According to Hype Records’ owner (and former Singapore Idol judge) Ken Lim, the local music industry is on the “verge of extinction” and that he is the man who will save the industry. We wish him all the best! As far as the S-ROCK scene is concerned, more evidence of its good health can be seen in the following upcoming events: –

Another Sunday Afternoon: The Bookmark EP launch

The latest EP – which has been available for a couple of weeks now – will be officially launched this Friday, February 8th at Home Club. Victoria Street will be providing support. Entry is $12 with one standard drink (including entry to Kicks! later). The Bookmark has been well-received thus far with TODAY stating that “it’s satisfying to witness the continued artistic development of our local bands that despite all odds, manage to produce music that can only be described as ‘world-class’. Add The Bookmark to this burgeoning list”. The fun begins at 8pm.

Obedient Wives Club: Murder Kill Baby EP launch

The self-styled ‘Spectorgaze’ quintet has been making waves since the release of its debut DIY EP. Kudos to the band for convincing Scottish indie label Soft Power to distribute its sophomore effort – Murder Kill Baby – on cassette (limited editions are already sold out). In any case, the MKB launch is on February 15th with Rocketswan in support. The music bloggers are digging MKB – “The essential elements of construction in this fine record are Spectorish wall of sound, jangle and distortion on the dual guitar attack, female vocals, and enduring melodies. Quite simply, this is great stuff.” (When You Motor Away). Show starts at 8pm and entry is $12 with one standard drink (including entry to Kicks! later). Not to be missed!

For This Cycle: Back To Basics EP

Also of note, Back to Basics, the new EP from For This Cycle (aka Weiwen Seah) is also currently available and can be downloaded for FREE at http://www.noisetrade.com/forthiscycle! TODAY described Back to Basics as “an EP that confirms For This Cycle’s elegiac gift and it is anything but ‘basic’”.

Strait Groove: Time Train LP

Strait Groove is back with its sophomore album and it is possessed of an accomplished slick and sophisticated jazz-blues-rock vibe that is down-to earth and breezy at the same time. Now available at Bandcamp. Check it out!

…still there’s more…


  1. bani haykal says:

    Hi Kevin, i’d like to contribute to this thread by sharing a piece of writing.

    Ken Lim and The Business of Con-Artistry

    “My intention is not purely for ratings, or to compete or to try to come up with a format that can sell. It’s to establish and support the local entertainment industry. I want to establish a top local name.”
    – Ken Lim (from “Hype honcho Ken Lim prepares for The Final 1,” published on Today, written by Farah Daley)

    Hady Mirza won Asian Idol. “Angkasa”, his first Malay single, was top on the local radio station (RIA) charts for 11 weeks plus. He is signed to Hype Records and Ken Lim is his General Manager.

    Hady isn’t the only artiste on Lim’s roster. Among others are, according to Hype Record’s website, Taufik Batisah, Jonathan Leong, Rui En and Stella Chang. Interestingly enough, Tabitha Nauser isn’t listed on the website. Strange, considering a quick check on Tabitha’s and Hype’s Facebook page, reveals Lim as the General Manager. One might wonder when was the last time Hype Records updated their website, or the artiste, whichever is more relevant to recent developments.

    As someone who intends to establish and support the local entertainment industry, one of their main store front, in this case their official website, does not provide users or clients with up to date information. In fact, Hady’s profile on Facebook states that, “His first Malay single “Angkasa” had top the local radio station RIA charts for the 11th week running.” Aside from wondering how well his artistes are consistently updating their profiles, I question the sincerity of Lim’s objective in establishing a top local name in this instant.

    Singapore Idol might be both an international and national joke, considering the punchline usually ends up with Lim being compared to Simon Cowell. Perhaps his intention to start The Final 1 is a means for him to step away from that comparison. Not build and mould a singing role-model from pre-existing programmes or simply by adopting a franchise, but to create an entirely “new” idea which will work for the local industry. For The Final 1, in Lim’s statement, the judges will be “participating as well and helping out in whatever capacity that they can to guide the contestants. The objective here is to get whatever input possible from the judges for every single contestant to help them grow.”

    So technically, all the work that hired mentors in the Idol series were doing are now placed back in hands of the judges. Somehow, this does not remind me at all of The X Factor, where it starts with a Producer’s audition followed by Judge’s auditions which then brings them to a bootcamp and being in the Judge’s houses, where the contestants are mentored by the judges. However, as the programme hasn’t started yet, I’ll leave the comparison on that note and see what the show has to offer.

    And so, Simon Cowell created The X Factor. Ken Lim started The Final 1. All of a sudden, I’m starting to see another formula unfold. The X Factor, where “X”, despite the “X” representing “it” (as in to “have it” in show business), also represents the number 10 in Roman numerals. I speculate that subconsciously, Lim replaced X for 1 and Factor for Final. The template’s all there. But I digress and withdraw my speculation as something completely arbitrary and a rhetoric.

