Always having the faith to live the dream is what the band Beat The System is all about. When these forces from across the globe converged and the energized static lit a spark it gave charge to a full explosion that rocks. Beat The System, have released their first music video, “Be Your Own” and the message is clear… value the moment, value you.
There was a dream the two brothers, Gerald and Stewart from Malaysia, had at a very young age that was to become their destiny. The prayer Gerald said we he first heard the band Creed was not to meet the band, but it was to be discovered by Creeds discoverer, A&R legend, Diana Meltzer.
Upon the decidedly serendipitous move to the United States, it would be there that the full formation would come together with vocalist May Leigh and songwriter Adrian brought everything full-circle to create the sound that is Beat The System.
With Song River
SR: Greetings to all of you: Gerald, May, Stewart, Adrian, from Beat The System. Life is an incredible journey and so often we find ourselves in too far to the left or right or stuck in the middle.
Gerald, you have had a passion beginning very early in life. How old were you when you began pulling a band together?
Gerald: Greetings! I started playing drums when I was 8 years old. It wasn’t until I turned 20 that I decided to take music seriously and together with my brother Stewart, help form Beat The System.
SR: Talk a bit about that moment when you knew this was to be your calling and the uncanny connection that eventually took place with a certain A&R person.
Gerald: Though I graduated and worked as an electrical engineer, I always knew that I’d somehow end up pursuing a career in music. I can’t put a finger on the exact time or age when my calling to be a musician came but I’ve always wanted to perform on stage and tour the world for as long as I can remember.
When I heard ‘Higher’ from the multi-platinum band Creed for the very first time on radio, I was so blown away that I immediately looked them up on the internet and began researching on the person who discovered them. Out popped the name ‘Diana Meltzer’, the world’s first no.1 female A&R. It was then that I told God that if I were to play in a band, I want to be discovered by this lady. Years later, my prayer was answered.
SR: How did the progress of everyone else come together?
Gerald: It was in 2013 when we came across a very talented young man who at first didn’t know that he could write songs. In the midst of coming up with a 10-track demo, we sort of hit a creative roadblock. As we were scouting for potential songwriters, Adrian (who was then a close friend and fan of the band) jokingly said that maybe he can help us out. He joked about it because he has no musical background whatsoever and doesn’t even play any musical instrument.
One day, he told us that a melody just came to him in a dream and he hesitantly hummed it to us. Needless to say, we were both astonished and pleasantly surprised. We subsequently inducted him into the band and made him the primary songwriter.
We didn’t have a singer when we got to the States in 2014. We auditioned a couple of singers from England as well as in the U.S. but we just couldn’t find the right fit. Through a series of events, Diana introduced us to May at a Christmas party and we got along very well. The very first time we heard May sing, I recall thinking to myself ‘My goodness! What a voice!’. It was then that we knew that we’ve found the perfect voice for Beat The System.
SR: Faith is a huge part of perseverance and our own success. What has been the connecting thread between all of Beat The System?
Gerald: I would answer exactly that, faith. It was through faith that we all met, got together, and made this happen. It was faith that kept us going when everything was against us. We all want the same things. We want to create great, powerful music that people from all walks of life can relate to and take comfort in.
SR: It was a huge leap of faith certainly Gerald and Stewart that brought Beat The System over to the United States, to begin with. How did this decision come about and what have you found overall to be its largest advantage to you all musically?
Gerald: It truly was. We both had a good career as engineers back home and the thought of uprooting everything and move halfway across the globe was certainly daunting. Nevertheless, we always knew that in order to make it big in the music industry, we would have to make it in America. We didn’t see it as a choice but rather something imminent.
It’s undeniable how much the United States value art and music. It’s a place that fosters all forms of creativity. We would say living and being in the creative environment itself has brought on immense inspiration and invaluable ideas into creating our craft.
SR: How about personally?
Gerald: Speaking on behalf of the rest, I’d say that living here in the United States pushes us to strive beyond our capabilities, be it in music or in our personal lives.
SR: Two questions for all the band:
Influences are everywhere. Some can absorb them, change them, identify with them, and create a whole new label. Who have been some of your most influential people (personally, musically, and in life)?
May: I’d say, David Bowie and Dolly Parton.
Gerald: MARIAH CAREY, bold intended!
Adrian: Musically, I’d say Adele. Personally and in life, Ellen DeGeneres.
Stewart: It’ll have to be Linkin Park.
SR: Taking our cue from those who have been a part of who we are, and will be… what traits do each of you carry and how would you like to influence others?
May: Fueling a revolution of style and music and making music my own. To be unique yet relevant at the same time.
Gerald: I don’t believe anything’s impossible. I want to be able to show people that with a vision, faith, and lots of lots of grit, we can be whoever we set out to be.
Stewart: To be memorable and make music that speaks volumes.
Adrian: I’d like to think that I’m positive and I certainly hope that I’ll be able to create music that continue to touch lives and bring about more positivity in this negativity-laden world.
SR: You have released two singles, and are going to be releasing a full-length album, correct? Is there a title and release date? Talk a bit about the album as a whole- does each track represent something or a space on its own?
Gerald: That is correct. Our upcoming album is titled ‘Journey’. We think that it accurately sums up what we’ve gone through and still going through as a band, both literally and figuratively I might add. From the album, you will be able to tell what we went through – of love lost, of love found, of heartbreaks, and of pure joy.
Each track has a story to it and it does represent something that is personal to us. We do not have a release date for the album as of yet as we’d like to focus heavily on the singles that we’ve released, but it’ll be no later than spring next year.
SR: Your first single video release “Be Your Own” has a strong role of encouragement and love running through it. Who did you work with on filming and video production?
Gerald: We worked with an extremely talented, brilliant, young guy by the name of Jonathan Galan who happens to be a fellow Malaysian. Upon seeing his reels and snippets of the work he has done at first glance, we instinctively knew he’s the one to go with.
We would also like to give a shout out to Robbie Lemieux who played the role of a producer and Ray Lee who’s our executive producer for the music video.
SR: Another single released as a track on Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, etc… is a danceable pump up an anthem tune. This song gives one the perseverance to get up no matter how many times you get knocked on your hind/side. Seriously the visualization fit so perfectly in with a Spiderman movie theme song. Who wrote the lyrics for this tune?
Gerald: I did. I’m very pleased to hear you say that. As I was writing this song, ‘Hero’, I imagined it as a music track for a superhero movie.
It is exactly as you said, what matters is that we pick ourselves up after getting knocked down. Doing what we do, there will always be naysayers that would talk us down and discount whatever milestone we’ve achieved.
That doesn’t matter because this is OUR dream and in every big or little way, we play the role of a hero in our own lives, we can only look to ourselves to drown out the noise and let our achievements speak for itself.
SR: Music with hope. At the end of the day to each of you… where do you find your binding trust that courses through the band Beat The System?
Gerald: Everyone of us in the band wants the same thing. We want to leave a legacy in music. The journey for each of us has been anything but easy and we’ve all been broken in more ways than one. Sure, as a band, there were times when we felt that it’s all for naught, that perhaps this dream is just too big for us to realize.
Fortunately, with lots of faith and trust among each of us, we persevered and we pushed on, knowing that our time will come.
For More Information on Beat The System: