Malaysian Journalist Creates Music For 30 Years Inspired By Politics, Philosophy & Family

Martin Vengadesan and his band, The Stalemate Factor, have released four albums to date.

Cover image via The Stalemate Factor / Facebook

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For over 30 years, journalist Martin Vengadesan has been creating music on the side, successfully releasing a total of five albums

Martin Vengadesan recorded his first track in 1989.

Image via The Stalemate Factor / Facebook

Since 1989, Martin has been drawing inspiration from politics, philosophy, current events, and his personal life to create music that is rarely heard on mainstream platforms.

His band, The Stalemate Factor currently comprises Malcolm Ambrose, Joanne Timbuong, Thomas Toh, Harrie Sahrm, and Martin himself.

Martin, a fourth-generation Indian Malaysian, said he considers Malaysia home and plenty of his tracks allude to this fact

His great-grandfather arrived from India in 1898. However, Martin said that most of his family in his generation have migrated as part of the brain drain phenomenon.

"To me, Malaysia is my only home, no matter what the right-wing ruling party or those who have chosen migration may say. I intend to die on these shores one day," the Malaysiakini associate editor told SAYS.

The Stalemate Factor's album names are inspired by popular chess moves

From left: The Queen's Gambit (2018), The Bishop's Sacrifice (2019), The Knight's Flight (2020), and The Rook's Siege (2023).

Image via Martin Vengadesan

The first album released in 2018, The Queen’s Gambit, is a folk rock gem that shares the band's struggles as a minority in Malaysia, facing corruption and racism.

On the other hand, The Bishop’s Sacrifice (released in 2019), is a rockier affair that tackles topics like politics, philosophy, and religion.

The Knight’s Flight, the band's third album released in 2020, is a psychedelic rock extravaganza that draws inspiration from the music of the late 1960s.

However, the fourth album, The Rook’s Siege, released last year, takes the band back to its progressive rock roots and was recorded during the pandemic.

Each album in the series features guest performances and diverse influences that enrich the band's musical style. 

You can catch Martin Vengadesan & The Stalemate Factor together with other Malaysian bands live on March 16 at Angguk Studio

The live performance is titled 'Faye Faire and Friends', created in honour of Martin's late daughter, I-shan Esther, who was musically gifted. I-shan was part of the talented indie folk-rock outfit, Faye Faire.

'Faye Faire and Friends' will feature Shh... Diam!, Chloe Hor, Rawah, Faye Faire, and The Stalemate Factor. Tickets are priced at RM30 and be purchased here.

You can listen to Martin Vengadesan & The Stalemate Factor on YouTube and Spotify.

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