Melodic rock bands with an alternative edge seem hard to come by in the Singapore music scene at the moment. So while other media outlets will be promoting artists specialising in urban music and electronic soul, S-ROCK lovers can trust in Power of Pop to help you discover new rock bands out there.
Thus, we welcome you to the S-ROCK UNDERGROUND (yes yet another hashtag!) where we hope you will find heavier and edgier sounds – that do not compromise on melody or grooves – in our own backyard.
Rock quartet Gilded Edge has been getting attention viz. as prizewinners after less than a year together at the Singapore finals of Global Battle of The Bands 2015, making it into the Noise Music Mentorship for 2016 and releasing their debut single “Lone Wolf” recently. We got together with the guys – Alan Francis (Guitar/Vocals), Melvin Lim (Guitar), Afiq Yusof (Bass) & Julian Stewart (Drums) – to find out more about Gilded Edge: past present and future.
How did Gilded Edge form?
Julian: I knew Alan through his girlfriend who is also my cousin. After hearing I could play the drums from her, he asked if I was interested in forming a band and of course I said yes. We were looking for others to join us and I knew Afiq through my ex-girlfriend and she told me he played the bass so I asked him to join us for a jam session and right after that jam we knew that there was chemistry between the three of us, so there and then we decided to give this a shot and haven’t looked back since. During our time as a three piece we always felt that something was missing in our sound but we never found someone who could fill in the gap be it playing style, chemistry or mindset – it was impossible to find that someone so we gave up and just went on being a three piece. Until we auditioned for Baybeats last year and got ripped apart so badly but one good thing that came out of was the advice to get another guitarist to fill the gap. So we remembered meeting Melvin at a competition held at The Coliseum at Hard Rock Hotel and thought we could ask him to come jam with us as we liked his vibe. So Alan managed to track Melvin down through social media and thankfully he was up for it cause here we are now a year into being a quartet and releasing music.
What were the covers you started with?
Julian: We actually did not start out by doing covers, Alan had a few songs he had written and recorded so we started out by working on them and making them our own. But talking about doing covers, among those songs was a different rendition of the song “Arabian Nights” from the Disney movie, Aladdin. So that was the very first cover we did but eventually we added a few more covers like “Rock And Roll Queen” by The Subways, “On a Plain” by Nirvana, “Live Forever” by Oasis and “Creep” by Radiohead to our repertoire among our originals in the early days to perform at shows.
What is the origin of the name?
Alan: It certainly wasn’t a deliberate thing but we were formed watching Royal Blood perform at Laneway and have always felt on the periphery of things. I guess the name came from a feeling that we are practicing a style of music which has a classy glean but isn’t in the foreground so much these days. We still love the name – not least for the hilarious ways people have got it wrong at shows / competitions! Gliding Eagle, Glide-Age & Glided Edge are personal favourites!
What was your first gig? What was the experience like?
Afiq: We had our first show at what used to be Anaki Jamming Studio by Anaki Records somewhere in Chinatown. We rented a space in the venue for an hour and tried selling tickets for $10. It was a space inside the studio near the cashier as they had a small stage including some space, more like a waiting area for jammers. Back then we were a three piece with guitarist Melvin Lim joining a year after. The experience was new and fun, the stage barely fitting the three of us and our drummer Julian having to squeeze in the small space behind the drum kit. It was awesome and exciting, the first time performing a number of newly arranged originals and 2 covers: Disney’s “Arabian Nights” and “Rock and Roll Queen” by The Subways. Since then, we continued working more on our music and looking for more exciting opportunities and venues to perform.
What has been the band’s biggest achievement so far?
Melvin: I feel our biggest achievement was supporting Hoobastank, Alicia Keys along with other regional acts at the New Year’s Eve countdown on the floating platform. That was exhilarating. I believe it was a first for all of us playing on a stage that big to an audience that large.
What is your songwriting process – your influences? your inspirations?
Alan: Generally the songs reflect the mood of the time – I’ll be feeling a certain a way and listening to music which is in line with that. After a while I’ll pick up a guitar and after a few attempts something decent ends up flowing out (hopefully!). Once the lyrics, melody, chords and song structure are figured out I’ll bring the song to the band and we’ll work on the arranging / layering together. We are certainly heavily influenced by all the great 20th century – early 2000s guitar bands but our influences have gone into downtempo / jazz / hip hop / electronic music too from time to time. Many of the songs we do now including “Speakeasy” & “Facepalm” actually started out as electronic compositions which I wrote at University! If I had to tie us down to a specific group of artists who have influenced us I’d say Oasis, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 30 Seconds to Mars, Royal Blood, The 1975 & Arctic Monkeys would be a good start.
When can we expect an EP or album from you? What will it be about – musically & conceptually?
Julian: We hope to release an EP by this year. The EP will cover themes such as lust, fear of the unknown, adventure, the party life and fantasy. Basically thoughts and experiences of men in their 20s put out into guitar driven rock tunes.
What do you hope to achieve with Gilded Edge?
Alan: Music fans these days seem to be very divided – some people will only listen to what’s fed to them on the radio and refuse to be challenged. At the other end of the spectrum, you have people who pick a specific niche to worship and then look down on everyone else. We like to think that we started as music fans first before being musicians, and to us good music is something to bond over no matter the genre. We’ve played at metal shows like the one we’re doing at Yishun Dam on the 22nd of April but we’ve also done very ‘pop’ shows like IMC Rock On! 2017 last New Year’s. We’re proud of this because we want to have songs in our repertoire for everyone – as long as it doesn’t mean compromising artistically. Our aim is to play music our own way but to give off an honest energy and spirit that anyone can relate to.
How far do you think local bands/artists can go on the international stage?
Melvin: I think local acts have got what it takes to go pretty far internationally, while I don’t think the results are as immediate, but I’ve got a good feeling. Mainly because there’s a rise of people who actually do give a shit about local music now. I also think that is directly responsible for people wanting to start new bands and also start taking their music a bit more seriously. As long as that continues.. I think local music is on a good path forward.
What’s in the immediate future for Gilded Edge?
Afiq: As of now, we are heading to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next week for the weekend to perform at 2 venues – Timbre KL and Live Fact. It’ll be a short tour with three other bands from Singapore: Faus Pax, Knightingale, Angry Outer Space featuring one Malaysian band Kyoto Protocol. When we return we hope to continue practicing and rehearsing in the studio, work on current and new materials, performing, gigging, looking for new opportunities and eventually releasing our EP.
Check out our review of “Lone Wolf”.
… still there’s more …