I remember the first time Eugenia Yip caught my eye. This is what I wrote in a live review in TODAY, a few years back.
Riot !n Magenta is a relatively new duo consisting of singer/songwriter Eugenia Yip and keyboardist/producer Hayashida Ken and proved to be a totally different proposition. Yip is a dynamic soulful vocalist and managed to coax members of the audience to come to the front of the stage to groove to Ken’s contemporary-sounding beats. What the songs lacked in terms of conventional tunes, Yip make the most of with the range of her voice and her sultry on-stage persona. Certainly, the duo holds much promise for the future.
Now a quintet, Riot !n Magenta have a new EP out – Voices (I reviewed it here) – and will be playing at the So Happy: 50 Years of Singapore Rock exhibition opening at the Substation Theatre on the 8th April alongside The Oddfellows and Pinholes.
But Ginny (as she likes to be called) is at the centre of attention – whether it be fronting R!M or her other amazing band, The Steve McQueens. So I thought it would be awesome to get Ginny to respond to some of my queries and she obliged! Enjoy…
Are the new songs about relationships? Even damaged ones?
They’re mostly about personal realizations, or things I experience and feel for very strongly. I wrote “Voices”, inspired by the strength of three women I look up to very much. Nothing inspires me more than the giving of unconditional love, even through the toughest of times. The new songs are a little darker, a little older. “Running” was written about the process of letting go of a past made up of regrets, or even happier times that you struggle to forget, because they tend to remind you of what you’ve lost, but in an insanely more painful way. It is about finding happiness from forgiveness, both given and received.
A fabulous double bill awaits rock fans when Jagwar Ma joins The Flaming Lips on 1st December at The Coliseum. So here’s an email interview we did with the former’s Gabriel Winterfield and the results were good fun, as you will soon discover.
PoP: Last time out, you had to cancel a performance at Laneway Singapore – could you share with us what happened?
Gabriel: I tore a ligament in my knee, and was unable to perform or travel. Very sad. I’ve been waiting to get another chance to play Singapore ever since.
I love the early Squeeze records but my favourite is probably Sweets from a Stranger (1982). Although lumped together with all the other 80s ‘new wave’ bands, Squeeze were/are basically 60s pop revivalists with erudite lyrics/sophisticated melodies being the main emphasis. Check out a video of the band playing “Points of View” below.
Formed around the songwriting nucleus of Chris Difford (lyrics) & Glenn Tilbrook (tunes), the duo were hailed as the Lennon-McCartney of their era and deservedly as well. Following Squeeze’s second breakup in 1999, Tilbrook embarked on an acclaimed solo career. Tilbrook will be performing in Singapore at Hero’s on 29th November and I caught up with him via a short phone interview.
Here at Power of Pop, we emphasize substance over form, artistry/creativity over genre/styles and champion the right attitudes over cynical media manipulation. PUP fits the bill perfectly. Its eponymous album is a shameless celebration of edgy pop-rock music with energy and melodies to die for! Power of Pop caught up with the band via email and vocalist/guitarist Stefan was kind enough to answer our queries.
POP: How did PUP get together?
Stefan: The other 3 guys have known each other forever. Zack and Nestor grew up on the same street. They were playing around town in a few shitty bands and I was in a shitty band as well. Eventually we got bored of those projects and decided to band together to form a slightly less shitty but still shitty band called PUP.
PoP: What is the best thing about being PUP?
Stefan: We’ve had the chance to travel the world the past year. It’s been incredible. Getting to play music with your best friends every night in different weird places is the best thing in the world. And sometimes you get to play with your favourite bands and that’s cool too.
PoP: Why should anyone listen to PUP?
Stefan: You probably shouldn’t. But if you do it’ll be because you’re bored.
PoP: How do decide which song gets on the album?
Stefan: We wrote a bunch of songs, and just chose our favourite ones. We weren’t trying to choose ones that sounded the same or worked together or anything… We just wanted the 10 songs on our first record to be the best 10 songs we’ve written.
PoP: Would you wanna play in Singapore?
Stefan: Of course! that’s another adventure for us.
Hopefully we’ll get to see PUP in action in Singapore sooner rather than later! In the meantime, listen to PUP (the album) now.
