.”
Although they have been hailed as the toast of Urbanscapes 2009, Khottal did have their early misadventures. “During our first gig, we were sweating nervously because the monitors malfunctioned. It was like performing in mute mood where you can’t hear each other. Luckily we had lots of practice and the feedback was really unexpected,” says Zarul.
As of now, Khottal is still in its infancy stage with no proper studio recordings. If you search for the band on Youtube, you’d probably find low-key live performances on beaches, neighbourhood streets and Perak’s heritage site of Kellie’s Castle.
Hopefully, when the band releases their debut single somewhere in September this year, the clarity of a studio recording won’tÂ ecclipse their lo-fi charm. Otherwise, it’s back to those goofy haircuts and whinny heartbreak songs.
Get lo-fi with Khottal at www.myspace.com/khottal.