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Man Bai is our big brother: Pop Shuvit

Pop Shuvit certainly gave an aura of excitement and restlessness when speaking to us just a few hours ahead of their performance at MTV World Stage in i-City, Shah Alam.

Yes World: Would MTV World Stage be the biggest gig you’ve played?

Moots: For the fact that it’s going to be broadcasted to 300 million houses, 154 countries, and 15,000 viewers, this is definitely the biggest gig. Not everyone gets to play World Stage, even when I was talking to the PR guys who did Spain, the one in Madrid, he was like, “Wow, you guys, this is big!”, and they advised us to have fun with it. For them, World Stage is one of the biggest shows around the world, and for us, you know, a little old band from Malaysia to get to perform on that stage, is really awesome.

Yes World: If MTV World Stage is the biggest gig you played, what would be the second?

Moots: Well the Rock The World has been great, Rockaway was great, the shows that we’ve done here. It’s a different show altogether, it’s not just another live show, it’s a live show that’s being broadcasted on TV. That aspect of it, the cameras, we’re not just interacting with the live audience but with the people at home. It’s kind of a double duty on stage as well for us. It’s something different, but yeah, I think we’ll have fun doing it.

Yes World: You mentioned little old band from Malaysia, you’ve been around for 11 years now, what’s different with Pop Shuvit now as opposed to when you first started out?

Uno: We’ve become more matured definitely. We’ve grown from that point of being a bunch of angry kids, you know, angry at everything, angry at our girlfriends, angry at our parents, angry at the world, we’ve kind of like matured from that and…

Moots: We’re happy with life. This album Cherry Blossom Love Affair is actually about love. We never thought we’d write a ballad, but we did! That’s a funny thing, because the ballad that we wrote wasn’t about love, it was about advice, but the heavy songs we did were about love. So, I think this album kind of represents where the band is at, at a stage in our life where we’re all happy and not angry at everything. We’ve got the businesses set up, the studio is up and running, the musical label is up and running, we’re still doing music, we’re just so happy (about that). I remember when I first started the band with Rudy, I told him that it was just going to be a five-year thing, and after that we’ll be done. Then we surprised each other because it just kept on going, and it stream rolled. I remember the first album didn’t do so well in Malaysia, and you know, I would just be happy if we got a second album from the label. Then the next thing you know, Japan happened, then bam! It steam rolled again! And now 11 years on the cycle is starting again, and we’re expecting things to stream roll again. We’re here to enjoy the ride and we’re just going to keep on going.

Yes World: You were recently touring Manila. Tell us more about the trip.

Moots: The thing about us touring is that it isn’t a label thing. It’s all through friendship that we have built over the years, and we were working with our friends Slapshock who are like our mirror image over there. They are stream rolling with their new album which is doing really well. When they brought us on tour, and during the fourth and recent trip, we were told that fans were really looking forward to us. We didn’t believe (it) because we thought this market didn’t know who we are, but then these fans started singing ‘Marabahaya’ and they don’t know a word of it! That’s when we realised what touring is all about, the friendship, the fans. We believe that if you keep going back to places, you will get fans. Eventually you will break the market as well, which is why this album will be released in the Philippines too.

Yes World: You have songs in Tagalog, Spanish and Japanese, besides English and Bahasa Malaysia, who is the linguist amongst you?

Moots: JD is the melody linguist, he’s the legend when it comes to writing stuff and coming up with melodies, like the Tagalog song. He just needs to hum it, and he’ll do it in such a way that it would be easy to fit that language in, I’d call him a melodic linguist….

JD: Not that cunning but…

Moots: Not that cunning, but yeah, he knows how to fit them in.

Yes World: Which language next?

Moots: Mandarin, Cantonese… Tamil… Tamil would be a challenge for me. I would actually love to do one in Tamil, and it would make my parents very happy (laughs), but I don’t know how to make a Pop Shuvit song in Tamil. A lot of the Indian markets here have been asking me to do a Tamil song, but you never know, we never say no…

JD begins humming a melody then sings a Tamil line.

Moots, AJ, Rudy, Uno: There you go!

AJ: I think that’s a very interesting idea…

Yes World: How has Cherry Blossom Love Affair been received so far?

All: It’s been great!

Moots: It has been three years in the making. We’ve had the luxury of working in our own time. We didn’t have people from labels hounding us asking where’s the product. There are pros and cons to it. The pros would be of course being able to take our time, and the cons would be that we can be lazy and complacent sometimes.

AJ: Busy-lah.

Moots: Yeah, we’ve been busy with shows and our own stuff as well. We’d be releasing singles and JD would be, hey! Where’s our album? Forget the singles, we need to come up with an album!

JD: We were actually looking at a whole mound of materials, which was more than enough to create an album, and some of the stuff didn’t even make it into the album.

Yes World: Is it true that Pop Shuvit is contemplating releasing another album after Hari Raya (Eid)?

Moots: We had a couple of songs which we didn’t include in this album. The thing about us is that we’re musicians, and we’ll be constantly writing stuff. For us, everything is done by our manager, and she’ll be like, “Guys, where is the album?” (Laughs) If she didn’t crack the whip on us, this album won’t be out still! The collector’s album that we will be releasing after Raya will have those songs.

Rudy: It will also have some illustrations done by Marto Jaks who approached us and created an illustrated character for each one of us. He also told us that he’s working on an animation for one of the song that he loves.

Moots: And who knows, in the future we might even have it in print as merchandise and maybe even an exhibition or gallery or an animated shot.

Rudy: Without even asking, he told us he’s already working on a few stuff. The passion they have for the band and the music is great. They constantly churn out stuff which we are really grateful for.

Yes World: You’ll be performing ‘Seperti Syurgamu’ which features Man Bai at MTV World Stage, tell us more about the relationship between Pop Shuvit and the Malaysian legend.

JD: Everything starts with a song, and we wanted to write a song which talked about how youths waste their life. We were looking for a father or brother figure to work with, and we’ve always looked up at Man Bai. He was a total professional from the get go. He’s got that magical touch that puts us all at ease.

Moots: He’s officially Pop Shuvit’s elder brother; he’s now the eldest Shuvit!

Yes World: So what’s next for Pop Shuvit?

Moots: I guess we’ll be promoting the album, then we need to get the video done for the English single. We’ve got some collaboration work. But right after World Stage we’re going to see where this next snowball will take us.

Yes World: No burnout?

Moots: We have a very long candle!

Uno: Not the ones you can get in stores, it’s longer than that!

Moots: If we’re running out, our manager will stick another one right under it! (Laughs)

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