Some call them post-punk, others, post-hardcore. Some even dub their sound as more “gritty” math rock than anything else. The truth is Killeur Calculateur transcends genres, what with the myriad of influences they hail from. However, the guerilla concerts (see interview below) and the cynical poetry that embellish their hard-hitting riffs and screams ensures that the word ‘punk’ remains to be their rallying anthem.
Their recent split EP, Arus, is a great collaboration with Jakarta band, Vague. The two songs from Killeur Calculateur, Tayang Sulit and Suara Air contrast each other so beautifully, as the former is a piercing remark on society’s false gods and the latter a more spirited song about friendship. Both bands take up the challenge of writing in their mother tongue as opposed to English, and execute it spectacularly (check out our review of Tayang Sulit). With this EP out, Killeur Calculateur will be performing at Good Vibes Festival 2017 on 13 August to showcase their new songs and also tear that stage apart with their warlike, punk rock antics. It will surely be a face-melting experience, but in the meantime we got to chat with Ali Jo, Smek, Zamir and Rafique outside a Subang Cafe by the drain. Because if we’re gonna talk about post-punk what could be more barai and rabak than that?
Part 1: Being ‘spazzes’, singing in Malay and touring Malaysia
The band talks about the constant drive to experiment, and the serumpun sentiment between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As they talk about their Book of Flags tour several years ago, they also share the journey of organizing concerts in 13 Malaysian states (and Singapore) and all the things they’ve learned along the way.
On our relationship with Indonesia:
SMEK: “I think the borders are just political borders. There are no cultural borders, there are no language borders, if you think about it. There are no musical borders and that’s the best part”
On national tours:
ALI JO: “I get geli when a band proclaims to have done a national tour but they only played five states”
On Tayang Sulit:
SMEK: “Basically you’re submitting yourself to social media like you’re submitting yourself to god”
Part 2: Fugazi, Kelantan by Maghrib, and the problem with genres
Killeur Calculateur talk about the bands that make them who they are, their experience of touring in Kelantan and their collaboration with Vague from Jakarta.
On finding the right time to perform in Kota Bharu:
RAFIQUE: “Kenapa the show was strictly after Asar and before Maghrib? It’s because the street noise would cover the music noise”
On their influences:
ALI JO: “It ranges from, lyrically, a lot of hip-hop MCs”
ZAMIR: “So that’s why people think we’re unconventional and susah orang nak point, because we listen to banyak sangat”
RAFIQUE:”Apa kita main earlier on, up to this point actually helps us shape who we are. I played in a shitty emo band”
SMEK: “But we’re still in a shitty band dude”
RAFIQUE: “I love shitty bands, man”
ALI JO: “I think kalau korang sembang dengan kita at the first three years of the band then maybe we would have a definitive answer. Coming this far, kita pun dah very varied. But at the same time we know that we’re on the same page or in the same stream, mentality, state of mind”
ALI JO: “The general thing about Killeur Calculateur, people like to say we’re like Fugazi. Aku malu nak main macam Fugazi sebab aku suka sangat band tu. Aku sayang gila”
On being called ‘Fugazi of Malaysia’:
SMEK: “It’s not that I hate it but it’s a usual term to say you’re like ‘something of something’. To quote Lisa Simpson, “Something from something probably means nothing at all”.
On their future musical direction:
ZAMIR: “Just write, man. We just nak buat benda baru je. Nothing specific at the end of the day. Every new song kita nak benda yang kita tak pernah buat. That’s the most important thing”
Find out more about Good Vibes at www.goodvibesfestival.com and buy tickets. The lineup for this year is filled with amazing artists! Check out more of Killeur Calculateur at killeurcalculateur.bandcamp.com or find them on Facebook or Tumblr!