Indie band, ‘Couple’ – famous for catchy power pop tunes about love as their name suggests – was declared as Ipoh’s heritage band on the 30th of September at the UNESCO Day celebration.
Whether you knew Couple from their appearance in the Kami film OST, or by discovering them through your Myspace profile searches – Couple has been a very large presence in a lot of people’s lives.
Too many people of the current generation or the one before, Couple was one of the bands that reintroduced Malaysia to the local indie genre, long after OAG has already left their mark in the first era of Malaysian indie. Now That I Can See was a generation’s theme the same way 60s TV was, or the same way Wet Blanket by Butterfingers was the watershed sound for the grunge scene in Malaysia.
The award takes not of lead singer Aidil Rusli’s Ipoh-born status, and the mark that his band has been making in the local indie scene as a musical project that always humbly consider themselves as ‘okay’.
Couple is a band of many influences, with singer Aidil having cited bands like The Beatles, Big Star, The Who, The Raspberries and Weezer as inspirations. The band has always been known for their tight rhythms and earworm choruses – present from their very first full-length album released in 2006, Top of the Pops. The band itself was formed in 1995 and even before 2006 has released several demo tapes/CD-R’s.
With the exception of Aidil, the band has undergone several lineup changes while retaining the sound that makes them great throughout. Aidil’s knack for pop tunes has caught the attention of people around the world, with one of their first global appearances being the Top 25 Myspace Bands list by international culture magazine, Rolling Stone. (Fun Fact: Another Malaysian band was also on that list, dreamy twee pop band, Ferns).
Couple’s discography is filled by chant-worthy tracks. Whether it’s the adolescent jiwang-ness of Tentang Kita, the jovial mosh anthem of Hey Kawan-Kawan or the anti-establishment party mantra of Semua Tak Boleh – the alluring contagion of power pop covers all bases in Couple’s musical history. Their more recent tracks like Malam Minggu is a live staple, with Aidil dedicating to the song to all of the poor souls blue-ticked by the person they’re fond of.
The band’s song Now That I Can See was also featured in a Hollywood film soundtrack back in 2010, Super, directed by James Gunn (of Guardians of the Galaxy fame) and starring Rainn Wilson (of The Office (US)) and Ellen Page (Juno)
This article can’t afford to be just an enumeration of every single reason of Couple’s milestones and achievements. It’s pretty surreal that a couple of decades down the line, the band that was essential to my teenage life still resonates with teenagers nowadays too.
Although, nothing really beats the strange feeling of people in their twenties bringing their babies to a Couple’s concert and singing along to every word.
Here’s a parent introducing the soundtrack of their younger days to their child and that soundtrack is Rock ‘n’ Roll. Time is a cruel mistress with no mercy for indie music lovers.
Couple still powers through with no signs of stopping anytime soon.
“We’d like to say thank you for the award. Usually when people say ‘heritage’ that means someone died. But don’t worry, we’re still alive. And we’re in the process of making a new album!”, said Aidil .
Tell us what’s your favourite song from Couple!
Featured image credit: Yung Meraki