[EXCLUSIVE] Toko Kilat On Reinventing The Music Scene | Malaysian Band Spotlight

(L-R) Redzuan Husin, Irfan Iskandar, Azhari TOya and Edwin Raj of Toko Kilat

Keep up with Toko Kilat on Instagram.

Born out of pure passion, Toko Kilat is a rock band that’s no stranger to the local scene. The band’s vocalist and guitarist, Edwin Raj, said that Toko Kilat’s journey into music was born out of the passion to make something that lasted and something to remember them by. “It’s a talent to have creative thoughts, and it’s a sin not to make them come alive. We are not great at procrastinating,” he added.

How did the band come about and what’s the story behind the name?

Late night sessions between Irfan, Wan and I, when the music started to take form. We wanted to shape a record from our personalities and musical backgrounds; to make songs that don’t follow trends, and could live the test of time. There was a certain energy that flowed every time we were in the studio, that inspired the words ‘Toko’ – which means Shop in Bahasa Indonesia – and ‘Kilat’, connected seamlessly to add meaning. We understand it’s as House of Lightning.

Like everything in the band, it came timely.

Their goal? To make music that lasts

How would you describe your music style?

We are inclined towards anything pro-rock. Tokok Kilat is a rock band.

Where do you get your inspiration for your music?

The places we’ve been to, the people we’ve met, the things we’ve done, and the experiences we live to tell. There’s a story, or even a woman, behind every song.

Are there any artists you look up to that inspire your music/style?

Most of us grew up listening to the rock bands from the UK and the US. We dig artistes like Charles Bradley, Miles Davis, or J.Cole, though they never directly inspired our music. Most of us are musicheads; and we own similar records from Floyd, Radiohead, The Cure, The Verve and Joy Division in our collection.

What is the song writing process like? Melody or lyrics first?

It usually starts with a trigger factor, or a situation. “Ratu Malam” for example, was lust for forbidden love; and “Nahas” about the idea of revenge. The ideas then translate through riffs, that evolves with lyrics. Songwriting is complicated; we have found that it could start in the middle, and return to find a beginning in the end.

Do you think people can relate to your music? If yes, in what way?

It should, everyone could be different but we all share the same moments – like falling in love, heartbreak, birth and death. Find a song in the album to be your soundtrack.

Do you have a song that means a lot to you?

“Kabur” is dedicated to my father. We used his bass guitar in the recordings. We believe he was very much present during the sessions, working his magic through our fingers. It’s truly moving every time I listen to it. Loss is a heavy subject, but needs to be dealt with.

What are your views on the Malaysian music industry?

It needs cause and effect. We need to reinvent. It doesn’t excite local audiences, like it would the Korean wave for example. It needs all the right components to work. We just can’t value music based on likes and views. Regardless, Toko Kilat is optimistic it grows in the right direction.

Any changes you’d like to see in the industry?

Incubators for new and noteworthy artistes, and more platforms to expose local talents. Also, a 100 percent local radio, 24/7 broadcasted nationwide funded by MACP & RIM royalty earnings.


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What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Financing the dream. It’s been a trip, and I’m glad we’ve been keeping it together.

What are the future plans for Toko Kilat?

There’s an upcoming tour to promote our current release, happening in June so follow us on Instagram @tokokilatband for details.

If you could describe Toko Kilat in one word, what would it be?