Blue Hour Sessions: HEIZENBERG is here to stay

OS: Hi guys! Let’s start off with names. That’s a real interesting band name there, Heizenberg. Is it safe to say that you two are huge Breaking Bad fans?
HEIZENBERG: Not really. We just liked the ring to it and what it seemed to connote, from the scientific principle to the television character and more. That said, we have clocked in our hours watching the show, though not religiously.

Heizenberg is a relative newcomer to the music scene. Were both of you involved in any projects or bands before this?
H: We’ve been involved in various projects, notably Syai was in Monster Cat previously and Nick in MUON.

How would you compare the local electronic music scene to other countries? What would you like to see more of?
H: We can’t say we know much beyond the ideas of a tourist what it’s like elsewhere. The scene here has certainly come into its own but there’s always room for expansion. It’s great to have different people into the things they do, creating little pockets of interest and experience, whether it’s in the form of collectives or communities.

Beyond new stuff, we’d like to see more continuity within stuff that’s been around.

We’ve heard the mix presented for the Good Times party. It’s got a real edgy vibe to it — almost an ethereal version of Death Grips. Are the vocals sampled?
H: Yeah, certain bits of vocals were our own and some sampled. We try to fit in stuff that we’d want to hear more of ourselves.

There’s an album in the works at the moment. Can you tell us a little about it?
H: We’re currently in the final stages of mixing for the album. It’s a collection of songs from a certain period and reflects a particular sonic approach and style — electronic and beat-driven with a focus on very simple and tangible arrangements.

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By Evan Woon

Lomography Blue Hour Sessions
with HEIZENBERG, Intriguant, and Marcel Thee (ID)
Home Club
Friday, 24 January
8pm
$12 at the door

Blue Hour Sessions: MUON — Always pushing the boundaries which push back

OS: MUON has been around for about fourteen years, with a constantly changing line-up over time. Were these deliberate or unavoidable moves?
Nick Chan: Both/And, not Either/Or. They were as deliberate and unavoidable as the small ‘deliberate’ choices one makes in life only to realise later that they changed everything, like a fork in the road of fate (unavoidable). Only responsibility, not credit, can be claimed for such actions.

Fourteen years is a long time for a band, especially relative to the life experience of a teenager. MUON was always more of an idea and system of values than a band. The Blue Hour Sessions itself had its genesis through this system of values, of which I shan’t say more.

I have never made the distinction between being a producer, engineer, band member, whatever, it was all MUON. This has been the case regardless of whether I was producing/playing for I Am David SparkleAstreal. If you were to hear songs from those particular albums, you’d be able to identify that they are interchangeable and belong in any MUON album — but the inverse cannot be said, which has resulted in much confusion and stigma at times.

Have the changes been beneficial to the general creative process, allowing for a larger variety of experimentation of sounds?
All I can say is that works have been created and events crystalized and that they exist. The creative process itself is a participatory one of co-creation between artist and Other, rather than the traditional monotheistic notion of “Look Ma, I created something via a process! And it’s deep!”.

It wasn’t experimentation that resulted in the myriad textures our sound contains — plug-ins and gear were responsible for that. In MUON, ‘experimental’ has more to do with ‘unlearning’ than ‘reinvention’. I approximate ‘reinvention’ with throwing shit against the wall and hoping it will stick on the 7th throw, rather than the 10th. ‘Unlearning’ would be to ask, “Why am I throwing shit against the wall?”

Thus, much energy was put not towards unusual things, but rather towards really difficult stuff, such as, “Mr. Drummer, please do not crash on the 1, or after any roll,” or questions like, “Does laughter have an opposite?” Much easier said than done.

Too often, many try to push the boundaries, without realizing that the boundaries also push back. The less one is aware of this, the more likely the work ends up as experimental drivel that most people have to pretend to understand.

Collaborating with visual artists isn’t anything new to you, you’ve previously worked with Brandon Tay of Syndicate. Is it difficult balancing the two creative visions on two quite different mediums?
Not at all. If affinity is shared, then it’s ONE creative vision, involving TWO individuals from different milieus. Last I checked, Brandon and I weigh about the same.

