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Saturday, December 29, 2007

AULD LANG SYNE

2007.
Almost over.
A memorable year, by all accounts.
If you've been following this blog since its inception, then you'll know what I'm talkin' about.

What I will fondly remember about 2007 -

Playing in Central Park for Singapore Day - good vibes, cool people, crackin' band.

(Thanks again, Ric!)

Baybeats - Performances from The Fire Fight, Allura, Reza Salleh, City on Film, Plain Sunset, B Quartet, King Kong Jane, Giants Must Fall...

Zoukout - Playing with GSE, Pinholes & Ngak at 4am on Siloso Beach - will never forget those happy faces :)

Rock the Sub - Pinholes & B Quartet tearing up the Guiness Theatre.

Home Club - Josh and Jon running around on the dancefloor, You and Whose Army? quietly stealing my heart, Bittersweet britpopping the nite away and GSE at close quarters with a body surfer to boot.

HYR, Ngak, Jack & Rai - hilarious times at the Youth Center.

On a personal note, jump-starting my solo 'career', putting the Groovy People (thanks Adam, Beni & James - love you all!) together - that 1st gig at Earshot was magical.

However, hands down, my favorite thing about 2007 is/was THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT. Certainly the band of the year with Flower Show Riots easily the album of the year. Five talented & committed people - Saiful, Fandy, Song, Mag & Khai - who deserve every single word of praise that has been given to them. I thank God for each one of them - they filled my 2007 with many many highlights - from Dragonfly to Central Park, from Singapore National Museum to Raffles Place, from Timbre to Stage @ Powerhouse... and so on... THANK YOU, GSE!!!!

Honorable mentions - Pat, Ben, Razi, James, Bonk, FreakyFir, Audie, Natalie, Jade, Ivan, Sun, Raja, Brian, Esther, Michael, Fong Cheng, Gary, Mike, Rozz, Joan, Kewei, Aidil, Zack, Wayne, Bang, Jonathan and to every else who enriched my soul in 2007...

... and there's more ...

STASIS 10: VERTICAL RUSH

In the context of the Singapore rock scene (to include the term "indie" would make it an oxymoron!), any band that lasts longer than five years may be described as "veterans" of the scene. So it is with Vertical Rush. The band indulges itself with hearfelt, emotionally intense alt-rock, which aims to encapsulate the myriad experiences of the human conditions. Well, that and drummer Daren's onstage antics - which to these eyes recall the legendary Keith Moon! Trust me, you will enjoy this little Q&A...

What do you consider to be the high points of 2007 for VR?
Ironically, The high point of 2007 is when we all got to do nothing at all. We've been so busy with all these life changes that having nothing to do, is truly something.

How did VR musically progress in 2007?

We moved from sounding polished and heading towards something more raw.

What does VR hope to achieve in 2008?

To finish the damn album (recording since 2004) do more shows and hopefully release another because we've been very inspired of late. haha

Name three local bands that impressed you in 2007.

The Fire Fight, B Quartet, Giants Must Fall & an honorable mention to Winterhalter.

What can fans expect from VR at Stasis 10?

They can expect a good show! And hopefully some wild stage antics by Nick.

Heh! More from VR at Stasis 10. Be there!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

STASIS 10: THE GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT

Do I really need to introduce this band? Suffice to say that GSE is/was the band of 2007. Take it away...

2007 was a good year for GSE - any particular high point that sticks in the mind?

Fandy: The US trips definitely and of course the release of the album after sooooooo long. The album marks a milestone in our otherwise mundane lives as rockstar wannabes. heh.

Saiful: Ditto. But there were also a couple of local gigs which won't be forgotten for a while, like TPRawks (TPRiots!), Lime Sonic Bang, ZoukOut, Junk Launch, etc. This year we're starting to see more and more people dancing and singing along at our gigs, and that for me is a huge highlight. We've also met some really wonderful people along the way, fans who've become friends because of our common passion for music. Yup, it's been a good year indeed.

What plans does GSE have for 2008?

Fandy: A music video, a concert, several marriages hopefully and a second album.

Saiful: Several marriages?? In one year?? Haha.. Not likely. But the rest, for sure. And if possible, a regional tour for fans in neighbouring countries.

What can fans hope to see from GSE at Stasis 10?

Fandy: The usual champagne fuelled orgy lor.

What expectations do you have for the local scene in 2008?

Fandy: I expect more bands to surface from the abyss, each one better than the one before. I also think there will be more opportunities for bands to showcase with a lot more support from the media and people in general.

Saiful: I'd like to see our local bands break into television. Also, there are a couple of albums due our next year that I'm really looking forward to - I just hope that the general public would show their love for local bands and go out and buy these albums.

Which band are you looking forward to see in Stasis 10 and why?

Fandy: B-quartet. Why? Do i need to say why??

Saiful: Same, but I will say why. Because they're brilliant.

Hey, you know the drill by now, catch GSE at Stasis 10 on 5 Jan 08 and go here if you need to know more about GSE.

