NEW underground music event The Magnificent 8 has been serving as a platform for local indie bands, musicians, and singers, giving them a chance to promote themselves and grow more independently.
The Mag 8 gigs, which have been held since last year, are divided into different series, with eight performers from across the country showcasing their talent and performing on specific days.
I was granted the opportunity to attend The Mag 8’s Volume 19 gigs on Feb 26, which differs from the previous series as it also features hip-hop, rather than their usual punk, rock, and metal.
Being held at Migos Garage, Seri Kembangan, the shows went extremely well, (even with a slight delay in timing) with every performer giving their absolute best performance.
In addition to up-and-coming band Smesta, the series also featured rising stars ROHA, Gessavic, Vota, Mellowflowers, 3i1e, Northeast Childs, and Jinxte.
Considering that the event has reached 19 volumes in under a year, I spoke with The Mag 8 organiser, Megat Yaesree, as well as Vol 19 co-organiser, Zurin.
“The idea of [The Mag 8] came from Garage Space (previously Garage Studio), located in Ampang Hilir, where it was specifically [a place for] local indie bands to perform and gain experience, as well as promoting their band before [they went] to the next level,” Megat said.
“At first, it was just a concept for a collaboration, and before I took over, metal was the chosen genre. Only a few shows had been produced at the time.
“When I was assigned to handle the event, I was asked to find some fresh, up-and-coming bands to play at the gig, and this time it could be [a genre] other than metal.”
Megat added: “So I looked for them on various social media sites, including Twitter, Instagram, and others. Thankfully, this led to a lot of positive feedback, and many bands have since contacted me to request to play the gig.”
Meanwhile, co-organiser Zurin’s perspective was slightly different, given that it was her first time handling and assisting the Vol 18 event, as well as being given the task to host the entire evening.
Zurin explained: “My first gig experience saw people go wild, mosh and rage, yet they were still within the limit because there was no alcohol or drugs involved. And I noticed that most people had negative misconceptions about these local independent musicians.”
“Hence, I suddenly felt compelled to help these people by organising more gigs in the future. I teamed up with my friend @tutythecengkih, and she helped me a lot during the process.
“And of course, seeing other people happy makes me happy too.”
The growing underground scene appears to have caught the attention of more and more young people these days, considering they are able to convey thoughts and feelings through the form of music.
The recent Vol 19 gig series received a positive response from the aidience, which is extremely encouraging for The Mag 8 as it continues its efforts to improve.
Even though the venue had to be changed at the last minute due to a problem that arose during the previous series (Vol 18), Migos Garage proved to be an excellent replacement, as it was able to provide lighting and décor that suited the hip-hop and punk atmosphere of the evening, which made it more interesting.
As the event progressed, Zurin shared the true meaning and objective of these shows, as well as the potential benefits that these types of activities could bring about.
“This kind of gig is important because I believe that some Malaysian works of art are underappreciated,” Zurin said.
“There is a lack of artistic sensibility, poetic lyricism, and grunge sound in the current music industry, so I believe you will only experience it at shows like this. And it would be unfair to ignore these independent underground artistes, as each possesses great potential and a unique style.”
“Nonetheless, only with these types of gigs would they have the opportunity to literally conquer the stage, gain experience performing in front of modest crowds, and learn what it’s like to be an entertainer.
“Therefore, local gigs like this should be continued and promoted. It really makes me happy to see how hard work and effort have paid off.”
With the series of shows having received a lot of praise among the indie community, Megat revealed that his dream was to organise a large-scale music festival with a space for vendors and food trucks, so that attendees could enjoy music while also supporting local businesses.
He said: “Isn’t it incredible that these local indie bands have the chance to perform in front of hundreds or thousands of people? That might accelerate their growth while also giving chances to other local businesses.
“I already have a group of friends and a team that is prepared to commit. I have complete support, including the venue, but there are still some issues here. Perhaps I need more time, and I hope it will happen one day.”
The Mag 8 is expected to continue its journey, with Megat promising it will conclude the gigs series for this year with Vol 39.
Meanwhile Vols 20 and 21 already planned, and fans of underground music may keep an eye out on the Instagram hashtag #themagnificent8 for more information.