What are your thoughts on collaborating with William Chan of TMRRW this time round?
William is a total ideas guy who has an impeccable sweet-spot between the special and mundane, the sacred and profane, the simple and the simpler. I feel that working with him this time round has been a well-rounded experience.

If you could compose or recreate the perfect film soundtrack, which film would you choose? Would you choose to collaborate with any other bands?
I would collaborate with Jordan Chia of Pixel Apartment and the film would be Cinema Paradiso.

Lastly, please describe what you hope the audience will feel after your show this weekend. Looking forward to it!
Well, I hope they feel great — that’d be enough. But on a more idealistic front, I hope they feel that in between the grind of daily life and the chasing of representations of things, that the usual BS we hear, that ‘life is beautiful’, ‘nature is alive’, ‘abundance trumps scarcity’, that all of that is true.

By Maria Clare Khoo

Lomography Blue Hour Sessions
with MUON and Dream State Vision
Home Club
Friday, 27 November
7pm
FREE

Blue Hour Sessions: The burning flair of 7nightsatsea

OS: Many instrumental bands work closely with visual artists for their live shows. What do you think of this? Complementary, or distracting to the music?
7nightsatsea: We think it’s definitely complementary. In a way, our music provides these visuals with energy and feeling, bringing them to life, like a ‘soundtrack’ of some sort. There’s a certain duality to it: these visuals give the story, and our music breathes emotion into it. As an instrumental band, it’s a little harder to connect with the audience because other bands usually have lyrics that people can relate to and sing along with — we don’t. So having things like visuals during our live sets definitely helps stimulate the connection between us, our music and the crowd.

You’ve collaborated with a number of musicians since forming not too long ago. How do you work with them, piecing all the different sounds together?
It’s been awesome to say the least, really. It’s exciting on so many levels, to be able to bring in other musicians and to have their input on things. It’s not the sort of thing where we ask them to come in and play a certain part in a specific way to add on to the song. We really do encourage them to bring whatever they have to the table, and just jam along to our songs. After all, that’s what music’s about — expression. It’s so interesting to see their takes and ideas on our music; it’s just invigorating to have fresh suggestions and to work from completely different angles.

Being strictly instrumental, how do you keep things fresh amongst the many other instrumental bands?
That was something this band sought to strive for since the beginning — having an identity. There are so many great instrumental bands around, so it’s really just a matter of experimenting and working to come up with new ideas.

Musically, we’ve always tried to step out of our comfort zones, not to be scared of taking that leap of faith. We always try to come up with ideas that haven’t been done before, but at the same time we reel everything in with the ‘7nights flair’, as we like to call it, just to make sure that it doesn’t get too confusing.

You put up some pretty energetic shows. Describe the ultimate show of your dreams.
It’s not forced or anything, we just like to let the music take control of us. Honestly, that’s hard to describe. At this point, we’re just humbled that people take interest in our music and actually turn up for our shows! Of course, we’re all dreamers in some way. I guess the ultimate show of our dreams would be in a room full of people letting loose and going as crazy as we do on the stage. Just being free and letting the music take over.

What is the ideal set-up for listening to your music; how would you like people to best enjoy your music?
Keeping an open mind throughout, definitely. We like to think that our music provides the canvas, but our listeners paint their own picture of it.

We’ve always designed our songs in such a way that you can connect to it on an emotional level. Just let loose and let it take you on a ride.

How do you feel about working with Heider of SSYSTM? What can we expect from Saturday’s show?
Heider’s a really good buddy of ours; we’ve worked with him before so we have a lot of trust in him and what he does. He’s massively talented and his creativity just speaks for itself in all his works. We love him and we’ll always be appreciative of what he’s done for this band.

As for this Saturday’s show, I guess you’ll just have to come down and see for yourself now, won’t you?

