Though it has only been two years, Coming Up Roses has expanded from an acoustic duo into an indie/dream-pop quartet. They are currently working towards their first EP and now is on the final list for Baybeats Budding Bands 2018. And no, they are not named after Keira Knightley’s song.
Each with their own musical backgrounds, be it in classical training such as the piano or even Tap Tap Revenge, they fell in love with the craft enough to enrol themselves in school and pursue their own originals. This commitment even got singer Emily Sia picking up the bass last year.
However, they know of the struggles as Darius Oon (guitarist) puts it simply: “I don’t think that the local acts are inferior to the international ones, I think there is just a lack of knowledge. A lot of the mainstream audience are not aware of local music. There are some, of course, who go to every gig and that’s amazing but in the wider spectrum, many are still not that aware of the local music scene in Singapore.”
And with the closure of Lush 99.5 last year, local tunes played on air are decreasing as well. But when you chance upon a local tune, Bruce Tan (drummer) finds it inspiring.
“Usually I listen to the music first, and not just because they are local. It is just the fact that they are good, as simple as that. And to know that there are people of that caliber in the music scene, I just want to be like them. It is inspiring and puts things into perspective. That you have to work a lot more to be like that,” Bruce shares.
Still, it tends to be the same few bands that get their time on air and on stage. Does this mean that to be successful in some way, your sound will have to follow a certain trend and possibly try to sell out?
Lorenzo Romero (guitarist) weighs in, “No place to judge but if the band’s own creative direction that they wish to change, it is up to them. But I think selling out is an opinionated thing. Nobody can keep going on making the same sound. You wouldn’t really want to listen to the same band sounding the same the entire time. To each their own. If they take mainstream sounds as their own change in style, then go for it. An artist makes music for themselves, and they don’t do it for others.”
“Sometimes it is also about meeting requirements and having to sell when under labels, for example,” Darius adds.
Popspoken sits down with the Indie/Dream-pop band to learn about their upcoming EP and what to expect on their Baybeats debut.
Popspoken: What prompted the band to expand from an acoustic duo to a quartet?
Coming Up Roses: The main thing that prompted us to expand to a full band was a few songs that we had written that we thought would work better in a band format as opposed to in an acoustic act. While being an acoustic duo was fun, I think we always fancied being a full band and the opportunities that that path would open for us. Furthermore, it gave us a lot more freedom to experiment with our sound and to do things that would not be possible in a simpler acoustic format.
PS: How has it been preparing for your upcoming EP? Any unexpected experiences from the process so far?
C: Preparations for our EP is very much in its formative stages, and we’re mainly deciding which of our originals will be on this release, while recording several demos just to get a better idea of how they sound like in a recorded format as compared to how they sound live. In fact, we’ve even released a demo on Soundcloud to test the ‘waters’ and to see how people would respond to our music.
As far as unexpected experiences go, there aren’t many to talk about, but I do think that there are some valuable things we have learned from recording and from talking to other musicians we know. For example, we’ve consciously been trying to not model the recorded versions of our songs on the way we do them live, whether it’s overdubbed parts we can’t pull off live or some sounds and effects not heard when we play gigs.
PS: Share with us one local band that has inspired you, and why.
C: One local band that has really inspired us is grindcore band Wormrot. This might come as a surprise since our sounds are worlds apart, but we had the pleasure to see them live and we were completely blown away.
Furthermore, they are one of the current Singaporean bands that have actually achieved international acclaim, even getting the chance to play Glastonbury, which we’ll admit is a little bit of a dream of ours as well.
PS: Do you think the music scene is growing? How so?
C: We do believe that the music scene is growing. You can see that there has been a steady increase in the number of bands and the number of gigs in the Singapore music scene and there have been an astounding number of top-notch releases from local artists in recent years.
That being said, there still is much to be done for the local scene, especially in terms of viewership. I think that majority of Singaporeans and perhaps especially the youths in Singapore are not aware of the music scene and subsequently aren’t aware of local bands and music. Hence, the local scene remains relatively indie or underground and not as well placed in the mainstream consciousness as we think it should be.
PS: What can we look forward to for your Baybeats Budding Bands debut?
C: You can look forward to a dynamic performance that tells a story through our lyrics and through different sonic textures. We hope to bring dream pop and indie music to larger audiences and that they would come to appreciate and find interest in it as much as we do.
Coming Up Roses will be playing at this year’s Baybeats Festival that is happening from 17 to 19 August 2018!
They will be on for 17th August 2018, 7pm at the Arena (Esplanade Outdoor Theatre).
Photography credits: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan