PRESENT SENSE: PRE-ORDER AT ITUNES NOW!

KM-PresentSense

Present Sense started life as a germ of an idea earlier this year. I put together a rough lineup of songs written in the last couple of years and as I did so, I noticed that there was a story unfolding before my eyes. Which is why Present Sense ended up being a loose concept album of sorts. I don’t want to explain the story too much but it is imperative that you listen to the album in its entirety to get the full impact. Suffice to say that there are certain auto-biographical aspects but at its core it’s fiction.

I was very fortunate to be able to benefit from the contributions of Joshua Tan (The Fire Fight, A Vacant Affair) on electric guitars, Nelson Tan (In Each Hand a Cutlass) on bass and my old friend Ray Aziz (too many bands to mention!) on drums. In addition, Eileen Chai also provided gorgeous violins on two songs. To embellish the storytelling, I also managed to add voiceovers from Esther Low, James Khoo and X’Ho to the mix as well. But the biggest credit must go to my partner-in-crime Patrick Chng (That Locked Door studio) who co-produced, recorded, mixed and mastered the album brilliantly. In addition, special thanks must go out to Daniel Sassoon and Leonard Soosay (Snakeweed Studios) for making the drums recording possible. Last but not least, an appreciation to film maker Tzang Merwyn Tong for his assistance with the lettering design seen on the album cover.

So we are here. Present Sense is now available for pre-orders at iTunes with a download of “Vancouver Gurls”. The album itself will be released digitally worldwide by KAMCO Music on 11th September. I will support the release (with The Groovy People) with two shows in September viz. at Artistry Cafe on 18th September (tickets available from Peatix) and at Barbershop by Timbre on 23rd September (free admission).

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WHAT IS POP MUSIC?

PopMusic

People sometimes ask why this website isn’t called Power of Rock when my musical tastes seem to gravitate towards rock rather than pop music. But this betrays a somewhat myopic understanding of what pop music actually is, and falls prey to the common misconception of pop.

Strictly speaking, popular music as a ‘genre’ is utilised to differentiate from other known generic forms of music – for example, classical music, traditional/ethnic music and art/avant garde music.

To illustrate…

Classical/Baroque Music

Traditional/ethnic music (in this case, Chinese)

Art/Avant-garde music (in this case, minimalism)

In this context, it is easy to see that popular music is ‘different’ in that it appeals to the masses and is more universally inclusive, compared to the above ‘genres’. This means that popular music includes country, folk, blues, soul, jazz, rock and pop, also combinations amongst the aforementioned and cross-pollinations with the other generic forms as well.

But of course, understanding the diverse ‘genres’ within the broad popular music category is really important if you are trying to describe a certain type of music. Perhaps less so in today’s environment where music can be heard over the internet on demand but for marketing and promotional purposes, this understanding still plays a crucial role.

Which brings me, inevitably, to my WRITING ON ROCK MUSIC course, which I will be conducting over 4 Saturdays in September and I will going over this issue of popular music genres. The fee is $300 and registration is still open till 4th September. Sign up at kamcomusic@gmail.com

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KAMCO MUSIC: TYPEWRITER’S INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION PLATFORMS

TypeWriter Believe

TypeWriter will be debuting new material from upcoming EP at Baybeats 2015 and will also be featuring new drummer Robin Chua (Livonia, Shelves). The band will be playing at the MIXTAPE stage on 26th June at 11pm. In the meantime, you can download/listen to their 2010 album, Indian Head Massage.

iTunes

Connect with TypeWriter https://www.facebook.com/typewriterband

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KAMCO MUSIC PRESENTS: FAERYVILLE OST – AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER ALEX OH

AlexOh

Tzang Merwyn Tong’s Faeryville is a dystopian teen movie, a stylish coming of age film about youth making sense of their idealistic dreams in our increasingly surreal world – a fictional manifestation of very real issues prevalent in the Post 9-11 world. The movie features an original score composed by Alex Oh.

Oh is one of Singapore’s most prolific and versatile film composers. His philosophy to scoring is telling the story of the film through music. In his career, he has scored many award-winning features, ranging from comedy, family-oriented, action films like Taxi!Taxi!, My Dog Dou Dou, Imperfect, It’s A Great Great World to darker films like Bait 3D, Rule Number One and The Maid . He was nominated for Best Original Music Score from Asian Television Awards in 2004 for the TV Series, The Frontline.

