IGNITE! Music Festival Special: Stopgap

"The next song is called Bender, sing along if you know the lyrics," frontman Adin Kindermann said at Stopgap's Baybeats set. What ensued was a mass dance and sing-a-long that fuelled the band to put on an electric show at the Esplanade. When it comes to feel good vibes, this band excels with their tropicalia-laced indie pop-rock. Drawing comparisons with Two Door Cinema Club and tinge of Foals, it's a no-brainer that their songs are catchy and definitely suited for festival listening. We talk to the guys about their distinct sound, growing as a band, and their upcoming show at IGNITE! Music Festival.

Hey guys, what have you been up to these days?

Grayson: We've been working hard on the Crossing Swords release, all through Baybeats till now. So now that thing's are finally starting to calm down a little, we're gonna head back into the studio soon to get working on the upcoming shows, as well as on some new material.

How does it feel to be chosen to play IGNITE! Festival this year?

Adin: Feels great! Feels like people are starting to recognize that we exist. It’s an honor to be invited to play for IGNITE! We/I’ve been to the festival several times as an audience member and it feels great to be there to perform instead this year.

Calvin: I'm definitely excited! IGNITE's one of the bigger shows and I can't wait to see what will unfold this time around!

G: I'm pretty stoked for it! IGNITE has always been one of the bigger names on the music calendar so finally being able to play there is a huge honor for us!

Eldad: It feels awesome, being a student from RP myself, playing IGNITE was something that I did not really think I was going to do, but now that we have been invited to play a festival that has grown since its humble beginnings from when I was a student, it feels pretty awesome.

Your Baybeats 2014 set was certainly a huge milestone – what did you take away from the recent show at the Powerhouse?

A: I think I’ve learnt that a little confidence goes a long way. I used to get really nervous in front of a big crowd but over time I’ve learnt that the best approach is to “just whack”.

C: I have to agree with Adin here. The best way to make sure you aren't nervous is just good old rehearsing and constant practice. One trick I always employ is to imagine that we're always on a big arena stage. That way you've already done the show in your mind.

G: Looking out at the crowd that evening, I learnt how much friends and family can mean for a band. I was pretty wrecked with nervousness before walking onto that massive stage, but the sight of all the familiar faces in the crowd gave me a massive boost of confidence. The people we have around us - friends, family, and fellow musicians have been such a pillar of support for us.

E: It was a very humbling experience when you walk out onto that stage and see so many people just waiting to listen to the music the band has put so much time and effort in making. At that time, I was really just ready to go on stage and hit the drums as hard as I could while putting on a good show with the guys. Overall, it felt like a great sense of achievement that finally all our hard work over the past three years has paid off and a show like this is only the beginning.

Great job on the Crossing Swords single! What else is in the works for Stopgap in the recording studio?

A: Thanks! Hope you liked it! We’re aiming to release an EP by the end of this year; we’re looking at our wallets at the moment and wondering how exactly we’re going to go about it.

Stopgap have certainly championed the post-punk revival sound – what is it that you love about this genre/movement? What other genres would you be interested in exploring? 

A: Genre’s are always so vague and undefined, even though some of our main influences have been or are still post-punk revival bands like The Strokes and Interpol, I’m not sure if what we play can be considered post-punk exactly. We’ve spent a good amount of our teenage years listening to post-punk bands, or at least I have. Personally I love how Julian Casablancas and Paul Banks for example have a certain vocal quality that draws you into their world or deeper into the song. We’ve been toying with different types of rhythms recently, some interesting things might come from that.

C: Personally I find the guitar work on the albums that typify the genre very interesting. The sort of anti guitar solo hero mentality is exactly what I would love to achieve in my own playing and ultimately the band's music. Soukous - also known as Congolese music - has been on my radar recently as well. Such joy in the music!

G: I've always had an inclination for the lighter, dancier stuff. For a little while I was slightly obsessed with French psych-punk too, so that would be a fun little world to explore. Anything that'll get on people's dancing shoes.

You guys have been hard at work since 2011 playing a massive variety of gigs big and small around Singapore. What was the most interesting one so far?

A: I’ll never forget some of our earlier shows back in 2011 when we were really green. Underground pubs, empty bars and everything. Not too long ago we played a set at Lithe Paralogue studio for The Sound of Feeling, there was something about that gig that was magical, something about the intimacy with the audience or how loud it was, I can’t place a finger on it exactly.

G: The one that'll stay with me for a long time will be Lithe Paralogue's Sound of Feeling. I love small intimate gigs like that where everyone is within arms reach. It was loud, sweaty, dark and squeezy. Perfect.

E: The most interesting one was like Grayson said, the Lithe Paralogue show, as it was a small room with a lot of people, but the energy was crazy and it was just an awesome show to play, everything just felt good that night.

What can folks expect in your upcoming show at IGNITE! Music Festival 2014?

C: We've been looking at ways to up the ante compared to our Baybeats set, I’m super excited to unleash the songs!

G: Well, we're still working on it, so anything can happen. There was stuff we weren't able to find space at Baybeats, so you guys might very well see it at Ignite!

E: A lot of energy and some other things that you might have missed out on if you attended the performance at Baybeats

Last question: what ignites you? 

C: Passion. It's the spark and catalyst for anything, big or small.

G: Meeting people. It's always a rush for me to meet new people. Oh, and a nice bowl of tom yam soup.

E: Music and discovery new things that I never knew were out there. Plus a good form of competition in anything with close friends

A: I think fire would definitely ignite me.

IGNITE! Music Festival 2014