Laneway Festival Singapore 2013 line-up announced

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival will return to Singapore in 2013 for its third year as the country’s only all-day, outdoor music festival.

The “mega dream” line-up has just been revealed via radio and will be headlined by folk/dub/pop outfit Alt-J, the “hauntingly beautiful” Bat For Lashes, and epic garage rockers Japandroids.

With a reputation to uphold as the leading tastemakers in what’s happening in music right now, the forward thinking line-up is packed with bands who represent the boutique festival’s emphasis on youthful talent, with many bands emerging only in the past twelve months.

Buzz-worthy acts to expect at Laneway Festival include surf rockers Real Estate and Icelandic indie folk band Of Monsters and Men, whose album My Head Is An Animal has been a top favourite of the year so far. Time-tested greats will also appear at the festival, with Kings of Convenience and Yeasayer also on the bill.

And if that’s not enough, Singapore has been graced with three exclusive acts who will be amongst the 14 bands in total playing at the festival. Quirky, sample-loving Gotye, who shot to a sudden and unexpected super-stardom with his pop ballad ‘Somebody I Used To Know’, will take the stage alongside Kimbra herself, his equally quirky counterpart in their number 1 hit song. Psych rockers Tame Impala make up the third exclusive act for the day, a highly anticipated and in fact, surprising, last addition to the line-up, considering that their ‘sister-band’ Pond will be playing the Australian string of festivals.

Perhaps just as important as a fresh and compelling line-up is the festival’s unique settings, an ethos originating literally from a tiny laneway in Melbourne where the festival has its roots. Next year’s event returns to us on 26 January at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay, an all-new setting to complement the festival’s increasing popularity and accommodate its improved facilities for the punters.

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore 2013 line-up
Tame Impala*
Kimbra*
Gotye*
Alt-J
Bat for Lashes
Cloud Nothings
Divine Fits
Japandroids
Kings of Convenience
Nicolas Jaar
Of Monsters and Men
Polica
Real Estate
Yeasayer

*Singapore-exclusive acts

Download a Laneway Festival sampler now to have a listen to some (unfortunately not all, as this is an Australian sampler!) of the festival’s highlight acts.

Better off alone: Going solo isn’t so bad

Remember the feeling of the first day of school? That aching, paralysing sense of fear and isolation that engulfed your child-self? Some of us may have been able to convert that into a spark of excitement for the unknown, but the sentiment of walking into the unknown alone remained for most. Suddenly you are a thousand times more self-conscious, weighing up every decision, move and action like the general crowd is your audience. You lose focus on what is happening then and there, and tremble in your “you’ll-grow-into-them” shoes.

It’s this fear that still finds itself in many a new experience in our lives, none more so than going to a gig alone. And how couldn’t it be? Sure, there are thousands of others inside a club or concert hall, but just like the schoolyard they are divided into cliques and groups, offering to the outsider a sense of pretentious superiority that supersedes the communal reason for all of you to be there. You are not one of them, so why should you bother being here? There appears, then, to be an ingrained social anxiety with confronting a crowd as large as these alone.

“As cliché as it sounds, the power of music, and of live music at that, is that it can bring people together in ways unseen anywhere else.”

All too often, this sense can control our motivations for attending a show, even to the point of cancellation. “I didn’t go because I had no-one to go with” is a common cry on social networks when someone you know doesn’t go to Their Favourite Band’s show. But while they may fear the crowd, you could argue that they are missing the point entirely: the show itself.

As cliché as it sounds, the power of music, and of live music at that, is that it can bring people together in ways unseen anywhere else. Where you may be strangers in a crowd at a concert hall or festival one minute, the next you are in each other’s warm embrace singing along to the act on-stage. Take Madness’ 2007 Glastonbury Festival slot, where they broke the world record for the most people kissing at once; no doubt that not everyone (I’d even say 50%) of the 12500 couples present didn’t have a clue who the other person was prior to Suggs getting them to pucker up. And really, what better way to break the social ice than with a band that you and someone else both find mutually interesting.

“You are there to see a performance, first and foremost, and once you focus your energy on watching and enjoying what is going on on-stage suddenly that fear dissolves into euphoria.”

