There is little holding back Angel and Iqie, the two rising musicians have maintained their unapologetic elusiveness by finding the commercial in the artistic. Their style — while being whole-heartedly Malaysian yet undoubtedly “international” in its appeal — provides a unique lens through which we can examine a new rise of anti-pop stars in Malaysia. For Iqie, it meant pushing himself to be visible in a genre that often gravitates toward the invisible. Meanwhile, Angel took a leap of faith to break into the Malay music industry despite being Chinese. But what is it like to be young and talented in a scene that often rewards conformity, where it is easy to be an outcast so long as one stays away from the status quo? Perhaps, the only way to find out might just lie in asking the wrong questions.
In the photo: Jacket Rick Owens, Goggles Stylist Own
On the Cover: Tops, Rick Owens; Necklace, Swarovski; Goggles, Stylist Own
“I’m not the one chasing fame; fame has to chase me,” says Iqie, the lead singer of local pop rock band, Insomniacks. As a musician, there is little harm in bringing some attitude to the table. Think Kurt Cobain or Björk, who have shown just how being a tinge out of the ordinary may land you the chance to be seen. Likewise for Iqie — the 26-year-old has amassed an audience entranced by his personality just by being his wayward, carefree self. He even maintains that his hair is a blank canvas that he switches up every few months for wild styles (today he sports a bleached pink overlay) — uncommon seeing that most male musicians in Malaysia would prefer a more classic demeanour. “Because why not?”, he comments. Not worried about what others might think, his most rebellious state would be the way he has embraced his fame. Having been known through the band where he serves as its lead, Iqie has embraced the fame that came with it.
On the Cover: Dress, Ferragamo; Veil, Stylist Own
The same goes for Angel — whose name might hint at something sweet and comforting — but the 22-year-old has proven results that betrays what one might think of her. She is a woman of balance, blending the sweet spots of what it means to be a female pop artiste while embodying a darker side to femininity. Just take a peek at @bbyqngel on Instagram, and her Balenciaga and Chrome Hearts rotation highlight anything but the ordinary. At the studio, she squealed at the mere idea of slipping into a Rick Owens. But beyond her gig in the popular local girl group DOLLA (with Sabronzo, Syasya and Tabby), Angel takes charge as a Malaysian Chinese musician in Malay pop stardom. Releasing their latest single “DAMELO” — clocking in 2 million views in just 2 months — DOLLA remains at the top in the game among the local music scene. For Angel, taking a leap of faith to break into the Malay music industry was all that mattered.
Hoodie, pants, sneakers, all Ferragamo; Sweater, MSGM; Goggles, Stylist’s Own
What’s the funniest thing about yourself you have seen in the news?
Angel: I remember this one the most. I posted a video with Simon Dominic (Korean hip-hop artiste) and then this article popped up, talking about how I was treating him as though he’s just another friend. It got me wondering, was I too laid back or was I going overboard. [Laughs] I guess we all don’t know how to act when we meet our idols.
If you could switch lives with any celebrity for a day, who would it be and why?
Iqie: I would roll with Drake. I bet the dude has a nice crib, so I would just chill there, stay-in and relax. Or maybe Jungkook, and spend the whole day admiring myself in the mirror.
The most embarrassing on-stage moment that you can now laugh about?
Angel: Oh man, I totally wiped out during the soundcheck at Good Vibes Festival. It was pouring, and that stage was like an ice rink. Everyone was dead serious about nailing the dance moves, but when I fell, all my dancers turned to look. Hurt like crazy but I just had to laugh it off.
Dress, Prada; Helmet, Stylist’s own
One bad advice you will never give?
Iqie Financial advice, definitely. I’m no money expert. Other than that, I’ve got your back with the best advice. Trust me!
If you could be someone else in the group, who would you be?
Angel: Sabronzo. We share the same dreams — and sometimes — it feels like we’re practically the same person. She’s such a natural at dancing, and I wish I could have her swag.
Tell us about a quirky fan encounter that is stuck with you.
Angel: Oh, this happened just last week. So, at a meet and greet, this girl grabbed my hand, looked all flustered, and then out of nowhere, she meowed and screamed right in my face! It was like the cutest — most unusual fan reaction ever — and I doubt I’ll ever forget that moment.
Coat, MSGM; Skirt, Rick Owens; Boots, Versace; Goggles, Stylist’s own
If your music was an ice cream flavour, what would it be?
Iqie: Something like strawberry for the sweet and cute lyrics, and throw some sour lemon for those sadder moments. Let’s say, strawberry lime flavoured ice cream.
Imagine your tour bus turns into a time machine. Where and when would you travel to and what would you wear for that era?
Angel: I’m torn between the past and the future. Y2K has some serious appeal. I’d love to rock that Christina Aguilera blonde hair with black stripes, channel some Britney Spears with the crop top and open-toe heels, and binge-watch Friends and How I Met Your Mother. But then again, the future would be exciting, I’m sure futuristic fashion would be mind-blowing. I’d be all about mixing tech and fashion, for sure.
Vest, Emporio Armani; Skirt, jeans, belt, gloves all Versace; Earrings, Swarovski; Boots, goggles, Stylist’s Own
What’s a guilty pleasure song that secretly rocks your playlist, but you’re a bit shy to admit?
Iqie: Honestly, I’m not too embarrassed about any of my song choices, but there are some songs I would only play in the car when I’m alone. For me, it’s the soundtrack from the old Disney Movie Shows that used to be on TV. I’m talking about “Gotta Find You” from Camp Rock and “Scream” from High School Musical 3.
Any Bizarre item you have autographed for a fan?
Iqie: Not much out of the ordinary, but I did sign someone’s hijab — which was pretty unusual. But hey, I appreciate the enthusiasm.
Dress, Givenchy; Boots, Dior; Veil, Stylist’s own
Describe your dream collaboration, even if it’s totally out of this world.
Angel: Dream collab? Well, it’d be Dolla teaming up with Chogiseok — a photographer from Seoul. I’ve been a huge fan of his work since the MCO days, and it would be amazing to see myself through his lens one day!
Iqie: For me, Insomniacks with Dean or Frank Ocean would be mind-blowing. Heck, they don’t even need to collab with us; they could just make music together. Anything works, I just want them to release new music for real.
Dress, Loewe; Heels, Balenciaga; Earrings, Angel’s own