Mixtape: Ffion Williams

 

As a popular destination for international musicians to hold concert when they hit around Asia and the burgeoning local music scene, it’s kind of no wonder that Singaporean artists getting more and more recognition. One of the latest names to catch my attention is Ffion, a 20 years old Welsh singer-songwriter who has been live and launch her musical career in the Straits. Mixing her soulful voice with downtempo electronic and R&B flair, she debuted with single called “With U” (produced by GROSSE) and “Over”. With the upcoming EP set to be released, recently she’s back with latest single “I Miss U” which sounds quirky and melancholic at the same time, just like the songstress herself. Here, Ffion give us introduction about herself and her 10 favorite songs. (Photography by Amanda Lim)

 Ffion1 (Credit Amanda Lim)

Hi Ffion, please tell me a little about yourself and your music.

Heya! I’m a 20-year-old singer that loves to make music that is spiked with electronic pop and modern R&B music.

First of all, I’m a sucker for pretty names and I really love your name! I read on web it means Foxglove and it is on top 15 of popular names in Wales, so what do you feel about it?

Aww thank you!! Yeah it’s a really popular name in Wales, I think I had 5 other girls in my kindergarten class with the same name. But I still get people ask me if Ffion is really my name or something I made up, people also tend to misspell it or pronounce it weird ways but it’s all good!

When did you first discover music and what really prompted you to make your own music?

My love for music started when I was around eleven years old after watching Phantom of the Opera for the first time. After watching it I was so set on going into Musical Theatre… Until I tried it and figured I wasn’t into the acting bit of it. But my teachers and friends have always been super supportive when it came to music!

Do you come from creative/musical family? Where did you grew up and what kind of records you listen to back then?

Weirdly enough, I come from a family of doctors, so I’m kinda like the black sheep of the family. I moved to Singapore when I was 3 and moved to Cambridge for 6 months when I was 5. I remember really enjoying the music that was out at the time in England, like Steps and S Club 7 also Britney of course!

Who are the early influences of your work?

I’d have to say Amy Winehouse and then Adele. When I heard James Blake for the first time, that’s when I knew I wanted to get into Electronic Music and I guess that slowly fused with R&B to create what we have today.

Tell us about your latest single, “I Miss U”, what’s the story behind it?

It’s basically a second part to my previous single “Over”, it was written a year after the breakup. I felt like this guy still had so much control over my emotions and my mind was constantly just drifting back to him. So by writing this song, I felt like I got a lot of closure and was able to move on.

Where do you tend to do most of your song writing?

I normally just hold it all in until I get into the studio, I love writing a song that is super in the moment, it feels more authentic that way.

How do you get the creative juice flowing if you’re feeling stuck?

I think travelling really helps or talking to other people about it, that tends to get my mind running!

What do you love the most about Singapore and where are your favourite places?

I love the dramatic rain/thunderstorms we get here and I would have to say my bed is my favourite place in Singapore. (hehe just kidding). But on a more serious note, there’s this coffee shop near my place and they sell the most bomb butter chicken set!

Recently, Singaporean acts getting more and more exposure, do you have favourite Singaporean musicians you would like to collab with?

I think it would be really cool to do a collaboration with a band like Disco Hue or The Summer State, I think it’s important to get out of your comfort zone, so stepping out of a genre that I’m comfortable with sounds like a fun challenge. I would love to collaborate with VVYND from Indonesia as well, his music is sick.

What does the rest of the year have in store for you?

I definitely wanna finish my degree and move on to writing more music. Also releasing my EP and possibly playing some shows overseas!

Last, please pick 10 of your favourite songs along with short explanations for each of them.

 

Bruno Mars – “Easily”

His music is like the perfect music for commuting and staring out of windows.

James Blake – “I Need A Forest Fire”

I’ve been obsessed with this guy since I was 15/16 and hearing how his music has evolved over the years has definitely shaped my thought process when it comes to making music.

Rihanna – “Bitch Better Have My Money”

This is the ultimate pump up song. I like to play this when I’m getting ready in the morning and I know there is something important to be done that day.

Tom Misch – “Watch Me Dance”

This artist is a new discovery for me; I’m super into his vibe and would love to make music like this sometime!

Lighthouse Family – “High”

This song makes me super nostalgic, just major #tb vibes in general.

The 1975 – “Somebody Else”

I was never really into the 1975 but after hearing this I’ve totally catching up on their music. Great songwriting.

