SEARCHING FOR ROCK AUTHENTICITY AT LANEWAY SINGAPORE 2017

Photo credit: Jazreel-Anne/Laneway Festival Singapore

Slowly but surely, Laneway Festival Singapore has been losing its guitar rock roots. When you consider that perhaps the most exciting year was 2012, when it was possible to enjoy the likes of The Horrors, Laura Marling, Feist and M83 all in one night, the 2017 line-up demonstrated how music trends had changed in four short years.

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LIVE REVIEW: NEON LIGHTS FESTIVAL — MIND THE (GENERATION) GAP

by Jazreel-Anne
by Jazreel-Anne

The new kid on the block, Neon Lights sought to cover as much ground as possible in terms of appealing to the broadest demographics. Presumably, this was deemed necessary by Neon Lights to distinguish itself from the other big-scale music festivals in Singapore viz. Laneway and The Gathering (formerly Hostess Club Weekender).

by Neon Lights
by Neon Lights

To that end, Neon Lights featured comedy, arts and children entertainment, possibly in an attempt to encourage families to make it a day (or two) out for the weekend.

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POWER OF POP INTERVIEW: CIRCA WAVES

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Liverpool-based indie rockers Circa Waves have emerged as the next big thing on the UK music scene with a Top 10 debut album (Young Chasers) and a sold-out UK tour to boot. Taking the early Noughties indie boom (think: The Strokes, The Libertines & Arctic Monkeys) & re-packaging its shiny bright sound for today’s teenagers, Circa Waves have caught on like wildfire.

Truth be told, when I read the email about Dr Martens bringing the band on a South East Asian tour for #StandForSomething, I had not even heard of them! But a quick listen to Young Chasers, led me to conclude that it’s at least comforting that a real pop band playing real pop music is making waves (sorry!) out there in the pop wasteland.

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Before their gig at Theatreworks last night, I was privileged to speak to Kieran Shudall (vocals, guitar) and Joe Falconer (guitarist) – the band is completed by Sam Rourke (bass), Colin Jones (drums). I must say that it was probably one of my most enjoyable face-to-face interviews since… the one with Travis last year (?) Well, you know, I’m an anglophile so chatting with British musicians is always a bonus for me. Check out the highlights of our conversation below.

Where do the songs come from? Your head, your heart or your groin?

Kieran – Somewhere in between the head and the heart, maybe the neck? In that area, collarbone. They’re a mixture of all things – contemplation, frustration – not many from the groin. Although there are some sex songs on the next record.

What is your musical philosophy?

Kieran – Be genuine, I think. (PoP – What does that mean to you?) It means, not compromising too much, always making music for yourself. If people like it, it’s because they like what you’re thinking about or talking about. You’re trying to write something cuz you love it.

Are you happy people?

Joe – Yeah. I mean, I’m not unhappy. It does sound like an upbeat record except for the lyrics…

Kieran – Well, I’m pretty upset with myself, most of the time.

Joe – I think that’s good. Who listens to songs with happy lyrics? Really.

Kieran – Like the Cure or The Smiths – some of the songs are major-y but they’re all about heartbreak.

(PoP – “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” is a good example)

Kieran – Yeah, that’s spot on with our music. “Lost It” is major chords and quite happy but it’s about being fucking miserable.

(PoP – That’s the vibe I get from “Fossils”)

Joe – Guess it’s kinda like the equivalent of shouting into a pillow. A release. Y’know positive energy comes out of it.

Kieran – There’s a happiness and euphoria about telling people how miserable you are.

What do you hope to get out of life?

Joe – I don’t want to do anything I don’t want to do. Being in this band is the most fun ever. And if this all ends, then I hope that the next thing I do is like that — I want to do that everyday. I never want to turn into those people who literally dread waking up 5 days a week. Well, y’know, I feel like that has to happen but will try to avoid it as much as possible.

Kieran – I’d like to get to the point where I don’t give a shit about what people think of me. Just being content with my lot. Growing old and just being happy with the paper and a cup of tea. And that would be nice.

(PoP “When I’m 64” Kieren starts singing…)

Kieran – Yes, I would like to be content. 3 kids. House in Spain, house in Canada. Maybe an apartment in New York.

What is it like to be a band from Liverpool, which has such a rich heritage of producing some of the greatest bands ever?

Joe – It’s the sort of place where people encourage you when you’re doing well. ‘Well done. Go ahead lad’. Everyone wishes you well. Lots of people are still around – Zutons, Bunnymen, for example. It doesn’t feel like we’re that separate (from the bands that came before).

Kieran – It’s a very real place and people don’t tend to forget who they are and where they are from. It feels like you’re from somewhere with a real identity.

When you are playing on stage – what do you feel? What goes on in the head?

Joe – The perfect show is when everything is happening automatically but at the same time you’re taking everything in. So you’re aware of the experience but you’re not distracted and you know something good is happening. The worst gigs are the ones when you can’t get out of your head. Your mind goes blank and you go off stage and it’s like it never happened. Those are the best gigs.

Kieran – Hard to explain when it’s really going well. Euphoric feeling – like having a constant orgasm really, on stage.

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It did seem, from my perspective, when Circa Waves finally took the stage at 10pm – Riot !n Magenta opened with an invigorating set with Ginny Bloop bringing it! – that it was the young lasses in the audience that were the ones getting off – know what ah mean? Really enthusiastic crowd that did justice to the band’s energetic performance. Especially the kids that were cordoned off – underaged at an event with free booze – there was something for everyone, definitely.

Kudos to Dr Martens for another great #StandForSomething show (remembering the memorable night with Deap Vally last year). How about Nada Surf in 2016??? Pretty please???

Thanks to Andy Chua (Dr Martens) and Pardon My French PR (Sandra Cameron & Sharon Wong) for kind hospitality etc. All photographs by Jazreel-Anne.