Ralegh Long is a UK singer-songwriter who likens his music to cult artists like Epic Soundtracks and Robyn Hitchcock. Long was in Singapore recently and we got together with him to talk about his musical roots, influences, being an artist in the internet age, EP releases, and also the future. Listen below via Soundcloud.
I absolutely loved Brisbane artist Jeremy Neale at Music Matters Live last month. Not only for his music but his general approach to being… Jeremy Neale! This man deserves to be bigger than Justin Bieber. Seriously. So I sent him these questions via email and waited with bated breath on the answers. Here’s what came back…
How did you get your start in music?
I was fortunate that my best friend when I was 13 started learning the drums. She would get drum lessons and then teach me what she knew. I went on to continue playing drums in High School and picked up other instruments along the way. This left me primed to be able to experiment with songwriting and I guess eventually I must have written something halfway decent. Finally had the guts to write for a band towards the end of 2008 and then started doing the solo thing in 2011.
Violinist Eileen Chai recently launched her book Teach A Life For Life and we caught up with her to find out a little bit more about the words and the music.
Why did you decide to write a book?
Teach a Life, for Life contains life lessons learnt in my journey through sports and music. It was written because I wanted to tell my story so that people could reflect on my life lessons learnt, which might help people self-explore, discover and find their own paths, and learn from their past to make good for the present and future.
Secondly, I wanted to share with people, family and friends who have helped me in my life journey through sports and music. In a way, to give thanks to my family, teachers, coaches and friends.
If you missed The Brow at Beerfest 2014, then I feel sorry for you! The quintet parlay a unique mix of ska, hip hop and electronica into a heady brew and on stage they are brimming with hi-energy and dance-able vibes. The Brow is a band that simply defies easy categorization – which is fine by me! I spoke to the joint frontmen Nick Owen and Ben Fear when they were in Singapore and if you listen to the audio (and why wouldn’t you?!) it’s clearly evident that The Brow are both serious-minded and fun-loving at the same time. Great combo, eh? (Sound quality is a little rough but I hope you get the gist of what was going on – high jinks!)
Aysha Amani, the frontperson of infectious Aussie funk-soul-hiphop combo The Amani Consort was so easy and fun to talk to as she (together with keyboards player Gordon Cant) answered my questions about the band – past, present and future. Listen to the audio for the full details! (Sound quality is a little rough but I hope you get the gist of what was going on – lots of laughter!)
We promise to be back with a review of The Amani Consort’s Better Way EP pretty soon! In the meantime, connect with the band over at its Facebook page.
I love The Disappointed! This Perth band reminds me so much of the best late 70s/early 80s new wave smart pop (think: Split Enz, Elvis Costello, XTC) – it’s so refreshing! As part of the Singapore-Western Australian Music Exchange, I got to interview Michael Strong (vocals, guitar) and Mark Neal (guitar) when they were in Singapore and here are the audio clips for your enjoyment & edification! (Sound quality is a little rough but I hope you get the gist of what was going on)
We will be back shortly with a review of Weird Peace, the new EP from The Disappointed.
In the meantime, catch up with the band at its Facebook page.
Well by now you might have read the bad news that the Hostess Club Weekender scheduled for this Saturday 14th June has been CANCELLED. A real pity because I was really looking forward to seeing TOY. In any case, here’s my interview piece with drummer Charlie Salvidge which was slated for TODAY before the unfortunate cancellation – revised accordingly. Damn.
English quintet TOY burst onto the indie music scene in 2011 with a buzz-worthy single “Left Myself Behind”. The hype surrounded that debut release earned the band a place in NME’s prestigious ‘100 New Bands You Have to Hear’ in early 2012. Since that accolade, the band has grown from strength to strength releasing two well-received albums in quick succession. Consisting of Tom Dougall (vocals, guitars), Dominic O’Dair (guitars), Maxim Barron (bass), Charlie Salvidge (drums) and Alejandra Diez (keyboards), TOY has been praised by music fans and critics alike for its ability to compress the influences of 60s psychedelic-folk-rock, 70s electronic krautrock, 80s post-punk and 90s shoegaze into a refreshing and invigorating mix that allows the band to stand out from the faceless modern rock masses.
One of the highlights of the recent Music Matters Live ’14 was the Korean indie outfit Love X Stereo. The band brings a modern alternative-electro sensibility to influences from 80s post-punk and 90s alt-rock. Live, the trio are a powerhouse with the undeniable chemistry amongst dynamic bass player Sol Han, inventive guitarist Toby Hwang and front-woman Annie Ko being simply irresistible.
