The Council Consults: Music

The Council Consults: Anvesh, Never Alone in Music

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Anvesh, Never Alone in Music

Moving to a completely new country can be daunting, especially when you're not entirely convinced about the music scene you'll be delving into.

For our next playlist, we consult Anvesh, who - having lived and immersed himself in the bustling music scene in Mumbai for 10 years - took a leap of faith and moved to Singapore late last year to pursue his career.

Having built up a solid network at familiar haunts in Bandra, a suburb in Mumbai that is a melting pot of culture - with quirky restaurants and bars, and a thriving art and music scene that delves into more leftfield and alternative music - Anvesh's music taste grew with the scene.

He reminisces some of the earliest gigs he had been to in Mumbai, such as catching Dubfire in 2011 at the now-closed Blue Frog, "There was an unbelievable energy about Dubfire's set that night, and I still remember his closing track. It was 'French Kiss' by Lil' Louis. A classic."

In addition to the bustling club scene, Anvesh had attended some intimate festivals in Mumbai, one of which he most fondly remembers was Future Theory Festival. With an audience of 400 avid music fans, the 2-day festival was held in a fort on a hill outside of the city, and featured headliners such as M.A.N.D.Y and Petar Dundov.

Leaving all this behind was definitely difficult for Anvesh, he shares, "I wasn't aware of what was going on in Singapore as I didn't really read or hear much about it, aside from the obviously talked about big clubs. The first place I decided to check out here was Headquarters. I'm not interested in the fancy big clubs or that VIP treatment and attitudes, because I feel that a club is supposed to bring people together, so once I'd gone up the stairs into that dark room at Boat Quay, my first thoughts were 'Wow'."

With the discovery of what he calls a vibrant scene in Singapore - not just in terms of the plethora of international acts, but also taking into consideration the local talents who are not afraid of steering left-field and pushing new sounds - Anvesh has quickly started feeling at home amongst the like-minded punters that have been supporting the scene.

"Moving to a new country and place isn't easy for sure, but the great music around me and smiling faces I see at the gigs definitely makes it somewhat easier," Anvesh says.

So click through as this avid digger shares a playlist of his favourite tracks, featuring the cerebral acid sounds of Larry Heard, the uplifting synths and melodies of Palms Trax, the classic Detroit energy of Omar-S, and more.

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The Council Consults: Fio & Zoe, Sisters & Best Friends

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Fio & Zoe, Sisters & Best Friends

These two blew into our lives quite as suddenly as they are about to leave. You would have seen them, always throwing shapes with such wild abandon. Fio & Zoe are two inexplicably beautiful sisters - on the inside and out - that stole our hearts during their brief stay in Singapore.

You won't see a closer pair; the two look like twins and act like best friends, with a bond so strong it would be impossible to replicate.

As they gear up for the next chapter of their lives, with Fio heading off on a quick tour of Southeast Asia, and Zoe heading back to Switzerland to complete her studies, we say goodbye the only way we know how: by inviting them to share some of their favourite songs and memories for this week's edition of The Council Consults.

Fio: When we arrived in Singapore, I asked Zoe, "What is Techno," because she told me she wanted to go to Headquarters. To me, Techno was a foreign concept. However, after Zoe introduced it to me, my love for the music quickly grew. I have spent this last month in Singapore going to HQ at least twice a week and I feel at home when I’m there!

This track by Gerd Janson & Shan, takes me back to two separate nights; The first would be when Demuja was playing, HQ was crowded and I could see the smiles on everyone’s faces as he played a magical set. The second would be when Hunee played at the open-air car park. The atmosphere in the space was unbelievable - an amazingly talented DJ playing in such an unusual location. The added bonus was that there was pizza!

Zoe: I am so grateful that I had discovered Headquarters shortly after my arrival in Singapore. HQ gave me so much, it is a magical place that holds many precious memories for me. This track, Whipped Cream by Homework - well, I recall hearing this as the last song played by Atish before he closed his set and this song - this song is really something. After such a magical night with great vibes all around, I was desperately searching for this song for a week, and when I finally found it I was delighted.

Fio: This song will stay in my heart as the memory of my last Saturday night at Headquarters. Walking into HQ was like entering a bubble of love and happiness; as I walked around and danced all night, at each turn, every person I saw was a friend. After the lights came on, Kong & Gratts continued playing for another half an hour, and we were all dancing in a room full of bright light, absolutely loving it.

