Get your rock on, boys and girls, for IndiePG, Penang’s very own (and biggest, might I add) independent music festival begins this 25 October for a two-day run at the Performing Arts Centre of Penang, or penangpac! Featuring a line up of indie bands from all over Malaysia, IndiePG is also holding FOUR workshops on the ins-and-outs of music and technology, songwriting, recording, and the all important question – how to forge a career in indie music.
To mark the second installment of IndiePG (the first was just in March 2013, which only shows that Penangites love their indie music and bands, and they want MORE!), PenTAS thought it would be fun to get to know this music festival better. Kelvyn Yeang is one of the founders of IndiePG and is by no stretch a stranger to the local independent music scene (hint: he part of the acclaimed instrumental progressive band Ocean of Fire). This is what Kelvyn has to say to us.
What is IndiePG exactly and why was it created?
We formed IndiePG to create an organised platform for musicians to network and showcase their original music as well as educate the public and generate interest through talks, workshops and performances up here in the north. There is so much potential for growth in this area up north. Through all that we have done, over time we believe we can generate enough interest from the public, especially the younger individuals from both college and high schools. We have so many talented people here writing great music but without a clue on what to do with them. We want to give them options, and a chance to network with like-minded people, to share and grow together. That’s the environment we hope to create.
How was IndiePG conceptualised? Besides you, who else was part of the team that started IndiePG?
When penangpac first opened, I got a chance to be involved with some programmes. One of which I presented music along klpac’s Ian Chow. Ian is also a champion of indie music and we share a passion for Malaysian original music and its scene as well. We both agreed that it would be a great idea to create a platform for Penang and work along penangpac to make it all happen.
Of course I couldn’t possibly undertake this colossal task myself so I gathered people with a common interest yet with different strengths to form a committee to oversee everything. Currently the team is Raggy, Eng Bok, Samwise, Lawrence , Wanida, and I.
What is your role in IndiePG?
Call me what you want. Basically I set the direction and create a general plan and set the goals. Then everyone contributes to make it happen.
How was the response to the first IndiePG?
It was great! It went really well. We were especially happy since so many younger students turned up. That to me means a lot. There are just too many events where musicians only play to the other musicians present. We need to generate enough interest if we want people to take local music seriously.
With the second installment of IndiePG taking place within a few months since the first one, do you think in the coming year we will see more than 2 installments of IndiePG?
Who knows? It all depends on funds, manpower and time. I can’t promise or say anything yet but we do have some idea on what we gonna do next year. Also, very importantly, if we could attract sponsors and more contributors we most certainly would be able to make this grow.
What do you look for in bands / musicians for IndiePG? Is there a set criteria to which bands need to fit in order to get picked for the event?
Original music is a must. It’s the Indie musicians that need the platforms most. Other than that, the committee collectively decides. We are not strict with music styles at all. The submissions we get are a smorgasbord of genres. We also make it a point to offer as much variety as we can. You will be able to find everything from ethereal post rock to funk, blues, folk and the other extremes of progressive rock and metal.
Genres are never a problem. Everyone with great music should be given an opportunity to be heard. But that said, we are very strict in making sure the material is safe for the family. There are kids and teachers out there that come to our events, even parents. If we want to create a conducive environment for growth and acceptance, we have to take all these factors into consideration as well. Quality is also a must. If we want to convince people then we got to put the best out there up there on stage.
Are the bands in the line up solely from Penang or is it open to bands based anywhere in Malaysia?
It doesn’t matter. We obviously take a generous number of Penang bands, but largely setting up a platform up here in the north is more important. We take bands from all over.
In terms of platforms, IndiePG provides a much-needed one for new and emerging indie acts and for bands in general in Penang. Is there any plans to take IndiePG to the next level, say in terms of how George Town Festival and George Town Literary Festivals have made Penang a centre for the arts and literature, or even Penang International Jazz Festival for jazz?
Who knows? We are still in our fledgling stage. Hopefully we will one day make enough impact and allow something big to happen.
In terms of support, what could the public do to lend a hand to IndiePG?
Tell your friends. Come to actually check us out. We have even made the workshops free for everyone.Donations and sponsorship and manpower are always welcome as well.
Finally, why should Penangites not miss IndiePG this 25 & 26 October?
Because its relevant and its cool. Its also localised enough to be comfortable for all. Workshops are totally free and we have a totally rocking line up for the showcase with bands like Tempered Mental and Froya.
So, you’ve heard it. Make sure you make your presence felt at IndiePG!
IndiePG takes place at stage 2, penangpac @ Straits Quay (3H-3A-1, Straits Quay, Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang) on 25 & 26 October 2013. For information on the workshops, check out IndiePG and for ticketing, check out penangpac.