There isn’t really a dearth of talent in Singapore if you actually allow yourself some time to explore the abundance of acts that are prolifically churning out excellent new materials. I’ve always believed that the lack of talent isn’t really the issue here, rather the issue really lies within the lack of awareness among consumers.
One of the local acts that has impressed and has gained quite a traction in the digital world recently is Subsonic Eye. But don’t take my word for it, the proof is evident from their recently released track “Cosmic Realignment”.
Aroused by curiosity again, I reached out to the band with a few questions and was met with a really quick yet pleasant response from their guitarist, Dan! Below is the result of our exchange.
How did Subsonic Eye come about? What inspired you guys to start a dream-pop band?
Wahidah and I are classmates in polytechnic so that’s how we got to know each other. Last year, we had a band of with just a few friends and we only played open-mics. Nothing really serious.
Wahidah and I both love lo-fi and reverb. So we made a song with those two heavily present, and our first single “I Wish I Was Floating Instead” was made(it’s the first ever song on our bandcamp with the pink album art). We pitched it to our current band at the time, and they said there was too much reverb and the track was distorting. We liked the song too much to change it so we just formed our own band called ‘Subsonic Eye’.
We thought ‘Subsonic’ would be cool because there’s that spacey vibe to the name, and we just added ‘Eye’ along with it for no apparent reason.. We didn’t really exactly have dream-pop in mind at the time when we formed this band. We just made music we ourselves would listen to, and I guess naturally it kind of fell into ‘dream-pop’.
What are the kind of music that the members of the band usually listen to? Does it have any influence to the tracks the band produced?
I like a fair bit of dream-pop, emo, and a lot of RunForCover-esque bands. My favourite bands used Jazzmaster guitars so I worked for months for one. Having a jazzmaster, somehow changed my playing style to be more simple and melodic in my opinion. I guess that heavily affects the melodies and chords I play on the guitar and especially the way I structure the songs.
Wahidah’s (vocals & synth) taste spans from like local skramz band Rûth to Kendrick Lamar to Björk. She also likes a lot of weird stuff. Though, it doesn’t really affect how she sings and just sings however she wants to, and it always sounds right. The ideas for the synth lines just come to her naturally the moment she hears the guitar lines. She’s really talented.
Russell (drummer) likes a mix of jazz, math-rock and “indie”. He usually drums all that complicated time-signature stuff but ever since he got into Turnover’s Peripheral Vision record, his playing has been more simple hahaha and I guess that really affects how he plays now. But he’s one of the most expressful drummers I know.
Spencer (bassist) likes jazz and funk. We constantly have to stop him from doing slapping on the bass. Damnit Spencer. But I think because of those influences, his live playing has a lot of feel. Can really see from his face hahaha. He’s damn tight.
Nat’s (guitarist) likes a lot of Top 40’s and occasionally goes to the market to buy those CDs with the hit singles from like 2007-2010. Weird boy. He started out playing the banjo and I guess that influenced his guitar playing. I think because of that, we have a lot of chemistry when we play. The things he come up with really really compliment the songs. He was the last piece of the puzzle this band needed.
Your EP “Cosmic Realignment” is due soon, how different will this be from your previous release “We Feel Ethereal After Midnight”? We noticed there’s an additional guitarist?
Yeah, Nat’s the newest addition and he’s such a blessing. The thing with the first EP was that it was just Wahidah and I so it was kind of limiting. But now with the upcoming EP, we have Spencer, Russell and Nat to help out so there’s more creative minds.
I know it’s cliché to say but we’re definitely maturing in our sound as it’s been almost a year since the last EP and we’ve experienced a lot of things since then. With the new EP, we’re trying to kind of branch out a bit to other genres while still keeping that dream-pop element.
Having been together fairly recently, what do you guys think of the current local music scene?
We think it’s cool that there’s a lot more organisers and promoters now and many more people getting into the local music scene. Also it’s pretty cool how diversified it is now and how open people are. Like at most of our shows, we’re playing alongside heavy bands and that’s damn sick.
Lastly, if you could pick 2 shoegaze bands (local or international) to play alongside you in a gig, who would they be and why?
One band Wahidah and I have always liked is Hong Kong shoegaze band ‘Thud‘. We’re big fans and we love the sonic landscapes they create. Coincidentally they’re coming to Singapore to play at the Esplanade for free this month!!!!!
Although they aren’t really shoegaze, we all would really love to play with Pleasantry. They’re one of our biggest influences.
Subsonic Eye, watch out for them soon.
UPDATE: Subsonic Eye will be one of the acts for our next TROPOS series, TROPOS 3.0 on 30th July 2016 at the new The Analog Factory space in *SCAPE. Grab your tickets online at tropos30.peatix.com. More details here.
Surface pieces are interviews with individuals or collectives that makes up the local or regional creative scene.