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Friday, January 18, 2008

SINGAPORE MUSIC SCENE - PART I

Since the beginning of 2008, I have been gathering my thoughts about the Singapore music scene and what I would like to see in the months to come to bring the music scene into the next stage of development.

First, I would like to suggest that we stop using the terms “indie” or “local” when we refer to our scene. Instead, I would encourage everyone to simply call it the “Singapore music scene”.

The word “indie” is a particularly contentious one and often leads to arguments and divisiveness (and of course, bloody noses). I believe that the Singapore music scene should embrace all genres of music (including hip-hop) and the only criterion should be the quality of the music.

The word “local music” unfortunately has a very negative connotation in Singapore and perceived as “amateur,” “inferior” and “unlistenable”. Again, this is a question of the quality of music, more of which I will elaborate further in a later post.

Thus, we would say that the Great Spy Experiment is a Singaporean rock band, much as we would describe Radiohead as a British rock band or Switchfoot as an American rock band.

I want to see the Singapore music scene viewed as a mark of quality (that word, again) and that Singaporean bands be accorded the same respect as an American or British band before the music becomes an issue. Why do we expect an American or British band to be superior just because of their country of origin? That should never a criterion. But because we know that there are great American and British bands out there in the entire history of rock ‘n’ roll, so we take it for granted that an American or British band is going to be of a certain quality.

However, when it comes to Singaporean bands, we lack that similar confidence. Now, let me tell you that (generally speaking) music fans overseas have no such prejudice about where the band comes from, only if their music is any good. All of our bands who have played overseas will testify to this fact.

On my next entry, I will elaborate a little more about “quality of music” and why that may be the key to Singaporean’s acceptance (and support) of the Singapore music scene.

… still there’s more …

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