Over the course of 3 months, specifically late June to late September, I interned at a music journalism company some might know as The Wknd Sessions. They’re a company catered towards being an online platform for the growing independent music scene in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. The Wknd does live video and audio recordings, interviews as well as curate acts for gigs, music festivals, and showcases. If I had RM1 for every time I tell someone I was interning for this company and they thought I meant The Weeknd, I would be able to buy myself a few meals at the mamak.
When I got an interview (thanks to a friend who passed me their email), I was surprised to find that their office was actually a house, a 2-story house to be exact. It was renovated in the way that it looked like the long lost sibling of the 1000 other cafes in Malaysia. You know exactly what I mean. Think: brick walls, lightbulb fixtures, and a vintage scooter. The usual.
I was excited but scared when I got the job. This was my first internship ever, I didn’t know what to expect. It was a relatively small company in terms of manpower because my co-workers comprised of a graphic designer, a videographer/photographer, another intern, and my 3 bosses. Oh, and did I mention I was the only girl? At the time, that is. The office has a resident cat called Bullet, which I’ve grown to love and adore to bits. Mind you, I used to avoid cats like the plague.
In the beginning, I wasn’t used to how laid-back and casual the work environment was. Everybody worked late nights which meant they don’t come into work particularly early. My first few weeks were spent reading articles online and going on YouTube. I remember meeting up with my friends for dinner after work one day and one of them asked me, “You wear shorts and slippers to work?” It’s odd but I’ve learned that that’s just how it is at work. It was the month of Ramadhan, so there wasn’t much work to do since there weren’t many gigs.
The first gig I worked at was an acoustic-stripped-down vinyl and food market at this bar in Pudu called Barlai. Heads up, Sekeping Sin Chew Kee is directly above Barlai so that’s mainly where the gig was. I had to communicate with the acts and the DJs back and forth for this gig. I’ve never spoken to this many local artists until now (OJ Law!!!). Honestly before this gig, I had second thoughts about this internship because I initially thought this wasn’t the place for me. After the gig however, I changed my mind and started getting into the routine of things.
My co-workers spoke mostly BM and unfortunately, my BM is super rusty. My boss told me that by the end of my internship, I’ll be speaking BM with ease, which is true. I generally liked working with my co-workers and my bosses, they were friendly, engaging and they weren’t scary or intimidating like one would expect bosses to be. Once, I came into work with McDonald’s breakfast and my 3rd boss, who’s rarely at the office because he has a full-time job elsewhere, walked towards me and looked at my food. He stared at me, paused and said, “You know that when you bring food, you should bring more to share with everyone, right?”
Work started picking up this time around. As part of this year’s season, we were doing a series of gigs called The Wknd Sessions Live featuring Malaysian acts recorded in front of a live audience at multiple venues throughout the country. In the month of August alone, we had 3 gigs in KL, Ipoh and Johor. Before I started interning, I worried that once I started working in gigs, I wouldn’t enjoy going for them the same way again. I was afraid that once it becomes work, that’s all it’ll ever be and I might hate it. I take that back because I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. I LOVED working at the gigs. I loved meeting so many new people. Perk: being able to talk to the bands personally. Everyone was so friendly and I met many of the part-timers helping out. These part-timers were basically friends and people who used to work with The Wknd but have left the company since then. Although they’ve moved on, I could tell that they were voluntarily helping out because of how much they enjoyed working with The Wknd, they miss it and would come back in an instant to help.
In my last month, most of the gigs for this season were pretty much over so work slowed down again but thankfully, not as much as my first month. My internship was slowly coming to an end.
I can’t lie but I was excited to finish my internship because it meant I could sleep in again. However, on my last day, I found myself staying back later than usual to do some extra work and I don’t usually stay back unless I had meetings. I didn’t feel like going home because I knew that once I leave, that will be it. I even went around looking for Bullet to say goodbye, but he was nowhere to be found. Without realizing, I’ve made a temporary home in this place and part of me has grown attached to it.
Interning for The Wknd has taught me a lot. I learned so much about the local music scene just by talking to them over lunch. Everyone I met during this time has been so humble and helpful. Not to mention, I’ve discovered so much more music. When people hear about my internship, they see it as a free pass to go for gigs and concerts but in reality it’s so much more than that. Getting a “free pass” to go for gigs is just a surface benefit. Spend a week with my co-workers and bosses, you’ll realize that they genuinely love and care about what they do. They’re just people who honestly love local talent and decided to start a company dedicated to just that. It’s not about the money, it’s for the music. Everyone’s got a different work ethic and at the end of the day, they make it work.
So if you were to ask me again if I enjoyed my internship, I would say boleh tahan jugak.