Shentonista Soundspace — Krunkle



A year ago, Krunkle was a band mainly known to friends and fans of the local music scene, because gigs and live shows were the only places where one could hear the band’s music. That is, up until December 2023, when Krunkle finally released their first EP on Spotify, just over a year after the band’s inception and first gig.

So, as you can imagine, the first question we asked them was one that many others had on their minds—what took so long?

The answer? They were just taking time to experiment and find a sound that best fits them. The quartet consists of frontman Dzak, guitarist Akid, bassist Wayne, and drummer Justin, and in this stripped down session, Dzak & Justin shared more about the sound that the band has grown to adopt—a mixture of the classic alternative rock of the ‘90s, Brit-pop, and scrappy noise pop, but trust us, you’ll understand once you hear it.

Note: The video above features just two of the four members of Krunkle, and includes a short snippet of the full interview, which is transcribed below.

First things first, can you tell us more about the process of releasing your EP? Considering that it took you guys quite a while to go from playing gigs to recording and releasing your music.

Dzak (D): Ahh, yes, the burning question. Actually, we’ve been recording for the longest time, but because this is a very new thing for us, there was a lot of trial and error trying to find a sound and all that, so that took a bit of time, and it was quite a steep learning curve. But then we finally got to finishing the EP, so we released it. I think we’ve been working on it for like—

Justin (J): Yeah, for the longest time, people have been asking us also like “When are you guys releasing?”

D: Yeah, even before our first show, we’ve been working on getting the sound right.

On that note, what was it that brought you guys together?

D: (laughs) Okay, so—

J: We met at a birthday party.

D: But I didn’t talk to this guy (Justin) at all.

J: Yeah (laughs).

D: I mean, back then, I already had plans to start a band because I’d been writing music on the side, but then I realised “Damn, I need a drummer” but I didn’t know any drummers. So one day, I was on the bus on the way home, and then I properly bumped into this guy (Justin), and I was like “Eh, I know you!” and he was like “Oh yeah, I saw you at that party” and blah, blah, blah.

So aside from music, I also cut hair, so one day I— (laughs)

J: So this guy (Dzak), out of the blue one day, he just DMed me on Instagram and was like “Yo, do you need a haircut by the way?” (laughs) And so I went to let him cut my hair, and during the haircut he was like “Yo man, so I was thinking of starting a band,” and it was quite funny because at the end of the haircut he was like “Oh yeah, it’s free by the way,” so of course I needed to join the band lah. In other words, I was actually forced into this.

D: (laughs) Yeah, if he didn’t agree to join the band, he had to pay full price lah, you know?

J: (laughs) Fair, man.

What has your experience been like as a band?

J: I’m having the worst time of my life, man (laughs).

D: Yeah, absolutely, I hate music. Just kidding! It’s just fun lah, like I said, it’s quite new to us, especially the whole production side of things, and I don’t know if I should say this, but I don’t even know the chords to my songs sometimes (laughs). Most of the time I kind of just play by feel, but it’s been fun!

I think it’s always nice to have another creative outlet aside from all of the other things that I do, and it’s nice to share the same passion with your friends.

What is your creative process like when writing music?

J: It’s about girls ah (laughs).

D: Wah, no, it’s not that! (laughs) So gross!

J: Actually, Dzak mainly writes the songs, except for Stale—we wrote that one together in my room.

D: I mean, it depends lah, right? I’ll usually come up with the melody first, like the chorus, and then I’ll try to find the chords in that melody, then I’ll bring it to the studio and be like “Oh, I have this idea,” then I’ll start humming, and everyone just comes together, and that’s when the song kind of changes from how it was initially when I first started writing it to how it will eventually be.

So yeah, I’d say I write the foundation of the songs, but we develop the nuances together as a band.

What inspires you as a band?

J: Girls ah, no one else, man. Okay, I’m kidding.

D: Oasis. I’m just kidding. I think for me and my guitarist at least, or even everyone in the band actually, we’re quite a fan of ‘90s Brit-pop. I feel like it’s a little bit vulgar—am I allowed to say it? Okay, the very wanky ‘90s Brit-pop, bands like Blur and Oasis, you know? They’re pretty geeky in their own way, which is what we took inspiration from for the band’s outlook.

But as far as our EP goes, I think the main influence that we drew from? Draw? (laughs) The main influence for us is this band called Yuck. We’re huge fans of their self-titled deluxe record.

J: (sings)

D: Yeah, that song! I think a lot of our songwriting was influenced and inspired by that record.

