Interview: Azmyl Yunor & the Sigarettes

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On Monday August 18, folk rockers, Azmyl Yunor & the Sigarettes announced startling plans to disband commencing 31st of August. Read what Azmyl has to say in this recent interview we did:

azmyl yunor

1) I’m sure some are reeling with shock over the sudden announcement you made on Facebook regarding the split. Why did you guys decide to call it quit after 9 long years?
We’re friends first and foremost. Secondly, we’re primarily a touring band and we’ve done our duties by touring consistently for the past 9 years, so it’s time to move on to other projects. Ironically, we’ve never been invited to play as a band at any of the major festivals in the Klang Valley, only outside of it, even Singapore. We like to keep that streak before someone invited us.

2) Prior to the announcement, you guys have been performing at various shows like the Pisco Live Mic and Pianissimo Concert. Did the idea of splitting come before or after those events and if so, how would you describe those last performances together?
We’re not the nostalgic and teary-eyed kind, so the decision was firmed only after those shows. We didn’t want to reach the point where we would be on auto-pilot mode for a paycheck and not be playing from the heart. We just did what we did best during the last two shows: rocking it out. The Pisco show was memorable because we were supporting one of our favourite bands, Jogjakarta’s Risky Summerbee & the Honeythief.

3) What is your focus now since being in a band is out of the way? Do you foresee an exciting solo venture from each member?
The others have always had something on their plates and have always been involved in some exciting creative or musical project or another.  Some just got busier with other personal commitments but I’m sure the music is still strong in them and they’ll get back to it once it’s sorted.

As for me, after releasing and touring ‘The Pedra Branca EP’ with Singapore’s Hell Low in April, I went back straight to work, collaborating with Raje, who other than playing drums with the Sigarettes, is producing a new album with me and is the band leader of Orkes Padu. We’re releasing a new album called ‘Was Was’ as ‘Azmyl Yunor & Orkes Padu’ in 2015. We’ll be premiering a video of the first single from the album on 16 September, a song fitting for Malaysia Day.

4) What are you most proud over the band’s career in terms of how much you guys have accomplished?
We’re most proud to have been able to document our time on this planet with 2012’s ‘Wilayah’ album. Most bands don’t even exist long enough in this country to even record an EP. Personally, that album had been a labour of love, warts and all. It had been at the back of my mind since I started my first band in when I was 18. I am forever indebted to the gang for agreeing to be a part of something beautiful but also “rabak” at the same time.

We’re also proud that we had never cancelled a single show in our 9 years and that we were able to exist and perform even if we were down to two members. Shows must go on, we give no excuses.

5) Being a band that is well-respected and based on those experiences that you have gained over the time, what advice do you have to aspiring/emerging musicians who are trying to make it in the local scene?
Have physical and mental stamina and passion towards your craft, to hell with trends, fancies, and the status quo. Have an open mind and heart. Be open to new experiences. Be hungry to learn. Make new friends , not build cliques. Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices. Learn to save money. Minimise credit card use. Respect others. Keep your word. Communicate. Take the negative and turn it into gold. Always have a Plan B.

You will find yourself asking this question at some point: “what am I doing this for?” Only you know the answer, and stick to it to the end. Finish what you start. Oh yeah, and eat well and stay hydrated.

Thank you.

Note: Drummer of The Sigarettes, Raje and Azmyl Yunor himself will be releasing a new album called ‘Was Was’ as ‘Azmyl Yunor & Orkes Padu’ in 2015. Be on the lookout for that!

“Thank you your support and enthusiasm for the past nine years! We’ve done our rounds and contributed to the best of our abilities, time to move on. We will still collaborate and perform with each other when the opportunity arises. As they say, all ends are new beginnings. Peace \m/- Azmyl Yunor & the Sigarettes

Interviewed by Izyan Liyana
Photo via Azmyl Yunor & the Sigarettes