Midnight Shift’s head honcho talks to Zul Andra about changes in the local electronic dance music scene through his parties and new label.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in Midnight Shift.
Where should I start? Well, I was never interested in football, basketball or had any real hobbies unlike the rest of my peers in school. During the late 90s, I got to know an owner of a club down Dunlop street called Area 22 and that was the first time I heard Ramesh and a few others playing drum and bass and techno at the venue. The people and music amazed me, electronic music became my instant hobby.

Music became something I could live for. Then, reality hit me... I knew I had to finish up my studies and start a job that had a corporate ladder to climb if I had family and personal responsibilities to cope with. Part time DJing was not secure for me and we already had very good jocks that were doing it much better than me. Competition was too high and there were few clubs back then.

Few years ago, I realised commercialism reached a stage where the lines between quality and mainstream were blurred horribly. My peers were complaining about the "scene", and I decided to do something about it. I had an idea to create likemindedness among people and expose them to more varieties of electronic music. Together with Brendon P, Debbie Chia, Eddie Niguel, Keith Lim and Marvin Kam, each of us took a role and built Midnight Shift based on our perspective of an effective and educational music event.

No, we are not a collective as we do not perform for most of our events. We are working together using our strengths in key business roles such as copywriting, branding, marketing, design and music consultancy, then applying these to create an event where we could invite locals and international artists to work together and perform. We want to optimise exposure for brands and corporate companies that have been supporting the electronic music scene, we want to give back to the givers. It's a long lasting relationship we are looking for, not just a one-off dance music event.

What's the core purpose of MS and what have you guys done so far?
Midnight Shift's aim is to educate and expose -- we want people to put up their hands for the right music and we want the right talent to be heard and be paid their dues. Our parties have not been as consistent in frequency as we would like, but we are pretty happy with the quality we've managed to achieve with each one. We've branched out into a music label this year which will give an additional platform for artists to not just perform but produce as well.

How's the new label kicking?
The Midnight Shift label is launched in partnership with Ibadan Records based in Berlin, which is headed by Jerome Sydenham who has been in the recording industry business for more than 20 years. The concept of the label is peak-time house and techno tracks, which is open to every producer's interpretation of what will work on a dance floor. The label will bring together emerging and established artists on every release. This will give a boost of exposure to new talent and help them cut through the noise.

What do you think of Singapore's dance music scene?
It is still a young scene and not many people appreciate what our local artists have achieved. It needs more time.

If you could change something about the industry, what would it be and how would you approach it?
One thing I would change is the programs available in schools today. The government should play a part in building musical talents (both electronic and classical) at a very young age and provide funding and more programs as a career for these young talents. This way, we can both grow economically and culturally.

What's coming up for Midnight Shift?
We are inking down the party content for the rest of the year with two more events, and are prepping for the first music release in November 2011. We are also working with other collectives, industry partners and stakeholders to help raise the profile of electronic dance music in Singapore.

Last words?
If you are in this for fame, try acting.

Experience the revolution at Midnight Shift 04: Collab on Jun 24, 10pm. SOUL, #02-01 Odeon Towers, 331 North Bridge Rd., 8488-9991/8386-7049 (SMS only). $25-28 includes one drink.


Leave a Comment