Presented by Singapore Tourism Board
When you think of Electronic Dance Music, what usually follows are flashing lights, glowing dance floors, and a sea of people dancing. A genre of music that encompasses a variety of styles and sounds, Electronic Dance Music makes use of drumbeats and synthesised rhythms, and the distinctly electrifying musical style fosters an atmosphere of fun and excitement that transcends the barriers of language and culture.
Through the years, it has become one of the fastest growing genres, with artists like Steve Aoki, Hardwell, and Armin Van Buuren dominating the music industry.
Singapore’s Electronic Dance Music scene has also risen up the ranks, springing up a variety of festivals and of course, inspiring many artists to create their own unique brand of music – one of them being MYRNE.
Innovative, dedicated, and a musician in every sense of the word, MYRNE has become one of Singapore’s top Electronic Dance Music acts. The award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist is known for his intricately chill yet energetic sounds, often reminiscent of summer festivals.
Armed with his innate knack for music and signature sound, the ‘Wandering’ hitmaker has performed at prominent stages all across the globe, from Ultra Miami in the US to Tomorrowland in Belgium.
Despite having travelled all over the world, MYRNE still takes refuge at home, finding gems of creativity and pockets of inspiration littered all over Singapore. From the serene green views at Henderson Waves, to the radiant streets of Chinatown and the calming waves of water seen from the Riverboat Cruise, the country is filled with spaces and experiences yet to be discovered.
“Life drives art. It’s impossible to stay at home every single day, writing music, and have regular breakthroughs. A lot of music like that will end up as mimicry, or extremely technical. For me, [I draw inspiration from] just regular life - friends, relationships, travel, conversations, revelations, and things that happen throughout the world,” MYRNE tells Bandwagon.
As a homage to the sunny little island he calls home, MYRNE recently filmed a video series exploring some of the spaces in Singapore that everyone can rediscover through his live music sets.
Created to showcase some of Singapore's familiar sites in a new light, MYRNE uses music and the city’s natural and cultural landscapes to mould a new experience of some of our favourite places.
First up is Chinatown, one of the Singapore’s ever-constant beating hearts. Full of city sounds and unforgettable experiences, Chinatown is the place to go for good food memories and hidden spots where you can soak up some of Singapore’s rich culture.
Next is Henderson Waves. Meant to bring together the peace of nature and liveliness of the city, MYRNE’s performance gels with lush greenery surrounding the architecturally prominent bridge that sits in the middle of Southern Ridges, a frequent spot for morning jogs and weekend hikes.
To round up the list is the Riverboat Cruise, a familiar sight on Singapore’s waterways yet a unique first experience for many Singaporeans despite having grown up in the city-state. Performing on a constantly moving boat against iconic landmarks such as Clarke Quay, Marina Bay Sands, and the Merlion, watch as MYRNE channels the lambent energy of Singapore in his live sets.
Performing a set at each iconic location, the recent Youth Music Awards winner's music was inspired and amplified by every space.
“Most of it is quiet accompaniment to the visual wonder of these locations. For myself, music exists to glorify the centre stage, but never take it. Everyone experiences music differently, but when filming these sets I just felt a sense of adventure and exploration. [The music I played] correlates to different moods, and the thought process was as simple as ‘What would I like to hear on a sky-high bridge at 7am in the morning,” says MYRNE.
Bandwagon spoke with MYRNE about his performances across the country, his creative process, and how he finds inspiration in the nooks and crevices of Singapore.
Hi MYRNE, congratulations on your latest win with Duumu for Best Electronic Single of the Year at the Youth Music Awards 2021. How did you feel about the win?
It felt great! Both of us weren’t really expecting it, it was just a little song we both had fun making. It was also heartening to see how diverse the local music scene has become.
In 2020, you released an EP and 5 singles. What was the creative process like leading up to the release of so much music in a year when the world was in lockdown?
It felt pretty easy - wherever I could, I tried to keep to the schedules I had before lockdown, like taking walks, hiking, exploring, and connecting virtually with friends often. Listening to music, producing music, or even talking about music inspires me greatly, and it’s easy to keep writing.
