Sunday, September 21, 2008

Second Combat Interview.


1) I thought we d start off by chatting a bit about your recent activities. So what has Second Combat been up to for the past few weeks? Playing any shows lately?

- Currently we are working on our new songs for a split with Motivation from Hungary ,and then we head up for a full length and discography. We’ve been playing shows almost every week this year. Prior to this we actually decided to cut down our shows and focus more on our recordings.

2) You guys recently undertook nearly a month-long European Tour. Where did you go? Give us some details on the tour.

- We’ve been to a number of wonderful awesome places, and I’ll summarize the places we’ve been to below.
These are the schedule of our shows in our last European tour 2007 ;

07/12/2007 – Paris , France @ Le Batofar
07/13/2007 - Caen , France @ La Place
07/14/2007 - Bath , United Kingdom @ The Hobgoblin
07/15/2007 - Brighton , United Kingdom @ Belushis
07/16/2007 - Glasgow , United Kingdom @ Oerel
07/17/2007 – Southampton , United Kingdom @ King's Half
07/18/2007 - Amsterdam , The Netherlands @ Maloe Melo
07/19/2007 - Nürnberg , Germany @ Kunstverein
07/20/2007 - Jena , Germany @Cafe Wagner
07/21/2007 - Plzen , Czech Republic @ Rokycany ( FLUFF FEST 2007 )
07/22/2007 - Plzen , Czech Republic @ Rokycany ( FLUFF FEST 2007 )
07/23/2007 - Freiburg , Germany @ KTS
07/24/2007 - Wolfsburg , Germany @ Hallenbad
07/25/2007 - Bologna , Italy @ Lazzaretto
07/26/2007 - Zvolen , Slovakia @ Banska Bystrica
07/27/2007 – Szentes ,Hungary @ Jomadar
07/28/2007 - Piacezsno , Poland @ Park Miejski
07/29/2007 – Gdynia , Poland @ Ucho
07/30/2007 - Berlin , Germany @ Koma F
07/31/2007 – Nünchritz , Germany @ Kombi
08/03/2007 - Boulogne , France @ Red Bar
08/04/2007 - Toulouse , France @ Caves de la Notté

3) How did the whole European Tour come about? Apart from Utarid, I think Second Combat was one of the only Malaysian bands ever foot steps in the European scenes. Did you receive any financial supports from anyone/labels? I mean it must be difficult and expensive for you guys or any Asian bands for that matter with the high currency exchange and the cost of travel/lodging and the air-tickets alone cost you a bomb.

- We’ve been planning for the tour for about 3 years, prior to our record from Commitment Records from the Netherlands. Definitely it is expensive for us; some of us couldn’t afford the tour. I have to quit my job and get a loan for the tour because I know RM1k (Malaysian Ringgit) is not enough. Our currency is too small compared to Euro and we didn’t get much after exchanging our monies. We did not get any support from anyone, we are on our own, everything is totally DIY.

4) What differences have you noticed between Malaysian/Asian and European punk/HC audiences? Do you think hardcore is more political in Europe?

- We are 10 years behind the European scene. We need to struggle more to achieve their current level. I think The European bands are more serious and liberal in what they do. I have to admit that some of the audience is there only for fashion and are not really serious with the scene. There a lot of people that stayed well over 30’s which is indeed a rarity in our country. That’s the fine line where you can gauge how serious our European counterparts are compared to us. They are also politically minded since most of them are staunch follower of SxE , vegetarian ,vegan and anarchist. Here, most of the bands will leave the scene before even hitting 25. Reasons such as work commitment, family commitment and the lack of money (to survive) were all too often given as a reason to leave the scene. I believe the same goes in Europe, but ultimately it all boils down your own determination and commitment in the scene.

5) I believe you guys played with some of the household bands in the European punk/HC scene. Who and what bands did you guys play? Did you guys get to talk/hangout with them?

