Updates

I know. I haven’t kept my promise to update my blog. Apologies if you’ve been following and wondering what’s been happening! I’ll try to bring everyone up to speed, and in as few words as possible. So, here goes:

  • The Glad Stones’ album “Unfold Your Heart” was launched on 25 April 2012. Here’s the link to our website and micro blog. You can listen to all our songs here too.
  • It was a limited-edition handmade album – only 300 or so copies. We made everything ourselves (including burning each CD individually). Jaye designed the album cover. We had that made into stickers, and pasted them on regular envelopes. Inside, was our CD in a plain white pocket, and a thank you card.Here’s a picture of the album in progress. (We think it looks great, but it’s not durable enough to be placed in a store, so we’re in the middle of revamping the packaging to a more professional looking and long-lasting one.)

Making the album

  • Together with the album, we released a music video for our song “Before The Lights Go Out” on 1 May. It was shot in the space of one immensely fun and tiring day. Check it out below!
  • Oh, and we had a t-shirt made too. Nice?

Before The Lights Go Out

  • At long last, we started busking on the streets. It was probably the best thing we did as a duo, and we certainly met some interesting people at the same time.Here’s a shot of us at Haji Lane, one of the hippest spots in Singapore these days. Our friend Jason Cruz (the tall guy in shades) accompanied us on the cajon. Oh, and the guy in blue with the tambourine just happened to be walking by and wanted a picture.

Busking

Here’s another one of us from the same day.

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  • We staged “Gypsy In The City”, a mini-concert/carnival at The Arts House on 9 Sept. Over 100 friends and family came to watch. It was a massive amount of work, and we couldn’t have done it without my aunt Jearina, who did most of the arranging and even had the hall transformed into what could pass off as a gypsy carnival. Our friends Les & Claire, otherwise known as the brilliant folk duo One Hat Town opened for us. On top of that, there was a carnivalesque line-up of performers (a mime, magician and tarot card reader!) to add to the atmosphere. (I don’t have any nice pictures yet as our photographer hasn’t got them to us, but I’ll post them once I do.)
  • A few days after the concert, we did a photo shoot for our revamped album packaging and publicity, etc. Many thanks to our friend Mary-Jane Leo for the amazing shots. Here’s a sample:

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So, what’s next?

Jaye has left for studies in Japan – He’s having a blast at the Koyo Conservatory. So yes, TGS sadly is on a hiatus (for now), but will reunite sometime in April 2013. We’ll definitely be doing some shows then so watch this space (promise!).

As for me, I’m working on my own material, and hope to launch a solo album next year. Later today, I’ll be performing a solo gig at Viking Coffee, as part of the Diarist Sessions. Do drop by if you can!

Upcoming gig – The Glad Stones @ Scape 30 April 2011

We’ve entertained you on YouTube. Now, you can watch us live.

The Glad Stones and rapper BBS will be performing this Saturday @ Scape Mall in Orchard Road, as part of the Maestro Guitars Be Heard Project. We’ll be playing some of our best original songs and our favourite covers. One set only. If you’ve been following us on YouTube and like our style, please come! We’d love to meet you 🙂

The show starts at 4pm with a couple of other great acts, so do come early for an entire afternoon of good music!

When: Saturday, 30 April 2011, 4pm onwards
Where: Maestro Acoustic Lounge @ Scape Mall, Orchard Road

Week 44 – Sleeping With A Memory

First, a disclaimer. If you’ve watched this video (thank you!) and felt it was full of flippant cutaways and more clowning around than usual – we had no choice!

Ideally, we’d have liked to record everything in a single take, but it was past 3am on a Friday and everything seemed to be going wrong.

It took us literally dozens of takes before we finally got something decent – BUT the camera decided to mysteriously stop recording about halfway through that one and only good take! It’s happened before and boy, we need to straighten out that camera…

So, we spent another hour shooting random videos to fill the gap – basically everything you see after 1:40. Plus, the camera kept going out of focus, but at 4am, we were too tired to care!

Forget the good things I said about Windows Movie Maker earlier – it sucks big time. It could barely function when we tried to edit multiple high-definition videos (at around 5am). In the end we gave up and I went home.

Fortunately, Carol’s Macbook has iMovie ’09 installed and it worked so, so much better with the video – which I only got down to editing today. The only thing that I couldn’t add were effects like sepia, soft focus and things like that, but I’m certainly not complaining.