Friendships and random hook-ups brought upon by musicians aside, it seems contrived to worry about the social aspect of a show when you will spend most of the time blanketed in darkness amongst a large throng of people. That is, no-one will notice, because they literally can’t. You are there to see a performance, first and foremost, and once you focus your energy on watching and enjoying what is going on on-stage suddenly that fear dissolves into euphoria.

Just like in that first day of school, there was a point for all of us that the fear that dragged us down dissipated. It may have been a lesson in class, a discovery in the playground or a new friend made.  While we do have the choice now, as adults, to stay at home or do something else, little changes from the schoolyard to now. When you go to a concert alone, you are taking a risk, but it’s one for the music you love. You place yourself in a socially vulnerable position so that you can feel something, new, different or strange. And more often than not, you leave with an experience you would have never encountered had you stayed home.

By Albert Santos

Love Da Records: 15 Years in indie music

Hong Kong based Love Da Records celebrates its 15th year in indie music with the release of the ‘LOVE INDIE ROCK’ compilation, an epic 51 track, 3-disc box set featuring the best of indie music including M83, Two Door Cinema Club, The Maccabees, Example, Citizens!, Laura Marling and J Mascis.

The eclectic collection was handpicked by the team to showcase their rich 15-year history as one of the biggest indie music distributors in South East Asia and to celebrate their 200th release.

Since its inception, the Hong Kong-based label’s primary focus remains rooted in providing quality music. They have stayed relevant to the changing music market by catering to smaller UK and US independent labels, making them more accessible to consumers in Asia.

To date, Love Da Records represents over 150 labels around the world, covering a wide range of indie music from electronic, folk and rock.

‘LOVE INDIE ROCK’ is divided into three key sounds: SWEET AND TENDER, VIBRANT YOUTH and ELECTRONIC ATTRACTION.

Seven tracks have been made available for fans to stream exclusively on Facebook starting today.

TRACKLIST

DISC 1 – SWEET AND TENDER
01 Pepe Deluxe – A Night And A Day
02 Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work (The Twelves remix)
03 Is Tropical – The Greeks (Moonlight Matters Remix)
04 EXAMPLE – Watch The Sun Come Up
05 Wretch 32 – Hush Little Baby feat. Ed Sheeran
06 M83 – Midnight City (Remixed by Eric Prydz)
07 Wiley – I’m Only Human (featuring Cashtastic & Tereza Delzz)
08 Body Language – You Can (Keep Shelly in Athens Remix)
09 David Lynch – Good Day Today
10 Holy Ghost! – Hold My Breath (Cosmic Kids Remix)
11 The Drums – Money (Beat Connection Remix)
12 Rusko – Somebody To Love
13 The Go! Team – T.O.R.N.A.D.O.
14 Enter Shikari – Sssnakepit
15 Little Dragon – Crystalfilm
16 Poliça- Amongster
17 Mamas Gun – Bicycle Race

DISC 2 – VIBRANT YOUTH
01 Housse De Racket – Aquarium
02 Citizens! – True Romance
03 We Have Band – Watertight
04 Feeder – Children of The Sun
05 The Maccabees – Feel to Follow
06 Friends – I’m His Girl
07 Veronica Falls – Bad feeling
08 Field Music – (I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing
09 Spokes – We Can Make It Out
10 The Phoenix Foundation – Buffalo
11 Band Of Skulls – Bruises
12 Oberhofer – I Could Go
13 Cake – Sick of You
14 Dum Dum Girls – Crystal Baby
15 Alessi’s Ark – On The Plains
16 One Sixth Of Tommy – Not Listening
17 Ash – Binary

DISC 3 – ELECTRONIC ATTRACTION
01 Tinariwen – Imidiwan Win Sahara
02 Meg Baird – The Finder
03 Jono McCleery – Wonderful Life
04 Charlene Soraia – Wherever You Will Go
05 Crybaby – I Cherish The Heartbreak
06 James Levy & Blood Red Shoes – Pray to Be Free
07 Laura Marling – Sophia
08 Still Corners – Into the Trees
09 Lanterns On The Lake – Keep On Trying
10 Agnes Obel – Riverside (Piano Sessions)
11 J Mascis – Not Enough
12 Dreamend – Magnesium Light
13 Low – Try To Sleep
14 Sea of Bees – Wizbot
15 Hannah Cohen – The Crying Game
16 Memoryhouse – Little Expressionless Animals
17 Smith & Burrows – Only You

 

Girls’ Christopher Owens to release solo material

Former Girls frontman Christopher Owens has just announced plans to release his first solo album since leaving the band earlier this year.