- Yeah we played with 108, Vitamin-X, Converge, Set Your Goals, Oi-Polloi, Kaospilot , Victims, Confronto and a lot of other fantastic bands, we did get to exchange ideas and thoughts with some of the bands but unfortunately we didn’t have much time to really hang out because everyone’s on tour and busy as hell, but we did took tons of pictures and took any opportunity to mingle around with them and there is actually no boundaries between us, be it language, religion and ideas. This is what I like about Hc scene where the people are much, much more open and accepting.

6) How do you see the European scene with regards to gig promoters/organizers, treatment of (Asian) touring bands, gig venues, payment (if any) etc?

- They are well organized, friendly and united with their promoters. They have their own place where they can accommodate visiting bands and allow them overnight for free, shower and have a good food and sleep. I guess they’ve been doing this for a long time and it was ace. We’ve been treated fairly and amiably together with the French bands that we toured with. All the payment that we got from the shows we use it for the gas, tolls and the rent for the van.

7) Utarid and Second Combat have definitely paved the way for more Malaysian bands to tour Europe. Do you think there be more Malaysian bands tour Europe anytime soon?

- I’m not sure about that. They have to do a small tour first to test their commitment and then they can handle performing in big, arduous tour as this will require serious commitment from all of their band members. Some of the bands will quit after touring, that’s where you can see if the tour is successful or not. More bands are touring now like Blood On Wedding Dress from Japan and even more so from Indonesia, Phillipines and Thailand, Hopefully we will see more talented, able and committed Malaysian bands all over the map in the future.

8) So what have you guys learned touring (Europe/Indonesia/Thailand)? What has your touring experience been like? Any memorable fun and not so fun moments? What advice do you have for any aspiring bands who wish to do so? What are some of the things that they should expect and face when touring?

- The most important thing is teamwork which is vital more than anything else, It will be quit stressing, being with your band members all the time, akin to you being locked up in a jail with no foods and nobody else to talk to. There is some bad experience like getting lost and our van broke down at the highway, The worst part I guess is getting sick. But there are some good parts about the tour, you get to see new places and meet a lot of new people, Sightseeing is amazing to where you could take pictures and experience new culture. My advice is to bring lots of foods so you could save money, supplements and medicine, first aid kit which is very important too. Take care of each other just like family.

9) Let’s talk about your awesome EP "What has inspired us?" How has it been selling and what kind of responses have you been getting from the people in and outside Malaysia? Are you guys content with the EP¡¯s sound/production?

- We have 300 copies left, The response was good from inside and outside this country . We have good reviews from overseas magazines and fanzine, but not so good reviews around here. People were amazed at what we did, when we take time to explain our lyrics at every part of our songs. We are still improving and do not sit on our laurels with our current productions. In fact we hope to do better in the future in terms of sounds and production wise.

10) How did you get Aby Huraira of Suicidal Art/Clothing to design ¡"What has inspired us?" CD cover/sleeve? I believe he also designed and put out a Second Combat T-Shirt through his cool clothing line. Was there any sort of deals between Second Combat and Suicidal Clothing?

- We are not attached to any clothing company; we prefer to sell our merchandise on our own. Aby of Suicidal always been a good friend of us. He designs our cd covers and our European tour T-shirt. We have other designer that design for us too.

11) I must say "Infidelity" has to be the EP's standout track. The song was brilliantly written with commendable lyrical topics and good melodic choir-style going on in the background and also with the appearances of Janarthan Nair and the LastxMinute sisters Ereen and Riena on lead vocals. How did the whole process come about? Who wrote that song and who thought of the idea to incorporate SXC Youthcrew on backing vocals?

