Mark down your calendars and dig out your old school uniform, because Poptart, Singapore’s favourite Indie night, is back, with its 11th Birthday celebration at OverEasy on 24 September.
In light of this event, we sit down for an hour-long coffee chat with DJs Adrian Wee (weelikeme) and Robin Chua (KidG) serve up slices of knowledge as to where Poptart has been, where it is going, what is at the heart of it all, as well as talk about their journey as Singapore’s first and longest-running Indie/Alternative night.
1. Poptart was borne out of a random, drunken night in 2004.
Weelikeme: I was already doing House and the usual club stuff, but I wanted to do something that was closer to what I grew up listening to, like rock, britpop, and grunge.
After a night of drinks at someone’s house, messing around with the DJ set, and the subsequent hangover, DJs weelikeme, Jah and Zaidi decided – why not do a night with this sound? And hence Poptart was born. Thank you, alcohol!
2. Poptart was nearly named “Vacuum Cool”.
They nearly went for “something like Vacuum Cool” (maybe due to a link to a Stone Roses tour, weelikeme couldn’t recall), but decided to go for something softer and more fun in the end.
Weelikeme: I thought that Poptart would be quite a fun name, because there is the word “Pop”, and there is a double meaning as well – it could be a confectionary, or it could be referring to a girl who likes to have fun!
3. Poptart had a really humble beginning.
Because Poptart began in an era before social media, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was used to spread the word (for those who are lost, it was first IRC, then ICQ, and then MSN). The original crowd was mainly the DJs’ friends, second degree friends, and people from the music industry, like members from local bands.
4. Poptart’s sound evolved quite a bit along the way.
It started out a lot more Indie and nostalgic, with sub-genres like Punk, Joy Division and Shoegaze, but as the crowd got younger, the DJs mixed in more Pop and Electronic to suit changing tastes.
Weelikeme: At the end of the day, we just want to have some fun. I don’t really think we have much boundaries with what we play. We don’t want to get too fussy and too strict with what we play.
KiDG: Sometimes we’ll just drop a random pop tune in the middle of everything. We just want to have a good time!
5. Poptart parted ways with Velvet Underground in Zouk because weelikeme did.
Many youths see Poptart’s time at Velvet Underground in Zouk as its golden age and wondered why Poptart’s venue shifted. Well, now you know. Weelikeme was working full-time at Zouk as a resident DJ at the duration in which Poptart was held there, and later left and decided to find a new space for Poptart.
6. The future remains undecided after Poptart’s 11th birthday celebration.
In light of Poptart’s recent hiatus, many of us wonder if Poptart has found a new, more permanent home at OverEasy to resume its monthly stint. However, nothing is definite at this point. We don’t know when the next Poptart will be, so really get your freak on and dance as hard as you can on Saturday!
7. But don’t worry, Poptart isn’t going anywhere soon, and even has plans to expand!
Weelikeme: Sometimes it (Poptart) feels like a monster that I’ve created that I can’t get rid of
That’s why he is, instead, making plans to feed the monster and grow Poptart at a more macro level. Although the heart of it will still be club shows, the DJs are looking to bring Poptart to different platforms like day parties, festivals (poptart x laneway 2017 maybe?!), as well as make it family and pet friendly.
At time same time, Poptart is also looking to smaller, more filtered-down nights with more genre specific music, much like the recent rock event Rebel Yell.
8. Poptart hopes to bring what they think is the true essence of clubbing.
Weelikeme: For us, going to clubs growing up was a different experience. We go to the club to listen to something we haven’t heard before, to be inspired and wowed by whatever the DJ was playing, to discover new music.
And that is the philosophy at the heart of Poptart. It isn’t about being flashy, popping bottles, bodycon dresses, or grinding. It’s about having some simple fun, and dancing – real (although sometimes ugly) dancing – to good music.
9. Being a DJ in Singapore is tough, being a DJ fuelling the subculture music scene is tougher.
Weelikeme: I’ve had people who wanted to beat me up because I wouldn’t play David Guetta at 10PM.
KiDG: Yeah, we receive quite a fair amount of abuse, actually. We get a lot of weird requests, like people asking us to play songs from their phones, or opening up their Spotifys for us…
Poptart still remains a bit of an outsider in the club scene today, even after 11 years. They face problems like finding a suitable venue with a compatible philosophy. However, they remain optimistic, because they have always found people along the way.
10. Weelikeme and KiDG never lost that feeling.
Anyone can tell that weelikeme and KiDG are not doing it for the money (if there is even any). When asked what Poptart meant to them, they said the following:
KiDG: The meaning of Poptart to me is the celebration of youth, and love for music. Despite differences in beliefs or age, at that one moment when that tune is dropped, everyone sings it together. It’s a very amazing moment.
Weelikeme: We started out playing music that will invoke some kinds of memories for us, so it has always been the soundtracks to our lives. Whatever we play means something to us. Poptart has been a journey, it is very much a part of our lives. We feel very connected to the music and the people, and it is something we always look forward to.
KiDG: There is just this connection between us, the music, and the crowd. We want to be part of people’s fondest memories. We want people to say “I met this person at Poptart” or “I found this song at Poptart”.
Poptart was borne out of the nostalgia of 3 DJs, but today it has evolved into a source of new, wonderful memories for people of different ages.
11. You can check out Poptart’s playlists on weelikeme’s Mixcloud here.
A few new mixes have been dropped in preparation for the 11th celebration party. Listen to these while getting dressed to Rock n’ Roll next Saturday! Come ready to dance in your uniforms and rock out to your favourite anthems. With the amount of dancing we’re going to do, maybe above-ankle socks will finally make some sense.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL: 11 YEARS OF POPTART happens on
Saturday 24 September 2016, with weelikeme and KiDG at:
541 Orchard Road, #01-01
Liat Towers, Singapore 238881
Dress up: Too School for Cool!
For more details: Visit Poptart’s Facebook page here