The pandemic has impacted the lives of millions of individuals in different ways. It certainly wasn’t positive, but it has fundamentally changed the way people view life. For some, it would be as if it’s a pause button, a time to contemplate and navigate themselves to self-discovery.
Malaysian indie guitar player and musician, Kelvyn Yeang, didn’t escape the challenges of the pandemic. “The old adage – ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ held plenty of truth because it became a survival requirement in this season,” he said.
Before the pandemic hit, the guitarist from the Malaysian island of Penang had successfully directed the IndiePg music event for six years in a row. He and his team of musicians have hosted numerous bands from all across Malaysia and served as a networking platform for Penang’s local musicians.
In 2019 itself, he also performed at local and international shows and festivals in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore. In addition to being a musician, he ran a sound equipment rental business on the side. But no one could have guessed a pandemic in 2020 would turn the whole world upside down, with no certainty of recovery.
In order to survive, he worked and took on side projects even if they weren’t music-related. “I had to make many tough decisions and ended up hibernating some of my ventures. Playing live was out of the question, and pivoting was mandatory for survival.” Kelvyn expressed.
The pandemic forced him out of his comfort zones, which he thought was somewhat a blessing in disguise since he began to explore alternative options and ended himself on a journey of self-discovery.
“While I was busy adjusting, I was inspired to adopt a different approach to music production. No longer having access to a room with actual live musicians meant I had to go virtual and increase self-sufficiency,” he added.
Kelvyn and his fellow musicians worked remotely the majority of the time, meeting up whenever every opportunity arose and traveling to recording studios when the law allowed it. After juggling between keeping safe from Covid, uncertainties, and tight timelines, they ended up completing an entire album’s worth of music.
The rock instrumental ‘Dinosaur Party’ was Kelvyn’s first finished song in the series. While being stuck at home during the lockdown, he was always in the presence of his children and their antics, and while watching them play, he had an idea and recorded their laughter and giggles, coupled with their enthusiasm for dinosaurs. The song as well as his other compositions are available on Spotify and YouTube.
Kelvyn continues to make music while also performing in a duo band called Bunga Raya Band, which performs music from the old Shanghai and Peranakan eras with a modern twist of pop and funk.
“The situations may have changed, but my love for music is eternal. Things aren’t necessarily better, but there’s always a silver lining,” he said.
Spotify: Kelvyn Yeang
Youtube: Kelvyn Yeang
Facebook: Kelvyn Yeang ( guitarist )