Bunkface Interview: Welcome to the Bunk ShowPosted August 3rd, 2010 At 7:38 pm By MTV ASIA
Interview and Text: Madeleine Chong
For more photos, check out the photo gallery here!
While their name may be taken from the title of a Sum 41 song, there’s no doubt that Bunkface are definitely making a name for themselves in Malaysia’s music scene. Made up of lead vocalist Sam, Paan on guitar, and bassist Youk, the Klang trio are out to show they’re not just a flash in the pan.
The band’s popularity took off with “Silly Lily” in 2007, an adrenaline-fuelled number from their first EP (Lesson of the Season) complete with jangly guitars and a banging tune. The single shot to the top of the Malaysian charts and paved the way for accolades to come.
“Through My Window,” a song sung by Bunkface for a TM advertisement campaign took on viral proportions online and Bunkface found themselves with a whole new legion of Bunkers (an affectionate term for their fans). In March 2010, the band released their debut full album, Phobia Phoney, honing their pop punk sound on catchy numbers such as “Prom Queen,” “Situasi,” “Revolusi,” and the aptly titled “Bunk Anthem.”
The band has come a long way from their casual jamming sessions during their secondary school days to representing Malaysia at MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010, where they shared the same stage with international artistes such as Katy Perry, Tokio Hotel, and the Wonder Girls.
We find out more about their latest album Phobia Phoney, whose windows they would love to look through, and why their hit single “Silly Lily” would be perfect for Guitar Hero.
Your latest album is called Phobia Phoney. Is there a particular story as to why you named the album as such?
Sam: It’s about the fear (phobia) of getting to that step, to get to that level where we are now. We were really scared, so that journey taught us how to handle situations, discrimination and we revolutionized ourselves from time to time.
The discrimination bit came up when we started the band, when we tried to bring our sound to the music industry, to build up Bunkface, and people were rejecting and saying this and that, so to us it was like “Fine, we don’t care what you want to say, we’re going to try,” and here we are now.
We realized at one point that we were ready to go and ready to step to that level, therefore the album title is called Phobia Phoney – it’s about our journey.
What phobias do you guys have?
Sam: Maybe a phobia of getting cheated over a girl again.
Paan: Maybe a phobia of playing with international acts, we look forward to it but we always try to be there early and make sure there are no mistakes. We put in a lot of effort so that sometimes brings fear as we do get a bit tense before performances.
What is your favorite track on Phobia Phoney?
Paan: I like “Escape Dance” because of the lyrics and arrangement.
Sam: I like “Dunia”. “Dunia” is a Malay song which I wrote about what’s happening in the world, people taking control, human rights not really being protected anymore, and discrimination against others. It’s a song for everyone to take a look at themselves as a human being and reflect on the issues around the world.
Youk: For me, I like “Revolusi,” because it’s about our journey in this industry, how we survived, and what we’ve been through which we can share with others through this song.
“Through My Window” was at the centre of a viral marketing craze. Tell us more about what kind of doors it opened for Bunkface.
Sam: The song really helped in getting a different kind of market for us…
Paan: There was a big promotional drive…
Sam: Yeah, it was promoted through TM and the whole of Malaysia, and if before we had Malay fans, now we have Chinese and Indian fans as well. It’s like a big mix.
If you could look through anyone’s window, whose will it be and why?
Sam: Michael Jackson’s window when he got killed. Seriously. I want to see that doctor. I want to see what he did and how he did it, and I’ll be the only one who has proof.
Paan: I want to see Mahathir live. I want to see how he managed Malaysia.
Youk: Scarlett Johansson. I want to see her bathing. (everyone laughs)
Have there been any girls in your lives like the one you sing about in “Prom Queen”?
Sam: There are so many girls out there that we won’t or can’t reach for. All the hot ones, the girl we’ll never get to meet but who has a good heart, “Prom Queen” goes out to them.
I understand that fans can purchase Celebriducks modeled in the likeness of Bunkface band members. How did that come about?
Sam: We are the first Asian band to do it, before this it was all in US and Europe, so they’re starting to promote Celebriducks here and we took that opportunity because it’s something new and funny. It’s a bid odd to see our faces as a duck, but some fans like it.
If you had the opportunity to tour with any band in the world – which band would you pick and why?
Sam: To me personally, I think Green Day because they influenced our music so much and we love them so much. It would be such an honor to tour with them.
If you guys could select one of your songs to be featured in future sequels of Guitar Hero/Rock Band, which one would you pick and why?
Sam: It would be the first song we ever did, Silly Lily, because the (guitar) solo is really fast-paced, it goes *jang-jang-jang*
What are some of the highlights of your music journey so far?
Youk: MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010! And the awards did help as well, like Shout! Awards and Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM).
With a small local scene in Malaysia where bands are always coming and going, how do you guys stay current and relevant?
Sam: The thing is you gotta work hard. We try our best, to be true to ourselves and our music.
What is Bunkface’s motto in life?
Sam: Work hard for success. If you don’t work hard, you won’t get anywhere. And be honest in the music, don’t do it because you want to be famous, don’t do it because you want chicks, do it because of the passion for music itself.