LISTEN: Alt-Rock Local Band Abjad Aksara Releases Single ‘Bayang-Bayang’ & It’s Worth The Watch

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New music is not hard to come by right now as bands are beginning to loosen their chains from the restrictions of the pandemic by releasing music and performing at live gigs.

Despite that, new music that is unique should be worth noting and sharing.

Filling that space are newcomers from the band Abjad Aksara – or Abjad for short.


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A post shared by Abjad Aksara (@abjadtif)

Dropping a pop surrealist music video which perfectly ties into their debut single ‘Bayang-Bayang’, this new band is making a great first impression and we can’t wait to see what else is up their sleeves.

Kickstarting the song is a rudimentary pulse by drummer Ekmal Harris who is then joined by a solid guitar riff.

Vocals by Adam Harris soon follow as he regales the plight of those who are trying to escape from their past that seems to stubbornly linger like the smell of cheap cigarettes on clothing.

The song fluidly crescendoes into a chaotic synchronisation of drums and guitar before bleeding into a soft stripped-down solo for the final verse.

While all of this is happening, the lyrics and sound of ‘Bayang-Bayang’ is perfectly depicted through artist and creative director, Azriq Anwar’s visuals.

Watch and listen to the track below:

Since JUICE was so impressed by this debut, we had to pick the brains of the creatives behind it. Evidently, we scored a short chat with Abjad Aksara as well as Azriq Anwar [AA].

Abjad is a four-piece band consisting of Adam Harris (vocals, guitar), Sairul (guitar), Ekmal Harris (drums), and Hazrel Hazeq (bass guitar).

Adam, Sairul and Ekmal have known each other since ’09 and would mostly cover radio hits from our favourite rock bands like Paramore and Boys Like Girls while dabbling in a bit of song writing themselves… They’re just like us furreal!


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A post shared by Abjad Aksara (@abjadtif)

It wasn’t until 2017 – when the band reunited through weekends of jamming – that they finally completed their circle by recruiting Hazrel, who was Adam’s roommate back in their university days.

The duo also had a cover band which they used as a vehicle to cover the greatest hits of Malaysia’s independent scene and play shows in local malls and faculty dinners.

Citing iconic bands like Kings of Leon, Radiohead, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Dirgahayu and Pitahati as their influences, Abjad’s nuanced sound is a direct link to the band’s love for a wide variety of music.

Read our full interview with them below:


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A post shared by Abjad Aksara (@abjadtif)

‘Bayang-Bayang’ is your first single available on all major streaming platforms. What made you decide to debut with this song?
[ABJAD]Collectively, all four of us agreed that ‘Bayang-Bayang’ is the obvious torchbearer of the Abjad ‘sound’. Acting as the precursor for our other tracks, it really helped us to identify the direction we wanted to take.

Coincidentally however, it was also the very first riff we wrote together as a group, dating all the way back to 2017. Which makes it the longest time we have ever spent on a single composition.

Point of the matter is, we’re super proud of the song. Obviously, we want ‘Bayang-Bayang’ to come out first.

Is there a story behind the lyrics to the song? If so, tell us more about the songwriting process.
[ABJAD]Opening with an intense and droning riff, ‘Bayang-Bayang’ places the listener in an awkward and anxious state of mind. For all intents and purposes, this was exactly what we set out to do.

The story of ‘Bayang-Bayang’ is really our interpretation of what the song would look like if put down into words. The story accompanying the track tells the story of an individual trying to escape his past. And much like everybody else, this is a never ending battle.

We as individuals learned that kicking old habits require a tremendous amount of willpower. It takes a toll on our bodies and our minds, and in worst cases, can sometimes affect those closest to us.

It is never easy to do the right thing. Which is why ‘Bayang-Bayang’ warns the listener that most of the time, even though we don’t want to, it is dangerous how we can easily drift back into our old selves; the shadows from our past that we tried so hard to run away from.

source: @azriqanwar on Twitter

How was it like conceptualizing the music video with Azriq Anwar and how did you feel once you saw the finished product?
[ABJAD]We first talked to Azriq in 2020. Back then, we were engaging with both local and foreign artists alike. And when we stumbled upon Azriq’s body of work, safe to say it was an easy decision.

We gave him the reins, and allowed him to realize ‘Bayang-Bayang’ from his own perspective. His unique hand-drawn style; paired with his passion for post/pop-surrealism, really brought to life the bleak yet intimate aesthetic of ‘Bayang-Bayang’.

Remembering the first time we saw the music video from start to finish, it was love at first sight.

Signed under Luncai Emas, are there any artistes from the same label that you would love to collaborate with in the future?
[ABJAD]We’re not really signed as Luncai Emas artists, not in a literal sense at least. They are acting as Abjad’s publisher and distributor. But still, we do look at this collaboration as an unexpected windfall nonetheless.

It was really all due to ‘Bayang-Bayang’s first-ever fan: our producer, saudara Mokhtarizal of Iseekmusic Studio fame. He got us in touch with Luncai Emas, who in turn also saw potential in the song. The rest as you say, is history.

The artists within Luncai Emas are all amazingly talented. We practically spent our uni days listening to Pitahati and Iqbal M. Who knows, kalau rezeki itu ada, why not?


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A post shared by Azriq Anwar (@azriqanwar)

How did you first come into contact with the band?
[AA]Abjad Aksara found and contacted me through Twitter and Instagram in late 2020. At the time, they were looking into several artists to curate their visual aspect of their band.

What caught their interest was when they came across my work of an animation sequence, which was broken into 3 parts, (Ball Throw – Ball Bounce – Ball Stop).


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A post shared by Abjad Aksara (@abjadtif)

What was the band’s vision for the music video and how did you begin to conceptualise it?
[AA]The band and I had a very close and similar vision of the direction we were going for. I was also given the privilege to have my own viewpoint over the whole thing, which helped me ‘build a world’ around the idea.

The way I thought of the concept was like how I started every artwork I’ve done before. It always has to be a little intimate and at the same time, relatable to everyone. For ‘Bayang-Bayang’, the extensive concept was to use the main element, which is the title of the song, as the antagonist of the story.

The gist of the story is about a person trying to be an escapist of his past and his unpleasant memories which eventually got caught up.

It must have been challenging creating a music video from scratch. What were some of the obstacles you faced during production? 
[AA]It was a challenging process because I’ve never done a proper full-length animated video before, especially one for a song that I’ve never heard before. There were many drawbacks doing this project, in terms of getting all the pieces together. One of the difficult things was trying to interpret the whole storyline.

There were moments I was burned out throughout the process but conversations between the band and myself kept the process going.

Your art is definitely unique and it suits the vibe of ‘Bayang-Bayang’ so well. What are some of your favourite local songs that you wish you could’ve complemented with your pop surrealist art style through a coinciding music video?
[AA]From the top of my head, I’d say some of them would be Mawar Khayalan by Laila’s LoungeI Don’t Wanna Dream Tonight by Midnight Fusic, and Angin Kencang by Noh Salleh.

Are there any future projects up your sleeve?
[AA]There are a few more projects I’m currently working on with the band, having their full-length release due later this year.

Keep up with the talents by following them on their social media platforms…

Abjad Aksara: Instagram and Twitter

Azriq Anwar: Instagram and Twitter

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