Oh’s music score complements the movie perfectly with its edgy synthesiser ambience and choral nuances providing a contrast between innocence and danger. Also included is the dynamic driving “Baptism of Fire” which feature Jessel Yam and Alan Chan on guitars, Meryvn Lim on bass and John Ho on drums.

Read below what Oh thought and felt about working on Faeryville.

As the film’s composer, you’re probably one of the first few people to have seen Faeryville, edited and cut. What are your thoughts when you watched the first cut of the film?

Faeryville turned out beautifully. It has lots of depth. I like the characters, the Nobodies, Laer, Chloe, Belle, Fraternity members. There are debates on whether society is becoming or has already become dystopian. I like how Tzang uses the film to address certain issues we are facing in our society. In that aspect, I think he is successful in bringing these to light, as many will find after watching the film that they can relate to it someway or another.

Do you have a philosophy bout your music scoring?

I try to find where the heart of the movie is. I will watch the film with the Director and talk about it. I want to understand the film from his/her perspective and hear what he has to say. Why he/she wants to make the film? What is it about? What is it the story that he’s telling? Once I have an understanding about the film, I will let the film speak to me. I do not want to come with any pre-conceived ideas.

Continue reading “KAMCO MUSIC PRESENTS: FAERYVILLE OST – AN INTERVIEW WITH COMPOSER ALEX OH”

KAMCO MUSIC RE-ISSUE PROGRAM – THE CROWD & POPLAND

The Crowd Pop

Well, boys and girls, that’s all she wrote! With the re-release of The Crowd’s Pop (1997), and the Popland albums, Groovy and Action!, the KAMCO Music – Kevin Mathews reissue program has been completed.

Here are the links. Thanks for your support.

Pop

Amazon | Deezer | iTunes

Groovy

Amazon | Deezer | iTunes

Action!

Amazon | Deezer | iTunes

Here’s a Spotify playlist of all 73 tracks of the re-issue programme!

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PoPTV: THE CROWD – PASIR RIS SUNRISE LYRIC VIDEO

PasirRisSunriseThumb

KAMCO Music will re-issue The Crowd’s Pop album this coming Friday, 10th April. So I was thinking – what could I do to raise awareness about this event? Well, as you all know, a lyric video of one of the songs might do the trick. And so, I put together my first ever lyric video on iMovie and it only took this old fart of an amateur to get it done! The song I chose was “Pasir Ris Sunrise” which seems to have resonated with some folks despite being 18 years old. Hope you enjoy!

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KAMCO MUSIC RE-ISSUES WATCHMEN’S DEMOCRACY LP AND LOVE EP

Democracy-sleeve-back

It’s a bit surreal to be writing about these KAMCO Music re-issues. Simply because both releases came out more than 20 years ago! It’s seems unreal to think that two decades later, I am able to make them available to the world in a manner that was impossible in 1993/1994. Does the world really need these re-issues, probably not but it’s not about that. Rather it’s more about the historical significance of these releases in the context of my life and that of the Singapore music scene.

For me personally, as a musician who grew up in 70s Singapore when rock ‘n’ roll was suppressed by the authorities, it was difficult to conceive of a local music scene that would accept my original music but thankfully that happened in the early 90s (in my early thirties) with Democracy and Love. That scene now appears to be light years away from where we stand now – and thank GOD for that too! Listening to the music now brings upon me waves of nostalgia and if any of this resonates with you then you can head on down to the various links below and I appreciate your support for all these years.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the kind souls who helped to make Democracy and Love whatever they might mean to folks now – Tony Makarome, Patrick Chng, Ben Harrison, BOSS Studios, Odyssey Records and of course, Eric Khoo.

iTunes

Democracy | Love

Amazon

Spotify

Democracy | Love

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THE KAMCO MUSIC RE-ISSUE PROGRAMME BEGINS NOW

kamco-YQ-sm

KAMCO Music started life as KAMCO Records in 1998 – a label through which I could self-release Popland’s Groovy album. 17 years later, KAMCO Music (physical releases are so passé) embarks on a new adventure with digital distributor Believe Digital with the re-issue of my three solo releases thus far.

