As a highly eventful (to say the least) year comes close to an end, we look back and must say that it has been an awesome year of discovering great new music. After only recently discovering local psychedelic rock band, Golden Mammoth (thanks to their catchy, dreamy single, ‘The Empty Notion’), we got in touch with band member Syabil Alyahya (lead guitar, vocals) to find out a little more about their style of music, new release and evident quirkiness.
Firstly, we dig the outfits. What’s the story behind that?
Cheers guys! We wanted to try out to be anonymous as we wanted to portray more visuals to drive our music. Hence, a robe with a hood. However, upon the day of the photoshoot, there were not enough robes because I didn’t provide enough fabric to the tailor [laughs]. So, I had to use my manager’s graduation robe without a hood and everyone had to take off their hoods. Since that happened, I guess you could say we decided to turn the album into a script for a cult and look as if we are the cult’s superiors… it was a joke but we like the robe a little too much so we started wearing it to shows.
For those who are only now discovering you (ahem, like us), tell us a little about how you guys got started.
It started off as a solo project by myself. I had some materials recorded and produced that I initially posted on SoundCloud and YouTube. It became a band when I submitted a track to the WKND recording fund competition. The song got to the finals and I had to perform for them live, so I gathered some friends to back me up to perform live. Up to this day, there are a number of lineup changes. Now, the current line-up contributes more to the musical arrangement parts than just live performances. I’d say we have reached a point where a void has been filled in the band. Golden Mammoth now sounds more like Golden Mammoth, if that makes sense [laughs].
And how’d the name Golden Mammoth come about?
The name is actually a combination of two band name ideas which was suggested by a friend. It was either The Golden Triangle or The Wooly Mammoth. We decided to combine the words and found out that there is a psilocybin mushroom strain of the same name. We thought that was cool and fitted the whole concept so we went for it [laughs].
Would you consider yourselves a Psychedelic Rock band?
I guess so. We always try to dabble with a wide range of music genres but in the end, the music we produce will always come out as this psychedelic soundscape, which is basically the root of our musical taste.
Out of blatant ignorance, tell us, what’s that scene like here locally?
The scene here is pretty spirited and energetic if you ask me. There are always new amazing talents showing up every month. Most of the people in the scene are super supportive and helpful. It was going pretty healthy pre-pandemic. Quite sad because we couldn’t gather anymore and give the support like how we used to. Being an indie musician here is tough when it comes to financial reasons, I just hope that none of these people are thinking of giving up because of the pandemic.
Something to add on is, I wish for listeners in Malaysia to start taking notice on these amazing talents in our music scene. It would also help if people could start appreciating these smaller artists like how they worship other big artists.
Tell us a little about the conceptualisation of the music video and the meaning behind ‘The Empty Notion’. And is it part of an upcoming album or EP?
The track was written back in 2017, but it didn’t make it into our recent album, ‘Skyscraper Towards the Sun’ as it didn’t suit the album back then. However, I decided to give the song a chance by rewriting and rearranging it. So, we released it as a bonus track. The track is written as a disbelief for a cult while we sang of silly religious practices, hence, “bide my time”, which means we’d like to get out of it by biding our time.
The video was coined by myself when I had a vision of the band playing at an abandoned castle. But since we couldn’t film at a castle because of the pandemic, we decided to record ourselves with a green screen and paste the castle behind us, done by Irfan Aljuffry. We also wanted to mark an end to our Skyscraper chapter by burning those robes in the music video. We had some of our producer friends to do remix versions of the songs from our last album. So we decided to compile the tracks into an EP titled ‘Skyscraper B-Side and Remixes’.
You guys already have two albums out, Metaphoric Quadraphonic and Skyscraper Towards the Sun. How has your music evolved since then?
I would say the arrangement and sound production from the second one is more refined than the first one. For the first album, I did everything through a computer, including drums. For the second album, we decided to use an actual drum kit, analog synthesizers and outboard gears. We also decided to tone down the usage of FX on our instruments to try and get raw sounds in order to make it listenable. I would say the major difference between the first and second album is that the latter is darker compared to the cheerful vibe of the first one.
Just how far back and wide do your influences go?
Pretty wide I guess, I could be listening to some obscure 70’s doom metal in the afternoon and finish the day with some Billie Eilish.
What lead to the transitional point where you decided to start taking your music more seriously? And what did you feel had to be done?
Things got serious when I was approached by Arin of Juggernotes Music who was keen to manage the band and is still managing us to this day. This was a significant moment because she was a stranger who simply loved our music and agreed to help us restructure and plan ahead for the band’s releases. That was the moment when it started to get serious. She helped us get connected with people in the scene, and definitely opened more doors for us. In my opinion, I’d say the first thing that needed to be done was to accept opinions from other people and start to collaborate with other creatives instead of working all alone in the studio.
Interesting! Is there something you guys are working towards achieving as a band?
We’re not really sure what to expect or where this road will take us. We’d love to have our stuff reaching audiences outside of Malaysia. The number 1 priority for us at the moment is to produce more music.
What keeps you guys motivated?
I don’t know if I could answer for the rest of my band mates, but for myself, I get motivated when I see bands releasing new music. That gives me a rush and inspires me to make more music. We’re currently in the studio recording for our next album! No official dates or details yet but we hope to have it out by next year.
Also, it helps when we do interviews like this, where we can share thoughts on our music. So thanks, guys!
Our pleasure! Thanks for your time. Stay safe and keep on makin’ more music!
The band recently announced that they’ll be performing an online set at the upcoming Music Lane Okinawa Festival (Japan) which will be broadcasted during the weekend of January 16 and 17, 2021, so don’t miss out! Follow the band on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.