He has kept to his word that he would continue to make music, and after a stint modelling for high fashion label Saint Laurent, he is back with a new album titled Lysandre due for release in January 2013 via Turnstile.

Judging by the first two songs from the album, Owens’ solo material will be a lot more delicately arranged than his previous efforts with Girls, sweetly ornamented with melodic guitars and a soft woodwind instrument.

He has roped in friends and lovers to feature on the record, including Girls keyboardist Matthew Kallman and girlfriend Hannah Hunt of Dominant Legs. Ryan McGinley, who also recently shot Bat For Lashes’ The Haunted Man artwork, also did the cover for Lysandre.

The album is a tribute to the time he has spent touring, and in particular, a girl he met in France in 2008, Lysandre herself. Owens has described Lysandre as “A coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story… it could easily be mistaken as an album about a love affair. But it’s much more than that.”

TRACKLIST

01 Lysandre’s Theme
02 Here We Go
03 New York City
04 A Broken Heart
05 Here We Go Again
06 Riviera Rock
07 Love Is In The Ear Of The Listener
08 Lysandre
09 Everywhere You Knew
10 Closing Theme
11 Part Of Me (Lysandre’s Epilogue)

Listen to the first single ‘Hear We Go’ here:

Cat Power ‘Nothin’ But Time’ teaser

A teaser video to long-form film ‘Nothin’ But Time’ directed by Aaron Rose has just been released, starring two female teenage BMX riders and their bikes, helmets and heels in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The film is a collaboration between Rose and New York fashion label Tucker and features the girls hitting the trails in sun dresses in the hills of New Mexico.

It was a coincidence that during filming, Cat Power’s album Sun had just dropped, and driving through the beautiful landscape, Rose thought that the opus ‘Nothin’ But Time’ fit perfectly.

“The way Chan screams, “I wanna live!” just fits the freedom of jumping bikes and bombing down hills so perfectly. It was a match made in heaven.”

The full video is still in the making and will be set to the whole 11-minutes of  ‘Nothin’ But Time’.

[vimeo width=”457″ height=”343″]http://vimeo.com/50187031[/vimeo]

Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man

Naked is the perfect word that sums up Natasha Khan’s latest release, The Haunted Man. You rarely find album covers that represent the theme of an album but on The Haunted Man, Khan (known artistically as Bat for Lashes) is stripped of her clothes and makeup and shown supporting a man, just as naked, on her shoulders.

This is the perfect representation of the literal “nakedness” of the album as Khan steps out of her usual witch-like melodies heard in tracks like Fur and Gold‘s ‘Horse and I’ and Two Suns’ ‘Daniel’, and turns to simplicity– and in a way, electronic music.

Opening track ‘Lilies’ is just the start to the ’emotional rollercoaster’ any listener will embark on. The pain in Khan’s voice is hauntingly evident as she bawls, “Thank God I’m Alive!” As her voice echoes, all you feel is alone and it’s a breathtaking moment that will make anyone fall in love with the beauty of Bat for Lashes.

The Haunted Man continues with ‘All Your Gold’, the second single off the album. Welcoming the track with African-like drum patterns, Khan describes her battle with heartbreak and letting go, telling us how she wasn’t in love and was stripped of all her confidence as she goes on to say, “I have nothing left of my gold”.

‘All Your Gold’ perfectly showcases Khan’s masterful storytelling skills. Her lyrical ability to transform songs that can be so easily dismissed as ‘cliché’ into something of such pure brilliance is enough alone to justify her recognition in the music scene.

