Known for their loud instrumentals and whispery vocals, tunes from M83's latest album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming will wrap up the fest. Frontman Anthony Gonzalez chats to Patrick Benjamin about their music and performing at Laneway.

How is the latest release different from previous ones?
It is our first album recorded outside of France and Europe, we wanted to create something epic, similar in scale to The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness.

Nostalgia seems like a common theme in your band’s musical approach, why is that so?
I really find it difficult to explain but it has been part of my personality since I was young. For example the track “Raconte Moi Une Histoire” in the album was inspired by a Japanese TV show about a frog that I used to watch as a kid.

How has touring with the likes of Depeche Mode and Kings of Leon influenced your creative process?
We have been very fortunate to play alongside such great performers and the lessons you learn from watching them upclose are invaluable. In fact, my bolder vocal style can be attributed to becoming more confident and playing in big arenas with them.

The saxophone infused “Midnight City” has a hallucinogenic big city vibe to it, what’s it all about?
Blame it on the drugs for the vibe but it’s also our homage to imaginary cities, great architecture and the big lights of a city like LA.

What can we expect from your set at Laneway?
We are really excited to bring our music to new audiences in a festival setting; one can certainly expect our a fun set-list to heighten the carnival like atmosphere.

M83 will perform at Laneway Festival Singapore on February 12, 12.05am at Fort Canning Park. See other interviews with Chairlift and Feist.


Leave a Comment

The London-based quartet have revived early ‘90s pop from the likes of Pavement, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. through gems like “The Wall” and “Holing Out” from their self-titled debut last year. Patrick Benjamin chats to guitarist Max Bloom before the group’s Laneway debut.

In your teens, you were the bassist of indie pop sensations Cajun Dance Party—how’s that different from Yuck?  
We were only 15 when we started Cajun Dance Party as a fun school band project, but it all became too serious and out of hand when we were signed to make a record. I guess we said all that we wanted to say musically in that one album. I wanted to be more than just a bassist which is something I get to do in Yuck.

What's the writing process like?
Daniel and I are the main writers. He usually comes up with the lyrics and vocals while I conjure the arrangement and record instrumentals. Having said that, it's a loose working relationship because we do switch roles.

What usually attracts you to a song?
Personally, I don't usually give a damn about the lyrics, I have always been Into music like Grandaddy's. You don't need words to hit you on an emotional plane.

Which band would you like to emulate?
Sparklehorse is a great band to live up to. Not only do they make emotional records, but they are also challenging to produce.

Your debut album was a splendid ‘90s throwback, any idea how the follow-up is going to sound?
I'm not going to try and explain how our next album is going to sound, but it will definitely be a clear difference. Our tastes have changed a lot since the first album was recorded, and I guess different things give me shivers now as opposed to back then.

What can expect at the Laneway gig?
Expect four people looking really indifferent onstage. Just kidding. We play quite differently live to how we sound on record. You'll have to come and see us to find out what that means exactly.

Yuck plays on February 12, Laneway Festival, Fort Canning Park.


Leave a Comment

Main man behind Pangaea's Boudoir Bash chats with Patrick Benjamin about the finer art of fronting a party.

The Mayans predicted that the world would end in 2012. What are three tracks you would play to quell the apocalypse?
If those Mayans are right I’m going to be pissed. Dead, yes, but pissed none the less. I haven't even been bungee jumping yet! Given their success in predicting small pox 500 years ago, I'd say we are safe. However, in the event that I’ve got to calm the supernatural powers that be with some wicked tunes, the tracks would be Frankie Knuckles & Jamie Principle’s “Your Love,” Orbital’s “Halcyon + On + On” and anything by Luther Vandross.

If your mixes took the form of a woman, she would be…
A half-Irish, half-Brazilian supermodel drinking a bottle of Patron and driving a stolen Ferrari down the wrong side of the road at 4am on a Tuesday.

Your preferred BPM…
That's a tough one. Really depends on the mood and setting, but to average it out I would say 129 BPM.

Strangest display of affection you have received from a fan...
Midway during a set, someone comes up to me and says, "I really want you to meet my uncle. He's a priest, you guys should talk."

Perfect meals for the New Year season…
New Year's Eve, I'd have to say a prime piece of beef from Cut at Marina Bay Sands. New Year's Day would be a home delivery of anything unhealthy and fried, with two aspirins.

