20 years in the game, Malaysian straight-edge hardcore band Kids on the Move are an emotional beast.
“Time passes, changing. Do I just go along? My fate, unfazed.
Seeking for something more. The waiting the seconds that passes, won’t define me.”
With lyrics like this found on the track ‘Hardships’ which is backed with hardcore that sounds both melancholic and hopeful at the same time, it’s hard not to get sucked into the KOTM journey the band takes you in every song.
This year the band is celebrating their 20th anniversary with a whole series of amazing things – including new music. What? Yeah, that’s not a typo folks. The band is coming out with not only new music BUT in the form of a new full-length AND a new EP all this year. Again, that’s not a typo.
To launch this “comeback”, the band has just released the much-celebrated EP, ‘Directions’, on all streaming platforms. The response has been insane as our timeline was full of people sharing and resharing this record which obviously meant a lot to the Malaysian scene.
We were able to shoot Dean, vocalist, some questions to get more info out about what’s been going on. Little did we know that he was going to be so forthcoming with their plans for 2023!
UA: Yo – congrats on finally joining the modern age by putting your stuff on streaming platforms! Hahaha…what took so long?
Honestly, I didn’t know it meant that much, so the sentiment is appreciated. Everyone has been showing love to the EP for the last 24 hours and we feel it, thank you. To me, there wasn’t any urgency to get it out on streaming platforms because you can still find almost every soundbite or release on Bandcamp or YouTube. But since Spotify and Apple Music has been the main platform we consume music on we decided to get the songs up. I purposely waited a bit longer because we were hoping to get it as a pre-new album release thing.
Then Covid hit. We put our band on hold because I was away in Singapore and nothing was getting done. Flash forward to the post-covid era we’re in now, we decided to make 2023 our comeback year and have a lot of plans in motion. The re-release of our material on a major streaming site is part of our 20-year anniversary as a band. There will be new releases and tours to complete and I am excited that everyone is reacting wonderfully to the re-release.
UA: As you think back to when this record originally came out, can you first paint a picture of what the music landscape was like back then? What era of hardcore was this? What were you guys listening to?
It was 2012, probably the end of the Rivalry Records era, hence our sound had that melodic/angst/fast vibe. We were listening to Have Heart, Verse, Go It Alone, Final Fight, and stuff along those lines. We were in our mid-20s, having just started working (in short, making money), so we were eager to tour and push ourselves further. We had a major shake-up in the line up; Kaza went off to create Triangle…
Caca played guitar and Min filled the drum position, and Mimin (our previous guitarist) entered the mix too. Southeast Asia had just started becoming more tour-friendly and bigger more well-known bands from the west were starting to come over. That in itself helped us grow as a band since we got to open, tour, and learn a lot from a lot of people. We started touring Asia as often as we could and played quite a steady stream of shows.
‘Directions’ definitely opened a huge door for us as a band. 10 years later we still haven’t released any new material. When we hit our 30s just living life was on our minds so we couldn’t really find time to finish the record. Now, I can tell you we have enough material for 2 releases. So, for our 20-year anniversary, we plan to put all our material up on major streaming platforms, release an album, tour, and then release another EP to close out the year.
I don’t know if we would release anything more after that, but I can honestly say that with these releases, I have done all that I can with the band. So now we are just going to enjoy the rest of the journey. I hope we can make some new and wonderful memories with the new releases, just like what ‘Directions’ provided us.
UA: Woah! That’s a lot of great news that you just shared! So are you confirming that this year, 2023, there will be a full-length from Kids On the Move!??! It’s been 12 years since ‘Directions’ came out can you give us a little idea of what we could expect on this release? 12 years means a LOT has changed – not just personnel, but our own emotions and ideas. So I’m eager to know what the sound is for KOTM on this record.
That is the plan, so anything can happen. But my motivation is quite strong and we are ready to finally get the recording done since we’re at pre-production now. The songs were written around 2014-2015, so in terms of sound there’s not much of a difference so definitely a continuity of the ‘Directions’ sound. On ‘Directions’ our goal was just to make songs that we would play on stage since we had quite a lot of songs that we didn’t end up playing off our earlier releases ‘Changes’ and ‘Kids Who Kick’.