#alpacablues (2014)

#alpacablues-cover-sm

Previously released only on Bandcamp, this EP is now available at iTunes, Amazon (etc) and the relevant streaming platforms for the first time. Contains the radio-friendly “I Want What I Can’t Have” and you can buy it for a reasonably low price.

iTunes

Emo FASCISM (2013)

EmoFASCISMsm

My first album since 2001, was released on the 20th anniversary of my first LP, Democracy (with Watchmen). Notably distinctive for containing mostly jazz-pop numbers (!) and also having a single rejected for radio play by Mediacorp Radio viz. “Beyond the Ashes”. Now you really need to pick this up!

iTunes

@midnight (2008)

@Midnight

Originally released under the Watchmen moniker (and also only on Bandcamp), I have decided to reclaim @midnight EP as a solo release. Significant for featuring a youthful incarnation of The Groovy People viz. Esther Low (keyboards), James Lye (guitars), Low Han Quan (drums) and Brian Leery (bass). Mid-priced as well! Enjoy…

iTunes

Re-issues of Watchmen, The Crowd and Popland to come in the next two weeks.

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PoPTV: KEVIN MATHEWS – “I WANT WHAT I CAN’T HAVE” (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)

KMVideoStill

Finally! The lyric video for “I Want What I Can’t Have” is online. I want to thank film-maker Michael Lim for putting this together in a very short time.

This video release is the first one under KAMCO Music’s distribution deal with Believe Digital and I want to thank Syaheed and Dawn over at Believe Digital for assistance with this.

Look out for the re-issues of #alpacablues, Emo FASCISM and @midnight on 27th March on all digital distribution platforms.

Thanks also to Hood Bar and Cafe for the wonderful location!

Please share if you like.

ORIGINALS SING: OBEDIENT WIVES CLUB + LOST WEEKEND

OWC-LW Pardon my French cuz I am stoked as FUCK to be able to present – in conjunction with Artistry, a very special edition of Originals Sing where we jointly bring to you two of my favourite alternative pop bands in Singapore viz. Obedient Wives Club and Lost Weekend. Cool vibes and cool tunes – what more could a music fan ask for? It happens this Wednesday (18th June) from 8pm. Cover charge – $10 (proceeds of which to go entirely to the bands). Don’t miss this!

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LONG AND WINDING ROAD: EMO FASCISM – ARE WE THERE YET?

Silver-KM

We are about seven weeks away from the launch of Emo FASCISM Launch Week!

As far as the music is concerned, Pat and I are working on the final mixes of the 12 songs that will make up the CD. A 4-track sampler is now available at Soundcloud with opening track “Silver” the final teaser in the set. Check it out below.

Eric has done his part – the cover design – and the art concept will be carried through on the CD sleeve, merch and posters (with the assistance of the lovely 23賴). See below.

EmoFASCISMsm

 

Four dates have been confirmed during the Emo FASCISM Launch Week. Details to come soon.

Emo FASCISM will also be available on Bandcamp and iTunes in August for those unable to attend any of the gigs.

Very excited about this new milestone in my musical career and none of this would have been possible without the amazing Patrick Chng, who has been an inspiration and endless source of encouragement to me to record a new album after all these years!

So, look out for more news to come in the weeks ahead.

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OOOM MUSIC FESTIVAL – TALKS/WORKSHOPS [NEWS]

KAMCO Music is organizing three talks cum workshops during the two-day OOOM Music Festival (8th to 9th December – this weekend!!) and as promised, here are more details. Spend your weekend with us! Come early to avoid disappointment!!

A SHORT HISTORY OF SINGAPORE INDIE ROCK MUSIC: From the 90s to the present day

Once upon a time, Singapore indie rock music had #1 radio hits, extensive media coverage and a considerable fan base. So what has happened since then to change that and will Singapore music ever be appreciated in the same way again? The answers to these questions (and more) are addressed in this talk to be presented by Singapore indie music specialist Kevin Mathews with guest contributions from Pat Chng (The Oddfellows, TypeWriter), Yee Chang Kang (The Ordinary People, TypeWriter) and Hentai Cat (MONSTER CAT).

7.30pm Sat, 8th Dec.

FUNDAMENTALS OF GOOD SONGWRITING

Songwriting is not only an art but also a technique that can be studied and learned. During this panel discussion, the fundamentals of songwriting (i.e. melody, lyrics, chord progressions and arrangements) will be presented by established songwriters Don Richmond, Yee Chang Kang (TypeWriter), Sarah Cheng-De Winne and Kevin Mathews, who will also double up as moderator. Come and experience the experts share the stories behind your favourite songs and even special songwriting tips! 

2.30pm Sun, 9th Dec.

FROM OPEN MIKE TO THE CONCERT HALL

What does it take for a performer to go from open mic to the concert hall? Find out in this interactive, hands-on workshop where experienced musicians like Patrick Chng, Jack & Rai, Nick Chim and Rachael Teo share valuable tips on musical performance and will offer real-time advice on how you can improve your singing and musicianship in order to fulfil your performing ambitions. 

