One of Malaysia’s leading rock bands, Hujan have finally released their latest and also their fifth studio album, “Jika Sempat”, which is now available on all digital platforms including Spotify as well as at video and record stores nationwide.
To celebrate the launch of their new album and also their 10 year anniversary, Hujan has embarked on their “Hujan London Tour” in the United Kingdom since 24 May 2016.
Consisting of five members including Noh Salleh (vocalist), Hezry Hafidz better known as AG Coco (guitarist), Azham Ahmad (drummer), Hang Dimas (keyboardist) and Izzat Uzaini (bassist), Hujan described their new album as “the journey of Hujan from the beginning until today”.
During the launch of their 12-track album at Warner Music Malaysia recently, Hujan talked about the album in more detail, the inspiration behind the songs, their fanbase, as well as the absence of Hang Dimas in their album and tour.
AG mentioned that this album is the fastest in terms of its production timeline. Why is it so fast? Was the album rushed?
AG: I guess it’s because of my experience. I’ve produced many albums for other artistes, and because this is the album for my own band, so maybe that’s why it is a lot smoother and faster.
Also, when we made the previous album, we had experienced all the problems and troubles, so for this album we already knew how to avoid them
Noh, the album’s title song “Jika Sempat” is your song right? Can you give us some insight on that song?
Noh: “Jika Sempat” is a song that I wrote in 2008 or 2009. In this album, more than 10 songs are actually old songs that we’ve kept in our archives. The only news songs are “Pemicu Gila” and “Kau”. I never thought that AG would include the song “Jika Sempat” in this album because he previously rejected the song when I suggested it to him.
AG: Yeah, most of the songs in this album are actually rejected songs. But we rejected them because we thought that they were not suitable, or because it wasn’t the best time to release the songs, until now that is.
Noh, there are also rumours saying that you took vocal lessons for this album. Is this true?
Noh: It’s true. But it’s not for this album. It was more for personal reasons, to improve myself. I think it’s about time that I took things to another level. I don’t want to be just another rock ‘n roll vocalist.
Why did it take four years to release this album?
AG: Because back then we were too productive, so we had gotten sick at seeing each other’s faces. That’s why we decided to take a break for a while. So we relaxed for four years.
Noh: I’ve seen the same issue faced by other bands. Sheila On 7 for example, there’s this one time that they took a hiatus because they were too tired of seeing each other’s faces for more than 10 years. I never thought that Hujan would also turn out to be like that, but thank God, we all agreed to take a break, and when the time came and we missed being in a band, then we came back together.
For the last two years, I focused more on doing solo stuff. Although it felt nice, something was missing. It didn’t feel right if I wasn’t with my band on stage.
It’s also because of the Raingers (Hujan fans). Every day the Raingers would question us about when we’re getting back together and all that. So we thought that it’s about time for us to make a comeback.
You mentioned that this album contains a lot of previously rejected songs, and many fans have stated that Hujan’s music have changed a lot over the years, so does this mean that this album will sound a lot like Hujan’s older sound rather than a new one?
AG: Basically, this album portrays the journey of Hujan from the beginning until today. So through this album, you can hear how our sound had changed.
Noh: In these 10 years, we have evolved and we’ve tried a lot of different things. So I think that this album really showed how we changed over the years. It’s like a compilation of all the songs we created.
Do you think that this album will attract even more fans towards Hujan?
Noh: I never thought of attracting anybody. I usually just do it for fun! [laughs] But if it’s able to attract more fans, of course I would be happy!
Raingers are one of top fanbases in Malaysia, but most of them are around mid-20s to late-30s, and they are getting older. So, are you guys now targeting the younger generation?
AG: The Raingers are like family to us, and I don’t think the numbers of our fanbase will be less as they get older because they will always be Raingers.
Also, every time we perform, our fans will always be there to support us, and they’re very energetic and fun! So when other people see them supporting us happily, they would be attracted to join in the fun, so it is a never-ending process!
How do you think your music will be accepted worldwide?
AG: It’s very simple. It’s just like how we appreciate the Korean and Japanese bands when they come to Malaysia. So, if we bring Malay songs overseas, surely there would be a certain audience that would like to listen to different sounds.
Noh: We want to introduce our music to other people in the world. So I think our decision to go to the UK is a right choice. It is like we’re rekindling our bonds with the band members once again because it’s going to be just us on this tour, and we’re facing a new crowd in local clubs or bars. So it’s kind of new for us because it’s like we’re back to zero and I really look forward to this tour!
Why is the keyboardist Hang Dimas not included in this album and the London tour?
Noh: We’re not too sure either! [laughs] The thing is, he’s still in our WhatsApp group, and in Hujan, we don’t control every member – it’s like if you’re free, you can come, but if you’re not, we understand. So it’s not like we had purposely left him out, he has a lot of things going on lately too.