How do you stay pumped up for your massive sets?
Vodka, vodka and more vodka.

What kind of a night can Pangaea punters expect?
Outrageously good-looking partygoers, music that keeps you dancing until sunrise and a night that'll have you coming back week after week.

Boudoir Bash takes place at Pangaea, December 31, 10pm.


Leave a Comment

Dating duo Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion met in 2009 and started making music to combat boredom. Little did they know that their ‘60s inspired girl group power pop paired with lo-fi sensibilities would catch on with the hipster brigade. They give Patrick Benjamin a glimpse to their musical world.

Our musical heroes are… David Bowie, Lesley Gore, Outkast, Patience & Prudence and Wu-Tang Clan.

Our first single “Go Outside” from our eponymous debut album… was written in 30 minutes; glockenspiel and automatic writing fit like a hand in a glove.

We didn’t have a clue what was going on… when we opened for Sleigh Bells in May 2010. We were epic failures and didn’t even know how to play but we are much better now.

We try very hard to be… mature, but are far from it. We are playful, like a bunch of childish pranksters.

We love playing festivals like Laneway because… it’s a great opportunity to reach out to folks who might not have heard of us.

Chant along to the playground tunes of Cults on February 12 at Laneway Festival 2012 at the Fort Canning Park.


Leave a Comment

In his archival project of 1,001 photographs of empty places islandwide for Calendars 2020-2096, the much lauded local contemporary artist, manipulates traditional notions of time and space as well as national narrative. He elucidates further to Patrick Benjamin.

You spent over seven years documenting the images for your work. Tell us more about the process.
It’s important to note that I photographed all these interior spaces in Singapore without ever having to talk to the owners of these spaces. Therefore, it is not a project buried under administration and negotiation. I wanted a system of collecting, which is much more like stealing something, in this case, stealing a moment of a publicly accessible interior space in Singapore surprisingly devoid of people.

Briefly describe what the project is about.
It can be viewed in its entirety as a novel about interior spaces as well as an historical and imaginary fictional document of interior spaces. It also relates to how we can place ourselves in a narrative. I think this is important for all Singaporeans, which they need to construct their own idea of what stories they want to have in order to imagine for ourselves: A home.

Conceptualism and a certain sense of absurdity are common themes in your oeuvre, why do you choose to delve into those spheres?
It’s not so much about f*cking around with people’s impression of art as much as trying to introduce different points of view about how to see art. I think people need to discard this perception of conceptual art as an easy import from Western societies, to discard this whole East-West binary of seeing things. There’s nothing easy about conceptualism. It is a practice that requires absolute concentration and precision to execute. It’s about placing something at the right time, at the right place so that one can have a new insight.

Calendars 2020-2096 runs through January 29 2012 at NUS Museums


Leave a Comment

Besides scoring local soundtracks and fronting the first local supergroup The Padres in the ‘90s, Ng has been a prominent fixture at Beat, the longest running weekly indie ritual for folks who know their Morrissey from their Peaches.

What’s the best conversation you’ve overheard at a BEAT! gig?
Two people sauntered drunk into the loo. “That girl is hot”, said one friend to another. “Yeah. You must get her number,” the other egged on. What’s funny is that both of them were females chatting away in the men’s. I really like this randomness.

What exactly does being indie mean in Singapore?
It’s up to each individual. Art and music like rock ‘n’ roll inspires some indie music fans to be the sweetest, compassionate and kindly individuals. On the other hand, I’ve met loads of indie fans who are arrogant, brattish and a world unto themselves. For the latter, it’s just a genre and a form of entertainment. For the former, it’s an inspiration and godly.

How do you craft your set lists?
At the start of the night, I’ll pop in stuff I dig. When the crowd fills the floor, I keep the uppers going. The last quarter are familiar favorites with some oddities thrown in here and there.

If you had the power to bring back any dead person to create a ruckus in Beat 5. It would be…
John Peel? Nah, I’ll just let him rest in peace.

Soak up the festive vibes of BEAT!’s 5.6th Birthday Party on December 23 at Home Club.


Leave a Comment

Trumped up by the likes of Nick Cave and Brian Eno, the rising priestess of the British indie rock scene and possible heir to PJ Harvey has a quick chat with Patrick Benjamin.

I have always been inspired by… the unpredictability and extreme dynamics of classical musical composers like Debussy and Ravel.

My eponymous debut album was… partly recorded in my parent’s attic.

