Members of local pop-punk outfit One Buck Short talk to AREF OMAR about their upcoming debut release and their love for gigs.
SAY One Buck Short and one word comes to mind – fun. Influenced by a string of spirited punk bands from California such as Bad Religion, The Descendents, Rancid, NOFX, Blink 182 and Green Day, the band of four jolly rockers have built up a steady following of music lovers since the late 90s.
One Buck Short is made up of guitarist Rahul Kukreja, vocalist Mundzir Abdul Latif (Mooky), drummer Imran Fadzil, and bassist Izal Azlee, all in their 20s.
The catchy debut single, That Day, from their 2003 four-track EP Where's The Mouse, managed to peaked at fifth place on the Hitz.fm Malaysian Top 10 chart.
In 2004, the PJ-based band contributed a song to the Musiccanteen Christmas charity compilation album.
The band was then nominated for best newcomer during last year's Hitz.fm Malaysian Top 10 Awards, losing to vocal powerhouse Jaclyn Victor.
"We've been steadily amassing new material over the years and when the whole Black Metal fiasco flared up earlier this year it was good timing for us to hit the studios to record," says Rahul.
The Greg Henderson-produced album, with the quirky working title Halal and Loving It, is currently in the mixing stage and should be out next month. It features 12 songs with social commentary that touch on various topics relating to sex, drugs and corruption.
"Although we have something to say, we don't take ourselves too seriously and we're just like the next guy on the street. The album boils down to serious issues in a fun wrapping," says Imran.
However, when it comes to gigging in front of a live audience, the band is all business and never a buck short.
"We write easy yet catchy songs so we can concentrate on rocking out and giving our fans a memorable performance, no matter how small or large the crowd," says Mooky.
From the cosy confines of Paul's Place to the stadium extravaganza of Rock the World, the boys have put out energetic performances playing their brand of pop-punk.
"I remember playing in Terengganu and the response from the fairly large crowd was awesome with guys singing along to our songs," says Rahul.
"Nothing beats playing live in front of real people – the more you do the better you get. So it's sad that there are lots of brilliant bands around but not many avenues for them to perform at," he laments.
Perhaps the recent success of the Radio Malaya gig at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre would bolster future events for a start.
Rahul is also taking a positive approach with his talent and artiste-booking agency Stellar Entertainment, formed with Alda Tan of Cosmic Funk Express, to organise events that would benefit the local scene.
Recently, the band was busy rocking at Sunway Lagoon for the Quicksilver Revolution Tour with local bigwigs Love Me Butch and Pop Shuvit.
"A short trip to Kuching recently for a few acoustic shows and interviews also gave us some exposure and the chance to make more friends," says Rahul.
The band will head back there soon to perform at the second Kuching Bandfest featuring 20 of Sarawak's local bands including Nice Stupid Playground and Evenstarr, as well as KL's Tempered Mental.
"We are very fortunate to have a pretty healthy set of upcoming performances and we hope to tour the country after the album launch," says Imran.
Catch One Buck Short at the Asian X Games on Saturday (2pm) at the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Persiaran Lagoon, Bandar Sunway, PJ. For details, call 03-5635-8000.
The band will also perform on the same day with The A.C.A.B at 8pm at KL Jam Asia, 19-1 Jalan 22A/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, KL. Call 03-6201-8962.
One Buck Short will rock the house at the Kuching Bandfest 2006 on May 21 (1pm onwards) at the Kuching Amphitheatre, Jalan Taman Budaya, Sarawak. Tickets are RM20/RM10. Call 082-455-744.