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Metal music: Malaysian musician sings of machines

Going Greenpoint: Rocker Hameer Zawawi will launch his latest album “Plug Out the Machines” in Greenpoint on Nov. 3.
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He’s playing unplugged!

A Bushwick rocker who recently arrived from Malaysia will belt out tunes about zombies and machines run amok on Nov. 3 at a Greenpoint concert celebrating the release of his latest album. Singer and songwriter Hameer Zawawi says that his record “Plug Out Your Machines,” which came out on Oct. 15, is a steampunk fable about taking back the world from machines and over-polluted landscapes — but anyone who feels beaten down can relate to it.

“Throughout the stories or songs … the characters of the stories are constantly in a struggle to take lead of their destinies, freeing themselves from the world that is tying them down,” said Zawawi.

Zawawi describes himself as an “indie theatrical-folk performer,” with each of his songs telling a complete story. After the record was complete, the programmer-turned-musician realized that the songs of struggle also reflected a question in his professional life.

“These songs were all written during a time when I wasn’t sure whether music was what I wanted to viably pursue as a career,” said Zawawi. “The theme of ‘breaking out from conformity’ hadn’t even occurred to me when I was writing them.”

Zawawi grew up in Kuala Lumpur and has lived in the United States for just five months, but he has managed to assemble a three-piece band through some serendipity. Drummer Alex Johnson occupied the other bunk bed at the Bushwick Airbnb room Zawawi first rented, and he met bassist Jude Thomas as an open-mike night.

Zawawi said that he landed in Bushwick because that was the New York neighborhood where he found the cheapest room, but he has since been charmed by the creative nabe and plans to stay.

“It is an amazing melting pot of artists of all kinds of backgrounds, let wild in a habitat that encourages art in its raw form to grow organically at a breathable pace,” he said. “I do plan to stick around, and am really looking forward to working with the many creative crawlers of this neighborho­od.”

Hameer Zawawi at Greenpoint Gallery, second floor (390 McGuinness Blvd. between Clay and Dupont streets in Greenpoint, www.thegreenpointgallery.com). Nov. 3 at 9 pm. Free.

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Posted 12:00 am, November 2, 2017
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