Khan’s textural vocals are celebrated in ‘Laura’, the most minimalist track in the Bat for Lashes repertoire. Khan definitely underestimates her vocal ability as she sings about a friend who she reassures is “more than a superstar”. The song is no gimmicks– just Khan’s vocals against an enchanting piano melody.

‘A Wall’ and ‘Rest Your Head’ show the obvious influence of electronic music has effected Khan, the deep bass drowns her vocals, swallowing the airy ambience that has so far shaped the album from track #1 to #8.

The Haunted Man, as a whole, is a tad overproduced. Unnecessary effects are used in tracks like ‘Oh Yeah’ and ‘The Haunted Man’ and the percussion on all of the tracks sound almost ‘cheap’ – something that a bedroom musician is fully capable of. For someone with the lyrical prowess of Khan, overproduction is the only factor anchoring her.

If anything was to redeem this overproduction though, it is the closing track. Returning to the minimal-esque direction where all that echoes is Khan’s haunting vocals, ‘Deep Sea Diver’ is the perfect way to end off a fantastic album.

Is “fantastic” is enough though? Bat for Lashes is capable of more; she just needs to do is to realize that her most powerful songs are her simplest before she will be able to take her music and storytelling to a whole new level.

Listen to: ‘Laura’, Deep Sea Diver’, ‘Lilies’

Laura:
[youtube width=”457″ height=”343″]http://youtu.be/UznHTBZIa8E[/youtube]

By Nigel Lopez

Wild Nothing music video ‘Paradise’ features Michelle Williams

Wild Nothing’s new music video for ‘Paradise’ has just been released, starring indie darling actress Michelle Williams.

Taken from the band’s latest album Nocturne,  the video shows short scenes of Williams’ character on a long flight to her own ‘paradise’ as she recites a special video-exclusive monologue against the haze of the band’s dream pop synths and vocals.

The pixie-cut actress fits perfectly into the nostalgic, 80s-inspired video as she looks out from the plane and at the waterfalls at her destination, smiling as she realizes that “everything had been changed, and made beautiful and good“.

Everything was love
Everything will be love
Everything has been loved
Everything would be loved
Everything would have been loved
Ah. that was it, the truth at last:
Everything would have been loved…

… I could forgive
I could be forgiven
Perhaps that was the whole of it after all
Perhaps being forgiven was just forgiving
Only no one had ever told me
There was nothing else needful
Just forgive
Forgiving equals being forgiven:
The secret of the universe
Do not, whatever you do, forget…

… The past was folded up
And in the twinkling of an eye,
Everything had been changed
And made beautiful and good

[youtube width=”457″ height=”343″]http://youtu.be/zm636VSQXUU[/youtube]

MxPx Allstars @ YMCA Auditorium (19.10.12)

We’d use two words – “stoked” and “ skeptical” – to describe how the crowd in the YMCA Auditorium felt as the doors opened at 6:50pm.

Judging by the murmurs in the crowd, it was obvious that many weren’t so sure about MxPx Allstars being held in this auditorium that seemed far too reminiscent of a 90s school hall. I mean, come on, Mike Herrera and his band deserve better, no? Perhaps the hall has had its fair share of golden days, but for now, it didn’t seem to appeal very much, other than being a just another event venue. But we were in no position to complain – we were satiated with the opportunity to watch our teenhood hero play live.

At 7:20pm, the four-piece band did just what most opening bands hope to achieve, getting the group of some 70 early birds pumped up with head-bobbing tunes like ‘Escape’ and ‘Remembering’. With traces of pop punk in their melodies, we’d think they’d be happy to have their music compared to that of Foo Fighters and The Ataris.

Halfway into the band’s set, frontman Izzad Radzali introduced Zan from local pop punk group Attention! The New Portsdown, as the band’s stand-in lead guitarist for the night, playing in place of the original member who had work commitments.

We were especially impressed with their song ‘Aku Menunggu’, for despite it being sung in Singapore’s “first language”, it was a rock ballad, relatable even to the non-Malay-speaking community. And gradually, the whole “school hall” joke from earlier in the night didn’t seem so bad after all, for the sense of familiarity we had with the place took us back to the nostalgic days where punk rock and post-hardcore still reigned supreme.

