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.

 

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: Answer Sheet

Mendengar bunyi ukulele, biasanya kita langsung membayangkan suasana pantai berpasir putih dengan pohon-pohon kelapa dan segelas piña colada di tangan. Kamu bebas memilih pantai mana pun, mulai dari Pantai Waikiki di Hawaii, tempat instrumen petik tersebut berasal, hingga Pantai Sadranan di Yogyakarta, yang menjadi sumber inspirasi bermusik bagi Answer Sheet. Unit musik asal Jogja yang terdiri dari Wafiq Giotama (Ogi, ukulele/vokal/tamborin), Mas Gilang Karebet (Karebet, ukulele/vokal/keyboard) dan Abdullah Haq (Abi, bass/backing vocal) ini memang mengandalkan bunyi ukulele untuk membangun musik mereka yang easy listening dan nyaman didengarkan di hari libur. “Lebih mudah dieksplor, lebih portable, kebetulan referensi musik juga banyak yang pakai ukulele, dan menyenangkan.” tandas Ogi tentang alasan mereka memilih ukulele sebagai senjata utama. Dengan influens meliputi Beirut, Jens Lekman, Jake Shimabukuro dan Dent May, trio yang lebih memilih disebut duo (“Karena dihitungnya dari nol! Haha” ucap Ogi) ini telah merilis beberapa single seperti “Stay, Leave”, “A Love Beach, Sadranan”, “The Pleasant Drink of United Ink” dan beberapa cover dari band-band seperti Coldplay, Netral dan Blur yang terdapat dalam dua EP mereka, Uku Got EP Live in Bedroom dan SEA Indie Singles “SEA001: Answer Sheet”. Sambil menunggu dirilisnya LP pertama mereka, nikmati dulu mixtape berisi racikan lagu-lagu pengisi liburan ala mereka dan mulai belajar memainkan ukulele di liburan kali ini. 

 

Kishi Bashi

“Manchester”

Sejauh ini 151a merupakan salah satu rilisan favorit di tahun 2012. “Manchester” memiliki aroma warm feeling tersendiri, terutama saat menyusuri trotoar kota di pagi hari setelah berkutat dengan rutinitas selama berbulan-bulan.

 

Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole

“White Sandy Beach Of Hawaii”

Dan memang lebih baik untuk tidak melupakan ukulele dengan permainan alunan tembang hits lawas ketika berduaan bersama pasangan di pantai. Google it: “Bruddah Iz” – sebutan akrab Israel, RIP – lalu kamu akan menemukan fakta kalau beliau adalah salah satu legenda yang paling dikenal dari scene musik Hawaii.

Tommy Guerrero

“Thank You MK”

Siang yang panas, berbaring di kamar dengan segelas limun dingin. Melamun, memandang langit-langit. Imajinasi liar membawamu berjalan di pinggiran pesisir laut Meksiko. Dari jauh tampak bangunan bar terbuka ala Maladewa, lengkap dengan pengunjung yang mengenakan aloha shirt.

 

Depapepe

“Summer Parade”

Lagu favorit dari Depapepe. Cocok ketika terbangun di pagi yang cerah (masih) di pinggir pantai. Ada jet ski, paraseling dan permainan lainya. Jika difilmkan, kamera menangkapmu dari helikopter yang terbang tinggi sambil mengikuti movement dari depan. TV banget deh.

Petty Booka

“Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian”

Walau kurang begitu paham dengan kata-kata kotor yang diucapkan, namun mencari kosakata baru akan menyenangkan dalam menghabiskan waktu liburan. Petty Booka adalah duo ukulele wanita menawan dari Jepang yang sudah ditinggalkan semua founding member-nya.

 

Two Door Cinema Club

“What You Know”

Kembali ke kota di malam hari bersama teman-teman hits nan hip. Berhenti di sebuah klab malam dengan dua pintu, memasukinya kemudian dilanjutkan dengan momen girang bersama. Ya, a club with two door, literally.

Jubing Kristianto

“Ayam Den Lapeh”

Lagu Minang yang dibawakan ulang oleh gitaris fingerstyle Indonesia, Jubing Kristianto. Mungkin komposisi tersebut dapat mengingatkanmu tentang semua yang sudah kamu jelajahi di museum pada waktu siang tadi.

Beirut

“Elephant Gun”

Salah satu influence terbesar kami dalam bermusik. Zachary Francis Condon cs selalu berhasil membuat musik yang kaya. Alasan utama mengapa lagu ini masuk dalam playlist adalah karena liriknya: “Let the season begin…” Memang seharusnya musim liburan dimulai.

 

Foals

“Spanish Sahara”

Terkadang liburan tidak harus selalu menyenangkan. Sikap galau bisa jadi alternative dalam mengisi waktu liburan. Ditambah menjadi penghuni Twitter ababil yang sarat akan galau. Alunan sunyi ini dapat membuatmu lebih galau walau sedikit. Ayo liburan galau!

 

Benjamin Francis Leftwich

“Atlas Hands”

Track ini kami persiapkan untuk mengakhiri liburan. Tidak bisa membohongi diri kalau kamu masih ingin liburan. “Cause I’m still in love with that place…” katanya. Semua kenangan liburan akan tersimpan dalam benakmu dengan lagu ini.

As published in NYLON Indonesia June 2012

Photo by Galih Indra Setyanto

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