Raye – “Shhh”

Another really great pump up song, I love how different this song is yet still so relevant. Definitely an artist to lookout for!

Justin Bieber – “Change Me”

Who can resist the Biebs? Not me that’s for sure 😛

Lapsley – “Hurt Me”

This song for me is the perfect song for when I’m feeling kinda angsty.

Ady Suleiman – “Need Somebody To Love”

This guy has the sickest vocal chops and songwriting skills plus his style is super unique. All his songs hit the mark and I usually have his music on repeat especially in the summer.

 

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Mixtape: Laurel Arnell-Cullen

Hailed from Southampton, 22-year-old Laurel Arnell-Cullen is a Welsh-British chamber pop and indie musician whose career started from her bedroom studio in London. Following the long tradition of British female singer-songwriter who turns the vulnerability and emotion into something that sounds powerful and honest, Laurel’s sophisticated and sultry vocals, melancholy melodies, and lovelorn lyrics are reminiscent of awkward adolescence and first loves. Here, Laurel talk about her songwriting process and sharing her 10 favorite songs.

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Hi Laurel, how are you? Where you are right now and what are you doing before answering this email?

I’m at my home in London making my first ever vegetarian curry to the sounds of my boyfriend playing Call of Duty. Standard Monday. Before this I was finishing off my next single in my home studio.

What really prompted you to start making your own music and what are the early influences for you?

I just always wanted to do it really, I don’t remember why but since I was a child it’s all I’ve really wanted to do. Hearing the first Laura Marling album was something that inspired me on to get a guitar and start writing folk music and then from there every moment has just been me evolving into the Laurel I am now.

Which came first for you: the lyric or the arrangement? 

The chords come first and then the vocal melody which all happens pretty fast and then I spend hours and hours trying to figure out what I am trying to write about and fit the lyrics to the melody I’ve written.

Your music has been described as alt-pop, do you agree with it or you have your own description about it?

Yeah I guess so, I would find it quite hard to distinguish my sound as a genre to be honest, and as I think most musicians would. I think I hear it in a different way to other people.

Do you remember your very first gig? How was it? Do you still feel nervous before performing?

Yes it was in Southampton. I was 14 and I had to sell 20 tickets else I wouldn’t get another gig and the promoter said he would tell other promoters not to book you! It’s a harsh world the up and coming music scene haha. I was so nervous though, I have sound on stage since I was a kid in school and stuff but singing your own songs to people is something totally different, not only are you getting judged on your performance but also your songs which are basically heart felt diary entries. 

 

What’s been career highlight so far?

I reckon just right now is a highlight, every day getting to wake up do whatever I want and make music if I feel like it. That’s my biggest achievement and I’m pretty happy with that. This is my dream way of living.

 

I heard you’re going to have new single, would you mind to tell us a bit about it?

I wrote it when I was really angry. It was such a quick one, I had to go play a gig that evening and I had half an hour before I had to leave but I just had this song in me that I needed to get out. I can’t really say much more than that as I don’t want to give too much away.

What about full album? I bet everyone’s been asking for it, do you feel some pressure or you just ignore it and go with your own flow?

I’m just going on my own time really but of course I want my album out as much as anyone else does. It’s just a lot of work I think people underestimate how much time and energy goes into something like that! It’s very close to being done though and I’m really proud of it so far so I can’t wait for people to hear it this year.

What’s your plan for the rest of 2017?

I have a bunch of tour dates all over the place. Gonna try and get over to America at some point too. The album is going to come out too so it’s going to be a pretty hectic one. I feel like it’s already going by too fast.

Last, please pick your 10 favorite songs and short description for each of them. 

Mac DeMarco – “Only You” 

This song speaks to me quite a lot, most of his songs do.

 

Talking Heads – “This Must Be the Place” 

This is my favorite song in the world.

 

Laura Marling – “New Romantic” 

This is the song that inspired me to get a guitar and start writing properly.

 

Kita Alexander – “Like You Want To” 

It’s rare I like anything this poppy but I am obsessed with this girl she’s amazing.

Tyler, The Creator – “IFHY” 

The lyrics in this song are just incredible.

Yppah – “Never Mess With Sunday” 

This song just has all round good vibes.

Girl Band – “Paul” 

Love the punky vibe of this.

Idles – “Divide and Conquer” 

Played just before this band at a gig the other day, they where one of the best live acts I’ve seen in a while. So much energy on stage.

