Monday, August 16, 2010

Beyond the Ashes!

Allura was forged in the fire of conflict and discontent and in the aftermath, has emerged as one of the most promising, raw and young bands out there in the Singapore music scene.
Vocalist Inch Chua, 19, picks up the story…

“The day we (i.e. Auburn’s Epiphany) broke up as a band was the day we went for the Baybeats auditions – 29 January 2007 – one hour before the auditions! We were 90% certain of not even going for the auditions. When we called the Esplanade people to tell them that we wanted to pull out, there was a really ‘bad broken telephone’ going around saying that the band decided to sack the vocalist! They insisted that we come anyway because there was a clause (in the application form) that stated that the band had to give them 24 hours notice, so we had no choice but to turn up. When I came, they were all shocked to see me then they realized that one of the guitarists was missing. So they asked us, ‘what are you going to do today?’ and we said that we’ll just whack a song for you. Which we did and later on the judges came to us for an explanation and they understood the situation.”

Indeed, through the most unlikeliest scenarios, Allura came to be and not only that, even booked its place at the prestigious regional rock festival that is Baybeats! 

It is almost as if, creation and chaos have conspired to bring Allura on the cusp of its biggest moment, so far. Not bad for a band that is mere months old.

Inch and drummer Han Quan, also 19, have known each other since age 14 having attended the same Maths and Science tuition class for about three years. Inch had since that tender age been a big follower of the Singaporean indie scene. Two years later, she saw Marchtwelve live and that experience inspired her to sing in a band and thus, she placed an ad at and out of the multitude of offers she received, one caught the eye.

Auburn’s Epiphany.

When she joined the band, it lacked a drummer and old tuition mate Han Quan was recruited and in the next year, rhythm guitarist Aaron Wong and bass player Matthew Yap, both also 19, (former school mates – ACS Barker – of Han Quan) became part of the line up.

Auburn’s Epiphany, had been from 2005 to 2007, very active in the local scene until that fateful day in late January of this year.
 However, with the addition of guitarist Mark John, 23, (another former ACS Barker boy! I sense a trend!) and a name change, Allura debuted at the Mosaic Music Festival on 16 March this year. The band has not looked back since. Han Quan echoes these sentiments – “everything was okay, nothing went wrong, the band was new and Mark contributed a lot to the new sound – he helped us a lot.”

With Baybeats just around the corner, Han Quan summarizes what it all means for the band – “Hmm… it’ll be good. First time playing to such a big crowd. Something to look forward to…” Typically, Inch is less phlegmatic – “I still petrified!” The petite singer continues, “Never in my life would I imagine that we would be playing Baybeats – it’s something you only dream about. But I think it’s an experience we’re going to learn from and the amount of exposure we’re going to get is almost unfair! Even people from Malaysia are coming down to watch Baybeats!”

Music-wise, it appears that Allura is a democracy but most of the burden of promoting and managing the band falls on the shoulders of front woman Inch, who also states – half in jest – that in fact, Han Quan is the band leader. But both Inch and Han Quan stress that all critical decisions of the band are made collectively. 
And the band has collectively decided that they are committed to breaking through in Singapore and the region, and perhaps even tour outside Singapore.

They are willing to invest money earned from gigs and the like back into pushing the band forward, whether it is in recording or marketing. Right now, the band is in process of saving up (sponsors, take note) to record its 1st EP or album, depending on the demand (fans, take note). Allura hope to emulate the success of local bands like Great Spy Experiment and Electrico, whom the band looks to as role models. 

With Baybeats 2007 as its launching pad, Allura looks set to make the great leap forward in 2007 as a unique Singapore band. With drive and ambition to match their fledging talent, Mark, Aaron, Matt, Han Quan and Inch appear to be at the right place and the right time to take advantage of the upturn in fortune for the Singapore music scene.

(From 2007)

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