At last year’s Singapore Writers Festival (SWF), the organisers – in collaboration with The Esplanade – produced a unique event Dimensions & Demons, which featured a ‘crossover’ of literature and music combining the talents of local authors and musicians.
It begins with a barrage of ambient noise before settling into an acoustic/electric guitar dream-pop soundscape topped by the angelic vocals of Michelle and Lisa. Certainly, the arrangements have altered quite a bit from the way in which the band (now with new lead guitarist and drummer) used to play “Crystallized” live but from my perspective, it feels ‘right’. I would say that guitarist Ridhwan (from wyd:syd) has provided the definitive last piece that completes the jigsaw with his textured work.
After a prolonged wait, it is exciting that Enec.e is finally going to release recorded material & this is big news! Only the tip of the iceberg. MORE!
Typically, I find that the second day of Baybeats is the best of the Festival. I guess it’s part of the programming being on a Saturday and all that. But for me personally, it was day of discovery as well as pride in our local musicians (now, that’s a cause I really get behind!)
It began with lunch with Sean and Dee from Ssighborggg – two expat Americans making a name for themselves in the Seoul indie scene. As always, with music people there is an inexplicable connection that I never take for granted. Fun-loving and humble the duo might be but dead serious when it comes to their music as proven with their distinctive set later that night. One of the most unique aural experiences I have ever had. Kudos!
The absolute highlight for me was the performance of my former NOISE mentees ENEC.E at the Concourse and naturally I was emotionally invested. Just so you know, it was love at first sight with the songs and sisterly harmonies of Lisa and Michelle when I heard them at Thunder Band Slam and I have been a fan since. The stripped down environment suited them somewhat with more emphasis on vocals and ‘feels’ (as the kids like to say) – I must confess that I welled up quite a few times during their spine-tingling set (“Ghost”, “Satellite” & “Crystallized” OMG). Magic!
Lost Weekend – like a few budding bands – had to handle rejection the first time it tried out but the group never gave up and came back stronger. I liked the eclecticism within the band’s early 90s alt-rock vibe and certainly Rachel did her best to capture the crowd’s attention – which she did. Some of the banter was a little awkward, and the band could have been tighter but my feeling is that Lost Weekend is a work-in-progress and that once they hit their stride, they are going to take some stopping. Mark my words!!
Now what can I say about Bani Hidir? I still remember marveling at his drumming skills with the immortal B-Quartet back in 2007-2008 (barely 20 years old) and then falling in love with Page (wherein he sang and played crunching power chords) but last night he impressed the Concourse audience with a set that showcased sophisticated songwriting, mad skills and a boyish confidence that charmed us all! Backed only by the impeccable Naz on piano, Hidir blew everyone away with his seemingly effortless display! So glad that he will be releasing an EP of his new material very soon. Best!
One regional band I was really looking forward to was lightcraft (Indonesia) and they certainly did not disappoint. It was basically unadulterated 90s shoegaze with a hint of the post-punk revival peeping over the reverb-drenched soundscapes. Heavenly! Frontman Imam was intense and driving the band forward with 150% commitment – some of his banter was really emotional and despite the odd technical hitches, the band melted my face many times over. With an epic new song – “The Art of Acceptance” – sweeping me away with waves of white noise I was hypnotized! Best part was that after the show, Imam came up to me and passed me the band’s latest CD – Colours of Joy – humbled! (Glowing review to come…)
Somehow it all came full circle with Inch. My very first Baybeats in 2007 was spent very much hanging out with Allura and living the experience through the eyes of someone like Inch. Hard to imagine how much she has grown up to become the very person she said she would be way back then. Amazing. PoP readers will know how much I loved her sophomore solo effort Bumfuzzle, and “Dear Paramour” had me in tears with the chills running down my spine (not to mention, new song “California”). With a crack band of musicians behind her, Inch ruled the roost and had the audience eating out of her hands – again all I could feel was pride and gratitude for being given the best view in the house for the ongoing development of our indie music scene!
Once again, this post has been personal and confessional and well, nostalgic but honestly I don’t give a fuck. It’s my website and I’ll cry if I want to…
My final word on Day Two goes to Leonard Soosay. Again, I recall chatting with him at that 2007 Baybeats Festival and regret certainly not spending more time with the man since then – he is truly one of the leading legends of our indie music scene when you consider the sheer number of bands and artists he has shepherded in his time as one of our top producers and I really enjoyed our short but insightful chat last night. Something I hope to rectify in the near future – what say you, Leo???
I remember the first time I saw Enec.e (pronounced “Enecdote”) in performance, I thought to myself that they were the perfect fit for Baybeats. So I am pleased as punch to see that that my instincts were spot-on! But then again, I am slightly biased, as Lisa, Michelle, Alek and Shafiq were my Noise mentees in 2013 and so am righteously stoked for them and for the people lucky enough to listen to their wonderful music at Baybeats 2014!
Why should fans check out your performance at Baybeats?
Alek: Because we have new material and even we are really excited to share them with you guys!
Why are you excited about playing at Baybeats?
Shafiq: It’s our first time playing in such a big music showcase so it’ll be fun to see how much we freeze up on stage between songs. Haha!
Why do you think you were selected to play for Baybeats?
Michelle: ENEC.E has an inverse exuberance in it’s music, portraying dark vibes in lyrical proses to give our listeners a slight push off the edge of their seat as they find relations with the songs. I guess that’s why we were selected?
If you had to choose just three bands to watch at Baybeats, which bands would they be and why?
Lisa: To be honest, that is a really difficult question because there are so many bands that I want to watch! But if I were to narrow it down to 3, then I would say Monster Cat, Stopgap and Wyd:Syd! I tend to prefer big sounds and full-band arrangements, so, as these guys are going to play at the bigger stage with highly professional crews and topnotch sound system, I’m pretty sure the experience would be a lot more memorable than what I have had!
When and where are you playing at Baybeats?
We will be playing on 28 June at 5pm and 8pm at the Chillout Stage! See you guys!
“Beyond the Ashes” is the second teaser off the upcoming album, EMO FASCISM – due in August.
Catch Kevin Mathews/The Groovy People play “Beyond the Ashes” next Friday, April 26th at Identite 9.3 – KAMCO MUSIC at Home Club from 8pm. Cover is $12 (one free housepour and free entry to Kicks! afterwards). Also on the bill – Enec.e, Tricks & Cider and TypeWriter.