03 November 2009
The Accidental Soundguy
You know, sometimes I wonder who actually reads this blog. LOL. Or if my life actually means anything for anyone. But, you know, I've gone down that path many times before. And if I entertain that line of thought, and knowing how it would naturally lead to my totally unglamorous regard for how depressingly uninteresting I am, I'll probably end up going for days without showering and playing Bejeweled non-stop. So that's why I prefer to play my favourite Roisin Murphy or Annie CDs, sing along really loudly to them in the shower and pretend I'm just chewing gum through life for the sake of it. Because life is too short... to be stupid.

Speaking of silly things... I guess this post is about some of the things I've been doing in the past few months but haven't really managed to find time to blog about.


KL Sing Song 2009

Some of you might know that I'm one-third of Troubadours Enterprise, a little initiative I started up with some friends of mine -- singer songwriters Azmyl Yunor and Tan Sei Hon. (That's the three of us in the pic taken by our good friend Johnny McGeorge). We organise this annual concert of singer songwriters called KL Sing Song and we just recently finished organising this year's edition at The Annexe Gallery where I work. We featured 19 singer songwriters altogether and I was the soundguy for the three-day concert. It was kind of stressful work doing the sound and I think I did OK, save for a moment during the first night when I kind of scolded the crowd for not clearing the hall during the line-check for the second set. Blur... Thanks Shieko for taking pics of KL Sing Song... that's me at the sound mixing board.


I'm reading the review for the show by Adrian Yap CK that came out in The Star today. It's nice for a little show like ours to get such nice coverage in the papers... and I think the write-up is a fair assessment of the concert. Except for this line: "KL Sing Song is perhaps an acquired taste for most, with it being such a hardcore display of pure singer-songwriter talents." This notion of "acquired taste" has always been for me a kind of oxymoron. Firstly, are not all tastes acquired? And why should one regard a genre of presentation (in this case, singer songwriters) as an "acquired taste" just because it's minimally staged? I'm not against labelling, but I'm against pigeonholing and putting things into confined boxes, and then saying that it's "an acquired taste" just because people are not used to it. It's more like it's because the music industry and commercial radio and music TV channels have all been artificially engineered to favour the fortunes of bands and good-looking people... if we were blind and ageless, I reckon we'd become better listeners and better at appreciating different genres.

Unfortunately, we're much impaired by our vision and our limited knowledge. We like certain things because we've been conditioned to think in certain ways. But "acquired taste"? If tastes can be acquired, then they certainly can be passed on. It's this perception that we've been trying to overcome... but if writers keep marginalising the performers like this, how can appreciation for the scene grow beyond the niche?


Biz FM Interviews
The two Biz FM interviews I did are online.

Here's one I did for the "In Conversation" segment on 23 Oct 2009. The interviewer asked me to pick 3 songs and talked about them in a general way, plus my life in general... and all that... the three songs I chose were: 1. U2 - "One"; 2. Bjork - "Generous Palmstroke"; and 3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Maps".


Here's an earlier one I did in July. More about talking about my music and writing.


And one of me performing "Tomas" live on radio.



The Gig Report
I don't usually write about the gigs I play at... just because... well... there's not really much to say except "Thank you" to the people who come to watch me play. Although judging from the last few gigs I played at, it really doesn't seem as though people actually make the effort to come and watch me perform. I'm usually the salad to someone else's main course. LOL. But I don't blame anyone for it except myself. I should practise more often... this practice of mine bringing lyric sheets to the stage... aiyoh... it's so slack... I should make the effort to memorise the words and practise my guitar more often.

Of the recent gigs, the ones at Urbanattic and Homegrown were sparsely attended. Siew Eng came to the Homegrown gig! (And also David and Christine!) Which was nice... to see friendly faces in the crowd. Sherry aka Sharidir and Nizam P also played Homegrown that day, and they were amazing of course! Love love love. After Homegrown, Siew Eng and I trotted down the road to Ikea for Swedish meatballs and drool over the furniture... both of us were really infatuated with the queen-size double-bunk bed... I think it's some kind of fetish we both share for sleeping in an elevated position... ha ha ha... moving on... the Urbanattic gig with David was fun. We collaborated on a few songs... which was great. But I have to say... we should have had more time to jam together. It's still kinda hard for me to collaborate with other musicians... I always feel humbled by the gesture that I think I clam up. But I try... I try... LOL.


Last Monday's No Black Tie gig with David and Yuna fared better. But again, I don't think the crowd came to see me specifically. I will always be the salad to someone else's main course. So I gave up trying to please the audience... and played a set of six new songs that I've never performed before. But it didn't matter. I had fun, mainly because it was the day after we finished with KL Sing Song and I wasn't so stressed out. And also because it's always nice to see both David and Yuna perform... they're such nice people with nice voices and nice songs. OMG I love love love. I also played a set of songs with David, which was nice. And sang a cover of "Across The Universe" with David and Yuna to close the night's proceedings. The photo of me David and me taken by Johnny McGeorge.

Hmm... I have maybe two more gigs coming up for the rest of the year. Will blog about that when they come up.


Body 2 Body review
A review of Body 2 Body, the anthology of queer Malaysian writings I co-edited with Pang, was published in the Time Asia November 9 issue. It's also online here. Risky indeed.

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