Sunday, June 27, 2010


I know this is a post that many in the Singapore music scene (such as it is) will not want to read and others will not want me to write but I just have to get this off my chest. Contrary to popular opinion, I am only a man, a human being, with bias and prejudices and most of all, judgments and opinions.

In my position as a tastemaker, judge and mentor in our local music scene, I am often expected to be supportive of local music and local bands/artists. That's something I have a problem with. First and foremost, I am a supporter of GOOD music - and I don't give two fucks where the music comes from. Of course, it's great if if the GOOD music that I like happens to be made by Singaporeans but that's not something I obsess about.

So if I get excited about the music of the Great Spy Experiment, it's because I think their music is GOOD. Sure, in the last three years I've become close friends with Saiful, Song, Fandy, Mag and Khai but that's not why I think their music is GOOD. My feelings for them as people are divorced from my opinion of their music. And in my view, that should be the way. Objectivity where possible is always preferred.

Same applies to the bands/artists that I mentor - the music always came first - and then friendships came later. There would have been no way that I would have selected the likes of Rachael Teo, Nick Tan, Narisa Chan, Celina Foo, Basement in my Loft or the Zozi if I did not think their music was GOOD. Absolutely no other criteria.

And when I say "GOOD" - that's MY opinion. I will have my reasons to back up this opinion but its not an exact science and cannot be proven of course but that's the nature of the beast.

So, it chaffs my tits sometimes when bands/artists (and their managers/agents) who don't make the cut for either NOISE or Baybeats take their omissions PERSONALLY. Hey, it's never personal because when I'm judging you in an audition. I don't even KNOW you, so how can it be personal? Same applies for the other judges/mentors who are making the assessment. I mean, it's fine if bands/artists come up to me to ask me why they did not make the cut but I'm not quite sure they're willing to listen to any answers I may wanna offer. Quite often, they demand that I justify my choices to their satisfaction when that would never be possible.

I'm not going to name names but you know who you are. That is why often times, I will not attend certain gigs or mention certain bands/artists in reviews, news items etc. Not because I don't like the bands/artists as people BUT I would rather not write less than positive (but honest) opinions about insecure, sensitive artists/bands who will not appreciate the input.

I remember a conversation with someone about a certain band wherein I expressed that I did not like the music and that person mentioned that the band were nice people. Did I say they weren't nice people? What has my opinion of their music got to do with any assessment of them as people? Mutually exclusive!?!

That said, there are bands/artists who have confronted judges/mentors over their omissions from Baybeats, which have ended up as ugly experiences for the judges/mentors concerned. I mean, that really pisses me off! The judge/mentor is a volunteer who is giving up his or her precious time to give back to the music community and should not be subjected to unwarranted harassment and abuse.

I mean, who the fuck do you think you are?

1 comment:

Saiful Idris said...

Rejection is never easy, and it's natural to take it personally. Especially with music, a very personal experience. I reckon taking it personally is fine if it serves as a motivating factor to better oneself. Not so much if it's taken out on others, not least the people who can be trusted to know what they're doing.

One rejection is all that it is - one rejection. If the music's good, it will be heard. Hopefully, they'll see it that way and come back next year better and stronger (musically).