If you’ve been following the Malaysian indie music scene closely, chances are you’ve might have bumped into Tim Lim.
Known as Timothy Lim Wern Liang according to his identification card, the 36-year-old can be considered an “old timer” in the local scene.
However, if you’ve never seen him before, that’s because Tim had taken a more than a half-decade-long hiatus from the scene. But not before releasing two albums, The Day After and This Road.
Six years later, the musician is back to where he belongs. Eksentrika recently got in touch with Tim to find out what has changed for him and if the scene is still the same or different. His answers might surprise you (or not).
Heya Tim, let’s start right at the beginning. Can you share how you started out your journey in music?
Since I was young, I was quite involved in music especially at my church. My dad is a guitarist so when I said I wanted to learn the guitar, he encouraged me to do so. This kick-started my passion to be involved in music which carries me till today.
Do you remember performing for the public for the first time?
It’s a different ball game, after playing and singing “regularly” in church setting. I was partly nervous while the other part of me treated it as learning experience. Even after many years, it’s still a learning experience for me especially when you play in front of different kind of crowds.
Your music focuses on life themes such as making important decisions and facing challenges. What inspired you to create these tracks? And what genre do you feel your music fits in?
The fact that music has that “power” to bring that message of positivity across to everyone regardless the age, culture or background inspires me to create these tracks. I feel my music does fit into pop music stuff while some of my friends say it sounds a little bit like country music.
What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced as an indie artist and how do you feel these challenges can be solved?
I think major challenge as indie artist to have the energy to self-manage your music and resources. Not many have the luxury of having everything is done for you so I guess these challenges can be “solved” by having a good discipline and motivation.
Tim, you’ve been in the local music scene for 10 years now. How much has changed and how much is still the same?
What has changed.. well, I think the standout point for me is the accessibility of music to consumers! With the internet, consumers basically have the power to search and just stream whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them. We have Spotify, Apple Music, and other music platforms. This is so different from the days when I was young. People used to go out to music stores to buy cassettes or CDs, even though there’s only one song you like on that album.
That being said, I think a lot of us have been trying to keep up with the times, which is good. Things like social media totally changed the way music is presented, which helps a lot of us to improve our music so many will take notice of it.
I can’t really pinpoint what’s the same after 10 years for me, but perhaps the challenges of doing music in Malaysia are still pretty much there, even though times have changed. However, I do believe the passion for music especially local music is very much alive and well.
Within the span of time you’ve also released two albums, an EP and a couple of singles. However, between 2014 to 2019 you were pretty quiet. What did you do during this period?
From 2014 till 2015, I was asked to work and study at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. So I had to put a pause to my “music” thing, as in being active in gigs. I still wrote songs though!
I came back to Kuala Lumpur in 2016 and started to get back into the gig scene, to network with people and try to get my music out there. All this lead to the opportunity to work with Madan Theertha Pathy of Pulse Soundworks and in 2018, I got “More than this” recorded. It’s been a journey!
What led you to create “More than this” and “Forever”?
These songs were written during that “quiet time”, as I wanted to keep writing songs while capturing life experiences of mine and others. “More than this” is about my reflections of life – asking the critical question of what is my purpose of living and everything that I’m doing.
“Forever” is a ballad about finding someone to spend your life with. It’s a song that I have wanted to write for some time. Previously I wrote a similar theme for my friend’s wedding, which is titled “Complete” (it’s part of my EP – make me feel).
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Thank you @groundeatery and @lioness.shirley for having me earlier today. Shoutout to those who joined in on the Instagram Live. I hope you all enjoyed the songs. Happy weekend to all and yes, Christmas is getting nearer! Pic credit : @bananabot23 #timlimproject #malaysianmusic #singersongwriter #groundeatery
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Your last album was in 2012. Do you foresee yourself releasing another anytime soon? When would it be?
I think with the dynamics of the industry and even my life, I think I will be working on an EP instead, which hopefully, would be released by next year or in two years’ time.
*** All images by Tim Lim.