11 years together and still going strong, the dynamic A Vacant Affair know a thing or two about how to put on a great, high-energy show - just look at Baybeats 2013 and their recent performance at 100 Bands Festival. One of the early post-hardcore bands in Singapore, they band marked a decade together at Baybeats last year, and we're glad to have them onboard the amazing line-up we have for The Music Market. We ask the lads about being together for so long, their fans, fantasy festivals - only we're not sure whether it's a music of food fest!
Hey guys, what have you been up to these days?
Sup Bandwagon! We’ve been up to a whole bunch actually.
We’re already halfway through 2014, but it’s only starting to feel like a new year for AVA, starting with our performance in June at 100 Bands Festival in Kovan. 100 Bands Festival was the first show we had this year and we were pleasantly surprised at the traction the band has gained fresh off that show. This definitely earned us a few gig opportunities.
We are also in the midst of writing a bunch of songs for our next release, which will most likely be an EP. There have been a handful of songs written since our last record, Reasons To Leave in late 2008, 90% of which hasn’t been recorded. There is a perpetual debate in the band as to whether we should bring out some of these old ideas into the new record or work on a fresh brew of songs altogether. It could end up being a mix of both, who knows?
As for our personal lives, Matthew (singer) is happily married and is getting his flat pretty soon while rest of us are doing what we can to stay on top of things in our respective industries.
Oh and we’re preparing a pretty badass show for The Music Market show this Saturday. We even managed to sneak in a new song in our set!
You guys have been around 10 years! How does that feel?
AMAAAAHAHAYYYYYZING. Actually it’s been 11 years now cuz it’s been a year since our Baybeats 2013 show, which marked our 10th year together as band.
We’ve always viewed ourselves as a gang of friends that have gone through all our trials and tribulations as a noisy band together. Our internal communication is as strong as ever and we increasingly more aware of each individual member’s strengths and weaknesses.
Being friends for so long, we are sensitive to each other’s predisposition as individuals yet we can objectively critique what needs to be done in order to play a good show and/or write what we feel is a good song.
I think that we are #blessed to still be playing in a heavy band despite the surmounting personal commitments that we have to take on in our late 20’s/early 30’s.
The fact that we can still talk like excited teenagers about songs and gigs while having the execution learnt from our experience together is the best feeling ever.
What's the biggest change in Singapore's music scene from when you started out till today?
The local music community has a lot more gig opportunities to play shows these days, especially with government bodies and big organisers diming in for big local shows almost every quarter.
I’ve also noticed the shift from gigs we used to play back in the early 2000’s, which comprised of up to a dozen bands playing shows from afternoon till late night, to gigs nowadays, which comprise of an evening with 3 to 6 bands that play slightly longer sets. I believe this means there has been an emphasis on quality over quantity in gigs of late.
On the other side of the coin, it was fun going to gigs back in the day (old man phrase sia) when you would pay for a ticket and watch so many bands of different genres playing, that you would most likely walk away from one of these shows knowing a type of music that you’ve either never heard before or never seen played in Singapore by a local band before.
What would you do differently if you were a band that just started out today?
We would all have laptops and software to record and send each other demos, upload our stuff very frequently on YouTube, pimp our Spotify page, release lyric videos, release pics on Instagram, keep our supporters engaged on our Facebook page, defer from national service/reservist for as long as possible and tour the region more.
Actually we do all these things already, whenever we can find the time.
Seeing that A Vacant Affair are starting to play more shows in the past year, and if schedules and work weren’t an issue, what would you guys say to touring?
Touring sounds like the best idea ever, looking past our frequently conflicting work schedules.
We would love to play anywhere that hopefully provides good equipment and reasonable renumeration. Philippines has been great to us along with Malaysia.
Indonesia sounds promising, so does Taiwan, Hongkong, Thailand, India and China. Japan sounds like the best idea ever.
Western countries sound great too, however it is of my personal opinion (Rudi here) that these countries are already so saturated with their own self-sustaining industry that it would be horribly competitive for passionate part-timers like ourselves :P
We recently interviewed Phillip Elisha who is a huge follower of you guys, and has always looked forward to all your shows – and surely he’s only one of the many AVA fans who feel the same way! Tell us about your fans and all the people you've met through your performing years – and what you’d like to say to them.
Oh man listing out each and every one here is tough but let’s try do huge consolidated shoutout with some people we’ve met at the top of my head (pardon me if you’re not in the list!)
Yudi, Dawn, Aikland, Ford, Jimmy, Phillip, Fiany, Zak, Zai, Louis, Ben, Bruce, Izdi, Jeremy, Winnie, Adawiyah, Jasmin, Alvin, Donald, Caylynn, Mae, Rayner, Siti, Eunice, Nurul, Marcus and all those people that we’ve seen smiling/rocking out at the back of the venue cuz you’re too shy but we’ve seen your faces at shows consistently – THANKS FOR COMING, YOUR SUPPORT, YOUR BIRTHDAY CARDS, SIGNBOARDS, FANDOM ETC IS UNNECESSARY BUT AMAZING CUZ LEAVES US SMILING WHEN WE ARE IN THE OFFICE DOING OFFICE STUFF, WE HOPE TO SEE YOU GUYS MORE.
CLUB LYFE IS A GREAT LYFE BUT GIG LYFE IS THE BEST.
What can we expect from your show at BTMM? Everyone’s looking forward to the headliners!