Virgin Kids – “My Alone”

Saw these guys last gig the other day at the Shaklewell in London, also such a great gig everyone was so involved.

Beach House – “Silver Soul” 

This is one of my favorite songs! It just makes me feel kinda funny.

 

Mixtape: Ringgo Agus Rahman

Terlepas dari banyaknya keluhan di internet yang menyebut 2016 sebagai tahun yang lumayan fu*ked up, bagi Ringgo Agus Rahman, tahun lalu justru menjadi salah satu tahun terbaik dalam hidupnya. Salah satu alasan terbesar tentu saja kehadiran putra pertamanya, Bjorka Dieter Morscheck, yang mengisi hari-harinya bersama sang istri, Sabai Morscheck.

Tepat 10 tahun telah berlalu sejak mantan penyiar radio ini mencuat sebagai aktor lewat film Jomblo dan sampai hari ini pun akting tetap menjadi kesibukan utamanya. Ia membalas email ini di sela proses shooting film terbarunya di Swiss. Bertajuk Satu Hari Nanti, dalam film yang digarap oleh Salman Aristo ini, Ringgo berperan sebagai seorang tour guide bernama Din dan beradu akting dengan Adinia Wirasti, Ayushita, dan Deva Mahenra. “Shooting di sini kaya lagi ada di film di dalam film, lokasi yang wow, gunung es di mana-mana, danau yang penuh angsa dan bebek yang rebutan roti, bayangan keindahan yang nggak pernah meleset di pikiran kita, orang-orang ramah yang ada di setiap kota kecil di Swiss (Thun, Interlaken, Brienz, Meiringen). Film ini sendiri nyeritain tentang 4 orang Indonesia yang lagi bertahan hidup dengan permasalahan hubungan cinta yang real banget yang dialami sama semua orang dewasa, bukan ABG ya, hehe,” ungkap pria berusia 34 tahun ini.

Ia pun membagikan sekelumit keindahan Swiss lewat feeds Instagram miliknya. Berbekal kamera andalan Sony a7R II dengan lensa 35mm f1.4, ia mengaku fotografi memang telah menjadi hobinya sejak tahun 2009 di samping musik yang menjadi passion utamanya. “Hey seingat gue dari dulu passion gue selalu musik di atas segala-galanya. Bukan dengan cara harus menjadi musisi, tapi selalu harus diiringi musik karena gue berpikir setiap bagian hidup gue itu bukan film cerita tapi sebuah video clip musik, hehe. Gue masih jadi pemerhati aja sih buat musik, belum kepikiran bermusik dan main musik,” tandas pria yang sempat bergabung di band The Aftermiles dan The Cash ini.

After the glorious year, apa yang menjadi wishlist selanjutnya? “Di 2017 harapan gue melihat anak gue bisa jalan, ngajak dia ke Indonesia Timur, ngajak dia ke Swiss, dan ngasih dia kamera pocket supaya kita sekeluarga bisa motret, hehe.”

Ringgo’s Good Vibes Mixtape

“Good Together (Jarami Remix)”

Honne

Coba dengar lagu ini pas lagi bareng teman dekat atau pasangan lo, fun beraaat! Pakai headphones yang bisa didengar berdua dan jalan keliling kota deh.

“Hung On Tight” 

Snakadaktal

Ini juga lagu juaraaa… Ah gimana ngejelasinnya ya?! Enak pokoknya!

“Velvet” 

A-ha

Lagu klasik nggak akan pernah mati!

“Pots of Gold” 

Mamas Gun

Lagu yang kalau lo dengar bisa tiba-tiba nimbulin senyum di muka lo.

“Boys Don’t Matter”

Blueboy

Buka liriknya di Google dan coba berkaraoke pakai lagu ini, indah!

“Just Can’t Get Enough”

Depeche Mode

Tahun baru lagi rame-rame, dengerin lagu ini bikin badan lo nggak mau diam, maunya loncat-loncat dan teriak ikut nyanyi bareng teman-teman lo.

 

“Back A Yard” 

The In Crowd

Hey kapan pernah lagu reggae gagal buat bikin happy?

“Keep Rising”

House of Shem

Masih alasan yang sama buat musik reggae.