Note: – Participants will have to bring their own instruments (e.g. guitars, ukeleles, portable keyboards etc) to get the most of the breakout sessions.

7.30pm Sun, 9th Dec.

All talks cum workshops will be conducted at the OOOM Academy @ Multi-Purpose Room (B1) National Library Building. Admission is FREE. Artists will be selling their CDs and merch during the Festival so please remember to bring along some spare cash!!!

OOOM MUSIC FESTIVAL [NEWS]

The inaugural OOOM (Originals Only Open Mike) Music Festival takes place on 8th & 9th December at the NLB Building and promises to be an exciting local music festival! Summary of events below.

 

Apart from the acoustic performances from the likes of Jack & Rai, The Sam Willows and Maricelle Wong, KAMCO Music is also organizing three talks/workshops viz. A Short History of Singapore Indie Rock Music featuring Patrick Chng (Oddfellows, TypeWriter), Yee Chang Kang (The Ordinary People, TypeWriter) & Hentai Cat (MONSTER CAT); Fundamentals of Songwriting featuring Don Richmond, Yee Chang Kang & Sarah Cheng-De Winne and From Open Mike to Concert Hall featuring Patrick Chng, Jack & Rai, Nicholas Chim & Rachael Teo.

Stay tuned for more details.

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FASCIST ARCHITECTURE: BABY STEPS

GETTING CLOSER TO THE EDGE

You might say that I am doing market research for Emo Fascism with this new mix of Edge by Patrick Chng. There wasn’t much attention when I first issued it a couple of years ago but I felt that the song deserved better than that. *Ahem* In hindsight, it’s clear that “Edge” is a template for the songs on Emo Fascism, being originally recorded on Garageband and exported onto Patrick’s Logic Pro and upgraded accordingly. It also serves as an exercise on digital distribution, marketing and promotion before I undertake the real deal with Emo Fascism next year. So I am putting a certain stock into the overall response to “Edge (2012)” which will determine the extent to which I will go, to push Emo Fascism in 2013. In any case, if you’re reading this, thank you for your continued support and love. I appreciate it all!

“Edge (2012)” is now available at Bandcamp, with more platforms to follow…

 

INDIE SOLO LIVE @ SOHO COFFEE

A satisfying week for all concerned at KAMCO Music (meaning yours truly!) as the first edition of Indie Solo Live ran smoothly with a attentive group of family, friends and fans packing the Soho Coffee cafe. After the success of SING A NEW SONG, it was gratifying to put on a show on a smaller scale but once again with the focus on Singapore singer-songwriters sharing their original music.

Continue reading “INDIE SOLO LIVE @ SOHO COFFEE”

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

NEW DAWNS

Today, 15th August 2011, was a special day, by all accounts. An unshakable sense of achievement was strongly felt (finally) as an artist manager, as KAMCO Music launched Lydia Low’s debut EP, Electric Flower, at Bandcamp and as I also announced Cheating Sons’ tours of Korea and China in September and October.

Much of this is new territory for me, of course. But much of the credit must go to Lydia and the Sons. This has less to do with my abilities than with the faith and trust placed upon me. I first met Lydia in April (thank you, Ingrid!) and when I heard her music I was sold! When we had our first discussion and she told me that she would be leaving Singapore soon, my heart sank. There was so much potential in her that I truly wondered what we could do in the short time that we had together. But thanks to Lydia’s unwavering belief in me (she basically did everything I asked of her) we are now to this moment, a debut EP which Lydia and I are rather proud of. Special thanks to Patrick Chng for his kindness and generosity, as always!

I must confess that I have suffered numerous disappointments in this area – a sense of rejection, a lack of belief in what I could achieve with artists that the feeling of validation is hard to describe. The self-doubt can sometimes be crippling but I thank God for the right timing and the right opportunities. In any case, this is only the beginning but it’s a good start. Check out this link to listen to/download Lydia’s debut EP.

Certainly, with respect to Cheating Sons, it has been refreshing to work with a band who are on top of their game always. Musically the band knows where it’s headed and they more or less leave me to guide them along in terms of getting gigs and so on. I have been truly amazed by how well all this is going so far. Whilst we are under no illusions about how difficult the task continues to be, the main strength is our mutual respect, which is borne out by commitment (and not mere words) and our understanding of the lengths we will go to in order to make Cheating Sons an international success. By now, some of you have read about the band’s Korean and China tours coming up. There are more stories to be told and I am very excited to be part of this new journey.

