Rock steady

Heavy metal has had a long influence in the Malaysian independent music scene. Unlike the Malay hard rock scene, the music and the bands of the metal genre never enjoyed a commercial break through locally, but their presence was certainly felt even though they were in the fringes. And it was during the 1990s that the counterculture heavy metal bands exploded unto the scene and saw the emergence of such bands as Cromok, Silent Death, Punisher and Sil Khannaz. 

It’s been over a decade since the heyday of metal music but the legacies of such bands still remain though some of them today are largely inactive. That, however, has not stopped individual members from breaking out on their own and continuing what they have been doing since they started ... making music. 

Original Sil Khannaz guitarist and founding member Rashidi Rashid, better known as Shidi, is one example. He recently released his solo effort Bara: Rasa under InterGlobal Music and now goes by the name CD Naz. 

In person, Shidi's appearance still holds true to his metal roots. Well, at least his well-groomed long hair still bears that trademark. At a recent interview, he was dressed simply in jeans and a long sleeved T-shirt and when he passed me his call card, it said “producer” below his name. 

CD Naz: "I’m a musician at the end of the day."

“I’m a musician at the end of the day,” said the 33-year-old who formed Sil Khannaz right after finishing school. And being a musician for so long, Shidi has broken out of his metal mould and spread into a different musical direction for his debut solo album. 

“I’ve already experienced the whole underground scene, so now I want to try something new ... the mainstream market,” said Shidi. 

As such, Shidi’s solo outing is oriented towards pop rock sensibilities but there are metal laden tracks on the album and his guitar prowess is still evident. But what stands out more on this album is his song writing and singing. Shidi may have been borne of metal music but he has a knack for writing songs outside of that genre and has a strong, melodious voice, which he utilises for backing vocal harmonies as well. 

“I focused more on singing than guitar solos for the album,” added Shidi whose influences include the likes of David Coverdale (Deep Purple/Whitesnake) and Chris Cornell (Audioslave/ Soundgarden). And he also paid attention to the song writing.  

“I played around with different type of chords for the album, you know, sevenths and nines. It (the chords) gives it a fuller sound.”  

The rocker-at-heart wrote and recorded nearly all the tracks on the album. He said that he had written the songs about four years ago and recorded them digitally and tracked most of the instrumentation and vocals. He had shopped the songs around before they were picked up by InterGlobal. 

When it came time to record though, Shidi got help from P.E. (of Infectious Maggots) for the bass tracks, PAE (XPDC/Barongan) on drums as well as composers such as Pay (Slank), Jadam and Zizie Hashim. 

This is a major departure for someone associated with one of Malaysia’s foremost metal bands and metal fans are known to be fiercely loyal. So what sort of reception did Shidi receive with his solo debut? 

“The response from the fans was good and they are very supportive and dug what I did on this solo album. Things have changed over the years. Back then, metal fans would only listen to metal music and that’s it. It isn’t the case anymore, I think. They have become more open and have widened their music vocabulary,” said Shidi. 

Besides the different music direction, Shidi also explained the name change for his solo album. 

“The name change was a suggestion from the record company. It was originally just CD but it didn’t make much sense, so I added Naz at the end to show I’m from Sil Khannaz.” 

For someone who was part of the underground metal scene back in the day, Shidi still keeps his ear to the ground and listens to local indie music. 

“I like bands like Seven Collar T-Shirt, Blind Tribe, Prana, Love Me Butch and Langsuyr,” he said and even helped produce a Langsuyr album. 

“I like producing. My target now as a musician is to produce more and write more songs. Age is catching up with me,” said Shidi with a smile, before signing off. “But I want to take different creative directions as well and do other things.” 

CD Naz’s Bara: Rasa is distributed by InterGlobal Music.