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Syndicate: The Third Anniversary


Local audio-visual collective Syndicate has always been about pushing the boundaries of experimentation and art, marrying cerebral (and often times mind-bending) visual art with only the best music Singapore has to offer. 

For the past year they've been involved in a great number of memorable projects and collaborations such as the unforgettable Fred Perry Sub-Sonic Live @ The Court. They've also overseen some of the best local releases over the past year, including Gema's Before and Octover's recent outing.

Quite an achievement, considering that the Syndicate brand started out only as a monthly event at Home Club. Tomorrow they'll be returning to where it all started to give cheers to three years of outstanding work - and what better way to celebrate than inviting their friends and compatriots from other electronic music collectives? All we know is that it'll be a full-on affair doused in spectacular music and incredible visual art.  

We speak to the artistes performing at the event about what makes Syndicate so special and opine on the relationship between audio and visual elements.


GEMA 

How did you first come to know about Syndicate? 

Funny story, I actually didn't know anything about Singapore's electronic music culture at all. All I did was produce music in my bedroom and upload them on youtube with visuals for my own stuff. A friend of mine posted one of my youtube videos on Syndicate's wall and that’s how everything started. 

What does Syndicate represent to you? 

Syndicate is a group of like-minded people, different individuals doing their own thing but at the end of the day it somehow syncs with the representation of the collective. 

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements?

I think the two stand strong own their own, but if curated carefully, something simple could really have an impact on the audience. For me, a simple approach to visualization of a live set is the way to go. For example Nosaj Thing's debut a/v set caught on really quickly and recently Scuba's live visual setup was minimal but the programming was spot on. Shows like Amon Tobin are different, the production is excellent but it would be hard to enjoy it musically. 

How important is visual art to your own music? 

It's different nowadays, starting out from 2 years ago (Last Kitsch Empire) when I had a very strong idea of how the music and visual should be. But now all I think is about how to get the perfect kick, eq-ing and all that. I've became biased to the music side of things, it's not bad in any way. Being more focused and leaving the visual mind gives me the opportunity to work with other visualists, lighting designers and have a second opinion on things. 

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

Locally it’s starting to pick up, people are open and no doubt the scene would be ongoing if there's proper support from everyone. Many great bedroom producers are coming out and have their music heard thanks to the internet and local communities pushing each other on. What I would like to see in the near future is a culture built from the scene, and I know it will take a long time or it will never happen at all, but that’s very much what I would like to see happen. 


Syafii

How did you first come to know about Syndicate?

Kiat told me about it shortly before the first Syndicate night. Coming from the guy who ran the seminal guerrilla drum and bass nights of the late '90s, I couldn't have been more excited about it.

What does Syndicate represent to you?

Many things:

- A Voltron-esque entity made up of a diverse group of forward-thinking electronic musicians, DJs and visual artists.

- An institution dedicated to promoting the growth of local electronic music and visual culture.

- A bunch of cool guys and a girl who know how to throw a good party.

In your own words, tell us about the relationship between audio and visual elements in a live performance.

At worst, the elements are disjointed, with one distracting and diminishing the appreciation of the other.

At best, the elements interact, complement and enrich one another to form a cohesive experience. Head to any Syndicate night, especially the Sub Sessions, for a taste of what this is like.

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

The scene has never been healthier and I expect things to only improve.

What's happening this weekend is a great snapshot of the current state of affairs: Three parties (Good Times, Syndicate and Sundays At The Training Shed) happening consecutively over three days, showcasing different kinds of music, featuring inter-collaborating DJs and performers from different collectives. Shiok!

As for the future, I'd like to see the ratio of DJs to Producers evening out.

FAUXE

How did you first come to know about Syndicate?


I came to know about Syndicate last year while surfing through Facebook. It was when I first created an account for Fauxe and was basically adding people who were either interested or were producing electronic music themselves.

What does Syndicate represent to you?


Well truthfully, there hasn’t been much of an impact that Syndicate has made on me. Though if you were to talk about Syndicate in general, all I can say is that they must have been sticking to their principles well enough to be here for 3 years. I cant say much as I don’t know much about Syndicate. I would rather not say anything about things I don’t know.

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements?

I think when you have a piece of music which is audibly sensational, the visual aspects of it comes in naturally. When we hear something good, we start to vividly imagine colours,  images, etc. This is a very human thing to experience. So to be able to come to a show and have a spectacular audio-visual production live, shows that audio and visual works hand in hand perfectly.

How important is visual art to your own music? 

Well I guess it adds to the emotions and ambience of the tracks that I play live along with the effects I use to change the textures of the song. Its always good to see awesome visuals accompanied with amazing music!

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

So far I definitely see a slow but growing change in the electronic music scene. More people are starting to come out with new and fresh music from their bedroom, studio, etc. It's good to see that Singapore has its own pool of electronic producers. 

