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Public School in Session
From local jazz gems, disco grooves and Thai funk, the members of music collective Public School pick out some unique tracks from their music collection.
Public School is a music collective with an earnest mission to introduce the wide spectrum of music to everyone, no matter the genre or format. They debuted as a two-man team with DJs Renry Hollins and Rudy La Faber at a family-friendly farmer’s market. Although an unconventional setting for two DJs, it’s emblematic of their intention to make music accessible for all: for those who want to play it and those who want to listen to it in a safe, inclusive environment.
“How Public School is today, we didn’t plan it, it just grew organically,” says Hollins, “we want to do something that’s not normally associated with DJs.” Now, Public School has grown to include other like-minded enthusiasts, and even have their own multifunctional space, fono at creative hub, the Zhongshan Building.
Digging through each of their collection, founders Hollins and La Faber with fellow member Naj Frusciante share a few local and regional tracks for your listening pleasure:
Renry Hollins, Co-Founder/Operations
Ahmad Nawab - Dahaga
Describing it as a “fun song”, Dahaga by renowned composer and saxophonist Ahmad Nawab is top on Hollins’s list because it’s reminiscent of the work by American musician Isaac Haye
Alleycats - Selamat Berbahagia
With its undeniable disco groove, Hollins recommends putting on your dancing shoes and paying attention when brothers David and Logan Arumugam harmonise with funky guitar and percussion that induces foot tapping.
Black Dog Bone - Geram
An often overlooked single from the ’70s pop band’s second album Si Gadis Ayu, Geram is a cheeky, feel-good track with a music video to match.
Rudy La Faber, Co-Founder/Creative
Sroeng Santi - Kuen Kuen Lueng Lueng (Thailand)
The first track off Sroeng Santi’s Thai! Dai!, Black Sabbath’s iconic guitar riff from Iron Man that opens this song first took La Faber by surprise. “The song goes into a more traditional Luk thung (Thai country) style of vocals while maintaining the riff,” explains La Faber on this unique mashup.
Waipod Phetsuphan - Ding Ding Dong (Thailand)
Traditionally, molam is wedding music often themed on unrequited love. “Molam songs are like Greek tragedies. And because they’re tragedies, they’re kind of comedies as well.” La Faber recalls this song by famous molam singer Waipod Phetsuphan as his first introduction to the genre, and he hopes it’ll do the same for you.
The Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band - Lam San Disco
Rounding up his musical choices from an excursion in Thailand, La Faber picks this track from a band by noted molam proponents Chris Menist and Maft Sai, simply because “it's the best song on the record.”
Naj Frusciante - Public Relations
Az Samad - Latah Setinggan
An acoustic number by fingerstyle guitarist Az Samad, Naj describes the guitar strumming as “crispy” and lauds its dynamism, with its intro that builds up into a highly melodic tune.
Deepset - Where Were They (When the Fun Went Out)?
Naj highly recommends the Kuala Lumpur-based instrumental rock band, and chooses this track, from their 2008 album The Lights We Shed Shall Burn Your Eyes, as a starter. “I find it very peaceful and dreamy; it has a sense of healing. I listen to it whenever I drive,” she says.
Zain Azman - Airmata Berderai
“The track is romantic and ahead of its time,” swoons Naj. Airmata Berderai was composed by Malaysia’s Father of Jazz Alfonso Soliano with resounding vocals by popular ’60s jazz crooner Zain Azman.
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