Studio.Shop.Space (Kuala Lumpur)

Posted by Nevin Domer on 1. Jul 2009

Can you tell us a little bit about Studio.Shop.Space and what it is you do there?

Basically the name itself describes the place: studio, shop, space. It’s a studio where bands can come down for rehearsal, a shop where we have our own distro to sell CDs and everything, bands or anyone wants to sell their art stuff can sell it there, and the space is for band meetings or for people to have discussions about the scene or really anything. Also I have quite a collection of records and kids can feel free to read the magazines and listen to records. Basically it’s a space where we can share when we have with the people in the scene.

That’s cool. It sounds like it’s a bit of a community space for the people in the underground scene.

That’s actually what we are trying to do. And actually for the studio many people say we have quite the hi-end equipment that other places wouldn’t let kids use. For me I have the opportunity to have that kind of stuff so I want the kids to at least have the opportunity to use that kind of equipment in order to bring up the music scene in Malaysia and so that kids here in the DIY scene can be exposed to those sorts of things.

When did you guys start?

Studio.Shop.Space just turned one year old this May so we have been open for one year, but the idea for the space came two or three years before when my band was touring in Japan. At that time we were looking at every kind of space they had and we tried to adapt what we can do in Malaysia from what we saw in the Japanese scene.

Let’s go through one at a time. For the studio it’s a practice studio; what kind of bands normally practice there?

Almost every kind of band from DIY bands to fun bands, like the Foliage kids just having fun playing in a band, to even four people playing oldies. It’s open for everyone to use.

How many bands a week normally practice there?

I was away for the past six months, but it depends, normally one or two bands per day on the weekdays on the weekends there may be more bands and normally there are more bands early in the month because that is when they get their salaries. It’s a bit slow when it comes to the middle of the month.

For the shop part, what type of stuff do you carry in the shop?

Mostly for right now we carry everything that Third Arm Records has in their distro list because I co-run Third Arm Records so right now everything they release and distro will be here in the shop space but we are also working to collect stuff from other distros.

That was actually going to be one of my next questions. I know that you are involved in Third Arm Records too. When did that start?

Third Arm Records started in 2005 or 2006… I can’t remember because I wasn’t the pioneer of Third Arm Records, actually it started from a collective of friends who called themselves Revolt and Chaos. A few bands that played different sort of sound from other bands in the scene at that time got together to share information and after that we formed a record label to release bands from Revolt and Chaos.

So up to now how many releases have you done?

We have 17 or 18 releases already.

And they are all Kuala Lumpur bands?

Not really, for Revolt and Chaos we have a band from all around Malaysia and we release some bands from oversees who we like their style.

Let’s go back and also talk about the space part of it. I know you have shows there and you also said that you open it up for other kinds of community stuff. What kinds of activities do you normally have there?

It’s open for anybody to come and listen to records, talk about music or discuss about anything in the scene that they want to talk about. It’s an open space for pretty much anything. Currently we still don’t have any sort of workshops for people in the scene like making banners stuff like that…

How about the shows? How often do you have them?

We just started the shows last month in April and it’s on a weekly basis, every Friday night we do it.

But you made an exception for us. [ed. our show was on a Wednesday]

Yeah, if there is a touring band coming over we will make an exception.

Ha ha, thanks. I know that you are really involved in the scene. What do you think about the current underground and DIY scene in Malaysia?

The meaning DIY is debated by many people in the scene. Some bands even go and play at corporate sponsored shows but they still call it DIY cause they think that they did it themselves. I feel the kids are confused about what is DIY and what it is not, what is hardcore punk and everything. So kids now days are more like, “I don’t care I just want to play shows” and some of the bands are demanding money if you want to call them to shows. Some of the organizers are saying that these bands are not DIY anymore because they are demanding money but some of the organizers are taking advantage of the bands saying there is no payment or anything because this is a DIY show. So “Do It Yourself” means that we do this for the hardcore-punk scene not that we are expecting any payment. That is the trouble with the mindset of the kids now days they are not sure anymore what is DIY and what is hardcore-punk.

Well, if you could change something about the Malaysian scene what would you change?

First I would like to get rid of all the different scenes. Even in KL there are different scenes. Just because you play a different type of music means that people are not going to get along together. Some bands play with another kind of band that they don’t like their style so they don’t get along together. Let’s put aside our personal issues. Kids in Malaysia need to unite and discuss how to improve the scene. Some organizers have been taking advantage and putting tickets up to 40 or 50 ringgits per show. Some people think it’s too expensive but the organizers say that if they didn’t charge that kind of charge then they couldn’t pay the bands. So that is why all of the organizers and the bands need to sit down and discuss about the proper way to make a show, pay the rent and pay the bands and it will be better for everyone so they can get a win-win situation. The main thing is that they need to sit down and discuss together.

I also want to know what kind of future plans you have for Studio.Shop.Space and Third Arm Records?

For Third Arm Records we are looking forward to looking for more local bands that are interested in having us release their albums. For Studio.Shop.Space we are currently trying to fill up the space and the shop and we would like to put in more distros and everything. For the studio we would like to go ahead with our recording plans as soon as possible. We want to have a complete set up for recording so it’s easier for Third Arm Records to record their own albums.

Check out Studio.Shop.Space and Third Arm Records on the internet:


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