Two days in a row we have had the immense honor of receiving exclusive material from bands or other entities that are producing amazing things for Asia.
Unless you live under a rock, you MUST have heard of a documentary DVD that was released last year called The Other Option. The DVD basically chronicles the road that Australian bands have taken as they began touring Southeast Asia in the early 2000’s. The DVD does a great job capturing the early days up until the present.
The creator of the documentary Rohan Thomas has today allowed UniteAsia.org to premiere special deleted scenes from the DVD as an exclusive to our site. In this particular scene he poses the question about how Australian bands are coming out to Southeast Asia in droves, but the situation is never reciprocated with Southeast Asian bands being offered tours down there. I, myself, have been promoting shows in Hong Kong for countless numbers of American and European bands. Never once have those bands reciprocated the idea that since I helped them book a show here that they would in turn help book my band a tour out there. So the question that Rohan poses is a VERY good one, and one that most Asian bands/promoters will probably have wondered at some point in their career.
Of course, there are the regular hurdles that most bands from poorer regions of the world have to jump – financial, passport and visa-related issues are always on top of the list.
Anyway…we would like to wholeheartedly thank Rohan for supporting our site and believing in our site so much that he would give us EXCLUSIVE footage from this remarkable DVD. If you haven’t picked it up make sure to head over to: www.otheroptionfilm.com/dvd
Here’s Rohan’s own description of this particular scene that was given to us:
“A concept that is one of the foundations of DIY touring – with any kind of music not just punk rock – is the idea that, “If I play your town, you should come play mine”. So what happens when the bonds formed in 15 years of supporting Australian bands mean a South East Asian band wants to have a go playing ‘down under’.
It was a surprise to many that this theme was explored in The Other Option. While Australian bands have flooded the touring circuit in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and beyond – why aren’t there more South East Asian punk and hardcore bands touring here?
While factors including economic disparity and individual motivation definitely play a role, the overwhelming feeling from bands, authors, promoters and kids as to why more artists don’t venture across the Indian Ocean was a fear of Australia’s fierce implementation of immigration laws. In particular, the unfortunate stories of bands with shows booked, stages waiting and savings spent on tickets, being turned away at the border.
The issue is a complex one, and the story analysed at length in The Other Option is of course that of Kuala Lumpur post-hardcore band Daighila, who were turned away at the border in 2008 with a full Australian tour booked and after spending overnight in a detention centre. Unfortunately their story has become a part of underground folklore in South East Asia.
But not many people know the story of Malaysian pop-punk band Spunky Funggy, who were also turned away at the border seven years earlier after receiving an offer to tour from a local promoter. Our friends at Unite Asia have and EXCLUSIVE of the deleted interview with Spunky Funggy lead singer Francis Wolf, that unfortunately did not make the final cut of the film.
The issue continues to rear it’s head. Just two months ago, when the tables were turned and Australian band I Killed The Prom Queen were detained in Kuala Lumpur for having incorrect performing visas and deported, it made big waves in music media and even mainstream media, with families and punters demanding answers and band members giving detailed accounts of there ‘ordeal’.”