What I would want to see though is a sense of community love in this scene. I don’t see that at all. It almost feels like you support your own crew and you leave the rest behind. I mean if we live in the States where there are many many people who do electronic music, I think one crew is big enough to support each other. However, we are such a small group of people here so if we don’t support each other, it will always feel like you’re alone here in this “scene”. I wouldn’t call it a scene really. More like groups of people who do electronic music. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there who strive to bring all this together. I have met many people who’s hearts and interest aren’t bounded by money, egos, etc. Its all about one common goal, which is the music, cause that’s what it should have always been all this while. 


DJ CHUNK

How did you first come to know about Syndicate? 

From the founders Cherry and Kiat. 

What does Syndicate represent to you?

Pushing independent electronic music in Singapore through collaborations with all types of electronic music fiends. 

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements?

I feel it is very relevant especially with electronic music, it adds another dimension to the experience and you get this feeling of the visuals and music working in harmony.

How important is visual art to your own music? 

Haven't really thought about this, at the moment I would say not that important although I have always thought about trying some video DJing. 

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

I think the electronic music scene will keep growing and get bigger. With all the tech gadgets coming out now it really is making it more accessible for the younger generation to pick up DJing or music production and these are very suited to electronic music. I would like to see some electronic improv stuff going down with a mix of people from different musical backgrounds and maybe some electronic music pioneer come to town to play or talk about their experience, some of the guys from Kraftwerk or Giorgio Moroder. 

Zeratone

How did you first come to know about Syndicate?
Back in 2011, I heard Kid Kanevil was in town for a performance for Syndicate. Went down to check it out & I've been going to most of their nights ever since.

What does Syndicate represent to you?

A collection of forward thinking & talented musicians & visual artists representing the future of Singapore.

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements? 

Particularly for LIVE shows, visual elements make a huge difference for the overall experience of a set. If done right, it definitely helps to set the vibes right for the night and gives your music/ performance much more of an impact.

It doesn't make a bad set good but it makes a good set that much more special.

How important is visual art to your own music? 

I haven't had the opportunity to really work with visuals specifically for my own DJ sets. But I'm sure once I start playing LIVE sets or bigger shows, visuals would definitely be a priority and not just a bonus to have.

It's important as artists to continue to do bigger things & give your fans the best experience possible each and every gig you play. Having great visuals definitely takes your sets to another level.

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years/What would you like to see happen in the electronic music scene in the near future?

Singapore takeover. It's just a matter of time that we'll see a bunch of Singaporeans making it big out there in the international scene. We'll then be placed in a great position to make bigger things happen locally & in turn raise the standards of the local scene.


NORMAN C

How did you first come to know about Syndicate?

I have known their founding members Kiat and Cherry from back in the day which is how I came to know about Syndicate.

What does Syndicate represent to you?

Syndicate represents an alternative to mainstream electronic dance music and club culture, a source of quality music and a platform for both emerging and established talents.

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements?

I think audio and visual elements can hardly be separated these days. Whether we are talking about visuals that we see in a club or music videos on MTV or Youtube, having both elements is far more engaging to the senses than just one.

How important is visual art to your own music? 

Very important. I've had the opportunity to work with some great visual artistes and have witnessed the positive effects that it has. It is always better with visuals.

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

I think electronic music will be bigger than before considering how it has found its way into most music genres that we hear today. What I would like to see happen is a greater recognition of electronic music as an art form and a higher level of appreciation.


GERALD ANG

How did you first come to know about Syndicate?

A few of the Syndicate folks are friends and that's how I came to know about Syndicate.

What does Syndicate represent to you?

Syndicate represents great people, visionary creativity that pushes boundaries and collaborative music/artistic achievements that Singapore should be proud of.

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements?

When tastefully done, each element is complementary and the combination creates a stronger overall experience.

How important is visual art to your own music? 

It always has been music first for me because that my first love. But in perspective of the overall experience for the audience listening and watching a video online or at an event, visuals play an equally important role. One enhances the other.

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

The local electronic music scene can only get better. If we don't think it will, who else will? Through hard work, passion, right talent and attitude, we hope that this will lead to hunger for evolution and new creativity of quality, not quantity. With regards to what I like to see happen in the future, I would like to see more collaboration. This already exists, but I think we can never have enough of it. With the right focus, the more we get together, the better we'll be.


FUNK BAST*RD

How did you first come to know about Syndicate?

Interestingly enough, Shellsuit from Pushin'On and I used to throw this series of party called Bake and Shake at Night and Day some 3-4 years ago. We invited Kiat and a very young Izaak Stern to perform, and it was quite magical how Kiat had a similar idea of creating a platform which eventually came to life in the form of Syndicate.

What does Syndicate represent to you?

It represents to me, an important component of this cosmos which all of us are trying to create in our own ways.

In your opinion, what is the relationship between audio and visual elements?

They are both inter-wined and they feed off each other in so many ways.

How important is visual art to your own music? 

I think visual elements could almost become a kind of 'brief' or a starting reference point in the production process of a song.

Where do you think the local electronic music scene will be in the oncoming years? What would you like to see in the future?

It's really hard to say to be honest, especially how social media plays such a huge but volatile part in determining its DNA, but I remain positive and hopeful!


Syndicate: The Third Anniversary
2 Feb 2013, Saturday
10PM-4AM
Home Club
Admission: $15 (with 1 drink)

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