A band made up off seven best friends, Rhythm Nation is a Malaysian band that has come a long way from where they first started off. Taking the Malaysian music scene by storm, the band is made up off vocalist Jude Ashvin, beatboxer, rapper and percussionist Psycho V, percussionist, rapper and keyboardist Vish, drummer Ajay, bassist Adrian Avinash, rhythm guitarist Lucian Perera and lead guitarist Ethan Ray Singho.

Throughout their musical journey, Rhythm Nation has been awarded with The People’s Favourite Award at the Twisties Superstarz Finale, Best Live Performance at the Vima Music Awards and they also received nominations for the Vima Music Awards which include Best Rock Song, Best Genre Bender and Best College Act in 2013.

Their debut single My Catastrophe has peaked at number 3 on the Met 10 Charts of local radio station Hitz.fm and has made its way to the Top 40 Indie Asian Band Charts which is broadcasted on a local radio station in Toronto, Canada. Recognising their talent and passion for what they do, Hype Malaysia brings you an exclusive interview with Rhythm Nation.

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Photo courtesy of Sonia Ashwini
Photo courtesy of Sonia Ashwini

How was Rhythm Nation formed?

Oh this is a long story. We first met at Segi University College and we wanted to form a music society, which we did. Only problem was we had fifteen members so that isn’t something to jump about. Haha! Long story short, one thing lead to another and we realised our passion for music and decided to take a step and put ourselves in the local music scene which is how the seven of us came together and kicked start our journey.

Does being best friends affect the way the band performs?

It does but in the best ways possible. We are very fortunate because it is very rare for musicians to have the opportunity to play in the same band as their best friends. We all have different influences but we know how to put our differences aside to create our music. We’ve created our own unique genre that we call rap core fusion and our drive, motivation, friendship and aspiration to be experimental formed Rhythm Nation. It’s also great to be in a band together as best friends because we understand each other so well. We can honestly say, Rhythm Nation won’t be Rhythm Nation if one of us were not in the band.

How did the name Rhythm Nation come about?

Oh this is a funny one. We wanted a name that could let us relate to our fans and followers and we came up with a lot of weird choices. Some of the names we came up with were Jack Of All Trades and The Untitled, thank God we didn’t go with these names. Haha! Anyway, went we first decided to form a band, we had a dancer in the group and he was a huge Janet Jackson fan and it was him who gave us the idea to name ourselves Rhythm Nation which coincidentally is a Janet Jackson song. We laughed at the idea of it at first but after a giving it some thought we decided that it was the best choice we had and that the name sounded really good. Though things didn’t  work out with the dancer, we would not be called Rhythm Nation if it wasn’t for him and if he’s reading this, we’d like to personally thank him for coming up with the great name for us.

How long have you been performing together as a band?

We started playing together since 2009 but we had our first official performance back in 2010 so we have been performing together for three years now and it’s been an incredible journey thus far. Today, more than just a band, we’ve become brothers, a family of musicians who will ride and die together.

What inspires your songs?

We love writing songs that will not only inspire us but others as well so that is our form of inspirations.You can never go wrong with music and if everyone takes it as a form of self expression like we do, then everyone will definitely be inspired.

Who usually writes the songs in the band?
Normally the three main vocalists will come up with the lyrics but when it comes to writing a whole composition, we would definitely give credit to every single member of the band as we all play a part in creating and coming up with a track. We believe it is always best to work as a team as it gives us the opportunity to help and learn from each other.

Who are your favourite songwriters?
That is a great question. We can give you a whole lot of answers because as mentioned,we all have our different idols and influences. But we’ve selected our top five and they are Eminem, Michael Jackson, Zack De La Rocha from Rage Against The Machine, and The Beatles.

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Photo courtesy of Sonia Ashvini
Photo courtesy of Sonia Ashvwni

Favourite singer or band?
We have a few but to name one based on being influential to our genre, we would say Rage Against The Machine.

If your band could collaborate with a local artist who would it be?
One of the local acts that we have been waiting to work with is Roshan Jamrock from K Town Clan which we actually managed to do so as we worked with him on our second single MFB. Other artist we would love to work with would be Altimet and our friend Balan Kashmir. It would be great to to take up a challenge and work with them on a Malay and Tamil track respectively. As a band,we have many goals and to plan this collaboration is definitely one.

What about an international artist?
Definitely the pioneers of rap core Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit and Zack De La Rocha From Rage Against The Machine.We are all about bringing the energy and if given the chance to share the stage with those two,the energy level would be insane.It may be a long shot for us but if there is one thing we have learnt over years is that nothing is impossible if you work extremely hard.

Where do you guys normally perform?
We have performed for several events such as Arthurs Day,Twisties Superstarz and X play to name a few. These events are our perfect for us because playing for massive events like these helps get our music out. We do not have a fixed location for a resident gig but we would like to personally thank a fellow musician and owner of Rockafellas Bar, Russell Curtis for giving us the opportunity to showcase our music at Rockafellas. It was the perfect platform for us to grow and get noticed as a band.

What’s next for Rhythm Nation?
Thankfully,we have a lot of great things coming up and to look forward to. We are currently going on tour across colleges in Malaysia for The Rhythm Nation Inspired Tour thanks to the main sponsors Flavettes and CCM Berhad. The purpose of the tour is for Flavettes and Rhythm Nation to spread unity among youths by sending out a very important message which is to keep rocking but at the same time, it is also important to stay healthy as always. We will also be performing for the Generation Y Music Festival which is a platform that showcases great talents from our generation and it’s for a great cause as profits goes to the Penang Hospice, National Cancer Society Malaysia, and Cimb for Life. We are also releasing  our second official music video for our single MFB featuring Roshan Jamrock come November. The video is being directed Nicholas Chin who is a young, talented and creative videographer.

Where can our readers listen to you?
To get up to date with our latest projects or to listen to our current tracks,you can follow us on our social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter. Updates on our future shows will be on our Facebook page and Twitter accounts respectively and we would like to invite everyone who’s reading to attend as we in the local music scene could your support. Readers can also come watch us perform at the Generation Y Music Festival 2013 on October 19th, 2013 (Saturday).

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Check out Rhythm Nation’s debut single My Catastrophe below.

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Bryna K.
Bryna spends most of her time obsessing over cars and sports, particularly football while keeping updated with the entertainment scene. From raves to rock concerts, Bryna listens to all sorts of genres and is also a fan of horror and action movies.