What Went Down: Red Bull Music Academy KL pres. The Bug @ Milk

Image Red Bull Music Academy

Red Bull Music Academy has seen entrants from all around the globe. Heck, Singapore has had 4 representatives over the years (one being Syndicate SG’s Cherry Chan, holla!), so when JUICE first received word that the globetrotting music seminar was to set foot in Kuala Lumpur we collectively let out a goddamn loud “it’s about time!”

The inaugural session held in Malaysia, the event saw British producer Kevin Martin in his latest music alter ego incarnation – Jamaican-inclined The Bug – as our very first speaker. Knowing that a good number of locals were uninitiated to the concept,  Red Bull Music Academy KL (RMBAKL) kicked off with an introduction, which was followed by an interview session between the host and the artist, as per tradition, before The Bug tore off the dance floor.

Rather faith affirming was the considerably amount of attendees even early on during the workshop. More importantly the faces there were recognisable scenesters like Arabyrd, H3, Kyoto Protocol, Biggie, Bud Culture boys, and Vandal – who ever said local acts were too comfortable with being where they currently are?

Cee of Monsoon Records acted as the MC of the night as he is the official ambassador of RBMAKL, a perfect choice considering the man has done a lot for the electronic scene in just 3 years since he moved to Kuala Lumpur (bringing the likes of DJ Vadim, Feadz, Goth-Trad, and Slugabed). The VICE-affiliate kicked off the workshop with an enthusiastic speech on the continuing development of the music scene before playing a video introduction, showcasing all the lecturers (anyone from Erykah Badu to DOOM) who have had spoken at RBMA sessions all over the world.

After enlightening the crowd on RBMA, Cee invited The Bug to the couch-equipped stage for a question and answer. While a rather sterile couch session in our opinion, the interview consisted of The Bug’s history, influences, multiple music styles, and what have you, it was still enlightening. Particularly when The Bug revealed his affinity for change, which is obvious once you realise how many music personae he had taken prior to becoming The Bug.

When the floor was opened for questions, it made for good insight and even comedy. The first to pose a question was a bumbling fanboy we recognised as producer/DJ Pradana, whose question was filled with stammers and digressions until he got to the actual question – was Warrior Queen really The Bug’s janitor before being put on a Bug joint? This, of course, garnered a rather insightful answer despite the trivium. Others were more general in their enquiries. One person, after making it clear that he had influential friends in the industry, asked The Bug why his friends can’t make it big overseas, to which Bug replied with a response that can be succinctly summarised as passion is key.

General questions were the overriding trend throughout the Q&A. Thankfully The Bug was too much of an interesting personality that no matter what the question was, he’d provide with a verbose thoughtful answer nonetheless.

As the workshop ended, they didn’t take long to segue from music education to music blaring out of the speakers. Tubby of Bud Culture took the decks first with non-Skrillexed dubstep and dub while Bud buddy Reza got on the mic, herding in all the testosterone to the dance floor. It wasn’t until The Bug got up with frequent collaborator, the legendary toaster Daddy Freddy, that the club got truly wild. The Bug’s brand of experimental dancehall and ragga was complimented by Daddy’s rabblerousing toasting skills that were voodoo-like in its capacity to induce us in a skankin’ trance. So crazy it got some punters doing acrobatics off the speakers. H3 closed the night by delivering his promise of zero bro-ness.

Red Bull Music Academy’s first session here was a promising start. With the closing date for entries extended to 2 April, JUICE hopes one of you talented musicians out there will get yourself to New York for RMBA 2012 – eventually becoming the questioned instead of the one doing the asking.

Red Bull Music Academy pres. The Bug was on 9 March at Milk. Click here for more pictures of the event.

Red Bull Music Academy 2012 is happening this autumn in New York. All application info for the academy can be found at www.redbullmusicacademy.com/apply. Closing date is 2 April.