After touring the world at different music and film festivals, from BIGSOUND Brisbane and HUSH! Music Festival in Macau to Sundance Film Festival and Sheffield Doc/Fest, Singaporean music duo ".gif" made it to Kuala Lumpur for the 2019 edition of Urbanscapes.
Loved for their dark beats and immersive vocals, .gif first made their debut back in 2013 with EP saudade and released their full-length album soma two year later. This time, in conjunction with their gig at Urbanscapes 2019, we caught up with the artists as the duo talked the nightlife scene in Singapore, and where best to eat, drink, and party.
Tell us an ideal weekend night in Singapore.
On any given weekend night, we’d probably be either at a gig or some sort of art-related events - be it a play, or a community or independent arts festival or fairs. There’s always something going on every weekend in Singapore! An ideal weekend for us would be one where we find ourselves shuttling from a gig to a play or performance art piece. And of course, we’d have to round up our night with a cup of teh!
What is your favourite cocktail and where to get it in your city?
To be honest, we much rather have teh in the evening. But if you’re looking for great cocktails, you can’t go wrong with the menu at Native Bar (@nativebarsg). They have a very interesting approach to cocktails and they’re really great folks!
Where is your go-to place to immerse yourself in local music and gig?
Everyone has a different preference in music. If you’re looking for more independent music, spaces like Lithe House (@lithe_house) and SLED Productions x Decline (#sledproductionsxdecline) have very regular shows. The genres in these spaces are quite varied - starting from folksy singer-songwriters to hardcore to post-rock and math rock or even metal. These spaces are integral to the local music scene and many established local bands have started and continued to play shows here.
If you’re looking for a more family-friendly and sanitised space to watch local music, you can’t go wrong with the Esplanade (@esplanadesingapore). They have an amazing team which curates multiple shows every night of the week. There’s usually more mellow stuff going on in the Esplanade Concourse, from singer-songwriters to jazz musicians and more playing indoors.
On the Waterfront stage, you’ll get bands of various genres, and depending on the time of year, many cultural groups also perform onstage.
Where in Singapore serves the best vibe for a music addict?
That’s a good question. There are quite a few places around Singapore that serves the best vibe for a music addict and one great space is White Label Records (@whitelabelvotd) at 28 Ann Siang Hill. It’s a good place to chill, and if you’d like, pick out a few vinyl records.
They also have a bar and very good vibes. It’s a good place to relax and hang out with your friends after work. There’s also regular music-quiz nights too which are always fun!
Another place we really like is The Analog Vault (@analog_vault)at the Esplanade Singapore. It's a really cool record store with the nicest people running it and with a great catalogue too. The music selection there is always on point and you can even pop by to the Concourse/Waterfront stages to check out the live music.
If you’re looking for more independent stuff, Surface Noise (@surfacenoiserecs) is also a great spot with a very good vibe. It’s located in the Textile Centre on 200 Jalan Sultan and it certainly adds to the underground vibe you get at the record store. They stock an amazing catalogue of independent local/regional music and merchandise and the people running it are the coolest. If you want to know when/where the next underground show is, just ask them.
What do you think makes the best place for live music?
If you refer to all the places (be it the venues or the record stores) that we’ve mentioned above, what they all have in common is that they’re all run by people with the right intentions. These places exist with music and musicians as their main focus. Profitability and sustainability is one thing, but the moment money takes sole precedence, then that’s where you start to lose a bit of the soul/vibe.
We know it sounds really idealistic and naive, but somehow places like Lithe House, SLED Productions x Decline, Surface Noise have shown us that it’s possible to strike a balance between music for music’s sake and sustainability. That’s why we feel like these spots are the best places for live music.
If you can hang out with your favourite artist/musician, who will it be and how will you guys spend the night?
We would probably be too intimidated to jam with them (laughs). We’d probably take them out for supper and teh. We actually do that for quite a number of touring bands/producers/music people who happen to be in Singapore. They’re always fascinated with the wide range of supper options in Singapore and food is always a good way to bond.
Oh, and we also like to bring bands to Mustafa Centre (#mustafacentre) in Little India after supper. They’re always awed by the organized chaos that is Mustafa Centre. So… that’s what we’d probably do if we could hang out with our favourite artist/musician.