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By Jared Rezel

Lomography Blue Hour Sessions
with Tiramisu, .gif, and 7nightsatsea
Lomography Gallery Store
Saturday, 23 November
7pm
FREE

Blue Hour Sessions: The unknown force of Tiramisu

OS: You guys have been around for more than a decade and it’s clear that you’ve left a mark on the current indie scene in Singapore. How do you think it’s changed over the past decade or so? 
Rizman: It has definitely changed tremendously — from the mindset, to the venues, and to the audience. With the Internet, music is so easily accessible, compared to the days where we had to find various ways of discovering music and bands we were interested in. Mixtapes were one of those options which allowed us to learn about new music, as well as reading fanzines about local bands, as there weren’t many gigs back then. In those days, we had The Substation, the World Trade Centre amphitheatre, and of course the polytechnic gig circuits. We tended to meet the same people at every gig — I guess that was when the community was tighter.

Perhaps now, the scene is more progressive and there are more venues to play at. The arrival of social media makes it so convenient that it is becoming a challenge to attract people to attend gigs. Nevertheless, the scene is blooming and the fact that you can see more young people forming new bands is very heartening. In our hearts, we know that the future of local music is not bleak, but full of excitement and surprises.

You’re one helluva showman on stage. Are there any particular performers who have inspired this in you?
I grew up listening to a lot of music, but I am truly inspired by Hafiz of Stomping Ground; when I first saw him on stage, I was totally blown away by his stage presence, it was a life-changing experience for me. I realised how the stage can be a space of catharsis for the performer.

Apart from that, I was also into Michael Jackson, Iggy Pop, King Diamond, Ronny James Dio, Mike Patton, David Bowie, Sudirman Hj Arshad, David Byrne, and many other eccentric singers along the way. I am an amalgamation of all these influences, and I am combining all of them to become a brand new animal on stage.

Well, some would even go as far as to say that rather than performing straight up ‘music music’, Tiramisu are instead, performance artists who incorporate music into their shows. How true is this, and how thin is the line between showmanship and performance art?
We have been doing this for years, as it is our comfort zone, and in our world it is the norm. We are just a group of happy musicians who love dressing up on stage and appearing ‘out of this world’ when presenting our music. Perhaps, at the same time, we are blurring the boundary between musicality and showmanship. We embrace idiocy in our outlook, not as clowns but as agents in the modification of lives. We love the notion of the audience laughing with or laughing at us, as it makes the world a less cruel place to live in.

You don’t play live too often, and it seems that every show you announce becomes a pretty highly anticipated one. Is there a reason you choose to gig so sparsely?
We have been really selective in playing live partly due to our working schedules, most of us are tied up with our jobs. The effort it takes to get people together is the most difficult part of it all, but we consciously try to make every live show we play as memorable as possible.

What do you hope for people to take away from your live shows?
Every Tiramisu show is experiential, and we make it a point for the audience to get a ‘WTF’ feeling when they leave the space. Confused yet fulfilled and entertained in the strangest way possible. Like being touched by an unknown force and acknowledging the sensation at the same time.

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By Melissa Yong

Lomography Blue Hour Sessions
with Tiramisu, .gif, and 7nightsatsea
Lomography Gallery Store
Saturday, 23 November
7pm
FREE

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?

OS: You’ve described that .gif was meant to be an outlet for “freedom and respite” from your other musical endeavours – did you ever think it would receive as much attention as it has?
.gif: To be honest, we haven’t really been keeping track. Earmilk was a really nice surprise, though, and so was Lomography’s interest in us for Blue Hour Sessions! If not for them, this EP wouldn’t even have happened ’cause we have too short an attention span to conceptualise anything beyond random singles.

Listening to your music, it’s hard to believe that it’s really just the two of you, Din and Weish. Which music power couple do you guys admire?
If you’re talking romantic couples, Matt & Kim. We really admire their DIY style. Otherwise, it’s a tie between Crystal Castles, Daft Punk, and Tegan & Sara.

