))) Cyberwerk (((

Mencari ))) bunyian elektrik ((( segment this month is previewing an interview with Ojie of Cyberwerk, a Malaysian ambient electronica duo. Existed within the hidden urban fabric sounds of Kuala Lumpur since circa 90's. In this interview, Ojie talks about his endeavors in between pursuing his passion in music and design, surviving in Malaysia and his inspiration ranging from science fiction anime, movies and literature.
Note: This interview was originally held way back in year 2002 for my zine Substanc3. It was never released till today exclusively in Asasku blog.

Any Tell us a bit about yourself, Cyberwerk and Fusionkraft.

I'm 29yrs old going into 30 soon :{ and lucky *or unlucky?* enough to have the drive to make my own creation. cyberwerk is me & my other partner, sengwai, way of expressing ourselves musically through computer technology. fusionkraft basically embodies what I've learned and loved since i press the first [Enter] key; that is computer products, let it design or music.

From your previous mail, yu were mentioning about how yu have survived for a year by just by doing freelancing work. How is that possible?

Actually its more than a year and i meant it when I say, "SURVIVE". It's a tough world *Malaysia* where talent is not appreciated enough unless you're willing to do shitwork and get dog's meal. What i did was get a steady job for 1 year or so and save up enough money to sustain me for another year or so. This way I kind of balances between being a shitworker for a year and a maestro of my own world in another. :)

What are the common problems that yu find during your freelancing work?

As I said before, its not that how "good" you are but how "cheap"!! They *clients* are not willing to spend lots of money just because produced a magnificent artworks. They know *or maybe not* that a shitty design could do the job just fine because most people in Malaysia don't know shit about colors or layout or typography. So if you want to be a maestro of your own world, get ready to "survive" unless you're lucky enough to hit the right client who go crazy about your artworks! Or perhaps your family fortune is yours! :)

What is the important thing that every 'freelancer' must have in order to survived in the outside world?

The most important thing is to have lots and lots of contacts. i think freelancers should be vicious! cutthroats will survive! What I mean is that you need to convince the clients that you're Michaelangelo or Basquiat! You need to be cocky to them. To me personally, I hate cocky people. Talk big but shitty talent. But in the "real world" we should be at least cocky to the clients.

Do yu find any similarity between making and producing electronica music with digital graphic? Why?

Yes of course! When programming music, I have this picture/images/design in my head at the same time. It's like giving sound to your artworks or vice versa, giving images to your sound. That's why I'm extremely fascinated with Flash because you can do both!! Another thing is that electronic music is done not with the traditional way. It's like programming something to sing!

What inspire yu to design and composed your music and graphic design?

Funny you ask that because the major influences I get when doing either one is because of that two! I mean, usually i get ideas for my music after looking at some designs, like when I'm doing a website and then i get this music playing in my mind. vice versa on design too. But the biggest/memorable ideas for music or design comes from sci-fi movies. I don't know, I just love sci-fi and it dictates my taste.

Is there any special technique that yu refer to for yu to design and composed your music/graphic?.

Let me think...I don't have any particular technique that I use except that I always keep in mind to make it simple. I have this motto that I always keep: less is more | perfection in design is not when you have nothing more to add, but when there's nothing more to take away. Btw, I usually start *design* by choosing color first as this would dictates the design outcome.

Cyberwerk flyer/ frontage website

Please complete these words. Design is...

Haha - I repeat my motto: less is more | perfection in design is not when you have nothing more to add, but when there's nothing more to take away.

What is your favorite font? Why?

Square BdExt BT (Bold Extended - capital letters preferably). because it suits my design taste - less is more. The typo design is very balanced, minimal yet powerful. When used in the correct context it'll make the design more sophisticated, bold, strong and industrial-standard-like. For monospace/ body text I like to use Century Gothic. Like Square, it's clean and well balanced. good for large body text. And its good for headers too (in caps).

