HIP-HOP and R&B in Malaysia has never been the same since Airliftz hit the scene in 2016. After bursting into SoundCloud, the Kajang native has had tremendous success as an artist. At just 20 he already has a successful EP and an Asia tour in his name.
Airliftz, whose real name is Aliff Shaharom, has also opened up to international artists such as Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. But things changed a bit after the release of his critically acclaimed 2017 EP, donut. For one, Airliftz recently embraced the sounds of pop-punk.
As part of its initiative for Capital A’s #TimeToListen campaign, Airliftz has released its track NOT TODAY celebrate the different forms of diversity. The latest version is a far cry from its classic rap and R&B sound. While the track greatly reflects his essence as a songwriter, the melody marks a change in the sound of him as an artist.
In an exclusive interview with the Sun, he opens up about the inspiration behind the change and the process of bringing the melody to life.
What inspired your recent transition to pop-punk?
“Well, I’ve listened to a lot of pop-punk stuff. I think it was one of Yungblud’s songs that was the inspiration for me. Since I like to create different kinds of songs, I thought maybe I should write something like that because it’s something different.
“I just want to experience different things because people usually know me as a hip hop, R&B rapper and producer. But not this time: I’ll give you something different.
“Other than that, I just miss listening to group music. You know, the backing tracks, and I just want to be able to have it. And I’ve spent a lot of time in Penang with my guys who have bands, and that makes me miss them even more.
“Because before I wanted to do hip hop and R&B, I always wanted my band back to school. So finally, I could make a song that sounds like a whole band. “
What’s this NOT TODAY all about?
“The song is about perseverance and overcoming adversity. I was inspired to write the song after Air Asia contacted me to be part of their diversity campaign. I remember coming home and meeting my Singaporean producer friend. His name is Fox.
“We did the song via Zoom, and this song is really about trying to be out there and push yourself to be better and be good. Because in the past few years, my mental health has deteriorated badly. And to the point where I feel like if I couldn’t do anything.
“So when Air Asia reached out to me for the whole campaign, it just reignited the whole thing. And I would use it to make sure everything I’ve tried is out there. So, yeah, that’s what it’s about. this song, and I just hope people can resonate with it. “
Do you think it better reflects where you are now in your life?
“I would say this is just the introduction. It’s a great introduction for people to get to know me. But I have much more to tell and share.
“But I would say NOT TODAY it gave me the opportunity to simply express how I feel, and with me choosing this sound – the sound itself also expressed a lot of emotions like anger, chaos and even the music video. So that’s what I’m trying to make people understand whatever I feel. “
How was the whole experience like shooting the music video?
“The music video was crazy. I was wearing a Tyvek jacket and sweating for the duration of the shoot from 8:00 to 12:00. But it was fun because I got to see my boyfriend from Penang, who is part of a band called SICK, and my boys who I grew up with in Kajang.
“I needed them to be in the second half because they are the reason this all happens. And Denhouse’s productions shot the whole thing. They were the production house that made it all happen. We shot it somewhere in this random Chow Kit building.
“And it was nice. It was on a roof and had a nice view. You can see the whole KL from up there.
“Overall, it was a fun shooting experience because I finally got to see some familiar faces after being stuck at home for so long.”
As a supporter of Capital A’s diversity campaign, what is something you would most like to see in the local music scene?
“I love to see people supporting each other. I think it’s always been my number one goal, how to build a community that can respect each other. Instead of casting shadow or standing among the so-called jerks. I want people to respect and appreciate each other’s trades.
“And if they think the other person’s art is swag, they might as well recall it instead of casting a shadow. And help each other grow instead of hating someone.
“So what I hope for the music scene in Malaysia is to grow a community that can support each other. I know it sounds easy to say, but I just hope we can get there. “