STASIS 10: LEESON

Leeson unabashedly describes itself as a ‘pop band’. Which is fine in my book! The boys certainly dress the part of a Britpop-influenced group – sharp and edgy with dollops of sugar poured all over…let’s see what Leeson has to say about itself…

Was 2007 a good year for Leeson?

Well the year started late for us but Yes cos we made our long awaited comeback after almost two years away from the scene.

What kind of year will Leeson have in 2008?

2008 will be the year that Leeson becomes the biggest and most popular band in Singapore(?)

What can fans expect from Leeson at Stasis 10?

Something different from your run-of-the-mill rock/alternative/emo bands,a new exciting pop sound never heard before from the likes of a Singapore band. And of course a good time. Satisfaction Guaranteed! Or we will refund you your time back (to claim look for the white guy after the show).

Is 2008 gonna be even better days for the local rock scene?

Yes.

Why did you say that?

The new talent that emerges from out of nowhere (it seems, sometimes) never fails to impress. It just gets better every year. We like!

Heh! If you like what you've read, you can check out Leeson's music at its official site and also the new song - Absolute Beginners - over at myspace.com.

Oh and of course, at Stasis 10!

Monday, December 24, 2007

STASIS 10: AMATEUR TAKES CONTROL

Don't let the name fool you. The sound that emanates from the collective effort that is Amateur Takes Control (ATC) is any but amateurish. In fact, the intricate and delicate instrumentals that the band has dedicated itself to, would not be left in the shadow even by the leading lights of its chosen genre. The band name checks the likes of Mogwai, Pele, Unwed Sailor, Gloria Record, Explosions in the Sky et al, and it does an excellent job in conveying mood and tone in its spider-web lattices of ambience and guitar noise.

ATC's Adel was on hand to answer some queries -


What did ATC achieve in 2007?

In 2007, ATC achieved many things. We've played numerous shows in the nation such as The Arts House, Home Club, *scape at Youth Park and also the Esplanade. We also self released a 7 track EP in August 2007. Recently, we also went to Kuala Lumpur for a short two-show tour and played alongside Malaysia's biggest experimental/instrumental acts such as KLPHQ, Telephony Delivery and Citizens Of Ice Cream.


What is the high point of 2007 for ATC?

For us there would be 2 highest points - Our EP launch with The Lovesong (HK) and Tookoo (China) at Home Club because we felt like we've closed a huge chapter in our lives as a band. Secondly it would be the KL tour because we made so many new friends and got closer as a band.

What are ATC's goals for 2008?


ATC's goal would definitely to make people take a hard listen at us and to make more people cry. :)


What can fans expect from ATC at Stasis 10?

New listeners should expect something emotional and hard coming from us because we've moved on from the nice sweet sounding instrumental band that everybody think we are. Ultimately, they should just expect real music more than anything else.


What do you hope to see in the local scene in 2008?

My friends and hope to see foreign bands covering Singapore music. That's how it should be rolling!

Experimental instrumental indie rock may not be as immediate as your drivin' alt-rock but closer inspection has its own payoffs. Find out more at Stasis 10.


More about ATC here.

DAVID BYRNE'S SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR EMERGING ARTISTS — AND MEGASTARS

Excellent piece authored by David (Talking Heads) Byrne in Wired Magazine. In his article, Byrne outlines the six models available to artists to sell their music.

To quote the man: "For existing and emerging artists — who read about the music business going down the drain — this is actually a great time, full of options and possibilities. The future of music as a career is wide open."

Read all of it here.

Also, for all you Radiohead fans out there, check out the interview Byrne did with Thom Yorke regarding the unique sale and distribution of InRainbows. And if you didn't know the connection already - Radiohead is the name of a Talking Heads song...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

STASIS 10: YOU AND WHOSE ARMY?

Faithful readers will be aware that three-quarters of YaWA are also in the Groovy People. Despite that, please believe me when I say that this fledging band stands out from many of their peers for their unique sound, which is a muscular hybrid of classic psychedelic blues and modern post-rock.

I posed some questions to YaWA frontman Bonk and here are his responses -

What do you think YaWA achieved in 2007?

YaWA? started to come out of the closet..erm..ok..jamming studios in 2007. We started to play live shows but we didn't get to play many...

What was the high point for YaWA in 2007?

I feel that there were a couple of high points this year. First, our first "real" gig at Bar None. It was like a "breakthrough" gig for us. Some of the people who attended the gig were people we really respect and look up to. A really amazing night! Second was joining the Ballyhoo programme by MFG and getting to record a song (Ordinary is King - KM), which turned out very nice in our opinion. We got to see our song transform from the jamming studio/live version to a real album sort of version. It was mindblowing even for ourselves.

What does YaWA hope to do in 2008?

We hope to record an EP. In order to fund that, we need to play more shows( which we really like to do as well). So yeah, playing more shows and releasing a physical EP.

What can fans expect from YaWA at Stasis 10?

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

What do you hope to see in the local music scene in a year's time?

We hope to see musicians being able to quit their day jobs doing their own original music.

So make a date with YaWA at Stasis 10 on 5 Jan 08 at the Substation. In the meantime, you can listen to YaWA music here.