This Saturday Our Band Will Perform At Bali Culture @ Orientus

This Saturday, April 24th at about 9.30 pm, our band “No Eye Candy” will perform at Bali Culture @ Orientus for a 40 minutes session.  Please drop by for a good time.  We shall have a full band playing original songs.  Expect crazy guitar licks from Jason, cool bass line from Cynthia, mad drumming from Wieke who has recently returned from Middle East (this week!), and I will take you through what inspired me to write those songs.

To get to Bali Culture @ Orientus, follow the direction in this link.  Bali Culture is a restaurant where you can chill out and enjoy your meal and drink.  We will start playing in the indoor stage once the football match ends (at about 9.30 pm in my reckoning).  If you wish to dine in Bali Culture, drop me an email and I will do my best to reserve a table for you.  Be there early and we can catch up before our show!

See you there … xoxo No Eye Candy!

Our Band’s Rehearsal Gig At Bali Culture

It has been a while since our band “No Eye Candy” has performed live.  And we are delighted to be invited to jam at Bali Culture @ Orientus (click here for their website), just when we were wondering if our band manager Selrol is still on top of the game … 

Our guitarist Jason has suggested that we shall have a rehearsal gig first, to get acquainted with the environment, before calling in the our troop of supporters.  I am not sure about Jason’s side.  Quite honestly, I only have my sister, my sister, and my sister.  That is if she can have an evening off from taking care of my niece.

Bali Culture @ Orientus is near Jalan Kayu, next to the highway TPE exit, and near to Seletar Camp.  Out of nowhere and there you are, an indoor restaurant and an outdoor alfresco area next to a swimming pool.  Football fans would love this place.  Flat panel televisions with live broadcast.  Good ambiance both indoor and outdoor.  You can check out their menus on their website.  We had a cheese fondue for sharing as starter and a chocolate fondue for dessert.  For main course, I had a nasi goreng.  I enjoy the food and happy to visit again.  Looking back, I could have ordered the vegetarian pasta.  It didn’t come across my mind that I could find vegatarian food there.  Now I know.

On the same evening, their band “Pick-up Band” was playing after our performance.  The guest drummer is only 9 years old (I reckon)!  And boy, he can drum.  Jaw dropping.  I mean, he can really drum, like real.  When we first stepped into the restaurant, Jason mentioned that we should recruit the little boy as our drummer.  Now I know why.  And the rest of the musicians and guests had so much fun jamming on stage, rotating their roles (now you know why the band is so named).  During their performance, our bassist Cynthia said to me, “I can imagine myself hanging out in here”.

A big thumb-up to Selrol for arranging this.  Also thanks to Bali Culture for having us.  You guys are insanely supportive.  And to my avid readers, I will put up a note here once we get a confirmation on our next slot.

PS. To our drummer Wieke who is still in Middle East: We miss you and wish you were here!

Rumor Has It That “No Eye Candy” Is Performing Again …

Latest Update (10/3/2010) – Our band will not be performing for this event due to differences in terms.  However, please stay tuned as we shall be getting another gig some time this month or next.

And it is a rumor because our band has yet to receive a confirmation on our preferred time slot.  Tentatively, we will perform at Tiong Bahru Plaza on March xx evening.  Try to be there, please?  It’s for charity.  In the coming days, I will write more about our music, the event, and more.

About a year ago, we seem to have overdone a bit for the Music for Hope charity event, in terms of preparation.  With Wieke’s help, we had rewritten the song arrangement.  We drove all the way up to Malaysia just to add a few extra practice sessions with our band member.  We looped in quite a few of our friends from different locations for improvement pointers.  There were a few unknowns too.  Our guitarist Jason was unsure if he could be there due to national commitment, Wieke was unsure if she could be there due to work commitment; I was unsure about how performing live would be like; we were unsure if we could put together something decent in time.

But we did it.

This time is the complete opposite.  The request came in like less than 2 weeks before the event.  I picked up my guitar on the evening our band manager Selrol asked if we are interested.  Surprisingly, the songs are still in my head, both lyrics and chords, after months of inactivity.  Cynthia seems to remember her bass line too.  This Saturday three of us will get together, for one practice session.  That’s probably the only session we have before the gig.

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Looking back, the intense preparation of the previous gig may have worn us out, worn me out.  Our band “No Eye Candy” has been in hiatus since then; I have not written many songs since then.  I wonder if these events relate.

Latest update?  Our drummer Wieke has left Singapore for good.  Left our band for now, I would say?  Knowing what she pursues, I am happy for Wieke.  And here we are, back to a 3-piece band.  Jason, Cynthia, and I.  More than 6 years we have been jamming together.  Hope to see more years to come.  As for now, my eyes are on the March 13.

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Calling volunteers for band tour bus, photography team, videography team, and groupie “logistic” handling team.

Under the Dreamy Orange Light I Restrung My Guitar

My Classical Guitar

Repetitive tasks don’t bother me, like the restringing of my guitar.  Like jogging, cooking dishes, driving from A to B, even the ripping of hundreds of compact disks that I am still doing.  Therapeutic activities open up space in my mind allowing me to think quietly, in the absence of the constant distractions.  Just me and the activities that only I am doing.  Same goes to blogging and reading my friends’ blogs.

Professional musicians restring their guitars at least once a month, to maintain the brightness of the sound quality.  I wish I am at that level to spend S$10 a month buying the strings.  To be frank, I don’t enjoy restringing guitar that much and I always end up with a good sweating.  Some people can do it really well, like a piece of art.  All the strings tugged nicely as though there is an aura of musical professionalism by merely holding the instrument.  I don’t have that skill.  I am a pragmatic artist.  Handicap in a sense that I focus my limited talent to the heart, and not the form.  As you can see in everything thing I do or create.

