Tuesday, September 26, 2006


My missus and I were fortunate enough to catch Malaysian powerpoppers Couple in action last Friday. Promoting their new album - Top of the Pop - the band, with two new members - were in fine form and entertained the crowd at the Home club. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the band really looked like they were having fun on stage. Not always the case when watching Singapore indie bands perform... Anyhow, here's what Couple Aidil Rusli had to say about what's going on with Couple.

Why powerpop?
Firstly, of course it's because I love it, and find it irresistible every single time I listen to it. Secondly, it's probably also because it reflects the way I look at things. It's a genre that's unshowy and level-headed, that is to say that it's a genre that knows how to appreciate what I think are the 'right' things, i.e. old fashioned (but forever valuable) values like songcraft, and the magical power of a great melody. It is absolutely unconcerned (and thankfully unimpressed) with gimmicks. As Not Lame Recordings put it so well, it's "Good Music For Good People." Plus, the best power pop tunes can really send shivers down your spine or at the very least inspire some out of this world visceral reaction!! And the thrill of discovering that perfect pop song is always a rush!!

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
The Beatles and The Beach Boys are always the starting point for me. Then I'll go for the Beatlesque bands like Big Star and The Raspberries. I also have this huge thing for the late 70s/early 80s skinny tie power pop bands, like The Rubinoos, The Beat, Cheap Trick. And of course then comes the 90s pop underground scene where the bands/acts I love best include The Rooks, The Greenberry Woods, The Shazam, Cotton Mather, The Posies, Mark Bacino and soooo much more!

How would you describe Couple's place in the Malaysian rock scene?
It's kinda like we have no exact place/niche to fit in, because we're too uncool and old-fashioned for the 'indie scene' kids and too 'noisy' or 'different' for the mainstream-teenybopper kids. But like they always say, good tunes will always prevail, and luckily despite our inability to snugly fit into any particular 'scene' in Malaysia, we still managed to amass a healthy amount of fans among the kids who just like good tunes and are unaware of all this genre-specific isolation. So I guess the kids are still alright.

What do you hope to achieve with Top of the Pop?
I just hope that it'll resonate with people the same way my favourite albums resonate with me. For example, I can always return to my fave albums as many times as I want and still enjoy every bit of it as if it was the first time. I can only hope that Top Of The Pop will gain that kind of special place in some people's lives.

What's next for Couple?
We'll be playing Fat Festival in Bangkok in November. Right now we're busy preparing for the Japanese release of the album on Wizzard In Vinyl scheduled for January 2007, and we've got our own promo things lined up for the end of this year and early next year, such as our inclusion on Paste Magazine's podcast on Coca-Cola's Global Music Platform which should be launching very soon. Let's hope a lot more people will discover us through that. We'll also be involved in the promotional campaign for a new LA based teenage girls' fashion line called Bitch Kitty. The American release of the album on Sizzleteen Records is also yet to happen, but should be happening in the very near future, so we're getting ready for the promo bits for that release as well. So hopefully next year will be a busy year for us. The busier the better!!

Check out my review of Top of the Pop at

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