Where did the name “.gif” come from? If you could steal any band name, what would it be? 
Well, we play a lot with loops and imagery in our songs, and gifs are essentially image loops, so we thought it was kinda apt. As for band names, we’d say Peter Bjorn and John, so that people would come to our show expecting a Swedish trio but instead see a Chinese girl and a Malay guy. But mainly because we really like the sound of the word “Bjorn”. It’s very calming.

Name one band that .gif would love to collaborate with… and what you imagine it would sound like.
Sleep Easy aka Isa Ong from Amateur Takes Control and Pleasantry. Well, okay, that’s kind of cheating ’cause we’ve actually talked about forming a trip-hop band before. So, we imagine it’d sound like trip-hop. But otherwise, we’ve always admired The Analog Girl‘s work and we imagine it’d sound pretty crazy if we worked with her – darker, and trippier…

Lastly, it’s been a pretty incredible year of music so far. Album of the year for you both?
We couldn’t agree, so here’s two: Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara (Din’s), and Enter 4 by Hjaltalin (Weish’s). We initially both went “Alt-J!” simultaneously, but realised later it was released in 2012…

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?

Blue Hour Sessions: .gif – From synth-pop to trip-hop?
By Nigel Lopez

Lomography Blue Hour Sessions
with Tiramisu, .gif, and 7nightsatsea
Lomography Gallery Store
Saturday, 23 November
7pm
FREE

Lomography’s Blue Hour Sessions to put spotlight on Singapore music and art scene

Lomography Singapore has just announced the Blue Hour Sessions, a 6-part series featuring collaborations with local bands and graphic artists with an aim to document ground-breaking work in the local music scene.

Drawn from the French expression l’heure bleue, ‘The Blue Hour’ refers to the time before nightfall when the sun slips from sight and the sky falls into a deep blue – traditionally, this hour of day is seen to hold special significance because of the possibilities for unexpected collisions, liaisons and delirium.

From 13 November to 14 April, the Blue Hour Sessions will take place on the last Saturday of the month, with each session turning the spotlight on collaborative efforts between some of the most exciting bands and graphic artists of our generation.

Expect live sets with visual and audio installations, as well as the launch of special edition EPs (limited to a first-run of 36 copies) featuring rough cuts, unreleased demos, analogue prints, and zine artwork by the bands and graphic artists themselves.

Other Sounds is proud to be official online media partner of the the Blue Hour Sessions as it aims to put the spotlight back on local bands and graphic artists.

Blue Hour Sessions schedule

23 November
Tiramisu x fFurious
.gif x M-D-R-N
7nightsatsea x Heider of SSYSTM x Allison Marie Low

21 December
MUON x William Chan of TMRRW
Bani Haykal x Kristal Melson x SUSEJ

18 January
HEIZENBERG x Brandon Tay of Syndicate
Dream State Vision x StudioKALEIDO

22 February
sub:shaman x Marc Gabriel Loh
Space Days x Afiq Omar of Syndicate

29 March
Pleasantry x FROMPAMM
ANECHOIS x Izyanti Asa’ari x Wu Jun Han
Ellipsis x Ban-Fam

3 May
Astreal x MAKE
MONSTER CAT x DO NOT DESIGN x Afiq Omar of Syndicate
Chöd x Philipp Aldrup
Zirconia (feat. X’ho + Yeow of Zircon Lounge) x WHITELABEL x Lasse Marhaug

Update (17/12/13):

The Blue Hour Sessions exhibition and live showcases will now be held at Home Club:

27 December
MUON x William Chan of TMRRW
Dream State Vision x StudioKALEIDO

17 January
HEIZENBERG x Brandon Tay of Syndicate
Bani Haykal x  Kristal Melson

21 February
sub:shaman x Marc Gabriel Loh
Space Days x Afiq Omar of Syndicate

28 March
Pleasantry x FROMPAMM
ANECHOIS x Izyanti Asa’ari x Wu Jun Han
Ellipsis x Ban-Fam

2 May
Astreal x MAKE
MONSTER CAT x DO NOT DESIGN x Afiq Omar of Syndicate
Chöd x Philipp Aldrup

*Dates and line-ups are subject to change

By Katherine Pollock