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Saturday, May 19, 2007

INCH!

I didn’t mention this earlier but last Saturday at the Open Stage event, one of the bands performing was called Allura. Now, when they lined up on stage – they looked very much your usual indie boys but then Inch walked on…
Now, Inch is a very young singer (18!) who more than compensates for her erm petite build with a BIG GIGANTIC HUMONGOUS voice! The music was emo, I guess, which while competent and tight (thanks mostly to the drummer, Han) paled next to the brilliance of Inch. She was definitely the focus and highlight of that show.
At the back of my mind, I was wondering about how she would sound outside of the emo context – as I am of course looking around for good girl singers now.
Lo and behold, Inch turned up at Timbre last night (always something happening) and as poor Ngak was suffering badly from a high fever, I suggested to HYR to let Inch sing a couple of songs, with the ulterior motive of “auditioning” her.
She did and she was great! Rough and nervous of course – all impromptu – but the potential is immense. I can hear her sing Never Liked the Beatles already…
So you can check out Allura over at www.myspace.com/allurarock and please tell them KM sent you…
So much more….

Friday, May 18, 2007

IF IT'S FRIDAY NIGHT...

...then it's Timmy night!
Yes, boyz and gurlz, I (along with 250-odd others), will be at Timbre tonight to be entertained by Timmy as they roll out their interpretations of alternative rock hits of the last ten years...
See you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NEW YORK MEMORIES!

(Performing in Central Park)

(Me, Skye, Colin and Joel)

(Me, Skye, Josh and Joel)

(HYR, Skye and me)



(Love this shot - band in full cry during rehearsal)





SO FAR … SO GOOD … SO WHAT?

All right, it has been a little quiet on the music front in the last few days. Work has been taking its toll I suppose BUT I have been diligently listening to some Cheena music (courtesy of HYR) and writing a couple of new songs that – hopefully – will be suitable for the Cheena market (jury is out at the moment).
Guess I’ll use this little lull to take stock a little and share some insight into where my head is at circa May 2007.
Some of you may be aware that since the release of Popland’s last album – Action! – in the USA in 2002, I have not been doing much music wise. Coupled with the fact that I had commenced a new job about the same time and the “indie” music scene was more or less comatose, seem to justify a retirement from music.
In early 2004, my job situation changed dramatically and I found myself seriously thinking about music as a full time vocation.
Enter Ric, with his help I managed to get a couple of TVC scoring which was great money but far and few in between. Didn’t seem to be happening.
In mid-2004, started another new job – more time consuming and demanding – yes, a practicing lawyer (I am still practicing – still not that good at it yet, though) – and music again took a severe backseat.
Come 2005, and Ric approached me to write music for Be With Me, and it was an amazing & rewarding experience, which is still bearing fruit (financially) today. I had decided also to complete a third Popland album with Tim and so there was a time when Popland was looking for new drummer, keyboard player and guitarist with limited success.
Gigs were almost impossible to come by even though by all accounts the scene in 2006 was undergoing a mini-boom. Then, out of the blue, Popland were invited to play in KL by Encik Aidil (of Couple) and we enjoyed ourselves sometime in late December 2006 – no money but loads of fun. Typical of indie music! It was frustrating but deep inside my heart, I still felt that there was more that I could do with my music but need a firm direction.
Then came the fateful SMS from Ric in February 2007 – “would you like to perform in New York?” or something like that…
… the rest is history… heh!
For me personally, anyways, my mindset has been totally turned around. Instead of thinking of releasing an album that NOBODY will be interested in listening to and seeking to perform in the “indie” scene where NOBODY will be interested at all, I have set my sights on the Cheena music market and the “mainstream” music scene and letting go completely of the “indie” scene which also includes … Popland.
And there you have it… still there’s more…

Monday, May 14, 2007

CHEENA MUSIC MAKING PT.2

They say you can’t teach an old dog any new tricks.
That’s what they say.
I’ve been a songwriter for more than 30 years. And after all that time, one tends to follow certain patterns and formulas when writing songs. All songwriters do this – listen to your favourite writer and you will discover this easily.
As faithful readers are aware, I am trying to reinvent myself as a Chinese songwriter! Under the patient tutelage of HYR, I have been discovering that certain features of my songwriting which may not be suitable for the Chinese music market (surprise!) and really it’s all about changing mindsets and methods.
Basically, I thought it would be easy. Heh! Not so.
And that has been the exciting part – the challenge!
Thinking seriously about HYR’s feedback has made me analyze my own songwriting and have arrived at some unflattering conclusions.
And no, they’re not for public consumption!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

THE AWAKENING

Oh ok, maybe not as dramatic as the title suggests but yesterday was a enlightening day nonetheless.
Attended HYR's talk on songwriting conducted at Open Stage @ space at the Youth Centre and found it entertaining and interesting. Sure, most of the information shared by HYR wasn't new to me but what I was more interested about was his approach to songwriting which, as an aspring Chinese music songwriter, I would do well to learn a trick or two from the master that HYR obviously is.
After HYR wrapped up, HYR and his Funkie Monkies buddies performed some songs. Ngak sang three songs - his own "Queen of Hearts" - is simply one of the best Singaporean songs I have ever heard. Blew me away and I told Ngak so - he should really be performing more of his own music at Timbre or wherever he performs. I have never had any hang-up about doing my own songs and why should any talented artiste (sound of clearing throat) feel any other way?
Next up came Jia Hui, a young singer-songwriter from Malaysia, and he performed a truly wonderful song that reminded me of the sophisticated indie pop of Tahiti 80. Yes, that good!
Later, HYR would play me more of the songs he had written and believe me, it removed all the misconceptions I've ever had about Chinese music and gave me a different persective about the kind of songs I should be writing in order to break into the Chinese music market. Yes the bar has been set high but I believe that that will only wring out more good music out of yours truly.
I am truly excited by the possibilities...