While it feels like summer pretty much all year round in Singapore, we are always anticipating the summery sounds from Nigel Lopez’s brainchild Middle Class Cigars. We were in dire need for some feel good tracks to soothe our “Hunchback“.
No Sobs were shed when we first got hold of the glittered cassette decked in bubblegum pink, which looked good enough to eat. The trio – Celine Autumn, Jared Lim and Raphael Ong – were an instant Summertime Gladness hit with the front “Girl”, Celine, breaking hearts while simultaneously sugar coating them with her luscious voice. Here’s an email interview we did with the Catflap kids!
Are you guys an emotional bunch?
Celine: We would say kind of. We have our moments of overthinking and are always anxious over small matters but it works out in the end and I think we balance each other out.
When was the exact moment you guys decided to name your band Sobs? Was it after watching this scene from Futurama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK3PWHxoT_E
Celine: I don’t think there was an exact moment but it was after months of joking about changing our band name until we had to release the EP and no one had any better ideas for a name. I would always reply to messages with “sobs” and it kind of stuck.
Raphael: I just watched the Futurama scene… *sobs*
On a serious note, how was the band formed and what are your histories individually?
Jared: The band was formed when Celine and I started working on new music ideas that were a different genre from our electronic project at the time. Raphael heard the initial Sobs demos and thought they were good so things fell into place shortly after that. I’ve always been kind of making for myself and posting it on Soundcloud for fun and it’s mostly electronic stuff and that lead to the aforementioned project and meeting Celine.
Celine: Personally for me, I have evolved quite a bit in my taste in music. I went through metal, rock and folk phases. Before I started writing for the current projects, I was actually doing singer-songwriter/folk.
Raphael: I’ve been working in music over the past few years as a music photographer and at streaming service Rdio (RIP) and subsequently #vinyloftheday, but I never thought I’d ever be in a band or be making music. Late last year, I joined Middle Class Cigars and ran it together with founder Nigel Lopez as the label’s creative director – I think having the chance to work so closely with bands and musicians gave me a look into their creative process and definitely inspired me to try being part of it too.
How does it feel to be a part of Middle Class Cigars?
Jared: Being a part of the Middle Class Cigars roster is honestly an honour as I personally am a huge fan of what Nigel is doing to promote local music both regionally and internationally and I think he sets a good example for other bands looking to build their presence and market themselves.
How would you describe your music to the uninitiated?
Jared: Pop Music for Everyone
Any major local or regional influences to your music?
Raphael: Everyone in the band has such diverse musical tastes that it’s difficult to pinpoint our influences – I think we unconsciously draw inspiration from all the music we listen to, but at the same time work towards a sound that’s fresh and unique that we can call our own.
Jared and I really love our local dream pop heroes Pleasantry – they’ve played a huge part in our lives growing up. At least for me, I wouldn’t know where I’d be today if it were not for the music of bands like Pleasantry and Obedient Wives Club and countless other local indie pop bands.
If you could pick a regional band to perform alongside you for an exclusive show, who would they be and why?
Raphael: Manila’s fuzz-pop darlings The Buildings, because Asia needs more fun, weird, noisy pop shows!
Your debut EP was pretty well received when it debuted recently, having featured in websites such as The 405. Do you guys think after having received such positive reviews, it will create a sense of expectation for your next releases where the masses would expect you to churn out quality music which in turn would minimise your creative processes?
Jared: Maybe some people might have some high expectations but I definitely think they shouldn’t… We just started and don’t really know what we’re doing yet, still figuring out what kind of sound we want to pursue. I’m mostly just grateful for the attentionCatflapis getting from the press coverage, trying not to think about having to live up to any expectations. We went into the making and release of this EP not thinking about that stuff because we knew no one was looking forward to it so it might be different now. But most likely no one is going to look forward to the next one either so it’s all good ~
As we round up this interview and the summer, let us sit back and chill out at our balcony with a few good Sobs tracks and great company. The feel good tracks can still last us till their next release especially when we feel like rewinding the summer of 2017.
Stream or purchase the digital EP here because sadly, all 35 limited copies of Catflap are out! *sobs*:
Surface pieces are interviews with individuals or collectives that makes up the local or regional creative scene.