The new record will be a mature version I guess, after all the touring and everything, we are sort of set in our ways in terms of sound and writing. We loved how Directions came out and honestly we never thought that it would take us that long to finish another record, because we sort of started writing new songs almost right away. We just didn’t do anything with it. The biggest impact from these 11 years would be most noticeable in the lyrics. The age gap has given me some renewed clarity and impression.
On the other hand, the other release will be an EP paying homage to our younger youth crew self. We’re kind of making it a full circle when we re-visited our younger mindset and emotions when wrote the EP. I guess in the end we were still trying to stay true to ourselves by carrying that “kid” in our hearts.
UA: That’s quite insane that you have two releases that will come out this year simultaneously and with 2 distinct sounds. That’s actually quite a cool thing to do and not something I know of any hardcore bands that have done. Looking forward to it!
Going back to the days of ‘Directions’ – as you think back to that record and how monumental it was for KOTM, do you remember what the initial reception was like when it came out? I assume that you were already playing a bunch of the songs live before it came out?
I think the record came out at the right time for us. We probably played a couple of songs at some shows to try them out but the trajectory of the release in itself was a positive change for the band. A lot of people were already excited for us to release new music after the release of the ‘Changes’ in ’09. We took what we loved from Changes and sort of pushed it even more and it kind of worked out for the best. Back then we were still riding the highs of Miles Away, FC Five, Comeback Kid along that sound of hardcore. So we weren’t off the mark in that sense. We still kept our sing alongs and speed where it mattered. With that, we were able to start headlining our own shows and tours. We started playing festivals too, just making it as we go, didn’t even knew how to properly soundcheck on big stages at that point.
UA: Off ‘Directions’ can you think back to what was the biggest show you played or the biggest “what the fuck” moment that you can say was because of the strength of this EP?
There were two back-to-back moments that gave us quite a shock. First was when we played at a local festival called Rock The World. We played at 12 noon and the crowd was massive. I know playing big festivals is quite hit or miss and you have no idea who will actually come check you out. But there we were on a multi-stage festival playing second under the hot sun around noon, and there were so many people there singing along. It was so moving to see this.
The second would be our 10th-anniversary show. I was quite busy running around making sure everything was moving smoothly and was already overwhelmed with the show being sold out. Played last to an awesome line up of friends, the show was so hot the walls started sweating. Towards our last song, the mic gave up, and the speaker blew. We had one more song left to go and everyone just pushed us to keep on playing. After that, the whole room continued to sing along throughout the whole song. At the end of it, I was out of breath, out of voice, and teared up from what I just witnessed.
UA: What songs off the EP get the biggest response and is that still the case when you play nowadays?
I would say Ruin, it’s usually our closer. Directions is quite big too, but Ruin is the ender! Our old guitarist Mimin made a video of our set during the Comeback Kid show. I think it helped to make the song bigger than it was. Because the show was bonkers!
UA: Lastly, is there a track on the EP that you wish for a bigger response live? Like an underrated track?
Don’t know. I would say each track served its purpose. There’s a song for singalongs, for moshing, getting people hyped, and downtime for the band and the crowd to catch their breath. If I had to say one, it’d probably be ‘Hardship’, because it’s not straight ahead old school hardcore. But it’s probably the most emotionally charged song. Whenever we play this I always go all out but not a lot of people sing along.
Alright – to wrap this up – moving forward who’s in KOTM now? You mentioned the homies who went off to staff other bands (Triangle RIPS), so who do we have in the ranks now?
At the moment we have the longest unchanged line up yet since we became a band. Caca on guitar, Azim on Bass, Izmal on rhythm guitar, and Min on drums. We also have Duha (social circuit) filling in on the guitar from time to time.
UA: Thanks so much for your time! Can’t wait to hear the new releases!
This is where you can grab ‘Directions’ across whatever platform you use.