It’s that time of year again. The public submission period for Vans Musicians Wanted 2018 is now open, and hopefully you’re all preparing your tracks for submission. We talked to 2017’s winners Lukarts last week, and to keep the mood going and get everyone even more excited about competing, we decided to catch up with fellow finalists I Lost the Plot via email to get their take on the competition and what it meant for them.
What does Vans Musicians Wanted Malaysia mean to you?
I Lost the Plot: It means a lot to us as it was a huge milestone in our musical journey as a band. To be part of something as big as Vans Musicians Wanted in 2017 was a proud moment for us and we’re really thankful for the opportunity.
What was it like being part of Vans Musicians Wanted? Especially since you guys finished in the top three?
ILTP: It was a great experience and quite surreal, to be honest. We never would have thought that we’d get into the top three when we entered. We just wanted to perform and showcase our music at first. So it was really beyond our expectations.
Preparing for the competition, we knew straight away that we wanted to do something different. The competition got us to start thinking differently in terms of how we approached our performances. It gave us a chance to experiment with new stuff and see whether it would translate well into a live show. We experimented a lot with our song structures and we tried a different approach towards our showmanship. Overall, the competition encouraged us to try new things that we would’ve never done during our regular live performances.
The shows were really fun and nerve-wracking at the same time. Having the judges looking at you while performing was scary indeed. But at the end of the day, it was all worth it. We had tonnes of fun performing at the House of Vans and we learnt a lot from the experience. All of the competing bands were superb and it was a great moment for the Malaysian music scene.
We went into the competition with the mindset to just have fun and perform our music to Malaysians. We believe we achieved that and we are super grateful for it.
Did taking part in Vans Musicians Wanted 2017 have an impact on the band? If so, what kind of impact?
ILTP: Taking part in the competition definitely had an impact on us, both musically and business-wise. Musically, we learnt more about live performances and what worked best for us. The response and experience we got from the show highlighted our strengths and weaknesses, so, now we kind of know where and what to improve. To put it briefly, the competition made us better musicians.
In addition to the musical side, Vans Musicians Wanted also exposed us to the business side of music. We realise now that there’s more to it than just playing music. Band branding is just as important as giving a good live performance. We have to have the whole package in order to reach out to a bigger audience. So, the competition definitely has given us an idea of where we want to be as a brand.
Have things changed for the band since finishing in the top three of Vans Musicians Wanted 2017?
ILTP: Definitely. The response from listeners and fellow musicians has been overwhelming. It’s been quite hard for us to build a strong fan base since we’re based in a small town, so joining this competition helped us; it allowed us to reach out to more listeners throughout Malaysia who wouldn’t have discovered us otherwise. Reaching the finals resulted in us getting a lot of gig invites and opportunities for collaborations and stuff. We’re really grateful to Vans Malaysia and The Wknd Sessions for this.
Why should bands be excited about taking part in Vans Musicians Wanted Malaysia 2018?
ILTP: It’s a great platform for bands to showcase their music and talent to fellow Malaysians. It also gives bands the opportunity to build connections with fellow musicians.
If you could give any advice to bands hoping to become one of the 12 finalists, and possibly even finish in the top three, what would that advice be?
ILTP: Just be yourselves. Focus on your strengths and let those shine through in your performances. But, most importantly, have fun!
Submissions for Vans Musicians Wanted 2018 are OPEN NOW! Head on over to the official site to take part.