Tuning In To Pastel Lite

The ’80s inspired ballads, the rollercoaster journey, and the Raya cookie challenge with Pastel Lite.

Presenting to you—Malaysia’s electro duo Eff Hakim and Muhd Faliq or better known as Pastel Lite. The KL-based experimental duo shifted from a forward sounding tone, and taken 13 languid steps back to a more dreamy and laidback soundscape, but still punches without losing out on its themes. That being said, having festival performances, opening shows for concerts and an album under their belts, they constantly strive to improve on the music; to find the “next best thing” achievable with their talent.

About a year ago, the duo made a return to the local music scene on 27 July 2017 with their first full-length album—Balada. A labour of love that began in late 2015, is the culmination of months spent working tirelessly in studios and collaborating with other homegrown producers and musicians to produce the band’s latest project.

Their debut album release is packed with tracks that mark a departure from the musical styles favoured by the duo in the past, Pastel Lite in 2017 has taken on so much more sentimental approach with their music, executing it with the same clean-cut, accessible tones that have garnered the duo a loyal following throughout their career.

Give Balada a listen below and see what you think.

How did you get started in the music scene as a duo?

Initially, when we first met, we didn’t right away decide to be a duo band. In fact, we wanted to have this weird “producer-pop star” kind of thing. But then we ended up going to his studio and started jamming to a few songs and we found out that we had pretty good chemistry, and we thought—why don’t we make a band out of this?

We didn’t think we’re going to be for a long time. We thought that maybe along the way we’ll find a drummer or bassist—which we did, eventually. In America and other countries, there are so many duo bands and we thought that maybe we could totally do this in Malaysia though it’s really not a common thing. So, I think that’s how our band started.

You started out in 2012. Since then, you must’ve had your ups and downs. Would it have appeared that you kind of distance yourselves from each other and got back together—or things like that?

Actually, the thing about us is that we never really had a phase where we will distance ourselves from each other. Even during hard times, we tend to be on each other’s face 24/7. I think we’re not attached to each other, even as friends—not to say that we’re friends, exactly—because I think we have a very professional relationship in which we just wanted to do the music.

There were so many ups and downs that we went through. I think one of it is when we first started. We had so much chemistry as a band—as musicians—but we don’t really know anything about each other. We had a lot of conflicts when it comes to being actual friends because we came from a whole different background, me and Faliq. We didn’t know each other personally at that moment. Yeah, we have to really learn about one another, especially when we were planning to go at a long-term.

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As a duo, who is your inspiration musically?

I think we have a lot of different inspirations. Faliq has a different set, I have a different set of inspirations. But, the ones that we could totally agree on are the indie-electronic sounding bands from abroad like Air, Daft Punk, Phoenix, Gorillaz, MGMT, and BEATHOUSE. I think a lot of indie bands are our inspirations.

How would you describe your music?

I think in one word—and it’s a very stale word because we’ve been using this word to describe our music for so long and so often—is experimental. I know it’s such a common word and overrated to describe your music, but it’s true. We’ve never wanted to lock ourselves within any certain types of genre eventhough, specifically, we love synthpop or maybe dark wave or ’80s and ’70s style of music.

I think once you start locking yourselves in certain types of genre, you kind of like very limited as of where you want to go ahead. Our music is entirely based on what we inspired of at the moment, so it could be anything. Sometimes we are randomly into punk music, and sometimes we are into metal, or French pop, or ’80s Japanese music. It really varies from time to time so I think the best, safe word to describe our music is experimental.

You have performed a lot over the last few years. What happens to be your most memorable gig by far?

We once played in the crowd because it was such a random show that we had. It was actually under a college trip, so we had to perform in a school setting, on the school stage, in front of their students. It was such a surreal moment because we were literally on a school stage performing to foreign students from China. It was such a weird moment for us because it was the most random show that we’ve ever played, that we never thought we were able to play those kinds of shows.

Let’s talk about Good Vibes Festival. How did you react when you received the news that you’re going to perform there?

We played at GVF before so when we were invited for this one, we were—not to say that we weren’t surprised or excited as always. Yeah, we were really happy and grateful that we’re able to play because we’re excited to see a lot of the artists there, especially Lorde. We were over the moon and screaming happy when we found out that we’re able to play at Good Vibes again.

This time around, what can fans expect to see or hear from you during your set?

We don’t want to make empty promises, especially BIG empty promises. I think all that can be expected from us are two very excited people trying to have a good time, enjoy the moment, and have a great show regardless of whatever happens.

Talking about fans, could you recall the sweetest thing a fan has ever done for you or said to you?

I think we have one fan that we want to dedicate this moment to her. There’s this one girl named Safiya Aina. She’s been to our show since her first boyfriend to her second boyfriend and now she’s married with a daughter. She’s been following us ever since she was single until today. Every time she comes to our show, she would act as surprised and as excited as ever even though she’s been to our all of our show, technically. Yeah, she’s the sweetest person that we’ve never thought.

Initially, we were going to just treat her like a friend because we’ve been seeing her all the time. But, she was like “No, I don’t want you guys to be my friends. Can’t we just have this artist-fan relationship?” And we were like “Dude, you come to all our show and we see you all the time, why can’t we just be friends?” And over time, she would invite us over dinner, see her family. It was such a strange feeling because we literally grew up with her and saw her growing up, from her first boyfriend until her husband now and having a baby. So yeah, she’s the sweetest fan that anyone could ask for.

So after Good Vibes, what fans expect from you? 

Hopefully, we will be working on our new single and releasing it soon. We’re planning on producing more music and we hope we can come out with something new.

Don’t miss the chance to watch Pastel Lite perform live at Good Vibes Festival on 21 – 22 July 2018. Get your ticket here now! Also, catch up with Emir Hermono who is also going to perform on stage this July here.

Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram and Facebook to keep track of their projects!

Also, check out these two local singer-songwritersNYK and Bayangan.

What does your favourite Raya cookie say about you? Find out here.

Basir Zainuddin

Basir Zainuddin

Of coffee, music, and sea breeze.
Basir Zainuddin

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