- The songs deals with the taboo topic of rampant racism and sexism in our scene where most bands seldom or hesitate to talk about openly, we brought the subject into the scene since we experienced a lot of unexpected scenarios and situations which is irrelevant and harmful to the development and growth of the scene. We’ve been focusing on the wrong problems all these while and none of us realized that we’ve been fighting the wrong cause. The reasons why these songs were written is to attract more women and other races to participate in the scene. Furthermore the appearance of Jana, xEreenx and Rina appeals to what sexism meant for, where women were treated badly in the scene, they were pushed away and people were taking advantage of their weakness, Its totally unfair and irrelevant. We don’t believe and detest strongly in racism, sexism and all kinds of oppression. There’s only few people non Malays in the scene and none of the bands take time to talk about this. Jana were shouting for racism and xEreenx, xRina xwere shouting about sexism and I was singing about the whole subject taking 13 May as a topic to relate with our problems. Where history lies and undiscovered to avoid racism and fascism with this sick society which is controlled by corruptions and manipulations from our leaders. I wrote most of the songs that related to what I dealt with everyday. The backing vocals are essential part of our music.

12) In the song "Infidelity" there's a line reads "I'm pretty sure I can count, people of colors with my two hands, and I can count all the women with one hand" It¡'s obvious that the local hardcore scene (or in other parts of the world) is not as receptive as other cults like punk, indie or emo why do you think there are lesser girls and non-Malays in the local Hardcore community, considering nobody keeps them from participating or contributing in any forms to this scene? What are some of the things that could be done to get more women and other minorities into hardcore?

- The problems occurred when I see the older generations in the scene were arguing about the differences of music instead of focusing on the importance of unity. They seemed to detest other music such as Indie, emo and metal, which they thought are killing the pureness of the hc scene. i guess that’s the mentality we had back in the years, we were selfish and naive. We should have focus at the right subjects like unity in the 1st place. Currently, ever since the last generations are gone, we had implemented up new strategies to attract kids into the scene again and maintaining the harmony and preaching acceptance of our differences. We had been setting up shows by mixing bands with different genre. I believe that every band have different messages and styles of delivering their ideas and thoughts. It really doesn’t matter whether you are a Hc or a Punk, rejecting any of them from the scene are considered as fascist, hypocrite and showing blatant prejudice. Most of the non Malays and females are not from the hc punk scene, lots of them are from the indie and mainstream, they listen to My Chemical Romance, Bloc Part, Snow Patrol, SOAD and other music genres What we did is we performed shows with indie bands and sometimes with independent bands together, our intention is to reach and appeal to their crowds and hopefully gained their interest, and eventually penetrated the independent culture. This is what we did and it were not totally DIY and people fucked us up because of doing this, But the purpose is first and foremost to create a scene with complete harmony with different ideas, gender and races. The scene don’t belong to us specifically, It’s for everyone who knows how to appreciate music and new ideas.

13) I’m intrigued by ‘This Is The Reasons I Stay". What inspired that song?

- I wrote this song to remind myself to be faithful and committed to the scene. Aside from these, there are also other motives and reasons behind this special song. The songs are politically written and have deep meanings of its content, such as animal rights, human rights , global warming and globalization. This is from my point of view of the world that I see. Honesty and purity (metaphorically speaking) are ravaged in every corner of our lives as a result of our own selfish actions and the deceptions of our leaders. There’s so much corruptions and the abusing of power within our society and all of this has taken its toll on the people. We did not even care or show any concern and awareness towards our environment, where money and powers were misused to exploit our world. We spend so much money for sports and reputations for this country’s so-called glory. They have their priorities wrong. People don’t care about all of this. What matter is the people not ridiculous records and so called acknowledgement from other countries. What happened to our country’s reserves? That is our money, the taxpayers money for god’s sake! And they have been using it for their own despicable benefits and agendas. The pathetic level of poverty still continues rampantly, with orphanage sprouting and are still raising funds everyday to feed its orphans, now where are the organizations which are supposed to help this poor people? One thing’s for sure though, they (so called leaders and upholders of the people’s interest) have created a nice pathway to destruction for us in this country. On another point, we can see the world is dying by the globalization that had been a major contributor for global warming such as FTA bullshit. The effect of finders keepers for the developers are killing the scenery, Deforestations to cater to the ver expanding modernizations are literally killing our planet by the seconds. Huge multinational conglomerate corporations are having a wild time building up factories and raping every piece of nature in the name of growth and modernization. Gas guzzling cars are still being manufactured by the thousands daily. Do we need more cars? In another 50 years 50% of the land will be covered with water, What are we going to do about this? I think its already too late if we only start to realize this harsh reality. Most people will never be aware of this as long as they are protected in their own denial and fake sense of assurance. This is different compared to Europe where they had already taken precautions and awareness towards global warming, SxC wrote this song to make them stop and think, and realize what’s really going on.

