Delivering groove rock since 2012 when they were university students, the band members of Your Sister’s Postman are now working adults but still keeping at their craft – for the fans as well as their own need to break from the 9 to 5.
Sometimes, Fadhly (vocalist), Taufiq (guitarist), Liang Bao (guitarist), Edmund (bassist) and Melvin (drummer) only manage to come together after four months of packed working schedules for a single practice. Juggling day jobs, music and having the motivation to balance both is a real struggle, but with Baybeats round the corner, the band has committed themselves to making time by hook or by crook to attend mentorship sessions and keep up their jamming.
“After the Baybeats workshop, I realise that being a musician is a full-time profession,” said Fadhly.
“Yea, without the full-time pay la,” Melvin added in, “I don’t think Singapore is mature enough at the moment to understand that being a musician can be a legitimate career path. And sometimes, it is all about the marketing now. Back when I was 17, social media wasn’t that popular yet and people would turn up for gigs just through word-of-mouth. When we played music, people are more interested and less distracted by the internet and all that. It is no longer just about the music these days; it still is, but the emphasis is less. There’s a lot more emphasis on the marketing – attractiveness of members, etc. It is really hard to captivate the audience and just sell ourselves through our music.”
Popspoken sits down to have some teh at Toast Box with the band members to find out more about their interesting nicknames for each other and why they keep coming back to music making despite the struggles.
Popspoken: You guys have interesting names for each band member. Any stories behind them?
Taufiq: Well we all love to troll each other, although I’m tamer than Mel and LB hence Trollfiq.
Edmund: I’m the average smiling joe.
Liang Bao: I think it’s because we’re just rude to each other – like all of the time.
Fadhly: I don’t really know why I’m called Fadbeast. But I know why Bob is Bob.
Popspoken: It seems like you guys are working adults now and this band started ever since your school days. What is the one thing that brings you back to music?
Taufiq: YSP is pretty much an escape from work for me. The raw and edgy sounds represent a more carnal form of aggression that is accentuated in my playing and performance, hence a form of release.
Edmund: Music is a form of release from the stress and hustle of work.
Liang Bao: What Taufiq and Edmund said – it’s a release. I think it’s also because we have such great chemistry as a band, we’re able to hone in on what each of us wants to achieve and express musically. If one of us comes up with an idea, it’s (almost) always awesome to hear what everyone else comes up with to layer and build upon the original idea. That’s a feeling that I keep coming back for.
Fadhly: The biggest gig I’ve ever played in my life was with YSP. For that fact alone, I will always give playing music with this band a chance. It was at NUS, we played at UTown, on a gigantic Titantron stage, about a third the size of the Baybeats Powerhouse stage. To see that sea of people, rocking along to shit we came up with in a studio… The idea that we can get up there and give people a good time – that’s what keeps me going.
Popspoken: How has your sound evolved from then and now?
Taufiq: We all listen to very different music; tastes that constantly evolve that find its way to our music. The older songs were more aggressive yet playful, more in-your-face. The newer songs lend a more melancholic feel that somehow deal with more worldly issues compared to the allegorical commentary in the older heavy pieces. I think it’s a cool thematic duality.
Edmund: We used to play whatever feels shiok. As we progressed, we begin to develop our identity, and focus on. instead, what our sound can do to others.
Liang Bao: The first few songs that we wrote were hard-hitting, in-your-face affairs. I think we’re more patient when it comes to songwriting now, allowing ourselves and our music to pause, stop and breathe.
Fadhly: While our first few songs were really the result of years of pent-up musical pressure, our recent entries have been tempered by a confidence that we can let the song write itself, if that makes sense. There’s less of a rush and desire to fill each song up with cool tricks; we’re giving each song its own space to exist.
Popspoken: What is one unconventional space you would love to perform in?
Taufiq: A big industrial looking empty hall, sort of like an urban Live in Pompeii version of Pink Floyd!
Edmund: International Space Station.
Liang Bao: Hyperspace.
Fadhly: Unconventional? I would love to play a gig on a cliff, with the mountain breeze rushing through my hair.
Popspoken: How has the Baybeats mentorship been for you guys so far?
Taufiq: Absolutely wonderful! We’ve been learning a lot more on the non-music elements in a band, skills that can be applied to any musical endeavour we might have.
Liang Bao: It’s been great. We consider ourselves to be musicians first, and the rest of the stuff that comes with being a band (like marketing, band image etc.) tends to be forgotten. I think the journey thus far has really hammered home how important all of that really is.
Fadhly: Exciting and scary. To hear these experts dish out the prescriptions for marketing and branding makes you excited about how we can begin to push YSP out into the world and scared because of how much effort it will actually take. It’s like the baby is already developed in the womb, and now we need to push it out of the vagina. The Baybeats team is like the doctor shouting “Push!”
Popspoken: You get to play a track for any movie series out there. Which would you pick and why?
Taufiq: Scott Pilgrim! The heavier songs for the fight scenes and the mellower stuff for Scott’s (many) relationship woes.
Edmund: Dark Knight.
Liang Bao: Top Gun – because I love cheesy 80s music.
Fadhly: Star Wars. I wanna lay down the track for the inevitable Luke trains Rey montage.
Watch them deliver their best at this year’s Baybeats Festival that is happening from 24 to 26 June 2016!
Cover photograph: Your Sister’s Postman
Photography credits: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan