Sidney York: Keeping unconventional cool

Last Saturday at Music Matters Live with HP 2014, Canadian act Sidney York gave a blistering performance at the Fountain Stage, armed with unconventional instruments (a bassoon, anyone?) sliced over catchy tunes and pop sensibilities.

These girls, with a killer and refreshing attitude to boot, just might be the next big thing in Canada — but don’t be too quick to compare them to their more famous Canadian counterparts Tegan and Sara, or even an Emily Haines-fronted Metric.

We sat down with Brandi Sidoryk and Krista Wodelet of Sidney York before their set, and talked about famous Canadian people, their insanely fun music videos, and their latest record, <3s (Hearts).

Hey Sidney York! You’re from Canada, the home to all things musical and great. Any famous friends to date?
Famous friends [laughs]? I guess it depends, because the acts that we think are big, aren’t that big internationally. You could be really good in Canada, but not so big in the rest of the world, or you could be really good internationally and no one’s heard of you in Canada. We’re friends with these bands, Mother Mother and The Odds, who are huge in Canada.

“We didn’t mean to write a breakup record, but as we were writing for the album, both of us were going through really tough breakups unexpectedly”

Let’s talk about your newest album, <3s (Hearts). What is the inspiration and meaning behind the album?
It was a breakup record. We didn’t mean to write a breakup record, but as we were writing for the album, both of us were going through really tough breakups unexpectedly. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t help but write that shitty break up song [laughs].

We like to have a lot of fun on stage and we don’t like to take ourselves too seriously, so even if the lyrics are dark on this album, it’s not often found in the music. It’s quite a big contrast between the dark lyrics and the upbeat, pop-y music — we like that contrast because it leaves a inner meaning for people to listen a little deeper. It’s really fun to listen to at first, but once you get into the record and  listen to the songs a couple of times, you’ll realise that Krista and I were kind of messed up [laughs]!

Your music is really interesting, something under the umbrella of indie… and pop, but then there’s also this certain edgy vibe to it. What genre would you classify your music as?
I would call ourselves indie pop. We’re the indie pop musicians that listen to those indie pop acts, but we love St. Vincent and we want a little bit of that dirt in there too. I would say we’re schizophrenic indie pop [laughs].

With two females fronting the band, do you get compared to any other artists?
I think we’ve gotten compared to Tegan and Sara, just because we’re both Canadian and duo-female fronted acts. We’re big Tegan and Sara fans, and we’re happy for the comparison, but we definitely have some differences musically. We’ve been told that we’ve been quite similar to Metric as well, or a happy Fiona Apple; Katy Perry meets PJ Harvey, or a new-age The Go Gos. Krista and I are the dorkiest popstars you’ll ever meet.

“…we’re schizophrenic indie pop”

Your music videos are amazingly fun! Who comes up with the concept for the videos and do you think they convey the actual spirit of the band?
We have hired a number of specific directors, mostly from the same production company in Vancouver that we work with. We are really involved in concepting [the ideas] and we love it.

More times than not, we come to the table with an idea that we’ve already gotten attached to and we say, “Can you direct this music video with this idea?” and usually they say, “You’re crazy, absolutely not!” and then a week later, they’ll say, “Okay, yeah we can do this.”

Oh, and for this new record, we’ll be doing a music video for every song on the album.

Oh right, so you guys are pulling a Beyoncé?
Exactly! Except that we’re less of a surprise, we let everybody know what we’re doing.

[youtube width=”450″ height=”340″][/youtube]
By Evan Woon

Check out Sidney York’s crowdfunding campaign for new album <3s here.

Keep them coming! More acts announced for Music Matters

Last week we got our first taste of who to expect at this year’s instalment of Music Matters Live with HP. Now we can confirm the second batch of artists to be added to the already globe-spanning line-up.

Singapore locals wyd:syd and sub:shaman will be joining the line-up, as well as UK alt-rockers The Boxer Rebellion. They will be joined by a whole bunch of other bands from Singapore, Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia and many more.


