15 May 2008
Article in The Sun
An article on me came out in The Sun on Wednesday... if you missed it, like I almost did, here's the text of the article.


theSun His | WEDNESDAY MAY 14 2008 p.5

Poetry in song

Jerome Kugan has fufilled his dream of becoming a singer, writes Kimberley Lau

DESPITE launching his first album Songs for A Shadow last month, Jerome Kugan does not really consider himself a musician.

"I wasn’t really a natural when it came to music. Two of my brothers – Abraham and Moses – had better singing. I sang out of tune and out of time,” laughed the 33-year-old.

At age 14 he took two months of organ lessons which he hated. He also claims that he can’t read music.

So what was Kugan thinking when he decided to be a musician?

“I’m not a musician in the strictest sense of the word be-cause I’m not a virtuoso. I can’t play complicated chords on the guitar. The music I make is tailored around the singularity of song ideas, so it’s quite simple. But simple doesn’t mean it has no complexity.

“I’m more of a writer who works with music. I started performing as a poet fi rst,” said the self-proclaimed nerd who used to be obsessed with reading encyclopedias when he was younger.

“Then I got bored and experimented with singing the words. And then along the way, I picked up the guitar and taught myself how to play it,” said Kugan. “But I did have silly dreams of becoming a singer,” he said.

Waist-deep in the music scene, Kugan is known for using a laptop as part of his band. He has won two Cameronian Arts Awards in 2005 for music he composed for the play Ops Ophelia, and is one-third of Troubadours Enterprise: a company that organises singer-songwiter gigs around Kuala Lumpur, including KL Sing Song.

Currently working as a sub-editor for two lifestyle magazines and writing freelance on the side, he still dabbles in poetry and is currently looking for funding to publish his poetry collection Imaginary Poems and his poetry journal Poetika. But words and songs is not all that he likes, as Kugan indulges in cooking once in a while when there’s company.

“I love cooking. I like making pasta dishes, salads dips. But I only do that when there’s a dinner party happening,” he said. Making food for his guests however is a serious affair, with his kitchen and vegetables being off limits to everyone but himself. “I like to know where things are and cut things a certain way. When other people, whom you know have never been in the kitchen, try to be polite and help out, I usually tell them to just sit down.

“It’s better that they just sit down, relax and have a drink or something … that way I don’t have to worry about them cutting the vegetables in a funny shape,” said Kugan, laughing.

On “ordinary days”, he makes simple food so that he does not have to do dishes. “I just make myself simple tuna and pesto sandwiches … you know when you cook alone you don’t want to deal with washing up.”


Kugan on Songs For A Shadow

“WITH this album, I wanted to merge two genres that I love: folk and electronic music,” he explained.“I must admit it’s an unusual mix. For folkies, technology is a big no-no while electronic musicians sometimes feel folk music is a bit too quaint. But I think the two genres really augment each other. “To put them side by side, the human touch of folk music and the machinistic texture of electronic music, for me is like a metaphor for bringing the two different worlds together.”

Lyrics for the 11-track album were written over a span of seven years and based on various experiences.“It’s quite an intro-spective album; a bit emo, a bit poetic, a bit vague, a bit direct.“I’m not sure if it’s an album that’s best enjoyed in big groups of people,” Kugan confessed.

For updates, you can go to jeromekugan.blogspot.com

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