Plague Of Happiness is a Malaysian ska punk band from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, formed in 1999. Since the band’s inception, lead vocalist and guitarist Nas, bassist Ipin, trumpeter Atoi, Trombonist Nausad and Tenor Saxophonist Azmal have remained constant members. Later on they included another guitarist Arab, a drummer Pozy, trumpeter Anep, and trombonist Katek.
Plague Of Happiness are often credited as one of the pioneers of Malaysian ska punk, a form of music mixes elements of ska with punk rock with horns section. Since the release of their 2000 EP debut Nanban, the band toured and recorded extensively throughout the 2000s, becoming a key figure in the development of Malaysian Third Wave Ska scene.
The band has been noted for its strict DIY work ethic, such as engineering, producing, distributing and releasing their own albums and videos and self-promoting of their own shows.
Plague Of Happiness has been supporting local bands and international such as THE BUSINESS and NO USE FOR NAME to name a few before headlining their own Malaysian tour in 2008, to support their debut album called KAWAN.
In February 2010, Plague of Happiness embarks an Indonesian Tour to support their Indonesian version of KAWAN album release in November 2009. The tour extends their musical demographic, and friendship beyond borders.
The band actually got their name from a note written by lead vocalist Nas. It supposed to be a song. But, unintentionally become the band name, since most of third wave ska bands in the 90s have more than 3 words. The band name have a distinctive meaning towards positive vibe, but ironically, the band mixed it up with a lots of social issues, environmental issues, and their life experience.
Early Years (1999 ~ 2004)
Plague Of Happiness was founded in 1999 from a group of Johor Bahru skateboarders. Being different from other band in the late 90s, giving them the opportunity to be recognized easily. A few months after the band’s inception, Plague of Happiness began performing all around south peninsula Malaysia, and quickly developed a fan following.
After a year, the band expands their recognition to neighboring country, Singapore. Their appearance at Singapore AKS Upbeat at Youth Park in 2000 marks their strong relationship with Singapore SKA bands. And soon, carries lots of collaboration projects. By the end of 2007, one of Singapore band The Full Pledge Munkees join their independent label Nyaring.
In 2000, the band recorded couple of songs for a friend, a young talented film maker/producer Azharr Ruddin for Malaysia Video Awards (MVA). However, it didn’t make it to MVA because the band took a long time to record their songs. Despite the incident, the band managed to release their first EP Nanban. The self-produce EP was release under a Grindcore label Orgasmatron. The band members and their friends distributed the cassette by hand across Johor Bharu.
In 2002, Plague Of Happiness contributes a song for spastic children benefit compilation projects in Europe under Bulgarian label Troskot Records. Since then, the band continuously doing collaboration projects all around Europe.
Recognition: TV Appearance, Rock The World 2005 (2005 ~2007)
In early 2005, Plague Of Happiness was invited to perform in a talk show Latte@8 under Malaysian broadcasting program 8TV. Later that year the band was invited again to be appear in the same channel under a different program called Homegrown. Throughout the year the amount of exposure by the media was instant. The band starts to get recognition and constantly travel all around peninsular Malaysia to perform.
2005 have been a really good year for Plague Of Happiness, regardless for not having a full-length album. By December 2005, for the first time after 6 years, the band performed in their first music festival, ROCK THE WORLD. The annual renowned rock event was held at Stadium Merdeka, it was every bands dream to be part of it. Plague Of Happiness came prepared, and hit the stage at dusk. It was a sheer experience when thousands dance throughout their set. After the event, the band decided to record their full-length album.
Even with all the recording experience, the band decided to get proper guidance to ensure the quality of their album are up to industry standards. They work with an old friend Rithan from a band Deja Voodoo Spells. Within months, they educate as much information from Rithan preparing for recording. Recorded at Black Knowledge, a studio own by a famous 80s rock band WINGS. Unfortunately, the recording didn’t work out well with the studio. So, the band went to Singapore and properly started their session in March 2007. It was completed in September 2007 and was releases by their own label later that year.
Failure to get a good distribution deals, the band team up with label mates The Full Pledge Munkees and distributed the album by themselves. They travel all around peninsular Malaysia including Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in Borneo looking for record stores, rehearsal studios, and small apparel shop to sell the CDs.
Current: 2nd Album (2013 ~ Present)
Right after the SKA Collective tour ended, Plague Of Happiness started to tour with Nyaring label mates under ‘Lari Lompat Lompat Lari’. The tour still active until now, and they made it as a platform for any project that they do to perform and meet their fans all across Malaysia and Singapore.
Writing for 2nd Album was started right after Java island tour in 2010.Plague Of Happiness releases their first single for the second album in 2014 and consecutively second single in December 2015. After almost 17 years single handedly done everything by themselves, Plague Of Happiness started to work with other organizations like JOHO and EMPYR Films to help them direct and produce the ecstatic art of films making, merchandizing and sleeve designs.
Organized a sold-out mini concert in their hometown ‘JOHOR BAHRU’ in 2011 and successfully performed a packed outdoor concert by the end of 2015. Since 2013, Plague Of Happiness became a staple performing band for Malaysian Music Festivals.
Released 2nd album in August 2016, right after the release of the 2nd album, the band headlined a 2-month special tours across MALAYSIA under Malaysia Major satellite television company ‘ASTRO’. After coming back from Japan in October 2016, Plague Of Happiness completed year 2016 with 3 festivals.
The band will release 3 video clips in 2017 and a tour to support their 2nd album.