Also announced, is the return of the festival’s country specific showcases including:
Korea’s K-Pop Night Out, Canadian Blast, The Aussie BBQ, JAPAN NIGHT, Bravo Taiwan and Singapore’s very own Made In Singapore featuring at six of the city’s finest. Sounds Australia will also be debuting Sound Gallery for the first time in Asia at Music Matters Live with HP, following success in SXSW (USA) and Canadian Music Week (Canada).

Check out the extended line-up and venue details below:

Music Matters Live with HP 2014:

Afgan (ID)
Art of Fresh (CA)*
Ash Grunwald (AUS)
Asian Chairshot (KR)*
Bamboo Star (HK)*
Bec Laughton (AUS)*
Buffalo Sunn (IR)
Bunkface (MY)
Cream (JP)*
Daybreak (KR)*
Dualist Inquiry (IN)
Dune Rats (AUS)
Empra (AUS)
Endah N Rhesa (ID)
Gareth Fernandez (SG)*
Gentle Bones (SG)
Hogan (IR)*
Jaurim (KR)*
Jeremy Neale (AUS)
Juveniles (FR)
Kyoto Protocol (MY)
Lim Kim (KR)*
Love X Stereo (KR)*
Lyon Apprentice (AUS)
Mad August (MY)
Mark Bonafide (SG)*
MC HotDog (TW)
Ming Bridges (SG)
Naoto Inti Rayami (JP)*
Oral Cigarettes (JP)*
Quarterback (TW)
Quest (PH)
Sezairi (SG)
Shining Bird (AUS)*
Sidney York (CA)*
Slapshock (PH)
Sophie Koh (AUS)*
Stars and Rabbit (ID)
sub:shaman (SG)*
Sultan of the Disco (KR)*
Take Two (SG)*
The 13 Band (TW)
The Boxer Rebellion (UK)*
The Family Cheese (IN)*
The Love Junkies (AUS)*
The Pinholes (SG)*
The StoneWolf Band (PT)
Tired Lion (AUS)*
Trick (SG)
Tully on Tully (AUS)
wyd:syd (SG)*
Ying Hao (SG)*

(* indicates new addition)

Music Matters Live with HP festival,
Wednesday to Saturday, 21-24 May 2014 Venues:

  • Aquanova, Beer Market, China One, Crazy Elephant, Fern & Kiwi, Kuro, Paulaner, Shuffle, Fountain Stage @Clarke Quay, 3 River Valley Road, S179024
  • Switch, 73 Bras Basah Rd, NTUC Trade Union House #01-01, S 189556
  • Barber Shop, 1 Old Parliament Lane #01-03, Singapore, S 179429
  • Timbré @ Substation, 45 Armenian Street, S 179936


By Ale Launech

Music Matters Live with HP announce globe-spanning line-up

Music Matters Live with HP have announced their line-up for this year’s festival, which features a roster of artists from around the world.

The festival will run from 21-24 May and will feature a heap of showcases over the four days. In its fourth year, Music Matters Live with HP has become one of the highlights of Singapore’s music calendar, as one of the largest music festivals in the region.

With the addition of an extra night, we can see the festival slowly but surely expanding.

The promoters have stated that this year’s festival takes “a giant step upwards”. With the announcement of more bands and venues, they’ll be flying their “super-music-discovery flag even higher”.

Festival-goers will be able to catch the acts more than once over the four nights at different outdoor and indoor venues.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 5.51.41 PM

The bands playing include Other Sounds favourites Dune Rats, French synth-pop band Juveniles, Australian lo-fi musician Jeremy Neale, Melbourne indie-pop darlings Tully on Tully, and Singapore local chart-topper Gentle Bones, plus many more.

