Sunday, August 31, 2008

Riding a Star.

Well, The Star Newspaper, at least -

*chuckles*The above is a cover article for Star R.AGE last week! I said a lot of things....but these were the stuff that made it on print!

Aside that, a supp video was also posted on The Star Online a couple of days ago:

Lemme know what you think! Because if you think that this sort of video content appeals to the youth of this generation, shout it out! The Star is waiting for the green light and will continue with its efforts if only you SAY something!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Uncut

I got interviewed! So here's the scoop before it appears on print! ;) Not sure how much will be edited but, here's the uncut.

- when did u start playing music?

Broad question, this. I started playing music (piano, in particular), when I was 8 years old, but I'd already written my first song two years before. My mom knew basic chords on the organ (she never learnt music), and so I’d watched her ‘play by ear’ for the longest of times. Soon, the little rhymes I used to scribble on the corners of newspapers (and any other draft paper I could find) began to develop melodies and I could almost hear the music accompaniment in my head. Needless to say though, the end-product then, was horrid-sounding and poorly structured! (laughs) I’m not ashamed to say that these ‘experiments’ still go on to this day! I stopped piano lessons shortly after - when my teacher moved away. However, music was such a part of my life that I could never let it go. I kept abusing the poor black and whites, slowly teaching myself chords - as I was hopeless at reading notes. But as I progressed that way, so did my singing and songwriting. So, technically, I have no idea when I started this whole thing – it could’ve been when I was that timid 8-year-old who saw the piano as this intimidating monster with black and white teeth; or it could’ve been when I finally realized how badly I wanted music to fit into my future.

- who are ur biggest musical influences?

Yet another broad question! I wouldn’t say I’ve listened to much in my time – heck, I’m still pretty new to this (in comparison to the greats)! Seeing as I’m still discovering a sound that I’m comfortable with, I listen to a wide range of genres. But in terms of songwriting, one of my major influences would be Switchfoot, definitely. I’ve been into them since I was a wee 11 year old. My main reasons would be that their lyrics are weighty. They have a compelling story (or message) behind them - something I long to carry in my own compositions. They’re the kind of songs that you can get into at first listen, and yet at say, the tenth play, you’re still able to get that “eureka!” moment: jump up and go, “Gosh, that totally makes sense!” Other bands that have songs with weighty lyrics would be The Goo Goo Dolls, David Crowder Band, John Mayer, Lifehouse, Alanis Morisette and the likes. There are “quieter” profiles I listen to, whom I think are absolutely brilliant: Deb Talan, Ingrid Michaelson, Nizlopi (they’re pretty big in the UK), Jonatha Brooke, Damien Rice, Regina Spektor, KT Tunstall (before her fame). Aside that, I’m also quite hooked to several amazing one-hit-wonders of the ‘90s (namely stuff from The Verved Pipe, The Verve, LFO, Shawn Mullins, Semisonic, Toploader, Puddle of Mudd, etcetera) and as of late, I get my jazz fixes from Jamie Cullum, John Legend and Michael Buble! Jazz is hardly pretentious – most songs speak of life in candid thoughts; something I strive to achieve in my own music as well. I have more names to cough out but the artistes I mentioned so far are the stronger influences in Phoebe-orbit at present.

- describe your brand of music.

I can’t place a brand for my music per se. Not now, at least. I’m still discovering my sound. But recently, I’ve found myself dabbling more into acoustic stuff, especially for gigs. I doubt I’ll stay in this genre for too long though. What I see myself getting into is a fusion of funk, rock and acoustic sounds. My first few tries are going to be messy, but I intend to get there somehow!

- where do u get your inspiration to write music from?


I write about my hero, my little brother (who is autistic), relationships, love and life. I write of dreams yet achieved, about a song I’ve listened to, a dead sparrow or of a weed surviving through a fine crack in concrete. I try to relate things I see to things I’ve experienced. I’ve noticed that, with me, there is always this constant search for perfection and its owner. So from that thought-flow, I tend to write a lot about ideals and how much we fall short. For example: Personified disappointment seems to be the raging theme with me now. (laughs) What I mean to say is that I prefer to see disappointment as a person. A person I can turn away from and move on. And, yes, I confess! In secret, some of the songs I write are therapeutic for me personally. Tapping from emotions of the past can be painful when writing a song, especially when you want so badly to grab the uncut moment. But it pays off when you can come up with a piece you can be proud of!

- can u tell us some of the most memorable moments you've had when performing?

