AFTER weeks of speculation, Universal Music has finally released +65 Indie Underground, the compilation of Singapore indie music from the ’80s to the present. Bands included in this three-CD set, which kicks off in the present and ends up with music from 20 years ago, include The Oddfellows, Opposition Party, The Mother, Zircon Lounge, Electrico, Livonia, Astreal, Concave Scream, Postbox, Great Spy Experiment and many more.
Of course, many will probably gripe about why certain bands weren’t included (like AWOL, hahahaha) or why didn’t they choose that song instead, but hey, if this compilation sells well, Part Two might have those bands and songs in them.
But in the meantime, we spoke to muso Joe Ng, who helped put this compilation together. He was there when the indie explosion happened (he was in a band called Corporate Toil, then The Padres). We also spoke to Lim Teck Kheng, the dude from Universal Music, who was also there when the indie explosion happened (he too, was in a band, but refuses to tell us which one because he’s shy); and got them to talk about what they expected from this compilation.
Joe, why did you agree to undertake this project?
Joe: I’m a fan of music. Especially music made in Singapore and it has always been one of my biggest dreams to have a something like this.
Kheng, what made you decide to come up with a compilation like this?
Kheng: To give back to the ‘80s alternative music scene that I grew up with. Following the Singapore ‘60s project, we felt the need to document another important period in the history of Singapore’s music development. From the D-I-Y days of Zircon Lounge, The Oddfellows, Humpback Oak and Stompin’ Ground to the current musical exports like Great Spy Experiment, Electrico and The Observatory going beyond the shores of Singapore.
Having been there when all this happened and looking at the musicians today, do you think Singapore’s music scene is viable?
Joe: I’ve always believed it can. If it happened in the ’60s, why not now? It’s just that the authorities killed off a vibrant self-sustaining scene during the ’70s and everything just went to hell.
What were the biggest challenges faced in doing the compilation?
Kheng: The challenge was trying to contact the labels and bands to license the songs for this compilation. But along the way, we re-connected with the friends we made throughout the years… a lot of encouraging words and excitement generated to make this project a reality.
What do you hope for this album – what are your expectations?
Joe: It’s important to know our past and have an understanding of how it all began. Only then can we build a future that has roots and meaning.
Kheng: Our hope is to document the music development of the alternative music scene of the ‘80s to now. A lot of the great music has been long deleted. A lot of these great artists and bands deserve to be heard again.
But seriously, do you think an album like this can sell?
Joe: Not in big numbers. Everyone who’s ever been in a band playing original music in Singapore will tell you they are not in it for the money because there’s little money playing. They do it because they love it.
Is this also going to be the start of a new compilation series like the Singapore 60s?
And there you have it folks. A blast from Singapore’s musical past and present that will hopefully see us into the future.