A concept that is one of the foundations of DIY touring – with any kind of music not just punk rock – is the idea that, “If I play your town, you should come play mine”. So what happens when the bonds formed in 15 years of supporting Australian bands mean a South East Asian band wants to have a go playing ‘down under’.
It was a surprise to many that this theme was explored in The Other Option. While Australian bands have flooded the touring circuit in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and beyond – why aren’t there more South East Asian punk and hardcore bands touring here?
While factors including economic disparity and individual motivation definitely play a role, the overwhelming feeling from bands, authors, promoters and kids as to why more artists don’t venture across the Indian Ocean was a fear of Australia’s fierce implementation of immigration laws. In particular, the unfortunate stories of bands with shows booked, stages waiting and savings spent on tickets, being turned away at the border.
The issue is a complex one, and the story analysed at length in The Other Option is of course that of Kuala Lumpur post-hardcore band Daighila, who were turned away at the border in 2008 with a full Australian tour booked and after spending overnight in a detention centre. Unfortunately their story has become a part of underground folklore in South East Asia.
But not many people know the story of Malaysian pop-punk band Spunky Funggy, who were also turned away at the border seven years earlier after receiving an offer to tour from a local promoter. Our friends at Unite Asia have and EXCLUSIVE of the deleted interview with Spunky Funggy lead singer Francis Wolf, that unfortunately did not make the final cut of the film.
The issue continues to rear it’s head. Just two months ago, when the tables were turned and Australian band I Killed The Prom Queen were detained in Kuala Lumpur for having incorrect performing visas and deported, it made big waves in music media and even mainstream media, with families and punters demanding answers and band members giving detailed accounts of there ‘ordeal’.
Head to Unite Asia to see the exclusive interview with the band considered one of the first, if not the first, South East Asian band to attempt to tour Australia. To pick up a copy of The Other Option click here.