Check out the full list of artists below:

Music Matters Live with HP 2014:

Afgan (ID)
Ash Grunwald (AUS)
Buffalo Sunn (IR)
Bunkface (MY)
Dualist Inquiry (IN)
Dune Rats (AUS)
Empra (AUS)
Endah N Rhesa (ID)
Gentle Bones (SG)
Jeremy Neale (AUS)
Juveniles (FR)
Kyoto Protocol (MY)
Lyon Apprentice (AUS)
Mad August (MY)
MC HotDog (TW)
Ming Bridges (SG)
Quarterback (TW)
Quest (PH)
Sezairi (SG)
Slapshock (PH)
Stars and Rabbit (ID)
The 13 Band (TW)
The StoneWolf Band (PT)
Trick (SG)
Tully on Tully (AUS)

Music Matters Live with HP 2014
21-24 May 2014
Clarke Quay (various venues TBA)

By Ale Launech

Music Matters Live is back and looking for acts for 2014

Music Matters Live is set to return in May 2014 and applications for artists to perform at the festival are now open.

Music Matters Live is the music festival component of the Music Matters conference — a combination dubbed by Jason Mraz as “TED meets SXSW”, where the industry meets the punters for a week-long showcase of the newest talent, ideas, and technology. 

Jasper Donat, CEO of Branded Asia, the company responsible for the festival, said of the upcoming event: “We see tremendous value in what Music Matters Live can do for new and breakout artists by providing a unique gateway into the Asian market and Asian audiences.”

In the eight years since its inception, Music Matters has become a global platform representing the Asia Pacific music industry. Moreover, the conference acts as a gateway for artists looking to break into the world’s most populated region: for three nights, over 60 bands from 20 countries will play more than 160 shows in venues across Singapore. 

The festival has previously hosted acts like Electrico (Singapore), Simple Plan (Canada), The Jezabels (Australia), Little Boots (UK), flumpool (Japan), Kreva (Japan), Drunken Tiger (Korea), Indus Creed (India) and Nidji (Indonesia), and now, artists have a chance to participate in the festival next year, with applications open until 17 January 2014.

Submit your online application here.

Music Matters Live
22 – 24 May 2014
Venues TBC

By Katherine Pollock

Open invitation to SGMUSO’s House Party

The Singapore Music Society (SGMUSO) are set to hold an open house event — a ‘House Party’ — this October at the Aliwal Arts Centre, hoping to provide an opportunity for anyone looking for a closer insight into the local music scene and the people behind it a chance to experience it first-hand.

The open house event is a follow-up to the the inaugural Music Matters Academy, which ran as a three-day project for Singaporean artists at the annual music conference, Music Matters, where song-writing sessions and management masterclasses were held, alongside discussions about key issues that arise in the Asian and particularly, Singaporean music landscapes.

Featuring over twenty local acts from the Music Matters Academy initiative including The Sam Willows, Charlie Lim, Kevin Lester, Nick Chim, Sezairi, Grizzle Grind Crew, the House Party will also include keynote panel discussions on topics such as ‘Digital Distribution’ and ‘Honing One’s Artistic Vision’, led by special guests from Spotify, Youtube, as well as Vanessa Fernandez, Kevin Lester and more.

Two local documentaries, ‘Ignore All Detour Signs‘ and ‘Here We Are‘ will also be exclusively screened.


House Party is free and open to the public. More details can be found at the SGMUSO Facebook page.

House Party: An SGMUSO Open House
Aliwal Arts Centre
5 October 2013

By Izzan Haziq

Second round of acts announced for Music Matters Live 2013

Music Matters Live has announced its second round of acts for this year’s international music industry conference, Music Matters.

New additions to the previously announced line-up include acts from Korea, India, USA, and England. And straying from its previous inclination to rock music, the 2013 festival now boasts a line-up that is both musically and culturally diverse, with acts like established English electro-pop musician Little Boots, Korean RnB singer Lena Park, and hard rock band Indus Creed from India, to perform over the festival’s three nights.

Music Matters: ‘Make it Matter’ will be held from 22-24 May 2013 all over Clarke Quay, with over 50 bands from 20 countries performing over 160 shows.

