All things must pass. But this is not the end of the journey. Deon Toh shares with us his final thoughts on his Tokyo tour.
Memories. We do it for the memories. After our first show in Tokyo, Martin (our tour manager, and also the charismatic drummer of Caracal) asked me, “you guys are not going to always be in Tokyo, don’t you want some great memories?”, after which he proceeded to buy some beers to celebrate the show. It was a fantastic night. In fact, it has been a fantastic tour. The fact that we had so much fun spreading the music, performing on stage, and interacting with other bands, made the tour seem all the more shorter. Truth be told, the band enjoys each other’s company so much, every time we return home from a tour, the feeling really sucks. Prior to the tour, we predicted post-tour blues, and true enough, it has hit us harder and faster than Ronaldo’s free-kicks.
Friends and nosy relatives always ask me why I tour. Well, besides the obvious answer of pushing your music to new markets in order to reach out to a larger listener base, there are so many other reasons I can come up with. Camaraderie, and exposure, being two huge points.
Camaraderie is taken to new heights when you travel with your band mates. We set certain realistic goals for different tours, and try to achieve them every time. Working together to face challenges has exposed me to my band mates’ personalities and the idiosyncrasies that each individual reacts to. And after 4 years of doing this, we’ve grown so much, together. It’s to the extend that though I’m a singer-songwriter act, it NEVER feels that way. It feels like we are a 5-piece band, named DEON. Honestly, its the best thing that can happen to a band, knowing each other inside out, and feeling close like a family. We fight together, we cry together, we celebrate together, and everyone means the world to each other. Even up to now, when ex-members of the act meet us, we still welcome them with open arms. Eventually when we take the stage, we do it for each other – it just makes the music better.
Exposure to different cultures is SO important. I cannot stress any more on how all these tours and traveling experiences to partake in different festivals or perform in different countries has influenced my music. Every time we watch bands or interact with them, we become these huge sponges to absorb all the knowledge we can. How different cultures cultivate their musicians, their habits, professionalism, perspectives on music. These things shape and mould us. They teach us how to behave in certain situations, what the new benchmark for performances/rehearsals/setting-up-tearing-down/merchandise sales/marketing strategies are, and we become better musicians, every single time. There’s a certain maturity instilled in us, to pursue this craft and challenges with precision and resolve. If other bands in other lands can do it, so can we.
I can’t say what we experience can be applied to all the bands out there. I write from the perspective of an indie singer-songwriter based in Singapore. My experiences are unique, and none of them are regrettable. Music has been the vehicle for my friends and I to experience life in brilliant colors. We respect music, we write music, and we allow music to take us on this wonderful adventure. And till today, we’ve yet to grow sick of it. Things like work get in the way sometimes; but when Mindy, Jie, Jovin, Stasha, and I get together, we feel safe in each other’s company, knowing that we always have each other’s backs and that we work together wonderfully well. Throw in Leonard Soosay, who is like a godfather to us, and friends like Nura (Merchandise) and Martin (Tour Manager) into the mix, the memories that we create are so special.
I think we’ve returned a little wiser, and spiritually rejuvenated for the next phase of what we are going to do. The tour has been a huge success, and we have achieved the goals that we set out for. We are physically exhausted, but very much satisfied. Tokyo has been great to us, and we have learned so much. I dedicate these 8 posts to my 7 travel buddies, my crew, my band. Thank you guys for believing in the songs I wrote, and for investing your heart and soul into this.