Plainsunset took the stage next, and with their years of experience in the music scene, lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Chan must’ve said these Thank You speeches one time too many, for he good-naturedly uttered what he had called “a long chunk of typical” acknowledgements, before ending the speech shyly with a special but brief mention that tonight’s show was his “first time playing as a married man”.

Formed in 1996 (a heads up, that’s just 4 years after the birth of Blink-182!), the five-piece band has been largely admired by young bands for their success on both local and foreign grounds. Clearly, they have lived up to expectations. By the second song, they had already charmed the audience into singing “When the sun rises again, I will be there with you my friend”. And by the fourth number, ‘Checking Email’, the crowd, led by the enthusiastic members of You And I Collide, pretty much went crazy.

Unfortunately, the venue’s sound system didn’t quite do the band justice. The vocals sounded muffled and the lead guitar parts were obscured. It was a tight act nevertheless, and we’ve got to give it to this 16-year-old band for their high-energy acts throughout the set.

The best was yet to come. Mike Herrera and his all-star band took the honours to do their soundcheck behind the drapes. What a better way to start a show than from behind the curtains, with all that suspense? At 9pm, the band was all set to go, and the crowd hustled forward, many of them already yelling the lyrics from MxPx’s large discography of songs, in uncontainable anticipation.

Mike Herrera stood by the right of the stage, and for a long moment, his presence just felt… divine. We would think that for many, it was a surreal feeling having him back in Singapore since his last show at Singfest in 2007. The band got the ball rolling with the predictable but highly anticipated, ‘My Life Story’. There was no need for warming up – the crowd went wild the moment the drummer gave the starting cue. The anthemic ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’ came next, and the moshing began almost instinctively.

We could go on for hours describing the scene for every song Mike Herrera played, but to cut a long story short, with so much energy in the crowd, it was as if the audience had downed several cans of Red Bull before the show. In fact, the number of stage dives that took place got so out of hand, that just before the outro to ‘Middlename’, Mike had to remind us to “be careful” and “not jump on the face”.

It was nice that Mike took care to play their early numbers from the 90s, mentioning that he knew Life In General is Singapore’s favourite album. He also played two songs from the band’s latest release, Plans Within Plans. When the set ended with ‘Chick Magnet’ (his jazzy bass solos were just brilliant), we were disappointed– not with Mike, but with the fact that the venue had policies for activities to end by 10pm.

With the rowdy calls for an encore, the band came back up to play another four songs. Despite a broken string, guitarist Jack Parker gave Mike the thumbs up when asked if he could go on. Of course, the crowd favourites were saved for last, and the band ended the show with ‘Punk Rawk Show’ and ‘Responsibility’ – so apt for all of us who were once teens and are now all grown up and tied down with adult responsibilities.

The crowd sang and moshed as if we had all telepathically planned to do so with the “Fuck it, these three minutes, I’ll be a kid again” attitude. Couple that with fans climbing on to the stage singing alongside Mike and ingeniously taking self-portraits with him with their front-facing phone cameras, and others who took the final opportunity to crowd surf. The crew had no control over the crowd and had to resort to pushing everyone off stage. But all’s well that ends well, and the MxPx Allstars show was definitely made a night to remember for the 200 fans who came down.

If an MxPx show doesn’t make you feel like you’re 15 again – made even more convincing with the school hall setup – we don’t know what can.

Never mind the speakers that seemed to be throwing hot and cold tantrums at the crowd. Never mind the handheld cameras that seemed to block your sight. Never mind the missing members of MxPx’s original line up (okay, maybe it would’ve been awesome if the rest of the group were here too, but you know what I mean). Because despite all that, we’d have to say that this gig was the real deal. It was kickass.

A noteworthy strike off the bucket list; a pat on the back if you missed it.

By Serene Yap

The SEA touring circuit: Are we doing all we can?

There are more artists emerging in Singapore than ever before but is there enough room here for them to grow and develop themselves? We explore the value Southeast Asian touring circuit and the opportunities it presents in offering local and regional artists a wider platform from which to grow.