You’ve performed at some of the biggest international festivals like Ultra Miami and Tomorrowland and had the opportunity to travel widely. With the travel lockdown, how have you had to readjust your mindset when producing and performing music today vs. 2 years ago?
It usually comes in cycles - the stay-at-home producer yearns to play shows, and the touring troubadour wishes for weeks of uninterrupted rest. My situation could be a lot worse, and it’s not terrible staying at home surrounded by friends and family.
Is it different creating and producing in Singapore compared to other countries?
The biggest difference would be that there aren’t as many spontaneous events, shows, and things that happen late; in music hubs around the world, I also feel a sense of pressure as if I’m not working hard enough, or that I ought to be more productive. In Singapore, I feel at ease, and I’m able to write and create at my own pace.
You will be releasing a series of videos where you filmed live performances all across Singapore, from sunrise to sunset. What from the 3 spaces inspired you while you were preparing for the performances? Was there a moment you remember most vividly while performing?
We just wanted a set of diverse, interesting locations, to give a glimpse of the rest of Singapore that aren’t as popular on the world stage. These are also places I grew up in, or regularly frequent, so they mean something a little to me, personally.
My favourite moment was definitely the fact that we were atop Henderson Waves at 7am, and it already had people trying to get a workout in! Looks like a preferred spot for people to exercise. I also had some pangs of nostalgia when I was filming on top of People’s Park Complex - I used to frequent several bars that used to be on the top floor.
What were some surprising things you discovered about the spaces while performing there?
Prior to the sets, I had never taken the Riverboat Cruise before. It was my first time and an eye-opener! It’s not something I would have thought of going for but it was interesting to get to sail around Singapore and have a view of the different attraction points.
You stream your sets online plenty. How will these compare to your live sets in terms of environment and interaction with your fans?
I think it’s nice for listeners to see something more interesting than a tiny bedroom. Streamed sets are obviously more fun since I can interact with stream chat a bit more, but something scenic like these shows brings a more visual element that I’m excited to explore.
There’s definitely been a recent trend of [filming live scenic sets] that inspired this whole idea but for me, it aligns pretty well with my musical philosophy. That is, music is best enjoyed as an accompaniment to whatever is in front of you, and not by itself. In filming these sets I wanted to give some visual context, or really just something to look at rather than sitting at home staring at me in front of a green screen.
Did you discover or rediscover any places in Singapore as a result of being home more often due to the COVID-19 pandemic? What are some of these places and what about them were interesting for you?
Surprisingly, I stayed home during most of the lockdown! When restrictions eased I made a point to see as many hiking trails as I could - one thing that regularly inspired me while touring was trying to walk everywhere I could. There was a lot of nostalgia visiting the trails in MacRitchie Reservoir and the Dairy Farm trails, because I used to frequent those a lot as a kid.
Any words of advice for producers and DJs who want to keep their passion for music alive but might feel like they’re stuck in a rut?
For anyone getting feeling unsure, I’d say do away with the to-do lists, discrete goals, and the pressure you put on yourselves. There’s no point in forcing yourself to write “one track a day” if you’re not inspired, or if you’re not going outside to experience the world.
Any new music or projects that your fans can look forward to in 2021?
In a homage to club culture (RIP) I remixed a couple of songs off my Wandering EP, to add a late-night groove to it. I’m also curating my own mix series on Apple Music, titled ‘Wayfarer’ - it’s a selection of dancey, long-form electronic songs that I enjoy listening to on my travels or when I’m on the move. Lastly, I have a lot of music - originals and collabs with artists I love - that I’m sitting on, perfecting every last detail.
While travelling looks a little different this year, the spirit of adventure and exploration is still headstrong with new places and spaces to discover all around Singapore. Whether it’s hiking up Henderson Waves for one of the best spots to get a panoramic view of Singapore; or riding the Riverboat Cruise, a literal scenic route through the city’s history; or walking down the weaving maze of streets and cultural memories in Chinatown, the city is filled with an array of experiences to quench your wanderlust.
Re-visit and re-discover all the beauty and music that Singapore has to offer with the first of MYRNE’s performance series at Chinatown here.