Viceroyz makes waves with Bidayuh track

Written by Edwinie Einstein Unge

Kuching: Local band Viceroyz from Kota Samarahan made their foray into mainstream media last year with the release of a Bidayuh song.

Viceroyz is made up of five locals: Nick Navels (lead vocalist), Michael Undy (guitarist), Danyl Patrick (keyboardist), Steve Smith (bass guitarist), and Chris Mathias (drummer) This is a 5 person band.

They have risen to prominence in the local scene, performing in multiple live shows in the past and also appearing on TV Sarawak (TvS).

Viceroyz released their first album titled “2ROYZ.FM” in 2023 and have been booked to perform the album ever since.

The title of one of the songs on the album is DI’UW (to you) The song aroused a lot of interest as it was written entirely in their native language, Badayu, more specifically Bidayu Padawan dialect.

Photo: Malicious Pictures

“We didn’t particularly intend to write this song in our own dialect or language,” said Nick Nables, the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist.

“Of all the songs on this album, Di’uw is the only Bidayuh track that we randomly created at the time.

“If you listen to the other songs on the album, they are all written in Malay,” the 26-year-old said.

The inspiration for Di’uw came from hearing a Filipino song.

“When I discovered this Filipino song on YouTube, I was inspired by the comments section praising the singer for using his own language,” Chris said.

What’s interesting is that the Di’uw on the album is not the original version, but its remastered version.

Actually, the idea for Di’uw came to me before the 2ROYZ.FM album came to mind.

The song was actually written in 2021 and released in the same year, but the band had concerns about the sound quality, so they remastered the song to make it part of the album.

Nick explained that when he first created the song in 2021, the process was very quick.

“I was inspired in Daniil’s room at the time and immediately created the drum beat, guitar, chord progression and lyrics.

“I had done the chorus, but the first and second verses hadn’t been written yet. I got so exhausted from the hype of making music that I ended up running out of ideas to write the first and second verses. That’s why,” Nick said.

After a studio session, Nick returned home and while taking a shower, the idea for a poem suddenly came to him.

“Interestingly, the shower wasn’t on my list, even though there are so many places that can inspire ideas, but for some people, great ideas can appear almost anywhere, especially in the shower. Well then,” Nick added with a laugh.

Photo: Malicious Pictures

After Viceroyz released “Di’uw” in 2021, they went to work on the album (2ROYZ.FM) to produce the album (2ROYZ.FM), although they were not very satisfied with the quality of the music at the time. It wasn’t until they decided to include Di’uw on the album that they decided to take some time off to focus on producing other songs.

During the audio remastering process, Daniil, the band’s producer and sound engineer, got to work in earnest.

“When we created Di’uw in 2021, we were new to music production, but after having a better digital audio workstation (DAW), new plugins, and new equipment, It was easy to create other music in the album, and the audio quality was perfect.

“So, when remastering this song (Di’uw), we encountered issues like the guitar not being loud enough, audio distortion, and many other issues, which we fixed in the end.

“But we wanted to keep Nick’s vocals as original, so we decided not to replace them,” Daniil said.

In short, Diu is able to resonate with those who have experienced what Nick has gone through before.

“I’m not saying this song is a direct message to anyone I knew,” he says, adding that anyone can relate to the song.

“Lyrics can be written at any time and based on anything. In fact, some artists have written lyrics because they were heartbroken or sad, but they are living happy lives.

“It’s a form of art, and sometimes it’s expression, but sometimes it’s just art,” Nick explained.

Another reason why Nick wrote songs in Bidayuh was because his grandmother suggested it to him.

“She said, ‘You’re in a band and you’re Bidayuh, so why don’t you write songs in our language?’ That gave me food for thought.

Photo: Malicious Pictures

That was the motivation Nick needed most at the time, but up until then, whenever a Bidayuh song was aired, it was almost always accompanied by a dance rhythm or a “joget” rhythm. Nick was skeptical.

But in the end, after he talked it over with the rest of the band, they agreed to proceed with Di’uw the way they had in mind.

And the band has no intention of translating this song into other languages, as they believe that music must be felt to be understood.

“When you listen to Iban’s song Bekikis Bulu Betis, even non-Iban people memorize the lyrics without knowing their actual meaning.

“So we want to keep it original. If anyone wants to know the meaning behind the lyrics, feel free to search our YouTube channel for translations. It’s there.” said Nick.

Di’uw can be streamed online through Spotify, YouTube, and other online music platforms.

Di’uw currently has over 4,000 total streams between the remastered and original versions.

Meanwhile, Viceroyz is working on another album.

“Just to be clear, there’s something cooking in the oven, so stay tuned,” Nick said, blankly.

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