Keith Tan
Founder/CEO, Slate Entertainment; and Founder, Just Push Play Music
The SEA touring circuit is definitely more solid than it was ten years ago. For local and regional independent acts though, touring is definitely still in its infancy and needs a lot more development and time to take shape.

There should be a more combined and concerted effort to improve the touring circuit for SEA artists but that said, it will be difficult, considering that touring, like everything else, depends a lot on preference and market potential, which are not the same across the board.

Southeast Asia specifically is a very unique region as we are talking about over ten countries (not even counting the individual cities!) and possibly over five main languages, thus, there are so many factors that would affect the commercial viability of an artist. That said, there is development happening at various levels at the moment and I do see things moving forward, just possibly not as quickly as we’d like. I always believe individual initiative plays a big part in making things happen, and things always move more smoothly as long as agendas are aligned.

I also think a sense of open-mindedness always helps. Venues and clubs across the region need to start seeing themselves as more than just presenters, promoters and venues; but rather as a part of the process of developing our artists and in turn, the productivity of our industry. Unfortunately, not many small to mid-sized venues in the region think that way just yet. They’d rather go safe with a resident band playing covers (not that there is anything wrong with that!).

While I’m on that note, I think artists should also start seeing themselves as business owners looking to forge business partnerships with venues and promoters if they want to add the touring aspect to their careers. They need to find ways to make headway into the markets that they wish to tour in rather than offer up their craft and wait for someone to take all the risk and ‘buy’ it. The benefits for artists would be endless as they unlock another side to their careers – touring.

Sameer Sadhu
Partner, Secret Signals
There are bars and venues all over SEA but I don’t believe that artists from Singapore are doing all they can to take advantage of them. I get it, it can add up, but you can easily drive to KL once every other month, or trade shows with bands in Indonesia or Hong Kong. Investing in regional touring does cost, and artists won’t see the value in it unless they are thinking long-term.

Maybe that’s the biggest issue in Singapore, that bands don’t view themselves in the long-term (beyond just one EP release) or have a clear vision of who they are, what they want to be and how they are going to get there. There are bands that do it, they just don’t do it often enough. It’s never just about the first tour – it’s that fourth tour down the line when people are still coming out and bringing their friends.

I think there is more value in this than artists trying to save thousands of dollars to play big festivals where no one will give a shit about them. Sure, people will say, “That’s cool, you’re from Singapore,” but then what? You aren’t going to be back anytime soon and you just spent the last six months saving to play this show, neglecting to develop a fan base in your surrounding countries.

Overall, I think it’s an artist’s job – not a label’s and not society’s – to make sure that they’re making the right connections. Work smarter. Be confident. Don’t make excuses. And always know your value. There’s this age old tale that bands need managers and labels. The industry doesn’t work that way – it’s about building your team. Managers and labels work with you to help reach your goals and vision. A great label that does this is Kitty Wu. Kitty Wu is a fantastic team. Their bands understand where they want to be; and the label simply facilitates that. If you aren’t going to be smart or sell your own music, why would anyone else?

Jon Chan
Lead singer, Plainsunset
So far, no one has successfully built a full network of promoters in all the SEA countries. There have been attempts, but nothing really concrete has come about, except for maybe on a per-project basis.

Ideally, promoters should be able to work together as a sort of ‘conglomerate’, a syndicated network that would just facilitate the process much more quickly. Everyone’s trying to run their own businesses though, and inevitably, things tend to get competitive. I guess it becomes a question of whether or not we trust the guys on the other end, and multiply that by the number of countries and cities we have in Southeast Asia and that’s a very difficult thing to coordinate.

I think for starters, promoters need to develop stronger relationships with each other, and build trust and understanding. That’s where the hanging out and drinking comes into play. In our own circle, we have good relationships with specific promoters in other countries so that if anything comes up; they are the first that we ask, and vice-versa.

We know there’s a level of trust, and that we need each other. Ideally, we should try to use the ‘I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine’ rule and recognize the symbiotic relationship between promoters and artists.