Zoe: It's hard to explain what this bright and happy song means to me; to me it is a whole experience, it makes me smile, it reminds me of what HQ is: a place of love, care, friendship, where family is always present for each other. Eileen, you are a Queen, and I am waiting to see you again in Europe!

Fio: One memory that I will cherish from Headquarters for a lifetime, is when Zoe & I heard this song come on. We were sure we knew that song but couldn’t remember what it is. Once we realized it was the one and only Mr Brightside by The Killers. I immediately ran over and hugged Zoe, holding her hand and dancing throughout the song.

Zoé: I looked at Fio, saw her dancing, and couldn’t stop looking at her. She is the most beautiful human I know and I am blessed to have been able to share all these moments with my sister.

With much love, from all of us at The Council, stay beautiful, keep your chins up, Keep Dancing and maybe we'll see you again back at home.

 

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The Council Consults: Jordan, Changing Your Tune

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Jordan, Changing Your Tune

It's about that time of year where people come together & make merry as the festivities chime in, and for one of our favourite dancing monsters, this time of the year marked the discovery of a new world of music.

A year ago as Christmas approached, a friendly, quirky giant hailing all the way from New Zealand stumbled across our humble abode, and wound up rearranging his taste in music and reigniting his passion for dancing; the amicable Jordan - sometimes known as the Kiwi in a sarong - shares his playlist for this week's edition of The Council Consults. 

"The eternal search for a good dance led me to techno last Christmas when I followed my wonderful friends to catch Tijana T. at CATO. That actually sparked my love for the genre, which was quickly cemented two weeks later at Headquarters," Jordan shares about his discovery of our Boat Quay haunt.

Coming from a town that had slightly over 3,000 residents, Jordan spent his formative years listening to punk, drum & bass and hip hop, before breaking into Indie music and other alternative music scenes. Upon moving to our little red dot, he was introduced to several people who opened up a whole new world of music for him.

"My house & techno taste buds are super fresh, and I'm always too far down the dancing rabbit hole to Shazam a song, so here are a few songs that I've put together across my hunt that I hope you will enjoy," Jordan shares about his playlist, "Connan Mockasin is a kid from where I went to university, and I love the way Forever Dolphin Love is such a funked up tune."

Let Jordan share his discovery of music with you through this playlist as you gear up for the closing of another year of debauchery, and if you're looking for a place to dance into the New Year, the doors at Headquarters (now spanning across two floors!) are always open for you.

 

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The Council Consults: Ray, Addicted to Music

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Ray, Addicted to Music

There are moments on the dance floor where the beat peaks, and you find yourself enthralled by euphoria, chills running through your body. As the song comes to a close, and the lights flip on, you find yourself craving more. You have become afflicted, and your diagnosis is musical addiction.

Our next playlist for The Council Consults, comes from Ray, a fresh, young face, who might not be that fresh to the underground dance music scene. Hailing from the beautiful islands of Taiwan, Ray came to Singapore on an internship in the hospitality industry. Once he clocks out for the day however, you can usually find him getting his weekly dose of music on the dance floor.

Having been introduced to house and techno by a friend, Ray found himself addicted to a whole new world of music, but in Taiwan the scene was quite limited. Without any clubs dedicated to the genre, Ray found his fix at house parties, where his friends would take to the decks churning out house, techno and everything in between, and sometimes even taking the party up to the mountains, where they would soak in the springs and bask in the beauty of nature and music.

Coming to Singapore, one of the first things he did was to take to Google to find out where to get his music fix - that’s how he stumbled upon Headquarters.

“I’ll always remember the night with Lauer at 79 Circular Road. There were lots of different types of sounds in his set, and yet everything transitioned smoothly into each other - it didn’t feel complicated or as if he was rushing through any of the songs. The night made me feel a sense of peace and love, where everyone came together to enjoy the music, respecting each other and just having a great time. It was a really magical night,” he shares when asked what some of his favourite memories with The Council were.

