Formed in 2018 and already gracing the Baybeats Festival stage in 2019, Cinnamon Persimmon is here to give you music that can be described as spicy, fresh and well, delicious. They look forward to putting their best foot forward for Baybeats and hopefully take their set overseas on tour. Eventually, they hope to inspire a new generation of Singaporean songwriters to explore various musical genres, sounds and build a community of like-minded musicians.
“Throughout life, I think I most enjoyed the moments of feeling both my body and mind as completely cohesive. Music is visceral. I remember singing Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black to myself in the midst of heartbreak, I felt my heart lighten like I’d released my emotions through the composition that someone else wrote and made space for something other than disappointment and pain. I go a bit crazy without music – both making and listening to it,” lead vocalist Laura Zhu revealed. This deep love for music is shared by the rest of the band, with bassist Jon Lim taking it a step further by purchasing a new bass while on overseas exchange just so he could keep close to music.
Keyboardist Joshua Phua shared, “In one of his interviews, Tarantino explained that the reason he liked to feature delicious food in scenes of extreme suspense (Apple Strudel in Basterds, Kahuna Burger in Pulp Fiction etc.) was because he wanted to create the specific sensation of food cravings mixed-in with terror. This combination he felt would be exciting for audiences because people rarely get to experience it in real life. To this day, I still think about that interview and try to apply it as much as I can to create exciting music. What needs to be there to create cuteness amidst dark tones or smooth vibes amidst wacky rhythms?”
With their own philosophies informing the way they make music, a simplified process would be Laura churning out soul-wrenching lyrics while Jon and drummer Brandon Lim will groove together to form a suitable rhythm. Brandon mused, “If I were a plant, music would be my sunlight *sunlight emoji*. I get a lot of imagery through music, a certain song could put me in a specific mood and my head will just go wild with scenarios. Halfway through, music started becoming my identity and a source of self-confidence, because I was slightly good at it I guess. Everyone listens to music one way or another, and I hope to produce music one day that will make people feel the way I do when I listen to music.”
While the lyrics and groove are getting figured out, Joshua and guitarist Brandon Lim aka Sheng will leverage on their shared love for dystopian scales to write synergistic melodies.
Sheng: “I’ve always had a deep love and reverence for classical, romantic, and impressionist music. My dad contributed an appreciation for classic rock and the blues. As I got older (into my teens), jazz and big band swing crept into the mix. Now all I can do is attempt to synthesise a fusion of all these elements that has at least a semblance of coherence.”
Quirky and articulate, Popspoken caught up with Cinnamon Persimmon online, just ahead of their Baybeats set this coming weekend.
Share with us more about the origin of your band name.
It was born over fancy cocktails at a fancy cocktail bar, spice with fruity notes seemed like a good base for the cocktail of our intrinsically unorthodox musical inclinations. Also, Cinnamon Persimmon is our aesthetic. Plump smooth and orange juxtaposed against stoic spicy coils. Whenever possible, we try and spice up our music with sweet (and sometimes tart) saccharine tunes.
Pretension aside, we just thought it was a fun, tasty and whimsical handle that would give our screaming fans (or lack thereof) a proper tongue twister to shout at gigs. Plus, unique name on Spotify! Marketing 101.
As a musician, is there anything you are aspiring towards to be able to say that you’ve made it?
If our stuff is interesting and sticks in the heads of people who passionately care about music, we’ve made it.
How supportive are your family and friends on this endeavour, and in what ways?
No one has tried to disown us yet. At the very worst, they’ve responded with nonchalance but that’s still better than discouragement.
What would happen to the local music scene if there was no Baybeats Budding Bands?
We can’t speak for the entire scene but for us, the BBB has been really eye-opening. You don’t know what you don’t know and when you realise there’s so much more to being in a band than just getting together and writing stuff you love, it’s both exciting and terrifying. [Sheng] I would say that BBB takes bedroom musicians and pushes them out into the real world.
Describe your genre of music with only spice puns.
Don’t know if we’re hitting it in the bird’s eye, but hopefully this will curry some favour. Peppering ourselves with adjectives can be seen as cumin on too hard, y’know? I’ll try to phrase this gingerly, while we try not to clove the door on our musical style by shutting out other genres, we still mustardently avoid becoming vanilla.
Cinnamon Persimmon will be playing at this year’s Baybeats Festival that is happening from 23rd to 25th August 2019!
They will be on for 24th August 2019, 6.30pm at the LiveWire Stage (Esplanade ForeCourt Garden).
Photography credits: Loo Wen Xin / @won997