Archive for the ‘STUDIO DIARY 03’ Category


Thursday, February 27th, 2003

I kept a studio diary while recording ‘Rustic Living’ in the closing months of 2002. Bowing to a long history of verbosity, I posted it to my mailing list by way of a day-to-day account on how things were progressing. I guess I also wrote it because I was keenly aware of the fact that I might never make another record again in my life, and did not want the experience to drift by. Little did I know that a few months later, after a friend handed samples to the editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times, the diary would be serialised by the paper’s sunday supplement (Nuance) and turned into a 4-month long episodic journal entitled ‘Diary Of An Album’.

At the time, I was faced with a situation where I had just made an independent record, but had no marketing budget to promote it. So I proposed to New Straits Times that I needn’t be paid for the serialisation except for the publication of 4 separate side-bar adverts upon the release of my album (to appear in Nuance). Whether a proper business manager would have looked upon such a deal with admiration or scorn, I do not know – but it was such that my modest little recording project became a minor nationwide feature item even before it was released.

In the weeks that followed the diary’s episodic publication, I received numerous letters from the Malaysian public expressing interest in an artist who hitherto had next to zero following outside of the fledging independent music scene in Kuala Lumpur. My replies to them always included an introduction to local independent live shows such as the Songwriters’ Round, Acoustic Jam, and Unclogged. Thus, to the extent that the publication of the diary contributed to better public awareness of the existence of a whole generation of talented independent Malaysian musicans, the series was hugely ground-breaking. Credits here must go to Alan Rashid (Editor-In-Chief, Sunday Times) for recognising the opportunity and PC Teh (Editor, Nuance) for executing the effort. Insofar as the series did help me sell a few more CDs than what I otherwise would, I remain eternally grateful for the break.

Needless to say, in a country characterised by a tendency to descend into village politics at the slightest provocation, the series was somewhat controversial. Not that there is anything controversial about the diaries in themselves, but apparent support given by a national broadsheet to an unknown independent artist was sufficient to irk some. In this regard, I remember vividly the gentleman who wrote to Nuance accusing its editors of having been bribed by me, and queried that perhaps I was the owner of the publication – why else would it serialise such a worthless piece of shit by a talentless wannabe such as I? Aside from shooting back a cheeky reply to the aforesaid gentleman which included offering him a free CD so that he might have the benefit of hearing the work before he condemned it (unclaimed to this day), there was little I could do to quell such drivel. Still, these were minor irritants to what was otherwise a nice little jaunt.

The version of the diaries reproduced here isn’t exactly the same as the one that appeared in Nuance. I had taken liberty to expand a little upon them, but not by much. Moreover, just like its Nuance counterpart, this remains a sanitised and vastly abridged version compared to the original broadcasted to my mailing list, which was much more direct in its language and hugely long at 35,000 words. Naturally, I left grammatical mistakes and inconsistencies alone for the sake of authenticity. I did harbour some thoughts of publishing the original version in its entirety here – but the prospect of editing a 35,000 word journal over the New Year holidays defeated me.

Anyway, please enjoy it.

10 January 2004