I was singing for a youth camp last December and there were about 600 participants present. I really don’t know how to describe the feeling on stage – but to be able to see that many young people singing in unison (alongside me and my band) about our passion in life was AMAZING! Something I hope I will NEVER forget should I ever take on larger audiences.

- what is the local indie music scene like these days?

It’s hard to say. The indie music scene here has been thriving as of late. I’ve had opportunities to work with great singers and musicians – so I know the quality of the field is definitely higher. To those who haven’t tested the waters, don’t be too quick to judge. You will never believe the pool of talent we have these days! I would encourage any music lover to attend a local gig or two – you’re bound to come across somebody whose music you’d love! I’ve latched on to a couple myself!

On the flipside, we’re still lacking in platform - especially one to showcase talent to scouts or agents (in particular), depending on the nature of the event. The many events that have been held so far are great and all – but the musicians and performers come away from these, surviving solely on the love for what they do and little else.

Many claim that music is an art not many can master, and if you’re good at it, they say you’re “skilled”. But that’s where it stops. In the real world, when you’re good at what you’re doing, you land a great job coupled with high retribution at that! Not so in the music scene. Eventually, indifference gets the better of many indie musicians and we are literally driven to extinction (that, or migration)! I’m just really glad that we have such a high-spirited local indie scene at the moment, and I pray it carries on for the longest time to come! I’ve got to get my breakthrough from someplace, right? (laughs)

- do u see music as a viable career in the near future?

100%, yes! The battle doesn’t lie with the musicians and performers though. The true playmakers here are the audience! If you believe in someone’s work or music, go all out! Don’t stop at being star-struck! At the very least, we’ll be able to gauge how well a particular music artiste will do by (though not solely) the following it hordes. Seeing how much crowds are publicity in itself (let’s not even begin about the stuffed up roads that are caused by onlookers who drive by an accident site at the speed of a crawl), the band is bound to attract enough attention from the right places!

On the other hand, if we’re going to religiously put shows like Malaysian Idol out of business, out of sheer skepticism, our future in music is pretty bleak! Mistakes happen, we should move on! (Something I too, am learning to do without sulking.) (laughs)


To those of you who’d like to take up music, I give you my wholehearted support! This may be a cliché but, when you get into the momentum, be the best that you can be! And even if you don’t turn out to be a virtuoso; at the very least, you would be able to recognize a good musician or performer when it comes to it. I haven’t had the opportunity to learn so much music, but the little I know has helped me to understand my dream and has helped me relate to people who make music their lifestyles. The music scene is a tough nut to crack. But working towards and achieving that breakthrough is the best part of the whole experience!

(Interview conducted by Ian Yee)

Friday, August 8, 2008

August 10th Approaches!

Tomorrow's the Day!

Our New Wave Worship Live Concert is Tomorrow Morning and I can't wait!

We've got several virtuosos, guest musicians if you will, coming down from Butterworth, Penang and Petaling Jaya, Selangor -- to help amp up the celebration!

Taking this opportunity to thank everyone for agreeing to do this with us:

-The Leo brothers, and close companions of Phinny, David and Desmond. They will be supporting us in the venerable guitarist and vocalist positions.
-The Goh siblings from UK/Butterworth. They will be presenting a short musical, as well as supporting us in the much needed violinist, syntherseizerist, and guitarist positions.
-Kevin Alphans from Taiping/Butterworth. He'll be our accoustic guitarist.
-The rest of the Taiping team. It is an honor to be serving alongside you guys!

Tonight there'll be a HUGE get together with all the musicians, and it is going to be SICK! (in every sense of the word!) Praying that we will gel as best we can come the end of the session. Covet your prayers as we step into this - that we will go forward fully knowing that this is all for our One and Only.

"Not to us, But to Your Name be the Glory."

But before the huge practice we're all gonna go fatten ourselves with unhealthy food, walk around lake gardens and the zoo, have tea by the park, talk ourselves to death - then head off to church to strain our voices and blister our fingers!

Glad everything's coming together nicely. Just like my 3m x 2m backdrop piece! Things are looking GREAT!

PASSION Came to Town!

....and I am still breathless!

Parmena just arrived from KL just now and she was still raving about everything! It was beautiful time spent and very timely too! My one and only always seem to know how to cushion my hardest of moments. My leaving KL for good was very emotional and by lunch I was feeling very heavy.

But when we got into the car to head over to Sunway that Sunday, the excitement EXPLODED! And needless to say, I had a blast of a time, because,


I am so going for the Conference in the States. Was already planning to go even before i heard Passion was coming down to Malaysia. Gotta meet David Crowder afterall, don't I?

Thanking Joshua Entol and Joshua Ong for the great pictures!