By Melissa Yong

The Wonder Years… And a pigeon named Hank

If you didn’t already know, Philadelphia pop punk band The Wonder Years were in town for two days and we had the opportunity to speak to them just before their gig at TAB. It couldn’t have been any more spontaneous — the interview was held at the lift lobby of a hotel along Orchard Road!

It was the band’s virgin experience here in Singapore and they admitted that before embarking on their first South East Asian tour to Bangkok, Singapore and Manila, they’d “never been to any Southeast Asian country on holiday or as a band”. Confessing their collective ignorance about our tiny island, they were humbly honest about their (lack of ) prior knowledge about Singapore and had even asked a local crew member if English was a language spoken here. “We had no idea [about what Singapore had to offer] and we were flattered someone asked us to play here.”

That said, the boys feel that it isn’t such a bad thing not having any “preconceived notion about any country”. Because then, you can “dive right in and experience it as it should be without assuming something about it”.

The band will be heading to the Philippines for the Bazooka Rocks Festival after their show tonight in Singapore. Asked about the massive festivals they’ve done and which one left the biggest impact on the band, the boys uniformly agreed on the three: Warped Tour (USA), Groezrock (Belgium) and the Slam Dunk Festival (Leeds, UK). But they added that since each event took place in a different venue, the experiences were unique and incomparable.

Next year, The Wonder Years will be playing at the Soundwave Festival in Australia, headlined by Metallica, Garbage and Blink-182. When asked how it feels to play with these big bands, the boys see it as a stepping stone for their career. “It’s a real gig, we don’t play covers at the bars that you go to with your shitty friends. This is real, this is what we do, and we work really hard, and this paints a better picture of what we get to do.”

They’re especially excited to meet American veteran bands, The Offspring and Fozzy. That eagerness was further expressed when they began bantering incoherently amongst themselves about Fozzy lead singer, Chris Jericho, and WWE. Male wrestling talk… Yes. Moving on.

“You get to learn a lot from bands like that and it can be very rewarding to talk to some of these guys.”

These tours also give The Wonder Years the chance to meet and exchange expertise with other bands. “You get to learn a lot from bands like that and it can be very rewarding to talk to some of these guys.” And it doesn’t necessarily have to be music tips, but advice on, say, flying. For instance, Ryan Key from Yellowcard was said to “know more about frequent flyer miles than anyone on the planet” with his intensive research on airline mileage. “He’s a Diamond member. He (gave) us tips on how to get cheap and free luggage check-ins and such.”

Talking about flying, have you noticed the pigeon mascot in the band’s music videos or album art? We were curious about how Hank (yes, the pigeon has a name!) came about, and the boys had a lot to say:

“The first thing with pigeons is that our old keyboardist had a vendetta against them. They just started talking about dirty birds everywhere. He hates them. So we decided to put it as the cover of a 7” we did. It’s called Won’t Be Pathetic Forever… Then we started adopting the pigeon as a sort of a mascot. Not the particular Hank pigeon, but a pigeon in general.

“We were not very welcomed, but we didn’t need to be welcomed, we were gonna create our own welcome.”

If you wanna get some ideology behind it, it’s because as we started progressing as a band, not a lot of people paid attention to us or cared if we were there or not. We were not very welcomed, but we didn’t need to be welcomed, we were gonna create our own welcome. If no one wanted to book us, we would book ourselves. If no one wanted to put our records, we’d put out our own records. If no one wanted to manage our band, we’d manage ourselves. Didn’t matter. That’s the same way a pigeon lives; everyone across the board hates pigeons. They’re unwelcomed yet they flourish everywhere.

Casey had a friend in college that did costume work and she put a lot of hard work building (the mascot). We had it in the car and we said, well, do we name it? And Casey immediately said, Hank. His name is Hank. Now it has a Twitter and Facebook (account).”

By Serene Yap

 

For fans of the band, we’re pleased to inform you that Hank has also been made into a limited edition plushie and can be bought online!

Also out for pre-order is a soft cover book filled with 200 pages of photos, lyric-book scans, hand-written tour stories and artefacts compiled by the band titled ‘A Year As A Ghost’.