For this week’s edition of The Council Consults, Ray puts together a playlist of his favourite tracks that have reeled him and had him mashing the replay button. “Some of the tracks come from really good movies that inspired me a lot, such as Born Slippy by Underworld, which is from Trainspotting - at the time, I didn’t even know what genre this track was, I just really enjoyed it. Another is Sky & Sand by Paul Kalkbrenner from Berlin Calling. I loved the movie and the creativity involved in it. The scene in which he recorded the sounds from the train station and turned it into a track really inspired and moved me!”

Hit play and kick back as Ray shares some of his favourite dance music.

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The Council Consults: Kevin, The Beat Usagi

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Kevin, The Beat Usagi

Dance music production in the local scene is rare but not unheard of – so when we come across a gem of an artist that puts his nose to the grindstone to churn out tracks for us to groove to on the dancefloor, we welcome him with open arms.

Often spotted bobbing to the music, swaying to the melodies and bopping to the beat, Kevin has been an avid supporter of the scene in more ways than one. Tasked to hustle for our leading music magazine JUICE Singapore, as the designated music writer for three years, he took the challenge head on and delved into discovering and unravelling the gems of the local and international acts that took to the stages – regardless of genre.

In his younger years, Kevin found himself already intoxicated by tracks with a pumping pulse – from Kraftwerk and Underworld, to Mondo Grosso and Faithless – he sought out tracks that kept him grooving, “I suspect that at that age, I wasn’t shrewd enough to make the distinction between genres, but the lines between genres became much clearer to me once I started at JUICE. As a self-taught drummer in my early days, house and techno were also natural progressions for me, as I was hopelessly obsessed with beats and rhythms.”

His insatiable urge to chase the beat grew into a need to express himself, and music quickly became a mouthpiece for that; having had musical background in his childhood, he experimented with solo songwriting, before forming the Sapporo Safaris, a nine-piece band that took influences from artists such as Arcade Fire and Of Monsters and Men. The band released two EPs and performed at places such as The Esplanade and the now-defunct Home Club, before calling it a day.

But that was not the end for Kevin, who proceeded to start two solo projects inspired by the indie and the dance scene in Singapore: Bit Usagi and The Beat Usagi. He shares on both, “Bit Usagi panders to my geek fantasies as an 8-bit character from an old Nintendo game, and is a platform for my chiptune and synth-pop desires. The Beat Usagi is my way of venting through crispy hi-hats, cavernous kicks and tingly claps, and is also an effort to invigorate the dance producer scene in Singapore – specifically, with house music in mind.” 

Having spent years covering the local dance music scene as a journalist, he noticed a lapse in the local production circuit, and wanted to see this area flourish, “I create these tracks for myself, for my mates in the scene to play out, and for the future of the producer scene in Singapore.”

Taking inspiration from the likes of DJ Haus, Patrick Topping, Gardens Of God, Hot Since 82, Alan Fitzpatrick and many more, The Beat Usagi has a slew of exciting things in the pipeline for us to look forward to.

Definitely one to watch, Kevin has put together a playlist for The Council Consults in which we asked him to include some of his favourite house & techno tracks alongside his own productions: “Bahns”, the second solo single The Beat Usagi released (mastered by Lindo Martinez) – it might be familiar to some of you as our feisty resident feline dropped it during The Council’s 1st Anniversary Party; and “A Circle (The Beat Usagi Remix)” [mastered by Eddie Niguel], a collaboration with a local musician The Analog Girl.

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The Council Consults: Chantel, Another Fond Farewell

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Chantel, Another Fond Farewell

Another farewell is on the tip of our tongues - how do we keep doing this? We'll hold on to the memories, hugs & kisses on the dancefloor, blurry pictures of silly shenanigans, and we'll hold you fondly in our hearts. 

For this week's The Council Consults, we turn to Chantel, who recently set off from our sunny little island into the streets of London to further her studies in Fine Arts and the History of Art. 

A fresh face to some of you, Chantel was not an avid follower of the scene until early this year, when she attended the debut Plastik Dreams event with ANNA. She reminisces, "Before Plastik Dreams, I found myself disenchanted with the party scene, and so that experience will forever be precious - it really opened a whole new world of music to me."

Just in time too, as she heads into the heart of the UK, surrounded a thriving nightlife scene & parties of a scale we can only dream of - think massive events such as The Warehouse Project, huge events held at spaces such as Printworks, and clubs such as fabric and Egg London - Chantel is all geared up for a new chapter in her adventure. 

