A series of exciting underground shows is headed our way

Even with the influx of massive, arena-scaled shows that have taken place on our shores in the past few months — counting big names like Ed Sheeran, Muse and Bon Jovi among others — there's always time to catch emerging and mid-to-lower tier acts, whose travels to our side of the world is a bigger and costlier endeavour

Aside from the generous portions of indie-centric acts on Laneway, The Gathering and the upcoming Neon Lights, there haven't been many shows that cater to a smaller, more discerning crowd. Whether if its our lack of midsized venues that hinders it or the diminishing returns for such bands to tour our region, shows like that are pertinent to experiencing a growing worldwide independent scene.

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Shows like these are a guaranteed risk — costs may vary and with an already modest market for live music in Singapore, in relation to the size of our population, therein lies an even smaller market for such shows.

We've interviewed Melissa Yong, the brains behind promoter Other Sounds, who has made it her undying quest to bring in emerging international talents, from a spectrum of genres that range from post-punk to noise and indie pop. While there was never really a clear modus operandi behind her shows, just like most promoters here, she's crafting her vision into a series of shows that — we hope — will continue to grow and expand in the coming year. Curiously titled Sleepwalker, it's the ultimate embodiment of Melissa's determination to bring in strong alternative acts. 

Introducing the series with experimental punk band The Garden this month, this series will bring in some of the freshest and most exciting underground acts around the world — whether if it's a band that styles their music as 'Vada Vada' or if they're a psychedelic rock band all the way from Greece. She's even managed to get indie darling Perfume Genius, who was supposed to perform at last year's cancelled sophomore Hostess event. Of course, she hasn't forgotten Singaporean talent as well, with local producer Yeule opening for The Garden.

Sourcing out venues that would suit each act, aside from the usual suspects, she promises to make each Sleepwalker show a wholly unique experience. Here's what the Other Sounds founder has to say about Sleepwalker.

Where does the name come from?

‘Sleepwalker’ was named after a couple of really cool songs by (psychedelic rock bands) Moon Duo and also King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. It was really just the name of the playlist (which includes the two songs) which I’d been listening to heaps when putting the shows together.

Nothing profound really, but I guess you could say that there’s a lot more going on — a whole ‘nother fantastical dimension (of good music at cool spaces, ha) — if you just let yourself wander and explore. In putting these shows together, I wanted to bring alternative music to Singapore in yet undiscovered venues, for everyone to step out of malls and movie theatres and into something bigger, something real and challenging.

Greek psychedelic rock band Acid Baby Jesus, who will be performing in Singapore in November as part of the Sleepwalker series.

What is it about each artist that excites you, particularly as a music fan?

I like that each band is so different, that they are each doing their own thing. 'Vada Vada’ for example, is The Garden’s own world which they created to define their own sound and escape being pigeonholed: “An idea that represents pure creative expression, that disregards all previously made genres and ideals” - Wyatt Shears (The Garden), 2015

Acid Baby Jesus are on another planet altogether, while Perfume Genius lets us so closely into his. It’s really exciting to me, I really appreciate the authenticity.


Who else would you like to bring under the Sleepwalker banner and why?

Oh my gosh, this is an impossible question! Looking forward, I’d really like to bring the series back next year. The list could go on and on but if you want an indication of bands we’ve been listening to (which is a good indication of our goals for upcoming shows), our playlists are a good place to start! ;)

What can we expect from a Sleepwalker show?

Aside from obviously the amazing music, we're really excited about the new venues we’ve found — expect a whole and entirely immersive experience. And of course a lot of love, always a lot of love.

The first band on the Sleepwalker series, The Garden, performs on October 11 at 50 Lorong 17 Geylang, with Acid Baby Jesus playing at Lucky Plaza on November 4 and Perfume Genius on December 4 at TAB.