• Zim Ahmadi

Kyoto Protocol goes full DIY in Valentine's Day track and music video





Straight from the Kuala Lumpur band's archive all the way back in 2008, comes a song about heartbreak.


Kyoto Protocol has been a staple in the indie scene since the early 2010's not just for their music, but also for their memorable music videos. There's the early OK GO inspired days of Pussycat, the paper art beauty with the heartwarming story of Jelita, to the epic light show of Delta Wing.


The band members have comedic chops too. The music video for Guilty Plea get a bit meta by parodying what happens behind the scenes of a video shoot (including tasty commercialisation). Kyoto Protocol has got plentyof music videos in between and the party continues with a new one this Valentine's Day with their new song V. Day 2008. And this time they're doing everything themselves! 'New' would probably not be the most accurate term. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Fuad, has been meaning to release the track for a long time since he wrote back in 2008, but has never found the right time to do so. "People may not realise this, but it’s almost been a non-stop hustle since Kyoto Protocol formed in 2009. An Album was out in 2011. Pahlawan in 2013. Catch These Men in 2015. The Pen Is Mightier in 2018. If anything, the fact that we were able to continue to pursue some of our more whimsical and fun projects is a sign that we’re getting active, maybe?", said Fuad, purposefully equivocal at the end. It seems strange that a band as established as Kyoto Protocol would go the DIY route, but here they are reclaiming and reinvigorating the "independent music" label even more literally by getting their hands dirty. "We were trying to see what we could pull off. Based on V. Day 2008, I think the guys have done a great job. This would be a stepping stone even when we work on collaborations because all of us have skilled up. Look forward to more KP DIY projects!"


And skilled up they have. Although the track is far from perfect, the do-it-yourself production in V. Day 2008 gives the track a rough edge with a garage rock mood. The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek but also endearingly sincere, capturing that feeling of angry self-doubt that often accompanies a relationship fallout. The refrain "There is no warranty for love" is my favourite line in the song, especially poignant for Valentine's Day - a celebration of love riddled with expectations of gift-giving that often comes with no returns or refunds. On the subject of songs about love, Fuad stated, "I’ve always strived to improve my lyric writing, and I think some ground was definitely covered with The Pen Is Mightier. Still, it was good to have a dash of nostalgia and uncover some of the lost gems of the past. I’m still trying to learn what’s the best outcome, to be honest. I’m always trying different methods of finding writing inspirations. Hopefully, the catalyst doesn’t always have to be heartbreak in the future".


The music video is hilarious too, reminiscent of simpler days of MTV and pop punk bands who work with a minimum budget to sell their sound. Watch Gael the bassist reenact the final breakup spat that led to the creation of the song, with a conversation some of us might be all too familiar with.

If you haven't listened to Kyoto Protocol's latest album, The Pen Is Mightier, do give it a shot!


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