MANILA -- You know the story where a whole bunch of demo tapes dropped on the lap of Dr. Dre and he pulled out one and that was Eminem’s?
Lightning struck once more and this time for Southeast Asian supergroup Project E.A.R. (East Asian Revolution) when they sent a demo that famed American musician and producer Butch Vig (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters, House of Pain, Garbage, Green Day to name a few) picked out and worked on.
Project E.A.R. features the late Jamir Garcia (vocals) and Lean Ansing (guitars) of Slapshock, Moot Marimuthu (vocals), JD Wong (bass), AJ Nasir (bass), Rudy Malik (drums), DJ Uno Zakaria (turntables) of Malaysian rap metal band Popshuvit, Dandee (vocals) of Thai hiphop crew Bangkok Invaders, Ray Toro (guitars) and James Dewees (keyboards) of My Chemical Romance, Emmett Ishak (vocals) of Malaysian grunge band Butterfingers, and Wing Meng (guitars) of Malaysian alternative rock band, Love Me Butch.
“Dark Times,” the last song recorded by Garcia before his untimely passing late last year with Project E.A.R., will drop this Friday, January 22, on streaming platforms.
“The track is a killer, am amazing song,” said Vig from his Los Angeles, California studio. Vig also pronounced himself as shocked about Garcia’s demise.
According to Marimuthu, the supergroup sent Vig the recordings when he called for submissions with an opportunity to be produced by him early in the pandemic in 2020.
“He liked what we did and we had a Zoom chat with him,” added Marimuthu.
Meeting Project E.A.R. if only online was also a relief for Vig. “I thought I got a high school band,” he laughed. “Let’s do this.”
“That was Mr. Nevermind,” pointed out Dandee of Vig’s reputation as the man who produced the multi-million selling album of American grunge band, Nirvana. “And he’s a mean drummer," referring to Vig also playing the drums for Garbage.
“’Stars’ was a song that Jamir had wrote and a fond memory of that is waking up after a drunken night to hear him sing it by the beach,” recounted Marimuthu. "In July of 2020, we decided to commemorate the opportunity of working with Butch Vig with a new song and Jamir wrote 'Dark Times' in a week.”
Added Ansing, Garcia’s longtime Slapshock bandmate, “The song was written during the pandemic and reflected the mood of the times.”
“It wasn’t about the personal issues that surfaced later on,” clarified Marimuthu. “It was just the crazy times.”
Project E.A.R. will also release the video of “Dark Times” online also on Friday with plans on putting an extended play single out on both compact disc and vinyl.
“After Jamir had heard Butch Vig’s final work on the songs, he got excited and kept pushing us to release the song. We regret not doing it earlier,” admitted Marimuthu. “But any proceeds here will go to his family.”
“It’s our way of keeping him and his music alive.”