Emaho caught up with the cult Singapore-based band Electrico and jammed with Dave Tan (guitar & vocals), Desmond Goh (bass) and William Liim Jr (drums)
EMAHO: From Electric Company to Electric Co. and finally to Electrico… what’s the story behind the name?
DG: We just wanted to shorten the name every time. We even have a shorter moniker we used within the band!
DT: It’s got to do with lots of voltage burning my lips when we used to jam long ago… damned cheap cables! As for shortening… we’re Singaporean, we love to shorten everything!
EMHAO: You guys have been on a well-earned sabbatical from music for a few years now; what have you been up to?
DG: We were experiencing the normal life as it comes, having babies, tying the knot, buying houses etc.
DT: Think we just reached a point that we needed to get back to things we may have been neglecting while rocking out… adult things…. but it was a good thing, we’ve all grown a lot as people and we’re back with a fresh perspective which is great when approaching a new release
WL: Busy carrying on with work for the household and especially I have a wonderful two-year-old son now who also loves hitting the drums and strumming guitar.
EMAHO: We heard that you are currently working on your latest project, any spoilers about this new album you feel like letting out?
DG: The only spoiler is that we have being listening to lots of The Strokes, The Black Keys, The Datsuns, the kind of stuff that makes us tick.
DT: Oooh. I love the Black Keys… but what good is a new release if you tease too much… did I mention I love the Black Keys?
WL: Got new toy to play on the left of side of my drum kit.
EMAHO: In 2009 you collaborated with ‘Mercy Relief‘, a humanitarian organisation, dedicating Save Our Souls to the victims of natural disaster and terrorism. What was it like working toward a social cause?
DG: It’s necessary, be it small or big effort. Creating awareness and reminding people, including ourselves, that there are lots of people out there aren’t as fortunate as we are.
EMAHO: If Electrico were to be renamed again, what would it most likely be?
DG: The Electricians
DT: Good answer Des
WL: It could even be shorter…ECO.
EMAHO: In 2004 you released your first single, I Want You, which shot right to the top of nearly every chart in Singapore, giving you a massive fan-base; how has the journey been since then?
DG: In terms of song-writing, the journey has always been explorative while keeping the Electrico sound prominent.
DT: It took us places we’d never thought we’d see… and the experiences have been priceless… the ‘money cannot buy’ type. There were moments I’d have to pinch myself… but at the same time its a very profound experience because it does change you forever… like getting free ice cream from a fan working at Baskin Robbins for example… and yes… just ice cream.
WL: The journey was amazing. We doing stuff that we thought was not possible in the past. Getting nominated and awarded, going places. It’s really quite an accomplishment!
EMAHO: If you were not musicians, what would you be?
DG: I would most probably be doing something music related still. Like a band manager.
DT: I’d like to be either a race car driver or a detective
WL: Music is really the best expression tool for me and I can’t think of anything to replace it. So if its not music then probably related kind, I would have been a sound engineer!
EMAHO: Are any of the band members enthusiastic about collectibles?
DG: I’ve been collecting comics since my teens and a bit of postage stamps.
EMAHO: How does the music industry in Singapore favour independent artists? What is the most challenging aspect of the Singaporean music scene?
DG: It’s still a young industry with lots of areas to expand and a need for infrastructure to assist bands out there. The government’s monetary assist to help is a good sign. The challenge is to keep going even if you have to stop for a while.
DT: The demographics, people who are in power to make things better who are ignorant about the scene, and people who don’t put their money where their mouth is… but definitely not the talent.
WL: There are lots of talent out there that need a little help and push. Society makes it hard to survive in some departments so some try elsewhere. So we really need help with one another to make here open to new flood of local talents to keep doing what they do.
EMAHO: In 2008, Dave was honoured as the ‘Young Composer of the Year’ at the 13th annual COMPASS; tell us where do you draw inspiration to write music?
DT: I’m mostly inspired by other music… its not so much life experiences and what not… but I can’t deny that that does eventually factor in to our songs…
EMAHO: Tell us about some of your strongest influences.
DG: It’s always been melodic stuff be it pop, rock, indie or metal! We were shaped by New Wave bands in the ‘80s like Depeche Mode, OMD with Britpop bands during the ‘90s like Oasis, Blur, The Stone Roses and the new millennium bands like Franz Ferdinand, The Strokes etc.
DT: Definitely a lot of 80s bands, electronica, funk, soul, and Brit pop… tons of it.
EMAHO: Share with us some of your most memorable moments as a band since the creation of Electrico.
DG: When you have everyone in the audience dancing together with us during live shows, it always feels ecstatic and the memory stays.
DT: The OZ tour, the SXSW festival in Texas, Baybeats, MTV Asia Awards, playing to 100,000 people in Taiwan… and chuff as you might… playing NDP 2009…and I’m sure I’m missing tons more…
WL: All the music festivals, travelling and the fans! It’s these things that also drive us to keep going ‘cos every now and then there are great moments!
Art & Culture Interviewed by: Aditya Varma