From having their debut album launched as part of Urbanscapes 2017 and performing at Good Vibes Festival later that year, Jaggfuzzbeats is now finally breaking into the mainstream
Jaggfuzzbeats consist of guitarist and vocalist Azrul Zainal, and drummer Omar Aiman. They have been making music since 2015, initially uploading songs onto SoundCloud. They are no strangers to the local indie scene, having played multiple high-profile gigs across Malaysia.
1. They started making music together as part of a high school band
Frontman Azrul Zainal (R) and drummer Omar Aiman (L) hail from the suburbs of Shah Alam, Selangor.
They both started their friendship in primary school, eventually starting a band together called "The Natterjacks". Arief Othman, aka the rapper Orang Malaya counts as one former member.
Out of this early foray into music, they both naturally gravitated towards each other due to their shared musical vision.
Other Natterjacks alumnus do appear in concert with Jaggfuzzbeats as sessionists, with guitarist Hariz Ghazali and bassist Nabil Hazazi performing with them on many an occasion.
2. Their name comes from their instruments
Their name is a portmanteau (read : combination) of three elements which defines the band’s sound.
"Jagg" refers to the Fender Jaguar guitar that frontman Azrul uses;
"Fuzz" refers to the type of guitar effect pedals, which gives their riffs its iconic distortion, and
"Beats" which are provided in large part by Omar on the drums.
3. They cite Kings Of Leon, The Strokes, The Kooks, and The Black Keys as their early musical influences
In a 2017 interview with The Daily Seni in the lead up to their appearance at Good Vibes Festival, they cited these four iconic rock bands as those who have shaped their sound the most.
The influence is clear to see in their first album Rest Now, which has tracks that would not be out of place in a Netflix show about teens coming of age.
More recently however, they revealed to The Vibes that the bands’ current influences include White Reaper, The Growlers, Marika Hackman, and Sheer Mag.
This shift may not be seen in their current releases however, as most of what is currently out there was recorded before the current coronavirus pandemic.
4. Their debut LP Rest Now featured a picture of the frontman's pants on fire
Released in 2017, the band’s debut album featured a very eye-catching cover, which takes the term "pants on fire" to a whole new level.
In a tribute to Pink Floyd’s iconic Wish You Were Here album cover, the pants in question were a pair of skinny jeans Azrul used to wear in their early days performing live as a band.
"Images like that are an investment," admitted Azrul to NME, "so that people remember us".
5. Their latest EP, Subtle Shift, is an instant classic which sees the duo dealing with "feelings of alienation and the hard knocks of life"
Their latest output, Subtle Shift, was released on 27 April of this year.
Initially slated for an August 2020 release, it was pushed back indefinitely due to last year’s pandemic-related restrictions.
"It was supposed to come out earlier... but then the whole situation with Covid happened, and things in our personal lives forced us to take a step back for a bit and really look back. We actually had a full album ready before Subtle Shift... but after everything that happened, we felt like some of the songs didn’t fit the situation right now," Omar related to theSundaily while promoting the album.
Their new EP has been said to "explore harsher sonic territory", and "is more in-your-face". These may be true, but a lot of the things that drew people in the first time around are still present, just more refined and mature.
What is for certain though, is that six tracks are not nearly enough.
This feature is part of the #saysplaylist series, providing your playlist with a breath of fresh Malaysian air