Second round of ‘Music Matters: Make it Matter’ line-up:

Dub FX (AU)
Vaudeville Smash (AU)
Little Boots (UK)
Indus Creed (IND)
Eastern Sidekick (KR)
Jeon Jeduk (KR)
Lena Park (KR)
M.I.B. (KR)
Park Juwon (KR)
Joseph Vincent (USA)

[EDIT (8/05/13): New Cassettes and Guba have been removed from the line-up and the following bands have been added:

At Sunset (AU)
flumpool (JP)
Fluorescent Hearts (SCT)
Deon (SG)
Sarah Cheng-De Winne (SG)] 

By Cindy Tan

Music Matters Live announces international line-up with surprising choice of local acts

Music Matters Live will return to Singapore this May as part of the annual international music industry conference, Music Matters.

Titled ‘Make It Matter‘, this year’s installment will be held from 22-24 May, showcasing emerging and established bands from Asia and the world alongside some of Singapore’s best and most-loved talents.

In 2012, the festival saw over forty bands from 18 countries play 150 shows in eight venues over three nights, with over 5,000 fans in attendance and a live broadcast  to over 1 million viewers on YouTube.

This year, the festival will feature sixty bands from more than fifteen countries, traveling from Australia, France, Hong Kong, Latvia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Taiwan and the USA to take to the stage for three jam-packed nights at Clarke Quay.

While previous years acts have leaned towards rock, Music Matters Live 2013 will showcase a more diverse line-up of acts, including award-winning indigenous folk singer Gurrumul from Australia, and Prata Vetra (also known as Brainstorm) who were the very first act to represent Latvia in the Eurovision competition.

Singaporean bands who performed last year include The Auditory Effect, Dropbeat Heartbeat, The Great Spy Experiment, The Guilt, Inch Chua, LGF, ShiGGa Shay, Shimona and SIXX, a solid balance of both current and established bands.

This year’s line-up however, reveals a somewhat surprising choice of bands — a host of currently relatively inactive bands with no new releases in recent years.

Instead of being curated by the Music Matters team, interested bands looking to perform at the festival were required to apply via SonicBids in February this year. And while it remains unclear whether or not younger, more active bands applied for the opportunity, it seems like a shame that the range of exciting new acts that the country has to offer will not be given the chance to perform, in lieu of veteran bands to take the stage.

‘Music Matters: Make It Matter’ line-up:

Cub Scouts (AU)
Gurrumul (AU)
Katie Noonan (AU)
Monks of Mellonwah (AU)
New Cassettes (UK)
Prata Vetra (Brainstorm) (Latvia)
An Honest Mistake (MY)
Guba (MY)
Salammusik (MY)
Me N Ma Girls (MY)
SWISS (New Zealand)
Carlos Castaño (PH)
Caracal (SG)
Electrico (SG)
Kevin Lester (SG)
Natalie Hiong (SG)
Plainsunset (SG)
The Observatory (SG)
The Sam Willows (SG)
The Summer State (SG)
These Brittle Bones (SG)
The Chairman (TW)
Guntzepaula (TW)
The London Souls (US)
+ more TBA

[EDIT: New Cassettes and Guba have been removed from the line-up (8/05/13)]

By Izzan Haziq

Who will be discovered? Applications to perform at Music Matters Live now open

Music Matters, Asia’s annual music industry conference now in its third year in Singapore, has just opened applications to bands hoping to perform at Music Matters Live, the event’s live showcase festival dubbed Asia’s #1 celebration of music discovery.

Last year’s event was broadcast live on YouTube over three nights and featured Singapore bands The Auditory Effect, Dropbeat Heartbeat, The Great Spy Experiment, The Guilt, Inch Chua, LGF, ShiGGa Shay, Shimona and SIXX.  42 bands from 15 countries performed over 150 shows in eight venues, giving the bands the opportunity to be discovered by industry big wigs and fans alike both online and at the festival.