14) The song “You won’t listen”seems to stress on drugs abuse and from reading the lyrics, you lost someone very close to you because of that. Are the lyrics simply just a metaphor or it does really happen?

- Well it’s based from a true story that happened way back, about one of my college friends who used to be close to me. He died in a car accident while under the influence. Experiencing such tragic makes me aware of the dangers of alcohol. I experienced losses from close friends because of this in 1993, 2004 and 2007 all due to the abuse usage of drugs and alcohol. And this is not the first one. This didn’t just happen to me; there are 1000 people who lost their love ones because of the same incident everyday. People just keep on abusing themselves until they lost their lives. We want people to think about their loved ones before they make that fatal decision to drunk and drive. We don’t want our life to be just a part of a statistic.

15) Do any of you have any family members involved in drugs abuse? And if so, how did you deal with this and I think it must be hard considering the fucked up mentality our communities (Malaysians) have towards the junkies/anyone/family related to drugs abuse?

- I have a brother who used to be drug addicts, and its totally ruined my family because of that, I used to hate my brother because of being a junkies, I don’t even consider him as my brother, As I get older I begun to realize how much support does this people needs from us. To astray them from the society is not the way to do it. We got to put back our trust in them, show them the right way, and help them to build back their lives. Society had make fences, marking each and every one of them as criminals. This is wrong and unacceptable, thus will make them go back to the old habits of taking drugs. Government care less about this, all investment is invested in the capitals that could make money for them not in the social needs.

16) Speaking on the same subject, I think Malaysia along with some other Asian countries have the strictest laws in the world regarding drugs trafficking and all that, but it's ironic and somewhat frustrating to see and the numbers of drug addicts/junkies are increasing by days, and I think there is something definitely wrong and fishy with the way our government handles the issue. Your comment on this?

- Of course there is something wrong; this is business to some party. There is a product that could cure drug addicts. But its cost more than the government could afford, so they decided not to sponsor it, instead the finances is better to invested on military and high rise projects. They sponsored billions of dollars in F1 race and sending Astronauts to the space, but they couldn’t afford to spend a million on fund to settle the drug trafficking. There are buying and selling take place behind the bars. This thing will never stops even in a 1000 years. My brother were one of the drug addict Hardcore that been too jailed for countless times he couldn’t stop because the supply is still behind the bars.

17) What are your thoughts on some bands/people in our so-called scene who relentlessly talk/sing/write about how capitalism ruined the world and how capitalists suck and all that, but at the same those people are their own worst enemies. I mean, for instance, if you ask me I think it's fucking hypocritical for some crust/anarcho bands who fanatically sing about hating capitalism but at the same time they are smokers, consuming multi-national cigarettes. I mean that's just lame.

- We notice these 10 years ago, and past these 10 years most of them are the constant consumers of the branded products. If they could just let other people to live their lives without harassing others it would be just fine. Unlike some of them used bad language to correct other people lives and look at them now one of the regular customer of the nearest clubs and pubs of the night lives. Punks were taken while they are young, Its like clothes to wear, Wait until they graduated from college all fire in the eyes turning into ice, All promises turning into lies. It happens to hardcore and sxe scene too, these are the life cycle of Hc and punks. But there’s some few good people in the punk’s scene deserve our respect, the one that are pretty active and contribute in the community.