In the studio, Love X Stereo have already produced three fine EPs and one truly memorable single – “Soul City (Seoul City)” – that personifies the word ‘soaring’ and is definitely one of the most exciting Asian indie bands out there. Singer-keyboardist Annie Ko is the focal point of this dynamic trio, with her good looks, powerful vocals and boundless energy and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk to us.
We understand that you lived in the USA for a bit – is that true? Can you tell us a little about that experience?
Yes. I lived in LA when I was really young. My dad was working on his PhD at UCLA. I remember that we had great weather, occasional earthquakes, and very little rain. But I was too young to remember all the little details. However, to look back then, I was very much influenced by 80s pop music. My personal hero was Cyndi Lauper.
When I saw Dublin sextet Buffalo Sunn play at Beer Market for Music Matters Live ’14, I was entranced by their wondrous approximation of country-folk-rock and post-punk styles into a pleasing whole. Having four brothers in the lineup – the musical Paxton men (Daniel the songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist, Neil on keys, guitar and backing vocals, Conor on keys and guitar and Ruairi on bass) – sure helps in producing those heavenly harmonies. Together with Donagh O’Brien on drums and Patrick McHugh on vocals and guitar, the Paxton brothers as Buffalo Sunn made for a formidable band, as many in the audience at Music Matters Live found out.
On a personal note, I had the chance to talk to the band’s management team (Elvera and James Butler) and discovered that the band are mates with members of Pugwash, whom I had met last year in London! In that light, I felt it appropriate to make available the recording of my conversations with the band last week in the Green Room at Music Matters Live.
First off, we talked about Sweet Jane and similarities with The Beach Boys…
Next, the band discussed why it was important for them to play in Asia…
Is it a good time to be a musician? The band weigh in with their thoughts on how technological developments have impacted their music…
We wrapped up with a discussion on the Buffalo Sunn music videos on YouTube and the master plan for world domination…
Well, that’s it!
Look out for Buffalo Sunn’s debut album coming soon. In the meantime, check out the music video of the latest single, “By Your Side” below.
LET J. CLEMENT MAKE YOUR “BODY MOVE” WITH HIS LATEST MUSIC VIDEO
By Jeanette Chin
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity of interviewing a very talented new R&B singer-songwriter from Singapore called J. Clement. He worked with Marc Lian from Trick on his latest single, “Body Move”, and it has remained at #1 on the Hot 91.3FM chart for the past month! Wanna know more about him? Read on.
What got you started in music? Give us the lowdown on your musical history.
I started playing the saxophone when I was 12 years old, and as the years went by, I wanted to learn an instrument in which I could play and sing at the same time, and that’s how I got started playing the guitar. Having being influenced by Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, and YouTube sensations like Gabe Bondoc & Tori Kelly, my music tends to lean more towards R&B.
The first impression I had of Aussie indie pop band Fairchild — by watching a YouTube video of “Burning Feet” (off new EP of the same name) — was that the band was a professional set-up with management & promotional support – the whole shebang! But the truth is that the Gold Coast sextet actually have day jobs (!) and ascribe to a D-I-Y aesthetic, depending very much on contacts and their own business acumen to make it this far. Frontman Adam Lyons not only has to juggle a full-time profession with Fairchild but also has a side-project Lyon Apprentice, with his brother Nathan (who is also in Fairchild). The band played in 2013’s Music Matters Live and more recently The MIDI Festival in Shenzhen and will also be showcased at the upcoming Canadian Music Week in May. All these overseas jaunts, virtually on their own dime. Quite an achievement. Over this weekend, I had the unique opportunity to watch both Fairchild and Lyon Apprentice and spoke to Adam about music, passion and how to finance it all by robbing a bank!
I was forced to play piano when I was about 15 years old but I played guitar – I didn’t study it (music) at school – I wasn’t allowed to actually, I wasn’t even allowed to do PE – Maths and Science was my thing. I told them (parents) I wanted to do medicine, which I eventually got into. Music is a gateway to something else – it’s not a profession for me per se and I think things change when you switch music from a job to a hobby but we treat music as a job in the way we approach it. I look at my friends at work – 9 to 5 – and that’s all they do but it gives me another avenue to be creative.