…still there’s more…

DEBRA @ BROUN CAFE

It’s taken 14 months – give or take – but finally Debra did her maiden headlining gig at Broun Cafe. Two sets of her originals and her favorite covers were achieved in slightly under an hour. She was initially extremely nervous but once she started singing, the nerves slowly dissipated and Debra was in her element. For me personally, I was a little under the weather but that did not stop me for providing the necessary support on acoustic guitar/electronic piano and occasional backing vocals. In fact, it was fun not having to think about singing, lyrics and stage banter – y’know the usual thing I have to do at a gig. This was Debra’s show! All things considered, the show went well – though there were the odd mistakes and false starts (from both of us!), overall it was a good run-out for Debra – with the promise of more to come…

I was also very pleased to meet Laura and Ewan, the owners of Broun Cafe, and glad to find that they were a down-to-earth young couple, who loved music and were genuinely interested in providing their patrons an enlightening experience. I was fortunate to check out their Irish Beef Stew which warmed and filled me up very well after the gig, thank you very much!

With Narisa (with Suzan) coming up next Wednesday at the same venue, I hope that this will be the beginning of a fruitful partnership between Broun Cafe and KAMCO Music. Next up for Debra – the third edition of the Noise-Timbre Singer-songwriter Programme.

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KAMCO MUSIC

TO BOLDLY GO

The last six months have been the hardest period of my life and its no way over yet…

This is a very personal post so apologies if it offends you in any way. Last October, I quit my job out of sheer exhaustion if nothing else. Since January 8th, I’ve been unemployed and its now been six months already! I’ve been using the free time to pursue music in Singapore (such as it is), working hard on Power of Pop and looking for gainful employment once again.

I won’t kid you. It’s been very hard on all fronts. After six months, I still haven’t much of a clue about what I’m doing. Financially, emotionally, even musically, its been an incredible strain. There have been so many false dawns that its been so disappointing and demoralizing.

Which brings me to KAMCO Music. I originally set up KAMCO Records to release Popland’s Groovy album in 1998 and it’s been dormant since. However, earlier this year I changed its name to KAMCO Music so that I could channel my music activities (such as they are) through KAMCO Music.

And so… now KAMCO Music is also moving into Artist Management. Thus far, I’ve approached a couple of Artists whom I feel I would like to help and to be brutally honest, I thought it would be easier than what I’ve encountered. And this is just putting together a roster! Hah! Well, nobody said it would be easy, right? But am sure it’ll all work out in the end. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Anyways, I’m thankful to Mike See for giving me the encouragement to make a go at this and certainly, I’m going to do my best, God willing. For the curious amongst you, I have set up a KAMCO Music page here, so please check it out.

Hopefully, in the days and weeks to come, you’ll hear more about KAMCO Music – I’m thinking of KAMCO Music as a family, where everybody wins and have loads of fun as well. That’s the dream anyways.

Of course, if you’re interested as a band/artist to get involved with KAMCO Music, please get in touch – popbiz@powerofpop.com. No promises but we can explore…

SWINGING SATURDAYS!

Well, I’m knackered but fulfilled! An early Saturday saw me being picked up by Musical Theatre Limited’s Dezz Moey and Stella Kon from home, as we headed for the Singapore Polytechnic. MTL had arranged a workshop on story and songwriting and for my part, I was to perform two songs live and share a little about songwriting.

By all accounts, it went well. I sang Beyond the Ashes and I Love Singapore and spoke about my songwriting process and before you know it, it was over. Made a couple of contacts (viz. Kate, Chet Choon) and enjoyed Chee Tian’s short 2006 film, Colours. Thanks to Dezz again for getting me involved.

After that it was lunch with Narisa who kindly turned up to provide moral support wherein we discussed matters relating to KAMCO Music, all of which will be announced in due course. Stay tuned! Then off to Bugis Junction to catch local talents at the refurbished Starbucks at the Mall. Dawn Ho and Munir provided a professional set delivering polished covers and Jon Chong performed his excellent originals.

Nick Tan is improving with every performance, stronger and more assured, as usual You being the highlight. It’s been a while since I last saw Ling Kai and certainly she is also coming along nicely. I noticed a marked improvement in her guitar work and among her new material, Someone Sold Me caught the ear. It was also great to meet up with Jeff Miller/Ruth Yam of Starbucks and Harry of Power 98 to make future plans. Exciting times!

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POPLAND – CAMOUFLAGE

Here it is – a nostalgic look back at the Crowd/Popland via the final Popland single, Camouflage. You can download the Camouflage EP at Bandcamp. Thanks for the support through all the years!