A Romp Through The Meadows

Interview by Elizabeth Tan
Photographs courtesy of the bands

Starting off as just routine shows in an inconspicuous Melbourne bar, what was once termed as a block party gradually grew into one of Australia’s most cherished music festivals. Spreading its wings, the festival took flight to places like Auckland, Detroit, and even here in Singapore. Being compared to similar music festivals such as Coachella, Laneway fosters a growing music community of more progressive tastes. We speak to the performing musicians at Laneway Festival 2015 about their passion and creativity.

Little Dragon (Sweden)

Håkan from Little Dragon on building a family with one’s band, and the constant search for something new.

What has Little Dragon been up to?

We are in San Francisco now. It’s a nice place with good weather and very friendly people. We were in Salt Lake City yesterday and had a really good time. This would be our first time doing a festival. We have never played in Singapore before so we’re excited to see how Singapore is.

How did Little Dragon begin?

We have always been engaged in music. The rest of the band met in high school and started to play a little bit together, then I came along a bit later and started to make music with the band. When we just started out as musicians, it was a bit of a hassle as we were juggling other jobs. We have worked in cafés, driven taxis, and so on. We come from different backgrounds but now it is full time music. When driving the taxi, or working in other jobs, we meet a lot of different people, and they all come into our world and affect it differently and therefore affect our music. We are not actually very sure exactly how it affects, but making music takes a lot of time, and often we just want to be home making music.

What is it like having been together for 15 years?

We are like a family now. In the beginning we didn’t really know each other, and we wanted different things. But as we interacted more, we knew each other better. And when we started to discover and understand each others’ flaws, the dynamics of the band shifted. As musicians who want to make music together, there are a lot of conflicts but we learn when to back down and cooperate with each other. We are mostly very inspired by each other.

Hanging Up the Moon (Singapore)

Sean from Hanging Up the Moon sheds light on the changing music scene in Singapore.

hanging up the moon laneway festival a romp through the meadows

Do share with us, what is it like being a musician in Singapore?

As I’m not making music full time, for me, it’s always been a balancing act. Being responsible for my family and having a day job takes up most of my time, but I’d always make it a point to leave some space for songwriting. It’s been my lifelong passion but to date, it’s still a serious hobby more than anything. Because of this, my ’musician’ experience is one that is cyclical. Every couple of years, I’ll have enough songs written to put together an album. That’s when the fun starts, the whole process of recording, meeting up and working with fellow musicians, doing shows to promote the album etc., and before you know it, it has run its course. That’s what it’s always been like.

Hanging up the Moon (HUTM) is a collaborative project so we only come together to work on an album occasionally. Other than Leslie, who is a full time musician with his band The Observatory, the rest of us, Alexius, Dean, Victor and myself hold day jobs and lead pretty ordinary lives like everyone else. While I’d like to tell you that we drink all night and jam all day, the reality is, our day starts with the school runs and ends with a tribal gathering.

How is your music making process like, given that you all come from various different backgrounds?

I start by writing the songs. Once they are recorded, I share them digitally with the rest of the band. They in turn record their parts on top of mine and the songs get fleshed out layer by layer. It is a collaborative effort so everyone is free to explore and experiment. I do not dictate how things should be—that’s how magic happens.

Read more in The U Press N˚8 (Singapore edition).