I am currently obsessed with… the sounds of West Africa, especially the sweet drumming.

I would exchange my soul to the devil if I could write a song like… David Bowie’s “Lady Grinning Soul.”

Laneway fans can expect me to… perform in the most passionate way but it will be slightly different from my usual intimate sets.

Catch Anna Calvi alongside the alongside 13 other indie acts at the second edition of Laneway Festival on February 12, 2012 at Fort Canning.


Leave a Comment

Quite possibly the only metalcore drummer and web designer from Hong Kong who moonlights as a comedian, Vivek Mahbubani talks with Patrick Benjamin before his gig at Karma Komedians.

If an eskimo was freezing his ass off, what’s the first thing you would do?
Remind him that thanks to global warming, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, so hang in there!

What are some similarities with stand-up and drumming?
Many people are disappointed to find rockers in metal bands to be boring and quiet off stage because they’re probably stuck in their own little world of ringing-ears and whiplash. The same is often the case with comedians, many are quite boring off stage.

Folks tend to undermine the role of boredom, how influential is it in your life?
It’s one of the reasons I got into comedy. Because talking about life in general was too boring, I needed a twist. I got bored about saying the same thing in the same way so I started making jokes about it just to keep myself entertained. A laughing crowd is really a by-product of entertaining my boredom.

Like detectives, comics are noted for their observational skills, what’s your latest obsession?
The different ways McDonalds is cutting costs these days. From not giving you ketchup packets if you don’t ask, to realizing they only give you half-a-slice of cheese for your Filet-O-Fish!

What’s the biggest myth about Indian comedians you’d like to bust?
That we only can make fun of our body hair, odor and cheapness. We make fun of everyone’s body hair, odor and cheapness. The prerequisite is for them to have lots of body hair, odor and cheapness, and those are things we excel at.

Any surprises in store for Karma Komedians?
Karma Komedians? I thought this was the Bachelor for Arranged Marriages? I had all these jokes written to impress the dads and daughters.

Karma Komedians is on December 16-17 at The Arts House Chamber.


Leave a Comment

The ska-punk band has been delivering their ruckus live and loud islandwide since 1997. Trumpeter Dzulhusnie chats to Patrick Benjamin before their gig at Substation’s The Tribal Gathering of Jaw Benders.

It’s been almost seven years since the release of your last album, any heads up to the next one?
We’re finally done with recording after a hard disk crash caused us to lose all our songs. The album is shaping up very nicely—we don’t want to disclose too much, but expect it to be fun.

Any plans to reach out to folks who might not be into ska?
We keep an open mind when it comes to reaching out to the masses—we don’t restrict ourselves to playing for underground gigs. So far we’ve been invited to play for weddings, corporate and festive events.

It’s never easy to have day jobs and write music—what’s your secret?
MCs, urgent leave and skiving. Who says men can’t multi-task?

If Cesspit could cover two local songs, what would they be?
Two songs by the legendary Malaysian filmmaker P.Ramlee, “Ubat” and “Sua Sue Kemuning.” We wouldn’t change the essence of the tunes, but we will most probably add a little bit of Cesspit to the fun that already exists in the songs.

Your greatest non-musical influence?
It’s not easy to come to a consensus but we have to agree—we are all mommy’s boys. Our mothers are our biggest influence.

What kind of set can we expect for The Tribal Gathering of Jaw Benders?
Pyrotechnics and fire breathers, with male strippers and pole dancers. Don’t believe us? There’s only one way to find out, you have to be there.

Catch Cesspit and a host of other local music acts at the Tribal Gathering of Jaw Benders on December 17 at The Substation.


Leave a Comment

Zirca’s latest DJ in residence has been working the decks for over a decade—that’s like a millennium in club years—lighting up the dance floors with his signature high-energy club bangers and mash-ups. He takes Patrick Benjamin for a quick spin.

Describe your musical philosophy in three words… all is good!

My favorite happy song about sad things is… Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World.”

When MC Hammer had a cartoon in the ’90s, I was… looping 2 Live Crew on my Discman. Every day.

My club bangers and mash-ups are like… rainbows and unicorns.

Firecrackers in heels make me… sweat.

Santa Claus is great for… cuddling.

Catch Nad-trix in action with Inquisitive on December 16, before he makes his debut for the latest weekly night W.T.F (Wreck The Frequency) from December 30 at Zirca.


Leave a Comment