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(Answers by Ahmad Khaliq)

Who are Silhouette and how was it formed?

Silhouette was formed in 2007. Hafiz (drums) and Mahfuz (bass) were long time friends and we were from a band called A Stale Melodrama. Shah (vocals) was my junior in secondary school but eventually, we were in the same class after I screwed up my exams. Shah and I shared a lot of common interest in music and the idea of forming a band with him was inevitable. Soon enough, Hafiz and Mahfuz joined the frame and the rest is history.

Who are the influences for Silhouette?

We all came from different musical backgrounds. Hafiz and Mahfuz grew up listening to a lot of punk rock & screamo. Shah was the Top 40s kinda guy, soul & RnB while I grew up listening to a lot of contemporary jazz, funk rock and alternative. Individual influences comes from artists such as Incubus, Glassjaw, Deftones, Circa Survive, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Mayer, Rufio, No Use For A Name, Deerhunter, The Receiving Ends Of Sirens, Limp Bizkit and music somewhere along those lines. :)

What’s the dynamics of the band?

I think every band does it this way. The guitarist will come up with a song structure and melody/harmony lines, and then the band comes in. While I’m the only guitarist in the band, there’s a lot of space to fill in and do lots of things without having another guitarist come up to you and say “Dude, it’ll be better if….this and that, this and that” or “Dude, what about me…etc etc”. You know what I mean. But that doesn’t mean I’m selfish, haha. I mean, it’s not a case of individuality or a one-man show. We work together as one.

As for songwriting, I’ll just sit down and play whatever, and when I get the feel, that’s it, there goes a song. It’s pretty freestyle, including the vocals too.

Why do you play music?

2 things. Career & as a hobby. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, be it in any department or nightclubs. Personally, I’ll die trying. I think Shah shares the same vision as I do. It can be with or without Silhouette, I don’t know. As for now, me and the guys are all aware that Silhouette is a hobby; it is not our life. We don’t wake up in the morning and hope that today is the day Hafiz, Mahfuz or Shah is gonna call me with huge news or whatever surprises there might be. When it comes, it comes, you know. We have daily commitments and such, sometimes, the only time when we meet is during a jam/gig session. But of course, we’re serious about the band and its direction and we’d like to make it big one day.

Your first EP, “Discover”, released in January 2009, was well received in the Singapore. It reflected personal experiences and covered areas like the media, politics and love. Silhouette is in the process of recording a debut album. Many bands go in different directions between their EPs and debut albums. Is this the case for Silhouette, and how would it evolve?

I think we did okay for the EP. It was pretty rushed, though. I think the whole songwriting process was like 2 months? I just wrote everything and we went to a cheap studio with Shah and recorded the entire 5-track demo. Upon receiving the demo, we altered some parts of the song, tried to make it sound decent and that’s it. We re-recorded the tracks, this time, as a band with Mr Leonard Soosay @ Snakeweed Studios. The whole completion took almost a year, including post production and mastering. We actually delayed a lot on the launch, and since was the new year back then, why not launch it on January and make it the first record launch for the year?

To be honest, for the album, currently, there’s no progress to it. At this point of time, nobody knows when anything is coming out. As far as we’re concerned, when the new record happens, it happens. We’ve only had 2 songs recorded. The songwriting process is almost done, almost. I’d say, yes, we’ve gone in different directions. I think its natural for bands to go this way. For the album, as far as I know, listeners can expect hearing about 10-11 different bands in different songs in one record. It’s pretty much freestyle vocals/spoken-word-like-yelling, avant-garde rock, alternative, more drum and bass attacks, big complex guitar chords and less riffing. It’s a non-traditional song structure with experimental ideas.

Silhouette has slowly built up a following within the music scene. Many bands broaden their fan bases through different directions for new albums. Is there going to be a different direction for the debut album and would affect your existing fan base?

Of course, going in a different direction is almost inevitable for every band. It’s a mark of a progress and change for the better. While for some listeners might think its a sell-out kinda thing, I think some bands didn’t mean to change their directions, it just happened by accident. It just happens and it’s natural.

What was involved in the recording process for the album?

There’s a lot more patience needed regarding the process for the album. We didn’t want to make it “chop-chop” the way we did for our EP. Although I said that the songs were written without much planning, some parts have to be taken into consideration, especially the transitions from a part to the another. Since our songs now are of non-traditional structures without the chorus, verse and other elements, we have to be a lot more careful this time or else, it will be jumbled up into just noise. Producing a solid album is one thing, having to minus off the predictability is another. But of course, once a while, it’s always good to have a so-called pop structure of a song like our track called ‘When Will They Know’.

The lyrics for the EP were personal and emotional. Would the lyrics for the new album be very different from the first album? Are you planning on going in a completely different direction with the lyrics?

Lyrics wise, I think it’ll be somewhat similar, but with more angst & being more random. And of course, writing the lyrics for the song/album is gonna be a hard time for Shah because he does it freestyle without writing a single word. But as we go thru the songs, eventually, the lyrics will be stored on his head.

How much has changed since the EP was released?

More listeners, more viewers on our Myspace page, more crowd turnouts, and more headlining shows around Singapore. Of course, after that, we got bored of our EP songs and we totally scrapped of the songs on our setlist. The only song that maintains forever (period) in our setlist is a track title, ‘Discover’. It’s a nice song to rock out on stage, haha. But most notable are our new songs. I don’t know, it’s just,different.

Silhouette has played shows with many other bands in the within our scene but has never played overseas. If you had a chance to collaborate with a band, who would it be and why?

Of course, it’ll be B Quartet. I think they’re the best band in Singapore, enough said. Overseas bands such as Love Me Butch and Urbandub and of course, our local band friends from Amateur Takes Control, A Vacant Affair, Caracal, Barricade & more!

What’s the future plans for Silhouette?

We’re scheduled to play Ignite Festival 2010 (a hardcore & metal fest) in May @ Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. Hopefully we can have more overseas shows and tours, to get out the debut album, Baybeats 2010 (hopefully) because we screwed up Baybeats 2008 and more headlining shows. That would make us happy! :) TY!

(Rebecca Lincoln)

Photo by Afiq from The Zozi

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