We were at your most recent Baybeats gig, and Dzak’s grandma was in the crowd! How was that for her? Did she enjoy the show?

D: (laughs) Yeah! It’s so funny, because I didn’t see her until she was seated right at the front, in the first row of seats, and by then there were people right in front of her, standing up and blocking her. She’s a very small lady, so I said “Oh! My grandma’s in the crowd!” and she was like “Yes!” and started waving her hands, and everyone was like “Oh, she’s there!”

It was cute. She lives in Malacca, so she came down just to see the family, and I happened to be playing a show, so it was perfect timing I guess (laughs).

What does family mean to you guys?

D: Ooh, family? Family’s great (laughs).

J: Family’s music—oh no (laughs).

D: (laughs) Oh no, that’s so lame! Don’t even say that, sia!

J: Yeah but… family to me means blood. I don’t know, man! Actually earlier today, I was just making ondeh-ondeh (pandan balls with gula melaka or palm sugar) with my grandma. Pretty cool! She taught me how to take the dough and turn it into a ball, then you press your thumb, or I use my pinky, then you put the gula melaka, close, and then you round it. Yeah, cooking lesson now.

D: So that’s what family means to him—making gula melaka balls. But for me, I don’t know, I’ve never really thought of that, what family means to me. I feel like you can’t really choose family, but a lot of accepting and learning to accept people comes from family and understanding family. So I think that’s what family means to me—appreciating and understanding people as people, if that makes sense.

Just like how everyone has a role in each friend group, what’s everyone’s role in the band?

D: I mean, all of us write the music pretty much, but Justin does most of the emails (laughs).

J: Oh yeah, that’s how I met Kimberly (Shentonista’s producer) by the way. Hi Kimberly (laughs).

D: (laughs) Yeah I can’t stand words, but as far as the creative side of things go, I wouldn’t say I handle most of it, but I do take a lot of charge of the art direction of the band.

J: Yeah, Dzak actually designs most of our collaterals, especially for this EP, and he does the visuals for our music videos.

D: Yeah, and logos and stuff. I think as far as creating an experience outside of the music itself, it’s quite important to me, so it’s what I do.

J: Then I’m the email guy. If you guys wanna talk, just send an email, I’ll be there (laughs). Kimberly, I’m looking at you.

D: (laughs) Yeah, our bassist is a tattoo artist, so he does a lot of our merch and a bit of the art, so that’s pretty cool. And then our guitarist is just catching a vibe (laughs), as we all do.

There are a lot of youths getting into music these days, forming their own bands and becoming fans of local music. How else do you hope to see the local community grow or evolve over the next few years?

D: We’re a fairly new band as well—we started during Covid, which is when I think a lot of other bands started as well. I think the scene, for what it is, is pretty nice. A lot of bands are pretty young guys too—shoutout to Bellied Star, I think they’re 17, 18 years old, but they’re killing it.

J: What about the old guys though? I used to watch Forests when I was in secondary school. I think that was my first local gig, watching Forests open for Periphery. So long ago, man! But anyway, moving forward, there could definitely be more venues because so many operate out of industrial spaces, and they just get closed down, so that’s not very feasible as well, to really run a space unless it’s a studio space in general.

D: Yeah, there’s that and also to just expand our borders with music, you know? I think there’s always room for bands from other countries, for instance Malaysia. I think it would be nice to have a scene that collaborates more with each other. But the main problem is still that we don’t have enough venues, which is why gigs are always in the same venues. I think there’s only like, three venues that you can legally play in (laughs).

J: Or maybe this is more focused on underground shows? Like spaces in general, and I think what you brought up about more bands forming, I think it’s pretty cool that there are so many cool bands on the rise.

D: There’s a change in the sound as well, so it’s really nice, and we always welcome more bands.

One last question—what’s next for the band?

J: We’re just gonna take the money and run lah, right?

D: Yeah, and then disband. (laughs) No lah, for real though, I think touring would be nice. We made some friends in Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia as well, so I think ideally we’d like to tour this EP. We have plans for that, maybe next year, but we say these things lah, like we say the EP is gonna come out in 2021 and then—

J: (laughs) Like we say “Oh, we’re gonna release music” right?

D: Yeah but for real though, I think touring will be great, and it’s in the plans.

J: Yeah, definitely in the plans I feel. So what’s next for Shentonista? (laughs)

What’s next? Another round!

D: Yes!

J: Let’s go!

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