Lessons learnt: Fix the camera (or get a higher-capacity SD card because I suspect it ran out of space at the end), and use iMovie, or a better video editing software from now on.

Okay, back to the song…

“Sleeping With A Memory” is a song about loss.

It’s about someone you are no longer with, but you just can’t stop thinking about her – so much that you keep dreaming about her.

You can’t bear to wake up because you don’t want the dream to end.

Sleeping With A Memory

The hands of night
Cover my eyes
I imagine you are there
Next to me
Can almost feel you
Wide awake but dreaming
Sleeping with a memory

CHORUS
Dreaming
Spend my life dreaming
Stay in bed all day
Just to be with you

Wake up
Don’t want to wake up
Sleeping with a memory
Is all I wanna do

I keep thinking
It was a moment ago
When the sun set
And we parted ways
It’s been so long
My heart still beats your name
Your face is so clear
In my mind

CHORUS
Dreaming
Spend my life dreaming
Stay in bed all day
Just to be with you

Wake up
Don’t want to wake up
Sleeping with a memory
Is all I wanna do

I remember loving
Holding your hand
We shone like stars beside
The dimly lit moon
Those sweet parades
Are now just a haze
Oh, how I wish it was just yesterday

CHORUS
Dreaming
Spend my life dreaming
Stay in bed all day
Just to be with you

Wake up
Don’t want to wake up
Sleeping with a memory
Is all I wanna do

Thoughts about Sixx, Singfest and making a stand

I was watching this video report by Razor TV about local hip hop band Sixx, and the unfortunate cancellation of their performance at Singfest last week. What happened was that the band was suddenly dropped as the second day’s opening act, apparently because the sound checks earlier took too long. You can also read more about it here.

Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Sixx until the incident – ironically, they did get some publicity out of it! But that’s besides the point. I really was quite impressed with how well they took the disappointing news. Yes, Singfest was a big deal, and I would feel devastated, had I been in that position. Instead, they are taking it in their stride and looking forward to other gigs and their upcoming EP launch. Kudos guys! Hope to catch you live soon!

Anyway, this incident, of course, led to some online buzz about how, just like that, the poor band was kicked off the show. I’ve experienced disappointments myself, from cancelled events to places that expect you to play for free “for exposure”, so I felt really bad for Sixx.

A few days later, Today music writer Chris Toh wrote an interesting post on the Poparazzi blog, urging bands to say “NO” to free gigs. I must say I agree with him, and I just wanted to weigh in on this topic of local bands and how they are treated as “second class citizens”, as Chris so aptly wrote.

I think the crux of the matter lies in the fact that local musicians are pretty much powerless when it comes to negotiating with the people or companies that hire them. Let’s talk about, say, a talented Top 40s band made up of a few friends, which is trying to make a living playing cover music, and hopefully write some original tunes in the near future. They will probably start off playing for free, and then if their passion for music is strong enough, press on and find some gigs that actually pay.

Yes, there’s always the argument that unknown bands have to start small, and perform anywhere that will have them. That’s fair enough. But at what point do you start asking for money? When you’re good enough? When you have been playing long enough?

The point is that the ball is always in the court of the people hiring the bands. To my knowledge, there isn’t some kind of association or union of Singapore bands that says that unless we are paid such-and-such a minimum fee, we will not perform. Trouble is, local bands are independent entities doing their own thing, and there’s always going to be a band who will be willing to play for free.

In the case of Sixx, wouldn’t it be great if there was some kind of musicians’ body to press the organisers for compensation for the band? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that the international acts in Singfest were protected by contracts, so if something screwed up, there was recourse for them. I’m not so sure if Sixx signed some kind of contract, though. Even though they are not yet as big as say, Kanye West, don’t our local acts have rights too?

The thing is, who’s going to step forward and get Singapore bands together to talk about these issues – and make a stand? Probably nobody. So, I believe it’s really up to bands to fight for their own rights. If you think you’re worth your salt, and deserve to be paid for performing, then demand for it. If you’ve worked hard for your music, why let yourself be exploited?

For my own band Raised On Radio, we do ask for a minimum fee, based on the “market rate” for cover bands, which is really based on how much other bands we know get paid for playing at a similar place – which is basically hearsay. Yes, we do lose some gigs because of that, but I’m proud to say that for the majority of the performances we have done, we were paid at that “market rate”.

Well, these are just my own observations on this issue, so please feel free to disagree with me. Comments are welcome!