SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION: KEVIN MATHEWS – PRESENT SENSE

PresentSenseTzang01

It has been a long & winding road to reach this point in my life.

22 years since I released my first album with Watchmen back in August 1993 and numerous albums later, I believe that Present Sense is probably my best ever. Why do I make that assessment? Mainly because this has probably been the most hands-off I have ever been about the making of an album. And I was blessed to be working with amazingly talented artists, who poured out their immense creativity to grant vitality to my humble songs.

PATRICK CHNG

Back in the early 90s, I was deeply envious of Pat – he seemed to have everything I wanted in terms of a music life. A number one single, a great debut LP and a breakthrough into the public consciousness of Singaporeans – The Oddfellows were the first Singapore band to accomplish that in 30 years! But when I got to know him, I realised that he was much more than his accomplishments – his humility, grace & generosity touched me immensely. Pat was never far away from being a part of the music since then – whether it be working on “Orchard Road” for New School Rock III, on the Love EP or playing second guitar in Popland on numerous gigs. Some of you might already know this but two to three years ago, Pat pushed me to record again – after a hiatus of about four years – and so we did, in his home studio (and the now defunct Thom’s Loft) and the ultimate result was Emo FASCISM (September 2013) – and that got the juices going again with #alpacablues barely six months later. With Present Sense, I wanted to keep my arrangement ideas to a bare minimum – with Pat not only recording but co-producing this time out, especially with his rhythmic contributions. But where Pat is now truly deadly is his mixing and mastering – which in my opinion is second to none. I am always amazed by how he puts everything together post-recording and I never fail to be impressed.

RAY AZIZ

I have to thank ex-head honcho of Pony Canyon Singapore, Jimmy Wee, for introducing me to Ray. I was looking for a drummer in the mid-90s and Ray turned out to be a perfect fit! Like Pat, Ray is a veritable local music legend – having played with numerous top local bands. Ray played drums on the three Popland releases viz. Groovy, Action! and the Camouflage EP. But it’s his infectious enthusiasm that is always a joy – it is impossible not to be buoyed by his seemingly boundless energy, even after all these years. For Present Sense, Ray came in for a day’s session at Leonard Soosay’s Snakeweed Studios (thanks to Daniel Sassoon) and finished 8 songs in 4 hours! Listening to the album, one would be unable to tell for sure! I feel privileged that twenty years later, we are still making groovy music together!

NELSON TAN

Nelson is a pure talent – he can do anything related to music. Music is his life and again, he plays in numerous bands and excels in each and every one. Nelson is a constant reminder to me that my music is not about sales or recognition but about the potential impact on people. When I finally sat down to have a serious chat with him, Nelson confessed to being a fan and shared that listening to the Democracy album as a 12 year old was one of the reasons he become a musician. Mind blown. How was that even possible? Far beyond anything I could have expected or imagined! It is an honour to be working with Nelson – apart from his wondrous bass playing – his passion and commitment to his craft and even to my songs – is an encouragement to keep going!

JOSHUA TAN

I first met Josh in 2007, when I interviewed his band The Fire Fight as part of Power of Pop’s Baybeats Festival coverage that year. Suffice to say, I have been a big fan of Josh and the band for its short lifetime and it was a memorable moment for me to share the stage with them on their farewell show in 2010 on “Train Song” (my favourite FF track). Present Sense was the first time collaborating together on the music and it was a revelation. Josh spent hours working on the guitar parts and his blood, sweat and tears are clearly evident on every track! Especially with “Magic” and “I walked away”, he made these songs his own, somehow tapping into the essence of my own artistic vision and painting in new vibrant colours! He is the soul of Present Sense – without Josh, Present Sense would not be what it is – my best album thus far!

Honourable mentions must also go to Eileen Chai for her stellar violin work on “Nothing Else” and “I walked away” and of course the voiceovers provided by Esther Low, James Khoo and X’ho.

Tonight, I will play the main bulk of Present Sense together with The Groovy People at The Barber Shop by Timbre in what might be my final show with the band for 2015. So I hope if you are free this Public Holiday eve you will make your way down and share this special occasion with us. The wonderfully talented melodic pop-rock band SUASION will be our guests, so please get there by 8pm.

Present Sense is out now at iTunes & streaming at rdio.com. I would greatly appreciate your support.

… still there’s more … 

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!

… still there’s more … 

POPLAND REUNION AT TIMBRE’S 5TH ANNIVERSARY

We (Pat, Ray, Tim and I) will be POPLAND for one more time tomorrow (21st Nov) night at the Timbre @ The Substation from 7.15pm to 8pm. It’s been an absolute blast jamming with the guys these last three weeks and I think it’s going to be a grand old show, loud and bittersweet at the same time. For us, it’s been about catching up, talking nostalgically about the gigs we’ve done before. So I am hoping that it’ll be the same for anyone who has seen POPLAND live from 1995 to 2002. Come on down and share with us your memories. If you have any of THE CROWD or POPLAND CDs (or even WATCHMEN!), bring them along and we’re gladly deface them for you!! Come down armed with cameras to record us for posterity (videos even). I will probably bring with me a couple of Groovy CDs in case anyone does not have a copy yet. See me after the show – $10 cheap! Then we’ll autograph it for you. Yes, boys and girls, it is going to be a special reunion for us all.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank Danny Loong and Edward Chia (and Seow Yee) for allowing POPLAND to hijack Timbre’s 5th Anniversary celebrations in this manner! If that was not enough, we also have great S-ROCK bands like the GREAT SPY EXPERIMENT, ZERO SEQUENCE and B-QUARTET on the bill as well!!!! What more could you ask for, music lovers?!

Do come up and say ‘hi’ – it’ll be great fun…

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!

THE CAMOUFLAGE EP

After the fallout with my erstwhile Watchmen partners in 1994, I decided to start afresh. Tim Nolan was a colleague at one of previous companies and had found out that he played bass, rather well it seemed as well. And so, I asked him to come on board for my next music project – The Crowd – along with Patrick Chng and Ben Harrison (who had both played on the Love EP). The idea was to record a 5-track demo cassette and we rehearsed on a regular basis with a view to recording at the EP at TNT Studios.

Unfortunately, Ben could not be make it for the recording and so it was left to the remaining trio of Pat, Tim and myself to record the Modest EP, which was released in 1995. Subsequently, Tim and I decided to forge ahead as The Crowd and then Popland, recording three LPs in the process, enlisting the talented Ray Aziz on drums for Groovy and Action!

And so this EP is Popland’s final hurrah. Three tracks recorded in 2006/2007 – the drums and vocals at TNT Studios and the rest at Tim’s place. Listening to the EP, I’m pretty satisfied that these songs represent Popland’s last musical statement. The history of Popland had its up and downs (but that’s another post!) like any other band but I’ll always remember the good times. Thanks to all the fans and friends who have supported us over these 15 odd years.

You can listen to and/or download the EP at Bandcamp. Popland is interested to play a couple of farewell gigs before we finally call it a day – get in touch (info(at)powerofpop(dot)com) if you’d like to have us.

…still there’s more…