Hi. This is my real voice, not my fiction voice. Just me casually talking at you. I know, I know, you imagined it deeper slightly less nasally. Fuck you. Just listen.
During a recent visit to Penang, I met someone a girl who enjoyed Damn Dirty Apes, which slightly exploded my brain. Half Swiss, half Malaysian, she wore her hair short and moused, and spoke with a gentle, soothing voice. I didn’t really know anyone else had heard of DDA.
When I was a freshman in high school, a senior named Sina quit his band, Analog Vs. Digital, to drum in a group his brother, back from college in Australia, was putting together. The brother, Pedram, and some random European tourist who was bumming around Malaysia for a couple months played guitar in a band they called Damn Dirty Apes. Since I attended a very conservative Christian boarding school, we spoke of the band in hushed whispers and called it DDA. (Not to be confused with Dance Dance Revolution, which we also enjoyed.)
I remember Sina walking around with stacks of self-printed CDs in red cardboard sleeves, selling them for RM 5 a pop (equivalent to 2 U.S. dollars at the time).
Air is thicker in Penang. Dripping with humidity, it’s gives everything a slightly underwater feel. And it carries smells better. When I listen to Damn Dirty Apes, I can feel the weight of the air on my skin and smell roti canai (pictured above). And then I think of gorgeous, ethnically-mixed women.
[If you find a place to buy this music, tell us in the comments section.]