18) I know Second Combat is a straightedge band and I think straightedge is a good thing and an alternative lifestyle for those into clean living. So how long have you been straightedges? Have you ever been ridiculed by anyone in the past by being a straightedge in a Muslim country?

- Its not easy to be straightedge here, lots of people criticize on what we did. Comparing SxE and religions its so far astray. We never take SxE as a religions and spirituality. It’s a constant defiance against the drugs dealing, cigarettes and alcohol corporations that threatening our morals and values. If were not in the Punk scene well be call sober people. SxE was there to tell us, Its Ok not to drink. I remember when the first time I embrace SxE, I choose this based on personal reasons I never wanted people to followed what I did and what I chose. was joked by people around me because of quitting smoking, Puffing cigarettes at my face was normal. I received humiliations every day, at one time they give up on me, even they thought by being SxE you have to be vegetarian. That is an option. However this is the misinterpretations from the society judging how SxE should be. The SxE kids began to increase every day in Klang Valley, few SxE bands coming from this city. There’s a lots of kids who don’t want to do drugs, smokes and alcohol would like to get involve in the scene, and they don’t know where to fit in. Well there is a place for them. I’ve been SxE for 8 years now, I don’t expect to change the world, but I would like to change myself, family and my scene. I believe this is not for everyone so dont get involve if you are not strong enough to be committed. I believe if everyone stops consuming unnecessary products the productions will stop polluting the air, more companies will declare bankrupts and our health and we could live longer.

19) One of things that I liked most about straightedge is the attitudes towards alcohol, drugs and smoke. I'm not a straightedge, but I despise most of those things especially cigarettes and ignorant smokers. I constantly see many smokers who smoke where they're not supposed to like in the public places and transportations and causing nuisance to other people who don't smoke. Do you think this is because we Malaysians lack of civic conscious or perhaps those people ARE just born STUPID and selfish?

- This is teaches while we are small. People smoke everywhere even the teachers and the authorities ignore the facts. We learn to ignore this because we are wealthy. What if we live in Sudan and Afghanistan maybe we didn’t need this things because we cant afford it. We have money and we wanted to show power and machoism, We want to grow up pretty fast and be a an adults. Its a lifestyle that we choose, we choose to be ignorant and selfish unless its benefits themselves. If government pays to stop smoking, imagine how many people stop, how much money they will loose, this will not beneficiary the government. Imagine how much money had been pumped to the Malaysia industries to boost up the economies its 30% invested from alcohol and cigarettes company. They lied about other danger, they portrays women and men badly and they specifically targeted poor people and children. How many percent have the government invested to advertise to make people to stop smoking and drinking, less than 10 % you could see on tv and radio and other public places. Its a weak advertising. If you go to the local shows, you can see lots of people are smoking in a closed room which is air conditions, These damages other people health. We should take serious precautions on this. Its not that we not allowed smoking, but not on closed doors. We should have more respect for other people who are not smoking especially for pregnant ladies and children. This didn’t happen in Europe, they smoke outside the close room. This statement is not to despise smokers but only the habits of being a selfish smokers.

20) What do you think about the state of hardcore today, as far as our local scene is concerned? It seems to me that Second Combat is one of the only hardcore bands left still playing today.

- I think its amazing compare to last time, kids are more respectable and humble but less creative on ideas and opinions. More kids are are expose in fashions but not on educations. But its ok we educating the kids with loads of informations. We wanted to stay longer as we could, and plays lots of shows of shows as possible. There’s not many of middle age people who will stay in the HC scene, They leave once they take what they need and probably get a good job and family. We here To show the he kids that there s something important going on in the HC scene, its just not something that you could have in your adolescents, It has a deep meaning of its contents. Its more than being drug free, Its something that we could contribute to the world and being apart from the norm. Seeing things in other perspective by being a smart consumer. We lack this kind of things, what we care was about fashions, gossips and the latest trends. Its should come hand in hand

21) I believe Second Combat have been playing for over 10 years now, despite the numerous line-up changes. What do you think keeps the band so strong and together?

