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