Speaking to The Venopian Solitude about their peculiar name, their hit song on the derriere and their upcoming performance at Urbanscapes 2017.
The power of Youtube by now is common knowledge – thousands of think pieces have already been written about it while talk show hosts bring out a new video star every other week onto their programmes. Malaysians have not missed the bandwagon either, with many current local superstars (read: Elizabeth Tan) getting their start on Youtube and other social media platforms.
The Venopian Solitude is one such musician who first gained recognition through their online presence. Currently functioning as a full-fledged band, the act with the odd name started as a one-woman project by frontwoman Suiko Takahara who has been musically-inclined since her adolescence.
One look and you may pigeonhole them as being a melodramatic hipster band but that would be a grave error on your part. Known for their viral quality with hit songs such as ‘Tenangkan Bontot Anda’ and ‘Kehadapan Para Pencemar,’ the septet never ceases to amaze no matter whether their music is in Malay or English.
Always a treat for the ears at music festivals, The Venopian Solitude is slated to take the stage during the 15th instalment of Urbanscapes happening this year. The region’s renowned festival for the creative arts, Urbanscapes 2017 will run from 5 May until 21 May, and offers unprecedented treats for all festival-goers, pop culture vultures and art attendees alike.
In conjunction with the upcoming music festival, UPPRE had the privilege of sitting down with Taka herself to speak about the origin of her pseudonym, the peculiar name of her band and what the team is cooking up when they’re not making fun of their own band name.
Hi Taka! Let’s start with the question in everyone’s mind. How did the name The Venopian Solitude come about and what does it mean?
After getting kicked off my first band for being “mouthy,” in angst and seclusion, I decided to create music by myself but insisting on having a band-like name. That was when the name occurred to me out nowhere. People have mentioned to me that it sounded like fallopian tube though.
The Venopian Solitude basically mean ‘The Venopian way of being solitary’, and over the years Venopia has turned into this world that I venture into and seek for stories.
You go by the pseudonym Suiko Takahara. Have there been people who really thought you were Japanese?
(Laughs) Yes there have been such instances. Sometimes I just play along. Having studied in Japan previously and being able to speak the language, people think it’s true. But the pseudonym came up back when I was 13 and had the Japanese mania phase. But nowadays I use it mainly to protect my real identity from online predators as well as trolls.
Tell us the backstory for your hit song ‘Tenangkan Bontot Anda’. What was the thought process behind the peculiar track?
The truth is I wrote the song merely to calm my own nerves during an examination that I had to take way back. It was also written from a dark place of depression when I was studying in Japan. But due to its whimsically childish instrumentation, everybody were able to relate to the song and so far the response has been good.
My favourite cover of yours has to be ‘Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely’ by the Backstreet Boys that you performed at Rocking The Region 2016 in Singapore. How do you pick songs to be covered? How do they speak to you?
Actually we don’t often cover songs but there was this one time when we had to cover a 90s song and make it Halloween-y, for a Halloween gig. So we picked that song randomly while we were jamming for the gig. The other song that we cover was a mashup of Panic At The Disco’s I write Sins Not Tragedies and Kimbra’s Limbo, simply because it merges well with each other, and I just happen to have a lot of free time and did the rough remix. Other than that we rarely play covers.
As an Urbanscapes veteran, what are you looking forward to see or experience at the festival this year?
The somewhat intimate setting of the venue, The Bee. That kind of encourages us to perform some mellow songs (probably) that we aren’t able to showcase if it were an open field. But mainly us having as much fun as possible when performing.
Are you working on new projects currently? Will you be debuting any new tracks at the festival?
We will be mostly playing tracks from our first album at the festival. But we are also currently in the midst of recording our next release which will be a concept album with a mixture of English and Malay songs. We might just debut some new tracks from it at Urbanscapes. I guess you have to be there to find out.
The experimental electro-pop mob will be playing at The Bee Publika on 12 May, sharing the stage with Indonesian folk-pop duo Stars and Rabbit.