3 Singapore Music Acts You Need To Catch At Laneway Festival

Laneway Festival on Saturday, January 21 will bring together some of the hottest local and international indie acts. We speak to three Singapore acts - an indie-rock band, a soulful R&B crooner and a genre-bending group - on their music influences and more.

Astreal

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Formed in 1992, the indie-rock band has performed at large-scale events like Zoukout and Baybeats, and will launch its third album this month.

Musicians who have influenced your sound

“Early ’90s British bands like Curve, Chapterhouse and My Bloody Valentine. They were the purveyors of the shoegaze sound and were really seminal in the scene.”

What to expect from your new album

The songs are slightly more uplifting in spirit than the previous ones. With our previous album, Fragments of the Same Dead Star, you can hear our signature darker sound, but the new album is a departure from that. We’re excited (to release) our songs “Colossal”, “Light & Magic” and “Replaceable”.”

How the local music scene has evolved

“With the advent of technology, it’s easier to get your music heard these days, but it’s also a double edged sword. There are a sea of musicians who are trying to get their music heard, and you have to break through the clutter. Also, back in the ’90s there were gigs every weekend which ran from day to night. The frequency of gigs has definitely slowed down.”

 

Sam Rui

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The 20-year old singer-songwriter started out doing folksy, indie pop, but is performing for the first time at Laneway Festival this year with a brand new R&B sound. Also coming up: Her debut EP in February.

Biggest music inspirations

“I listen to a lot of different styles of music – from post-rock to R&B – and even within each genre of music there are so many different sub-genres that are so distinct. Within R&B alone, there’s the old-school, jazzy type of music; soul; and the more contemporary down-tempo type of sound. I feel there’s so much you can take away from each genre of music and each one inspires me in a different way. Some of my favourite artists of late are contemporary (R&B singer-songwriter) Kehlani, (indie-pop singer) Banks and (King of R&B) The Weekend.”

How music has influenced your style

“Since experimenting with R&B, I’ve become bolder with my fashion choices. I began wearing bold, metallic colours, plunging necklines and cut-outs, which I never dared to do a year ago. Ultimately, though, I’m still a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl.”

On her penchant for crazy hair colours

“I wanted to switch up my look and didn’t know how to, so I let my hairstylist do what he felt best. I never thought bright orange (hair) would fit me, but I’ve really grown to love the colour now. I feel that the colour matches the style of my music.”

#1 track to listen to from your album

“The EP’s outro track “Let It Go”, which has yet to be released. It’s my favourite as it is very personal to me – it’s (a song that exemplifies how) I closed a very unhappy chapter of my life.”

 

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T-Rex

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With eclectic, multi-textural sounds, the two-year old band is fast becoming one of Singapore’s must-see live music acts. The band thrives even without a vocalist, and seamlessly swaps instruments to add to the diversity of their performances.

How their “genre-bending” sound was created

“The members of T-Rex come from different bands that have similar interests in creating music that does not align with the standard “verse-chorus-bridge” recipe. The ideas that come out from the band collectively are deliberately and carefully distorted to give new textures. We have also decided to use a saxophonist to colour the band’s sound even more. If we were a painting, we would be a Pablo Picasso. We consider him one of our main influences for his unconventional but yet accessible works.”

A musician they’d love to collaborate with

“(Local singer) Weish of .gif/sub-shaman – it will be interesting to have her on board because we have never had a vocalist in the band. We expect that it’s going to be quirky.”

How the local music scene has evolved

“People nowadays are more open to music, allowing Singapore’s music scene to thrive.Communities and promoters like SCAPE, Plugged Studios, Lithe Paralogue, singaporegigs.com, Bandwagon and other entities are actively churning out events to publicise and make the local scene known to the public so that more people are aware of the artists.”

 

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