Something For You To Think About
Editorial written by Siv
Hello everyone, I know it is very unlikely of me to suddenly become so serious but since I'm very free now I thought I'd post something from the back of my head and which I hope you guys will read carefully and ponder on about.
Ok, basically what I'm going to talk about is our local music scene in general and especially for the readers of Pure Rock. Ok, I know a lot of people have talked about this and are probably sick and tired of reading the same shit about the local music scene being so and so and how this is bad and that is good and stuff like that. I'm going to talk about that as well as list a few very important points I observed during my time in this "scene".
Firstly, let's start off with how the state of our current scene is. There are a lot of bands, in different genres in a very small country. You could call that very healthy, but what a lot of these bands lack is originality.
Face it, out of the 10 bands which sprout up, only 3 plays something which sounds original, the other 7 tend to try to emulate what their idols been playing which made them famous. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, go on ahead and play like your idols but at the end of the day, question your objectives. What exactly do you want to achieve? If you are playing music just for the sake of playing music like your idols then that's cool, but if you are playing for the sake of gaining recognition both locally or internationally then I would suggest you forge your original sound because there are bands from other countries competing with you for the same recognition in western countries.
And don't forget you are Asian. Asians tend to be the most overlooked continent in this world as everyone is concentrating on America, Europe and now even Australia. There are a lot of good Asian bands around, some of which are already known in the western world, but it took these bands A LOT of hard work just to get known and it also depends a lot on luck. So in Singapore it's double the difficulty.
Now secondly, I don't understand what exactly is the division among scenesters about bands who are "mainstream" and bands who are "underground". To me, in Singapore ALL bands are underground in some way or other.
Face it, how many local bands have you heard on the radio? The local radio bigshots have already said it themselves that they don't owe it to anyone to play their music. To them radio is a business which means they play popular overseas stuff which people WANT to listen to in order to get advertisers to advertise their stuff on the radio, hence a source of revenue for these "businessmen". So we all know the shit work these radio guys do so therefore a local scene only left with us, the scenesters and several record labels here and there left to organise gigs or to sell their CDs and stuff.
From the surface it seems fair enough, one big community of undiscovered and unappreciated talent, but delve deeper inside you notice cracks. Big huge cracks everywhere. So what exactly are these cracks?
Ever notice how when a local band of any genre suddenly gets itself known by the local media, be it as a review or whatever, suddenly there will be a whole army of detractors calling this band "a bunch of sellouts" or "posers" and "not being true to the music". And this is exactly what I mean by the scene being divided, there is too much jealousy, misunderstandings and politics.
There are 2 different groups of local musicians in Singapore, one is the kind who are all about the music, they don't really care about the "cultures" involved in the genre of their choice or the internal scene politics. All they care about is making music, playing the music they love and going on to make CDs or playing in gigs. The other group of local musicians are the kind who are all about the "culture" and the ethics. All they care about is communication among local scenesters, keeping true to the culture and so on, so basically musical ability is only secondary to what they believe in. Now that is one big problem seperating the local scene. The question would be, which group is the better group and which is in the wrong?
The former would definitely work very hard on their music, jamming a lot and spending money on real good equipments, playing the music according to their feelings and so on, and of course some of these guys would definitely have the mindset and ambition to be able to go "mainstream" if not in Singapore then overseas OR at least to make a bit of money here and there be it playing gigs or by selling their CDs. Of course making money in Singapore through music is like being impotent and trying to screw a hot chick at the same time. It's near to impossible, but that doesn't stop all these bands from at least trying. Besides some of these guys play music in the sake of earning pocket money, maybe because they don't have a job yet or they need to pay their fees. There's even a small number of musicians who play to feed their families.
The other group see all these as nothing but a hobby. So therefore they are just in it to make friends, to widen their social circle and of course to have fun. Organising DIY gigs in small venues with fairly decent equipment cos these bands are going to care more about the fun than anything else, they wouldn't care if their bands earn a single cent through playing gigs or selling their CDs. Its all about their passion but the problem is, in this particular group there is a small minority of extremists who usually tend to create rifts between the other group by starting flamings and dissings and stuff. See how they diss the bands which are trying hard to be mainstream and so on, they would accuse these bands of "playing for the money" and "lacking the passion". And it's these small petty arguments which eventually turn into hatred for one another that you see these "groups" hanging out individually.
It's really sad to see a scene which is barely recognised by the government, trying hard to keep itself from dying, yet having a "civil war" of it's own. It's just like an ingrown disease damaging the scene from the inside out.
I know these comments I made would surely infuriate a lot of people, some of whom already know who I am in person and honestly I don't care what you think because I am just going to give my opinions on what I really think about the scene in general. Seriously I've always said this all the time. Even if you read my previous articles you will definitely know what I'm getting at.
Take my last article for example, the one where Susan talks about posers in the scene. Basically I got nothing against posers because everyone has to start somewhere. I started out by listening to electronica in Sec 2 and then I heard the Prodigy, and Korn and I got hooked to metal. I still listen to electronica though but does that make me a poser? After all Korn isn't what people would call a "real" metal band and Prodigy isn't even metal. But it was these 2 bands which paved the way for my interest in that form of music which eventually led me to discover the whole genre lying behind it. Thats why I find it funny when people blast others who listen to nu-metal just cos those bands aren't real metal and that they are posers.
Tell me how many of you metalheads started out by listening to bands like Anorexia Nervosa or Melechesh? How many of you punks or emo people started out by listening to Suicidal Tendencies or Rufio? Probably none or maybe 1 or 2 because the fact remains that most of you started out by listening to more mainstream of commercial bands like Metallica and Slayer for metalheads and bands like AFI or even Blink 182 for punks (no matter how much you try to deny). So it's the same here, why fuck up people who listen to Blink 182 now or Linkin Park and claim they are punk or metal? It's their wish on what they wanna listen to and if they like the genre they will eventually delve deeper into it and find even better but less commercial bands, it's all a personal trip and as fellow punks or metalheads, you are supposed to help them discover the new bands, not diss them for being posers, cos you were one yourself at one time.
Lastly, for goodness sake, stop the petty arguments and politics. If you don't like a person in this scene, tell him straight to his face, not tell everyone else behind his back. And support other local bands. The keyword is LOCAL because if you don't support them, nobody else will. It doesn't matter if the band is DIY, Underground, Mainstream or just plainly suck because they are local. If they suck they need your constructive criticisms like "your guitar tone needs to be more sharper" or stuff like that, not comments like "you suck you bunch of faggots!". You help them with your constructive criticisms they can only improve and you can have one more band to be proud off.
Seriously it would be really good if you, as Singaporeans can support local bands irregardless of what they play and what status they are because at the end of the day they are your fellow scenesters and countrymen. And I don't see why it's wrong for a metalhead to support punk bands or an indie rocker to support a metal band and so on. I myself am in 4 different projects in 4 different genres and I don't see myself as being in a part of 4 different scenes, to me I'm just in 1 scene, that's it.
And for those of you who are against what I have just written (sorry if it's too long) feel free to email me with your thoughts and/or if you have my number, go ahead and call me and tell me what you think. I'm done here, bye.