All applicants applying through Sonicbids receive a free, one month trial to the online music marketing platform’s industry portal which connects bands to over 26,000 promoters, consumer brands and music fans.

Register now with Sonicbids and get heard both online and at Music Matters Live 2013.

Applications close Monday, 18 February 2013.

Who will be discovered?

[youtube width=”457″ height=”343″][/youtube]

Singapore Music Dialogue 2012

On Saturday, 8 September, a music dialogue consisting of various music enthusiasts, musicians and industry members gathered at Goodman Arts Center to discuss the state of the local music scene. Organised by the Singapore Music Society (SGMUSO), the non-profit entity hoped to spark conversation to support the growth of Singapore’s struggling music industry.  The Singapore Music Dialogue was a natural follow up to the society’s last efforts at Music Matters in May, and prior to that the Singapore Music Forum (we wonder; why the subtle name change?).

Singapore-born, Melbourne-based Charlie Lim opened the dialogue with two songs, ‘Pedestal’ and ‘Bitter’, and then sat down for a little talk with Graham Perkins, founder and president of SGMSO. The singer updated us on the rapid progress of his musical career and the ups and downs through his journey so far, discussing issues such as being based in another country as well as the struggles local musicians face.

“The Singapore Music Society is a non-profit entity that supports artistry, business and production by developing skills, advocacy and opportunities. We transcend music genres, cultural and language boundaries and support the growth of the music industry both home and way.”

Graham initiated the open dialogue to the floor with a lengthy explanation about the Society’s advancements over the past 9 months. Sharing about various industry workshops they will be hosting, as well as the Singtel Amped initiative, he moved on to explain the proposed activities for the future, including an extensive effort to bring a live music platform to schools and heartlands; as well as the always-put-forward-but-never-implemented proposal for a local music quota on radio platforms– which is apparently in effect right now.

Amongst other suggestions were listening parties for media, which could increase the awareness of fresh local music; and also a push for musicians to expand their recorded repertoire through leverage from Government Grant Schemes. It was also announced that several organisations including big players and industry bodies MDA, MICA, SGMUSO and NAC have begun discussions, combing their efforts into dedicating resources more effectively for our local artists.

Arica Ng of YouTube South East Asia stopped by to give a short presentation on their partnership program which gives budding artists a free platform to not only build larger international audiences but also collaborate with other YouTube musicians, improve their skills, and earn more money. It felt completely out of place and very much gratuitous, perhaps in an effort to further legitimize the scale of the scale or profile of the event?

Aside, when the conversation eventually led back to the open floor, the tone and focus of the conversation would very quickly shift from productive discussion about change for the greater good of our industry; to a very personal tone of a sometimes esoteric conversation about everyone’s own personal endeavours. As attention levels had waned by the third hour, there was a general feeling of desperation in the room as one after another, people took turns to shamelessly promote their own business ventures before time was up. Things started to really heat up then, with previously quiet members of the audience hurrying to the front of the room to offer their two cents, most of them current industry players trying to manage others’ unreasonable expectations and demands (i.e. complaining musicians).

Considering that either the formalities of most proposals are still being discussed by all parties involved; or that they are difficult to measure tangibly– perhaps the most promising outcome of the dialogue is the series of industry workshops announced in association with Aging Youth. Overall, probably the day’s most poignant revelation was that our music industry is extremely fragmented and that perhaps the only thing that everyone can agree on is that there is a massive lack of support from the general public and cooperation from the whole industry; there was not a single major label, large-size promoter or radio representative present at all.

SGMUSO’s Singapore Music Dialogue could do with a little less talk, a little more action. There was little to no direction or curatorial effort involved in organizing the long four hours and with hardly any moderation, the dialogue was at times, a little too ‘open’. We’d like to see more done in small grassroots activation rather than big hoo-has like Music Matters and Singtel Amped (come on, really?) that while certainly productive, do not engage with the music community from the ground up, where it is needed the most.

By Nigel Lopez and Shawn Ng