“Walk on the Wild Side”

Lou Reed

Aaah ini the best parah! Lou Reed itu orang yang hanya bikin musik sesuai dengan apa yang dia mau tanpa kompromi pasar atau apapun.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” 

Queen

Coba cek, lagu nomor 1 di dunia yang bikin orang jadi happy menurut beberapa penelitian adalah lagu ini. Nyanyikan dengan lantang nggak usah peduli suara merdu atau apapun, hanya nyanyi dan coba bayangkan jadi Freddy Mercury di atas panggung untuk sesaat.

 

Mixtape: Sex Sux

sexsux

Terdiri dari sepasang suami-istri bernama Deni (vokal/gitar/harmonika) dan Melly (vokal/gitar/ukulele/keyboard) serta iPod untuk bunyi loop drum, aksi duo dari Bogor ini meramu musik indie pop berfidelitas rendah yang mengingatkanmu akan band-band seminal seperti The Vaselines, The Pastels, Beat Happening, dan Vivian Girls. “Awalnya gue nggak pernah mau seband sama pacar/suami, karena gue males kalau kehidupan personal kecampur aduk sama ngeband. Terus Deni ajak latihan, gue ikut, bawain lagu yang Deni tulis (“Catch Up”, “Frown”) dan lagu itu emang cocok banget buat Sex Sux. Hati gue mulai terpanggil, tapi gue bener-bener nggak mau kalo kita lagi ada masalah, band ikut terpengaruh (waktu itu kita masih pake drummer manusia), sehingga akhirnya kita putuskan, udah lah kita berdua bener-bener berdua aja. Kita tendang si drummer baru proyek ini bisa berjalan. Jadi kalo kita berantem, terus berpengaruh ke band, yang kena rasanya juga kita berdua doang. Hehe. akhirnya baru gue sepakat untuk ngejalanin Sex Sux. Pas awal-awal ngejalanin Sex Sux, gue lagi seneng-senengnya dengerin Vivian Girls. Mungkin secara musik nggak terlalu mempengaruhi sih. Tapi justru gue seneng ngeliat attitude mereka dalam band. Gue pengen ngejalanin band yang fun, bisa ngelakuin apa yang kita mau, pokoknya semua kita bikin fun aja,” ungkap Melly tuntas tentang cerita terbentuknya band yang namanya diambil dari salah satu judul lagu The Vaselines di album Dum Dum ini. Untungnya, unsur fun yang mereka idamkan itu berhasil ditampilkan dalam album debut mereka, Sing Along With Bananas, yang dirilis HeyHo! Records bulan April lalu. Berisi 10 lagu dengan tema-tema menarik seperti zombie, kucing peliharaan, sampai ubur-ubur, album ini dipenuhi singalong chorus dan reverb noise yang catchy. Pertanyaan terakhir, kenapa suka sekali kucing? “Kenapa orang nggak suka kucing?” Melly balik bertanya, “Bagaimana mungkin ada yang bisa menahan diri melihat muka yang lucu itu?” sambung Deni. Well said.

“Marathon”

Tennis

Sebenarnya lagu ini soal terjebak di badai pas mereka berlayar. Lagunya terlalu riang untuk dianggap lagu soal pertaruhan nyawa di tengah badai.  Namun, tetap saja lagunya secara keseluruhan asik buat diputar di luar rumah kalau cuacanya sedang bersahabat dan bikin kita ingin mencoba berlayar.

“Christmas Island”

Lake

Deni itu fans berat Adventure Time.  Berkat Adventure Time dia tahu lagu ini, dan menjadi salah satu lagu favorit.  Dia bahkan pernah seharian cuma muter lagu ini.  Lagunya sendiri mengajak kita bertualang dengan lirik seperti “Come along with me/ To a place beside the sea/ We can wander through the forest/ And do so as we please.”

“Meet Me In The City”

The Babies

Kita berdua pernah jalan-jalan keliling kota mutar album pertama The Babies yang ada lagu ini, on repeat di stereo mobil.  Boleh dibilang lagu ini jadi anthem jalan-jalan kita.

 

“Grass Skirt”

All Girl Summer Fun Band

Lagunya bikin ingin pakai grass skirt, ngambil ukulele, sambil nyanyi-nyanyi di pantai.

“Indian Summer”

Beat Happening

Calvin Johnson itu jenius.

“Fantastic Cat”

Takako Minekawa

Lagu ini mungkin tersegmen untuk pencinta kucing.  Kalau mendengar lagu ini kita inginnya selama liburan cuma di rumah dan main bersama kucing kesayangan. Ngeliat mereka cuma tiduran seharian itu sangat menyenangkan loh.