- Is all about respecting each other like a family, you must understands what each other needs. Its not that we don’t have any problems apparently we do. There’s always a problem between us, we manage to settle all problems smoothly. Misunderstanding always occurred. What keep us stronger and together is because we have the same passions we all wanted to keep the scene positive. We all like music and we all like to tour the world, that’s what keep us motivated.

22) I know some members of Second Combat are vegans. Is it easy or practical to be a vegan in Malaysia, considering vegan foods and products are almost non-existent, expensive and hard to get here?

- We have 1 vegans and 4 vegetarians in the band, This nothing got to do with SxE ,
We’re vegans/veggies for a reasons . We cook at most of our shows now to promote vegetarianism. This is our contributions to animals and for health reasons, and its got nothing to do with religions infect we are not allowed to eat animals if we have compassions to them. I’m not saying that its easy since you have to replace everything you live before transform into non animals products, but its more like hobby now, searching for new vegan recipes, Vegan products, its kind of fun now having new things in your life. Its not that hard since you can find vegan food in supermarket now and lots of vegetarian restaurants around.

23) What are your plans for Second Combat and United Front Records in the future? Where do you see Second Combat and United Front Records in a few years time? Have you set any goals/plans for Second Combat future?

- We gonna play more shows and tour to the places that we never been. We haven’t set any goals yet but this is our plans in the future, Currently we recording our new songs and then we plan to play in Kota Kinabalu , Sabah on July, Indonesia & Philippines on August then Japan and Korea. United x Front will be releasing a band from here called Eleven and release our new stuffs. Yet our goals to get our music across and stay as long as possible to keep the scene positive and active.

24) If I¡'m not mistaken Second Combat have been involved with Commitment Records from The Netherlands for years now. What is the label's interest in Second Combat? How did you guys hook up with them and what do you think of them as a label?

- We the 1st band from Asia that Commitment Records signup. Commitment had been in the scene such a long time, we know Robert the owner of Commitment Records pretty well before we sign the label. The label only interested in oldschool music and they must be a Straight Edge band. I guess we become pretty close and Commitment decided to hook us up, not because we play good music but the relationship that we had bond us together. Commitment records are the best and sincere label coming from Europe, They didn’t do it for money, but infect they do it because the love of the music and sxe ideals which is traditional Hardcore.

25) Anything else you'd like to add. Thank you Ein for taking time to answer this interview!

- Thank you so much for the interview,I hope I answer all that u need.For the kids who reading this please don't hesitate to write to us at or log on to our www.myspace. com/secondcombat and our label website, Hope we could talk at the shows.


Streeters military said...

second combat, second combat...
go go go go go
make us proud man!!!!!!
i'll keep mosh where ever you go!!!


bud said...

i like second combat.muax muax!

Anonymous said...

Damm...second combat seriouslly inspire and amaze me at all...

this interview clearlly refresh what i'm supposed to know all about the IDEA's from Second Combat...Yeah surelly about smash rasisme, sexisme and i do beliave if Seconde Combat want to commerciallize the hardcore / topic and way of their blabla...Just do it Second Combat!!! Educate all society and scenister...Tells them what is Second combat into in...

(Aku selalu tgk diorang beraksi dlm tahun nih!!!)

No wonder there a lots of people really hate's, provoked, 'cakap2 belakang' about you guy's...Naa just throw them away...tak payah layan hahaha!!! Their never lesson!!!

Tuh pasal Second Combat bermain kat gig2 indie sekarang nih :)

BTW this interview is the best...Go Second Combat Go!!!