With so many festivals happening this month or the next, such as the first Civic Outdoor Festival and the Singapore International Festival of The Arts, Singapore Drum Fest 2017 is here to further add to the hype! This is the fourth edition of the festival, with the first happening back in 2007.
Coined the Ultimate Drummers Weekend, the festival will feature international drumming sensations Meytal Cohen with Bassist Anel Pedrero, Juan Carlito Mendoza, Federico Paulovich, Jost Nickel and Stanley Randolph. The finals for the Drum off competition will be held at the event too – for the finalists to pit their skills against one another and have fun. Besides masterclasses and having internationally renowned drummers to play live, this festival is for anyone and everyone with a curiosity for music.
It is definitely an eye-opener – a promising weekend to groove and be inspired.
Popspoken has a quick chat with local drummers Benjamin Lim of Villes and 2016 Drum Off winner Anson Koh to learn more about the craft as well as the festival itself. They will be performing at this year’s Singapore Drum Fest and definitely two drummers to look out for in our local scene.
Popspoken: How did you start out playing the drums?
Benjamin: I started at 12, in the Saint Patrick’s school military band.
Anson: I started out playing drums because my eldest brother, Jenson Koh (founder & owner of Bozzworkz) was already playing drums at home before I was born. He taught me since I was a kid and I’ve taken an interest to drums since young.
PS: Share with us the band(s) you are in, and what styles you drum with them.
B: I’m in a band called Villes, we play a heavy style of music, coined as ‘post hardcore’. Basically it means that there are both singing and screaming in our songs. Catchy yet very heavy. Take a listen to the new album that dropped a few months back to see if you might like it!
A: I’m currently a part of ColdCut Quartet (Experimental/Fusion), Wicked Aura (Rock/Funk/Samba), neoDominatrix (Experimental/Fusion) and The Momma Shop (Pop). Apart from that, I am also sessioning for Nathan Hartono, Gareth Fernandez and a few others from time to time.
PS: How is Singapore Drum Fest significant to our local community?
B: The Singapore Drum Fest has been the only annual drum festival that we’ve ever had, where drum greats from all over the world come over to perform and showcase their art for us for the past 10 years. It’s a major difference from watching your idols on YouTube and seeing them play in the flesh.
I know that Tan Boon (organiser) has been striving to keep this going for the longest time, and I feel that, as a Singaporean drummer/musician, supporting this festival or similar showcases would do a lot in helping us learn, and even better, grow into an international hotspot for more of these artists to perform in.
Who wouldn’t want to see their favorite artists perform here live?
And wouldn’t we want to be able to learn from these greats, so we can nurture more of our own giants in the future?
A: I think the Singapore Drum Fest has helped push the level of drumming in Singapore higher in general.
When I participated in the Drum-Off last year, I pushed myself more than I would have if I didn’t join. And I’ve seen my peers who joined the drum-off work really hard too. Apart from everyone working hard to improve themselves, the participants all got to know more drummers in Singapore and also forge new bonds and friendship over the course of the festival too.
With that being said, the Singapore Drum Fest doesn’t just help to elevate the level of drumming in Singapore. It also helps to bring the drumming community in Singapore and around the region a little closer each year.
Singapore Drum Fest 2017
Date: 5th to 6th August 2017
Venue: Max Atria @ Singapore EXPO
Time: 10am to 7pm
Admission: From $80 (Two-day passes available. Get your tickets here.)
Photographs courtesy of Singapore Drum Fest, Benjamin Lim and Anson Koh.