“I’m Drunk, How About You?”

Melting Bitches

Liburan itu waktunya membuang semua pikiran.  Lagu dari labelmates kita yang satu ini bisa menjadi buaian paling pol untuk membuang pikiran.  Literally.

“Tree Hugger”

Antsy Pants

Kita anggap ini adalah lagu terbaik untuk bermain gitar kopong depan api unggun.  Kecuali tentu bila teman kemping kita lebih memilih untuk nyanyi bareng lagu “More Than Words.”

“All The Time”

Vivian Girls

Pergi liburan itu perlu semangat ekstra.  Kita ngerasa lagu ini adalah the perfect pick-me-up buat memulai liburan.

“Party In The U.S.A.”

Miley Cyrus

Kita bukan jenis-jenis yang suka partying atau apalah, tapi setiap lagu ini keluar kita selalu ingin PARTYAnd the Miley’s song is on, nodding our heads like ‘yeah’.

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http://sex-sux.tumblr.com/

Mixtape: Akira as Astronaughty

Sebetulnya tentu saja Akira as Astronaughty bukanlah astronot betulan, ia adalah electronic solo project dari seorang beatmaker, radio announcer, dan penyanyi bernama Dmust Akira yang memilih nama Akira As Astronaughty karena ketertarikannya pada bintang dan luar angkasa. Project yang dimulai tahun 2008 ini telah merilis satu album berjudul Attracted To The Light berisi lagu-lagu electronic dengan influens Justice, Daft Punk dan Knife Party. Dmust yang sering dinominasikan di electronic music awards dalam negeri ini juga kerap me-remix dan memproduseri musisi lain, mulai dari Goodnight Electric, Sandhy Sondoro, Jimi Multhazam sampai Harvey Malaihollo, “Hmm, sebenarnya gue suka dan tertarik nge-remix lagu itu karena memang awalnya penasaran, kalau gue tweak sedikit jadinya seperti apa ya? Jadi gue coba dan cuma mau bikin sedikit beda aja dari versi aslinya. Yang next rencananya sih lagunya Aditya yang ‘Go Away’,” ungkap cowok kelahiran Jakarta 14 Maret 1983 ini. Dari sekian banyak gig yang telah ia lakukan, termasuk menjadi opening act untuk konser Sean Kingston dan Far East Movement, mana yang paling berkesan? “Event paling memorable pastinya masih di Silent Disco, gue main di sana dan setelah gue buka headphones, asli nggak ada suara apa-apa di luar, mereka dance dari bunyi headphone yang mereka pakai, itu sangat unik banget, susah dijelasin sama kata-kata, harus coba sendiri! Hehe,” jawabnya. Sambil menunggu rilisan selanjutnya berupa EP berjudul Double Dare bersama DJ Echa, bulan ini ia meluncurkan single “You Don’t Know Me” via label barunya bernama Audio Expressions dan membuat mixtape bertema space traveling.

Velvetine – The Great Divide (Seven Lions Remix)

No gravity, just floating around, but watch out for the meteors. Love this!

Zedd – Spectrum

If I’m an astronaut, gue akan pasang lagu ini di soundsystem rocket ship gue waktu take off. Well, itu pun kalau ada soundsystem di rocket ship. Prepare to take off with this track!

Labrinth – Last Time (Knife Party Remix)

Star Trek menurut gue terlalu geeky, coba ganti soundtrack-nya deh pakai lagu ini, mungkin akan lebih keren? Hmm…

Caspa & Mr Hudson – Love Never Dies

Lagu ini bisa bikin lo mengkhayal santai, seperti lagi melayang tanpa gravitasi.

Datsik & Kill The Noise – Lightspeed

Jump into light speed with this tune, that’s what we’re gonna do.

Knife Party – Destroy Them With Lazers

Kalau gue lagi space travelling dan terdampar di planet lain, kebetulan di planet itu ada alien, mungkin gue akan pasang lagu ini di headphone and Destroy Them With Lazers!

Daft Punk – Digital Love

This track and the video is perfection of space electronic.

    

Justice – Audio Video Disco

Genius!

Sigma feat. Ikay Foxrox & Geetox – Night & Day

Time to rush back to earth, let’s jump. Suka banget lagu ini since the first time I hear it, never get bored.

Rusko – Hold On (Sub Focus Remix)

Epic track! We safely landed on earth.

https://soundcloud.com/akiraasastronaughty