There is a quote from your cyberwerk web site. You were mentioning about cyberwerk's vision - "Our mission (and various others) is to re-program all technologically-unchallenged beings into being more receptive towards Trance and electronica in general. " How do yu plan in achieving it?

To us *Cyberwerk* the most logical way is to make a different cut of music, intelligently perhaps, and get famous!! *grins* after that we can brainwash them dancefloor marauders easily! HAHA. seriously, our remarks were a bit bold to say the least. It was too bad electronica started in a wrong foot in Malaysia. i mean, look at the UK and Europe scenes, raves were attended by people who knows what a 909 or 303 is!! not all, I admit but here *Malaysia* its only ecstasy and getting with the hype. Jumping in the bandwagon everybody else rides.

It pathetic to see "fengtau" assholes feeding their heads into the bass-bin. Pathetic! Btw, when cyberwerk played at Tone's Sorted party @ movement, the dancefloor marauders were hesitating to move with our music because its DIFFERENT from what they used to. But after a few tracks there were hands in the air !! That's how we gonna "re-program those technologically- UNchallenged into being more receptive towards trance!

From your early cyberwerk track such as protoculture, do yu relate your music with manga/ anime?why?

YES! I love manga/anime extremely. Especially the ones with mecha. Idea for protoculture came up when i was (and still is) in love with Robotech/ Macross saga. I started watching the TV series and reading the novel when I'm 14. it left a very deep impression on me and the way I look at the world nowadays. I think Robotech/Macross is the greatest/biggest anime ever! Its world is not just naive mecha-pilots fighting for supremacy or invading aliens taking over the world. It's more than that, its LIFE!

Do yu think that Malaysia is able to produce their own original style of manga/anime?

It is irrelevant when talking about whether we can produce an original "style" of manga/anime. To me manga is within its own "root" style - Japanese art. Even masamune shirow, who is hailed as master with his own manga style, still grouped under manga style. What i'm trying to say is that manga is a specific art where originality is only in the storylines. Btw, I have few friends who make really good manga. We often talked about doing a team project but it didn't came out because most of were busy. I hope one day I can post an online manga/anime using flash perhaps!

Do Cyberwerk have any plans in performing + distributing album outside Malaysia?

Yes we have plans. We've send a few demos to a friend who went to German to get record contracts. Another friend is trying to produce cyberwerk in small quantity (tapes as first step) to distributed in Malaysia and surrounding countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. We hope we have enough cash to make our own CD and distribute it DIY style.

How do yu relate your music experience between with your previous grindcore band 'Mutilation' and cyberwerk?

Well, I don't see any different between the two because both bands are in the extremes. mutilation was into grindcore because I got fed up with metal-oriented bands that time (1988-92). With cyberwerk, I got fed up with cheesy techno! Both are extreme in the way the songs were visualized. Mutilation was more "primitive" in being extreme. Where as cyberwerk is intense in subtle ways. But we still love distorted sounds in our songs!! Old habits die hard! HAHA.

Tell us about the other cyberwerk member - Seng Wai.

I met him while working at HVD as audioman. We become friends and we have parallel tastes. so I invited him into my other band "fragile", a new wave/gothic/melodic band. After that, we formed cyberwerk because both of us are really into computer then. Right now he's doing design/multimedia too. Btw, he's not a typical chinaman you'll meet in the streets HAHA!.

What differentiate cyberwerks from the other techno / trance tunes?

Hmmm, I think the way we produce the songs are different from the typical producer's song where particular tracks were produce with clubbers in mind. Most techno tracks we made to please the crowd, designed and engineered to make people moves and get carried away for hours. Cyberwerk in the other hand, create music for ourselves. its more like creating sonic paintings which only a the painter and a few exceptional onlookers can understand. I'm not saying that cyberwerk is aloof and holier-than-thou attitude.