I wouldn’t even notice that there was a broken string had there be no jamming session this Sunday.  My 5 years old Alhambra classical Spanish guitar occupies one sofa seat space (one good thing about having a blog site is that my life is digitally stored and I can recall the dates quite easily provided that I can find the entry).  Whether it is a less than hundred buck guitar or a S$1,500 Alhambra guitar, I leave it outside the case and within reach.  My band‘s guitarist would flip if he was to know that I so harshly treat my Alhambra guitar – under direct sunlight from my windows and the daily change of humidity as I turn on and off my air conditioner.  The hassle of taking my guitar in and out of the case will certainly dampen any desire to practice or write my music.

Life as a blogger as such.  This morning I woke up having a strong urge to write something along the topic of “practice as though you are performing and perform as you are practicing”.  I remember I have read it somewhere.  In no way I am that smart to figure that out.   It is either from a book that I have read long time ago, re-read as I worked overseas, or from one of the business books that I have read.  These days, as a humble McGraw-Hill book reviewer, I do have access to more business books than usual.  After internalizing the idea, I find it hard to remember the source.

So I nearly hurt my back trying to find that one book, which inspired me as an amateur artist, which I intend to share the title with my readers.  I have so many books but they are all piled inside the wardrobe of the common bedroom.  There is a need to build my dream bookshelf, I know.  “Breakfast is ready!” shouted Cynthia from the living room.  Just give me a moment, I know it has got to be somewhere.  I just know.

The title is “The Art of Practicing – A Guide to Making Music from the Heart” by Madeline Bruser.  I am not sure if you can still find it in your favorite bookstores.  But Amazon.com is still selling it.  By the time I found the book, excitedly satisfied as I was, I forgot what I was trying to write.  I guess I wanted to confess that I have not been writing or practicing music as much as I wish to.  Disappointment with myself?  Certainly.  Maybe my band has not been progressing much, maybe my abstinent to alcohol for close to 18 months has rid all my creativity away, maybe the increased number of hours of joint activities Cynthia and I have limited my practising opportunities.

Or maybe my current job does not give me the same level of pain as my previous one.  I still take pride of writing that song “I Erase Your Face” at the tail end of my career with my previous company.  I miss songwriting.  And I hope to write at least one song in the year 2009.  Now that my guitar is reborn with awesomely bright and shiny new strings, there is a strong magical attraction between its space within ready to be filled with some good sound vibration and my urge that needs to be musically articulated.

But first, I need to sort out the day 1 of the photos taken in our Spain holiday trip for tomorrow’s publication.  Life as a blogger as such.

Parallelism Between the Various Art Forms – And My Band Resumes Our Practice

My beloved Gibson guitar and I, in the comfort of my home, a photo taken by Cynthia

My life as such: our public performance in The Heeren – or rather the practice sessions leading to that one event – must have been draining to our band members.  Three months we were in hiatus.  It was the Christmas, the New Year, the Chinese New Year, and for me, much of my time has been devoted to photography.

As I was leaving the jamming studio Stone Jamz on a warm sunny Sunday afternoon carrying 20 kg worth of band gear, the band next door was playing the exact same bass line as what Cynthia has been playing in one of our songs.  Down to the exact same set of chords.  Either our drummer Wieke or guitarist Jason commented that we shall start to copyright our music.  I laughed heartily.  Maybe it was coincidence, maybe it was not; maybe it was influence, maybe it was not.

Recently, I have been hit with a revelation that I can pick on the things that I have learned while mastering on one art form and apply them to another.  It is efficiency, it is synergy, depending on how you see it.  It does not make the pain of hard work and frustration goes away.  But cross-discipline pollination of concepts and ideas and techniques seem to have by chance or by design invoked an out-of-the-box experience when I am stuck staring at the same art form for too long (see Medici Effect on innovation by cross-discipline interaction).

So what do I mean?

The concepts of subject standing out from the background (photography), every piece of work begins with a title (music and writing), a common theme and consistency across an album (photography and music), interesting variation in details (painting), mood (music), and technical skill (all).  Maybe next time before I take a photo, I shall have a title in mind, enter into a certain mood.  Maybe next time I write a piece of music, I shall consciously think of what my subject is going to be, what should be in the background.  Maybe next time I paint a picture, I shall apply the technical skill of the photography.  Maybe next time I write, I shall add a lot of interesting variations on not only what is in focus, but out of focus like what I would be doing when I paint.

After each photo session, I would have to sit down and go through hundreds if not more than a thousand pictures and see which ones are the keepers and what need to be done at my computer.  After each jamming session, I would have to do the same for the hours of recorded materials.  It is hard work, it can be frustrating.  Instead of looking at the color histogram, I look at the waveform of sound.  Unlike photos that I can make a decision to keep or to reject, what to work on at one glance, tidying up recording music materials take lots of patience in listening to each track from beginning to end, comparing to one track to another of the same song.  Instead of the highlight and shadow protection that I usually observe when I work on my photos, I apply sound compression to my recorded materials.  Same concept of bring out the details of the submerged creating a more balanced outcome.

My life as such: I still want my band to audition for Baybeats Singapore, a music festival.  Maybe for the year 201x, whatever x is going to be.

Related Entry: In Search for Styles – Of Photography, Oil Painting, Music Creation, and Writing