Reminiscing one of her favourite nights with The Council, Chantel shared with us before she left, "The night with Lauer up on the rooftop was one of the best nights I remember having; I was in stuck in a bit of a rut with my personal life at the time, so I remember taking a step back and taking all of what was happening in that night - everyone was dancing and the energy was warm and wonderful. I woke up in the morning feeling extra blessed but it was also then when it hit me that I had to leave this familiarity behind when I move."

For now, she leaves us with a playlist of some of her favourite tracks - which we're sure will keep growing as she takes on London.

With love, from The Council, keep your chin up and your spirits higher, Keep Dancing and you're always welcome back at the HomeQuarters.

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The Council Consults: Russell, Thoughts on Music Subcultures

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Russell, Thoughts on Music Subcultures

What is a subculture? A subculture has been defined as a group of people with similar beliefs, ideologies and interests within a larger culture that they are a part of, from there comes movements, initiatives and demonstrations in the name of specific subcultures, telling the story and origins of a particular idea.

With the Fred Perry Subculture Live event coming up, we thought that it would be a good time for Russell to share his perspective on - a personal interest of his - music subcultures in the local context. 

I find that in Asia, there isn't as much documentation about the movements of the different music subcultures. A lot of our knowledge is built primarily on what we know from the internet about the movement's origins in a different country, whereas in the context of Asia, if you have not witnessed or been a part of the movement yourself, it’s hard to find out and understand the history of it,” he says.

Russell has always listened to a spectrum of different genres of dance music, spanning drum & bass, grime, footwork and more. His interest in house music came naturally with his love for house step, whereas his interest in techno was piqued as he began trawling YouTube for Euro graffiti videos - noticing that these videos were overlaid with techno tracks - which made him dig deeper.

Aiming to one day start a platform in Asia that enables people to be able to learn about different subcultures through the sharing of their own personal experiences, Russell explains, “I hope to be able to bridge the gap across different subcultures by allowing people to understand and relate to it, and create a stronger kampung spirit of sorts within the community.”

Join us as Fred Perry Subculture Live returns on Friday, 13 October with a nightlong celebration of music and street culture at the Esplanade Annexe Studio. Featuring a DJ set by Gary Powell, drummer of English rock band The Libertines, as well as performances by local talents Astreal and The Betts, the night is set up to be one to remember.

Once the curtains fall, The Council will be taking over the space for an official after-party, transforming it into an underground rave with your favourite local selectors Julien Brochard, Yadin Moha, Jamie React, & Cats On Crack set to rumble the bassbins all night long.

 

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The Council Consults: Nadirah, In The Zone

By Tessa Mendez

The Council Consults: Nadirah, In The Zone

Have you ever been on the dancefloor, drink in hand, surrounded by familiar faces - and then you hear it, the beginning of a track that pulls you in with a thumping bassline, or a euphoric melody that embraces you like a warm hug. Before you know it, the music fills you up and you can't stop yourself from moving; that's what being in the zone is all about.

We speak to Nadirah (AKA Peanut to some of you) - a dancing queen in her own right who's always dressed as if she had just stepped off the runway and onto the dancefloor - who shares with us a playlist that puts her in the (peanut) zone.

The 'Peanut Zone' is a term that Nadirah has coined over the past few years, she explains more, "I go into a state of euphoria when I am surrounded by beautiful tunes on the dancefloor and I love my space to move freely. A lot of strangers on the dancefloor have come up to me to say never stop moving. The 'Peanut Zone' is a stimulating journey of me at my most comfortable on the dancefloor, moving and being overwhelmed by the music."

Having grown up around a whole lot of different people from various cultures, Nadirah's music taste varied across a spectrum of genres, including hip-hop introduced to her by her brother, rock 'n' roll which was introduced to her by her father, and jazz music when she did a stint of contemporary jazz dance.

Nadirah was introduced to the world of house music 14 years ago; with music being a big part of her life growing up, she's always felt that music is something that will never leave you, and one of the best feelings in the world is losing yourself on the dancefloor, and just completely surrendering to the zone.

For this week's edition of The Council Consults, Nadirah shares five tracks that put her in the zone and are very close to her heart, "The playlist I collated are some of the DJs I have watched & feel very attached to. The playlist also features a track by Ricardo Villalobos, who was the first DJ I saw perform when I first stepped into the party scene." 

 

 

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