    In an article published in The Straits Times by Charlene Chua, Lim said, “It’s all about finding someone who is likable.” Adding further that, “I’m looking for an artiste that we can take global.”

    What is it that artistes like Taufik, Hady, Rui En, Tabitha does not have that this new hopeful from The Final 1 could offer? Hady volunteered during the Padang earthquake, Tabitha is dubbed as “the complete package” (I highlight this to argue Lim’s statement that The Final 1 is seeking for “the entire package”), Taufik was the ambassador for 7-11 Stores, how are these guys, despite being under Lim’s belt, nothing like The Final 1?

    I apologize for taking a jibe at Taufik’s list of accolades. Taufik has won the Top Local Malay Pop Song at the 14th COMPASS Awards Singapore, under Singapore category won both MTV Asia’s Favourite Artist and Mnet Asia Music Awards for Best Asian Artist, and also has won, in 3 consecutive years, Most Popular Artiste at Anugerah Planet Muzik. Yes, all but local / regional awards. All this after having been with Lim for over 7 years. Bruno Mars, despite his going nowhere phase with Motown, made a mark in the industry in a significantly shorter amount of time.

    However, in an article published by Yahoo! News by Shah Salimat, Lim asserts that Taufik was the last biggest star Singapore produced. He continues by saying, “After that, no more artistes seemed credible enough to take his place.” So as a General Manager for the rest of the singers, how does that entirely reflect on his position and aim in reviving the so called “verge of extinction” industry?

    It seems like Lim is throwing out a bunch of statements which he has no real understanding of or worst, no conviction for. Has he decided that Taufik and gang are now has-beens? If he proudly talks about grooming and helping contestants to grow, are we to believe his group of singers have already matured? Why keep looking for another if the ones under his belt are, to his standards, worthy of being stars?

    Lim, however, has this to say. “There must always be a consistent flow or else, we will just be churning out scholars and academics. I don’t think that balances off the creative industries because that part is very important in any society.” I reckon in his last sentence of this hasty and clumsily put-together statement, “that” refers to the creative artistes. His critical perspectives, articulation and knowledge of the music scene in general is shallow and mediocre at best. How are we educating or nurturing society in general if we have ignoramuses like Lim running the business?

    Before ending my argument I’d like to point out two more statements which Lim was quoted saying, both from Shah Salimat’s article. “My only motive is to assist the contestants, not to make myself likable – I don’t give a damn about it. I want to let people see matters for what they are. It doesn’t bother me how you feel because I know I am saying the truth.” Truth? In what context and regards? It is merely truth as perceived by himself and not by anyone else unless shared through reasoning. His failure to identify truth from opinion is hugely problematic and a logical fallacy.

    Secondly, and perhaps this can be attributed to Shah’s bad writing, but if it isn’t, I would like to argue Lim’s point that, “Everybody can be a composer but not everybody can be in the business,” as a shallow and confusing statement. He goes on by saying, “This is something that our Singapore infant industry doesn’t quite get yet. These musicians are so full of themselves and think they can make it but they actually have to develop their skills and have to understand the concept of how the business works.” So is he then suggesting that every other musician out there, after stopping from being “full of themselves”, in his theory, can be in the business after all?

    Music business is for people who can’t make music. It’s for people who have the ability to sell it. For as long as musicians who strive to be part of the marketplace, as a goal in their music career, keep having the mentality that the industry is the only place that their work can breathe, we should collectively stop calling them musicians and start calling them music salesmen instead. Lim, being a stellar example.

    I write this with the intent of addressing every music loving human to exercise consciousness and re-evaluate the value of music and the function of the artist away from the industry. Away from businessmen willing to make a quick dollar because they honed their messiah complex and network in the industry, claiming to the world that they have the power to make you who you want to become. Convenience or a quick pass exist, but they exist on strings and conditions. Many industry experts kill creative content and individualism, instead manufacture products for consumption, tailoring a product for a market.

    If hopefuls are forever indebted to a system which supports their “career”, the art which they believe they create have no true cultural relevance to society and therefore cease to hold meaning or value to anyone. If this is a compromise hopefuls are willing to endure for fame and fortune, then Lim and other individuals and corporations will continue to harvest the nature that makes us human, for profit.

    How do we experience music? What does it mean to experience organized sounds? Lim, like many other personalities interested in the exchange of that experience for power, dilutes the power of music from the get go, advocating passivity in listening to music. I challenge the musicians in Singapore to rethink the function of their work, to rethink the environment we are in and respond to it as opposed to merely reflecting life’s choices and ideals. As artists, our work acts as a pivot to future thought.

    To manufacture another product will only mean adding another tool with an expiration date that will exist on the shelf. Lim is just attempting to extend his before retirement.



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