INTRO BY GRACE SERRAMBANA
INTERVIEW BY CAMI LIBERTY
Dreaming to reach the stars in America is a Malaysian pop-rock band called Beat The System. They have achieved many record and radio successes in their home country, but have always craved to make their music known in America. Beat The System turns real life experiences into music, and hopes that their music can be relatable. The band members are excited about embarking on their upcoming journey with their fans - and sharing it all through their music. We caught up with the band to talk about how they came together to create their band, Beat The System, their recent singles, and any upcoming events!
How did you guys first come together to start the band?
Gerald: "Stewart founded Beat The System in 2004 and I joined a few years later as the drummer. Back then we were experimenting with different sounds, ranging from pop rock to nu metal music. After being discovered by the former world no.1 A&R Diana Meltzer, we made the move to New York City in 2014. At that time, we didn’t have a singer. Through a series of fortunate events, we met May Leigh at a Christmas party and we got to listen to a demo she was working on then. I remember being so blown away by her powerful and soulful voice. May was eventually inducted into the band as our lead vocalist. That is how Beat The System came to be."
Was it hard to choose a band name? How did you come up with ‘Beat The System’?
Stewart: "In Malaysia, music isn’t as celebrated as it is here in the States. In fact, telling your friends and relatives that you’re a serious musician is often frowned upon. Some people back home have this preconceived notion that if you’re a musician, you must be involved in drugs, or that you sleep around and all you do is play music and stay drunk the whole time. It was especially the case for Gerald and I. That is how the name ‘Beat The System’ came to be, to be a living testimonial that not all musicians engage in such negative activities, that music can be used for good and that musicians can lead a positive lifestyle as well."
Who are some of your musical influences?
May: "I’d say David Bowie and Dolly Parton."
Gerald: "MARIAH CAREY, caps intended!"
Stewart: "It’ll have to be Linkin Park."
You recently released another version of your first single, Be Your Own. Can you tell us a little about the song and the inspiration behind it?
"As anyone reading this would’ve guessed, our single title ‘Be Your Own’ is literally about being your own. You see, in wanting to belong to today’s competitive and demanding world, we more often than not do whatever it takes to please those around us even if it costs us dearly. We agree when we disagree, we show up at parties out of fear of being labelled as boring, we say what we don’t mean just to fit in, we stop acting like we care because it’s seen as being weak, we behave in ways that are just, well, not us. It’s a song of relevance, of hope, of encouragement, of an undying passion. It’s a reminder to everyone that we only have one life to live on this Earth, just one, so why not live it out loud? Live it big? Why fear being yourself when there is only one YOU? As you listen to ‘Be Your Own’ we hope that its words speak to you, better yet your soul, and just know that you are God’s special creation, one that is unique and can never be replicated."
Between Be Your Own and 2016 single, Hero, which would you say best represents you guys as a band?
"It’s impossible to choose between the two simply because it represents different aspect and mood of the band. Hero is more like an ass kicking, in-your-face song whereas Be Your Own is like a gentler anthem of courage. We’re the type of band that love to change things up, we’re always open to experimentation in order to stay relevant while maintaining our edge."
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be and why?
"Maroon 5. These guys have been around for the longest time and yet they remained relevant, a feat not many bands can pull off. They have a unique sound and they’re always open to experimenting different things."
Is there anything that we can expect from you in the near future?
"Look out for a tour in your nearest city!"