Interviewed by yun
“Getting Sick and Tired” might be the title of local metal outfit Jackalhyde’s original song, but make no mistake about it – when it comes to playing music, these guys are anything but lethargic. Pure Rock zips an email to bassist Irwan and drummer Wei Heong, and lets them give us the lowdown on what makes Jackalhyde tick…
PR: Ok, first things first, your band's called -- 'Jackalhyde'... how did it come about? You all did undergo a few name changes before this -- why eventually settle on this one & any special meaning behind it?
Irwan: Yep, the band went through various name changes and it was quite frustrating. From time to time we always had the feeling that the current name didn’t suit the band. After months and months of brain busting, we finally decided to make Jackalhyde our official and final name. We kinda took the idea from Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde; these two guys are actually the same person but with very different personalities. And our music is pretty much similar, soothing and normal but with a touch of insanity.
PR: When did you first pick up the respective instrument (guitar/bass/drums/vocals) you're playing now? How did your interest in metal start?
Wei Heong: I first picked up drums when I was still in Sec 3. There was a drum kit in my teacher's office and I used to sneak in on weekends to fool around with it (did that sound obscene? LOL). And since I didn’t have a decent pair of sticks, I just used what I could find like rulers, pens and stuff like that. I just listened to cds and tried to copy the beats, that was how I practised and still do. As for how I got into metal, well my first cd was Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals. I was just looking around my local cd shop and the cover art really really stood out! Prior to that the only thing I knew about Manson was that he was some freak playing rock music, so I took a chance and bought it, and turns out I liked it. A lot. Haha. So I began surfing the net, looking for similar stuff. Soon, I was itching to play in a band, and Wan gave me that chance. And I'm glad I took up his offer!
Irwan: I bought my first electric bass at around December 1999 and later in 2000, I bought a electric guitar. But I didn’t focused much on these two instruments cause my first intention was to be the band's vocalist. But as time passed by, I realised that if the song didn't had any bass lines, it would like sound so flat, plus at that time, nobody wanted to take up the bass position. I tried to solve this situation by taking on the bass. Thank God I did. Eventually guys like Billy Sheehan, Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne) and John Myung (Dream Theater) proved to me that you can actually do wanders with the electric bass. May it be 4, 5 or 6 string bass. And Ryan Martinie was the guy who actually sparked my interest in metal music. I still remembered the first time I saw him slap and popped on his bass and at that time, I have never seen such a thing. To mix that kind of technique with heavy guitar riffs is just plain insane.
PR: How do you prepare yourselves before gigs? What is the best part about performing live to a crowd?
Wei Heong: I remember my first real gig; it was at zombie rock bar. I thought that beer would help loosen up my body and make it less tense, so I drank copious amounts of it. Turns out the beer really worked, but it did shit for my concentration! So I basically just whacked my way through the set. Haha. The basic beats were there but the fills were shit. After that episode, I now only drink AFTER my set. As for how I prepare, I usually just do a few stretches and stuff, AND smoke. Not really very professional eh. The best thing about performing live I guess it's that indescribable high you get when you see people you don't even know rocking out to your music. You get a very contented and satisfied feeling. Strangers coming up and complimenting you, makes you feel proud of your "art"? Heh heh. But of course we don't let that go to our heads, we still strive to make even better music and upgrade ourselves.
Irwan: For me I would do some stretching especially with my fingers and legs and I would also remind my bandmates not to get drunk before a performance. Cause if you’re drunk during a performance, you tend to forget the notes you’re supposed to play. We kinda learned that the hard way. And the best thing about performing in front of a live crowd is when they sing along, headbang and mosh along to the song. With all that happening, you do feel that all your hard work finally paid off.
PR: You guys have an original "Getting Sick and Tired". Where did inspiration for writing the song come from?
Irwan: Well, I can say the inspiration kinda came from a feeling that I had at that point in time. The feeling was a little bit of hatred and despise towards the people who I think are very crappy in my own view (e.g. mats, minahs, hip hopper-wannabes etc.).
PR: Who would you say are your greatest musical influences?
Wei Heong: Well, I used to think that, "Wow this guy rocks, I wanna play just like him" and all that, but I now realise you can't copy someone's style exactly. So I just basically go with the flow of what Shawn, Wan and Eugene lay down, improvise and polish it up from there. So you could say my greatest musical influences are them! =)
Irwan: I would say guys like Ryan Martinie, John Myung, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Flea and my dad.
PR: What do you think makes metal stand out from other types of music e.g. pop, r&b, jazz etc? Do you enjoy other genres too, besides metal?
Wei Heong: Well, I think metal has some kinda... I don't know what you call it... "primal" feel that really engages the listener deeply? People say metal is for angry people and I totally agree because I think metal is the only kind of music to erase/suppress that anger! Metal, I think is the greatest stress reliever. As for other genres I do listen to a bit of punk, goth (especially those with haunting female vocals…LOL), and I don't care if people say shit, but I like techno and trance as well!
Irwan: I do enjoy other forms of music such as Blues, Jazz, Funk and Reggae. But I really can't take stuff like pop and techno. Oh my God, listening to pop and techno can really make me go loco. Ok back to the topic. To me, what makes Metal stands out among the other genres is the lyrical content. The vocalist in the metal band can actually express a lot of things through his words.
PR: Do you listen to works by other local bands too? Any favourites?
Wei Heong: Hmm... Well, Rudra is good, so is Meza Virs. Musically wise, I really like what they are doing.
Irwan: Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do listen to some local stuff. Right now my favourites would be Ossuary, Ethereal, 7 Pound Vein, Hazzagaddah (please don’t kill me if I get the names wrong), Meltgsnow, Meza Virs. There are a lot more but I wanna keep it short.
PR: What's next for Jackalhyde?
Irwan: Our next gig would be in Metal Industries 2. The gig date has yet to be confirmed.