Disclaimer: This transcript may be edited for reading clarity.
Two months ago at MGACE 2017, we had the opportunity to sit down with one of the most affluent rock bands in the current ACG music scene – 5 Minute Heroes. We had a short chat with a few of their current members – Jonathan (lead vocalist), Silas (bassist), Midori (keyboardist), Acap (drummer), and Fate Feather (vocalist) – about the behind-the-scenes of their band and their thoughts on the current scene.
TMR: For the sake of our readers who may not be familiar with you, could you introduce yourself?
5MH: We are just an anime cover band. We got together on that premise and we’re just doing what we do as a hobby, to have fun, and let people enjoy music from anime that they love. If we could describe it one word, I guess that would be: HYPE! That’s our whole motive, to hype up the crowd and get everyone excited when we perform.
TMR: So where did the name 5 Minute Heroes actually come from?
5MH: At first, we thought of many lame-sounding names, as you can imagine – some which I won’t disclose *laughs* – but our guitarist suggested something with the word “5” in it, because there were 5 of us then. At the time I also had a game I really liked called “Half Minute Hero”, so that’s where the inspiration for the name came from. It was also the fact that every song we played was around 5 minutes, so every time we sing a song, we kind of become heroes. *laughs*
If anything, their naming sense is on point. That day, 5 Minute Heroes displayed a stage presence that flooded the room the moment the first chord was struck. It could have been their experience handling the stage, or the sheer passion and talent for their craft that translated across to the crowd, but even if it was for just 5 minutes, their music made it easy to forget that you were in a small event hall somewhere in Kuala Lumpur. Seems pretty heroic to me.
TMR: What is it like to put on a performance like that? How much practice does that take?
5MH: When we first started out, we did rehearsals for about 2 hours every week, just like every other band. Then what happened was that, is this guy here – *gestures at Jonathan* – decided that he had to go back and live in Kelantan again. It didn’t make sense for him to come down every week just to practice, so we came up with a new system that’s in effect now.
Basically, we record ourselves covering the songs we choose to play, upload it into the group, then critique each other. That’s how we ensure the quality of each others’ parts outside of the rehearsal space, so that when we finally get together for a band practice, we don’t have to worry whether everybody is on par with each other or not. That’s why we usually only need one rehearsal before going for a show.
TMR: How long has this line-up actually been together for?
5MH: The band has been around since 2013 June, but the line-up has been changing. The only two that have stuck from start to finish are Silas and Jonathan. We aren’t actually so serious about it, like “if you leave the band it’s an insult to our character”. If a person has to go, that’s life, y’know? So we leave the environment free and easy. If any one of you wants to join the band, come and join us! Even if you just want to play one song with us, come approach us! As long as you’re capable and willing, we can make space for you and make rotations internally.
TMR: So, this question is directed to Silas and Jonathan: After these four years of doing the band, what keeps you still wanting to do it?
5MH: Honestly, when we rehearse we’re sometimes lazy to do it, but the very moment you step on stage and the crowd is singing along with you, all those feelings go away. Even if it’s songs that some of us are not particularly fond of, the very moment the crowd responds to it, you start liking it too. *laughs*
TMR: Have you ever performed outside of the ACG community?
5MH: Never, and because we started it as an anime cover band, it’s unlikely. But there are many other, better ACG bands that are performing outside of the community, e.g. Mystical Mirage, Prime Monument.
Compared to the other bands we interviewed that day, 5 Minute Heroes showed no intention to make it outside of the community. They made sure to emphasise that their band has always began from interest, and will forever remain that way, even if its members do other things on the side. However, when it came to their viewpoint on the ACG music scene, their opinions definitely echoed the sentiments of the rest of the community.
TMR: What are your thoughts on the ACG music scene?
5MH (Silas): The scene is definitely growing, and as events grow in number, our music side also grows in parallel. Especially with the availability of technology and Youtube tutorials, we’re seeing more and more bands coming up. Personally, we’re happy that things are growing, cause some of us are getting old. *laughs*
5MH (Acap): On the audience side, the crowd used to be very patung or tuna. [Basically, unmoving.] But now, the crowd actually reacts to what we play. I love when people respond with their energy, and I hope more and more people are willing to show their emotions and enjoy our performances like this!
5MH (Jonathan): I might be touching on a sensitive topic, but my hopes for the future of the ACG scene is that more performers will get paid for doing what they do. Sure, we’re doing this out of passion but we still need to eat. All of us put in our fair share of effort and I’m not speaking only for our band, but every band and performer out there that are performing for free at ACG events. Hopefully event organisers will start seeing the value of performers that are good and pay them accordingly.
TMR: If I’m an upcoming musician in the ACG community, where should I be looking for experience and stages to perform on?
5MH: There are a lot of avenues for singing, like competitions in the community. MGACE also had a dancing competition. You just have to take your first step to apply for it then you will get your chances there.
TMR: What about bands who want to perform during event slots?
5MH: It depends on the event organisers. When we first started out we were actually pretty lucky, but I’m starting to see more and more opportunities with smaller events having shows within their little venues. From there, I guess, get to know people, keep up with the news, or you could even host your own show and invite other ACG bands to play alongside your own. There’s also promoting on Youtube, Facebook, etc.
Before we ended the interview, of course, we had to ask one final question. The band has said that they’re always looking for new talent to collaborate with them or join them, so what are their conditions for joining?
TMR: Last question – how should people contact you if they want to perform with 5 Minute Heroes?
Thanks for the interview, 5 Minute Heroes! We’ll be looking forward to what you have in store for us this 2018!