Its just the different way we look at music. i was brought up with Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin and later with the New Wave era of the 80s where music is music with melodies and soul not just a sound that is radio-friendly and easy to digest just because its easier to sell !! Furthermore, I matured in the underground scene where DIY (and related stuff) is like the air we breathe.

From your website, you also mentioned about being frustrated with the current electronica music trends. Why?

Like a said earlier, Malaysia electronica scenes are more like, which can make more people dance no matter how shitty is the song or whether its other people's song or not. We all know that electronica feels good in a club with all the flashing lights and big booming bass bin. I agree to that but I don't wanna be in the same bandwagon though!! I prefer to ride my own mule. Its a mule not a bandwagon but its mine and those who follows are true.

What are cyberwerk/ fusionkraft future plan?

Cyberwerk: we are planning to release tons of tracks and play it in lots of gig, underground preferably. and maybe a few cds too :).

Fusionkraft: I plan to make money with it so that I can buy more toys to play with. Toys are like more RAM, faster CPUs, bigger/better hard disks, firewire-equipped hardware's, digital audio hardwares, more synths, a mixer.....the list goes on and on and on!!! anyway, I wanna find some more free time to make fusionkraft a Flash site....

Sengway & Ojie, Indie, Goth, Electronic Live at 'The Factory' (R.i.p), Bukit Bintang, 2001

How do people respond to cyberwerk and fusionkraft?

Cyberwerk is doing great with the people. we even have FANS!!! yeah cool huh! HAHA We don't realized this at first because we didn't expect anything like that gonna happen, but shits happened!! HAHA As for fusionkraft, i haven't had any significant approaches yet. i think its time to be more aggressive and shove a few flyers down client's throats!

What do yu think about D.I.Y (do it yourself) product? Why?

DIY is a great tool that you can learn to improve your life. i was brought up and matured in that kind of world where you should do it if you can up to level where you can't do it by yourselves anymore. it is very rewarding experiences as kids/people nowadays are being spoon-fed too much! Their way of learning in school or even college or Univ. are also spoon-fed.

I've done quite a few design for a multimedia/design students!! What the hell they were studying for?!?!? Back to the DIY topic. DIY is not just doing T-shirt prints, demo tapes or fanzines. Its a whole idea of being a better person by being useful and use every tools available! to me, you can do anything by yourself! even studying. i studied how to make a website by my own! The information, tools and knowledge are out there!! All you need to do is tell yourself "could I do this? of course I can because other people can do it!".

It is more convenient nowadays because computers and internet are readily available!! DO YOU PART! BECOME A USEFUL TOOL YOURSELF AS WHAT HUMAN WAS INTENDED TO BE!

What do yu think about the current graphic design and electronica music scene in Malaysia?

The electronica scene is growing. I met & heard a few guys doing their own stuff *bedroom studios*. A friend of mine gave me a CD of this one guy, I don't remember the band's name. Its electronica!! i feel relieved that more people are churning out music out of their computers! as to design, it is encouraging as newer/younger people are into multimedia stuff and excel in it too! well, with the computer price going down all the time and internet is widely surfed, i would not expect less than that! but I can see a few trendy stuff/design coming up.

I can see a lot of Malaysian designers going for or following the MTV/full-of-hype design trend. this is trend and trend will die at one point. I believed in originality and talent is needed in that area. most college/Univ. grads can do great-looking designs/multimedia but it only end there. there's no "soul" or "feel" in it. Even techno-ish design need "feel" !!

Any last word for the people out there?

Hey people, this is the 2nd year of the new millenium, so get that arse moving and make yourself useful and learn! Spoon-feeding are for lamers!!


Sound Note: Link to checkout Cyberwerk tracks


  1. wow i didn't i was that angry at that time LOL

  2. Being a teenager in the 90's have a lots of disadvantages, restrictions, obstacles and challenges. We also thought great changes will occur over the year of the millennium, which now slowly progressing.

    I totally share that feeling.



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