Indie Rock NOISE Mentorship Mentees Faux Pas Loves Kampong Spirit In Local Scene

Founded in 2013, Faux Pas is an indie/alternative rock band that has come a long way to hone their craft and the music they have to offer. After being a part of the NOISE mentorship programme in 2015 and finding themselves in Baybeats this year, the drive to share their original music is gaining momentum with every step they take.

Unafraid to speak their mind and share their own opinions, Faux Pas is candid and comfortable when chatting with us. Their willingness to share definitely makes an impression, and their laughter at each other’s sense of humour just goes to show how close they are as band mates, friends.

So what is their favourite quality of the local music scene?

“Definitely camaraderie,” Ben immediately chimed in, “We realise that we are all trying to do the same thing. We all want to play music and get music out there. So we hang out together, share how tips on how to get music out and for us, that’s nice about the local scene.” Sal agreed while Nabil added, “It’s the kampong spirit. Everybody wants to help each other out. It is all for one.”

“I started going for gigs in Poly year two, and get exposed to different bands and genres. Then I meet different people and that’s what I like, you know. When they say there is kampong spirit. It is like, when we go for gigs and people see us: eh, I remember you bro. Like, thanks for coming man. That kind of thing – the jams and all that. It is like family,” Eddy shared.

Popspoken sits down with the band and asks them about their love for music, festivals and what they have to say to you.

faux pas

Popspoken: What makes each of you hold onto music, despite being in a climate such as Singapore?

Ben: It’s about friendship for me. I look forward to practices because it’s when I can really destress and be myself, amongst my closest friends and just rock out.

Nabil: Music has always been like therapy for me, which is why it’s something I hold dear.

I’ve never been good with expressing myself and I hope that by writing songs and performing, I’d be able to translate my thoughts and feelings to others and inspire them; just as how some of my favourite artists/bands have done for me. Another reason would be the bond and camaraderie that I share with my band mates. We’re all like brothers; and just heading to the studio to practice and hang out is something that I always look forward to.

Sal: Music is a form of communication. The thing that hits me the most when watching a band play is the beat and melody. I feel they penetrate deeper to our brain and somehow make us stir into action. That is why I picked up drums. I’ve always wanted to share what I feel to the audience; same way I feel whenever I watch others play.

Eddy: Music is a medium where I can express my feelings that can’t be translated into words. Whenever I hear a favourite tune of mine, there would be this adrenaline rush that courses through my veins. Then I’ll slip into a sense of relaxation and enjoyment as the song progresses. Since I was influenced to pick up the guitar and bass during my secondary school days, I’ve always wanted to share my experiences through music.

faux pas nabil

Popspoken: You released your debut single 1+1 earlier in the year. Share with us the inspirations that culminated into the song.

B: I wanted to write a song that was different. Like a structure that isn’t intro-verse-chorus-bridge-outro. And I wanted to write a song that was dance-y, yet keeping a rock element to it. It ended up being a sound which we can call our own, and we are very proud of it. Hence, we decided to release it as our first single.

N: We were going through a period back then where we were trying to find our own sound and musical identity. We kept going at it during jamming sessions; trying out various styles. Then, Ben came up with this 4-chord progression that sounded so different and we immediately loved it. After numerous practices trying to perfect the song structure, melody and lyrics, we were proud to see what came out of it.

At the same time, I personally feel that 1+1 captures our personality as individuals and as a band perfectly – it’s simple and groove-based, but still retains strong rock roots.

S: The main brain behind this song was Ben. He had the skeleton laid out and all we had to do was make it groovy, yet maintaining that rock feel. This song is different from the rest – the structure and the transitions are unique. In fact, it’s so unique it only has one chorus (I think). Till now, I still don’t know where the verses and choruses of the song are hahaha.

E: This song is definitely different from the other songs we’ve written. The structure is unique in the sense that there are odd timings and transitions involved; though maintaining a heavy and groovy sound. Really gotta credit Ben for writing the initial riffs as the song turned out to be very experimental. When I think back, I don’t even know how we managed to complete the song!

faux pas sal

Popspoken: What is the most difficult process of song writing, in your opinion?

B: Vocals. We usually come up with entire songs without vocals while jamming. We probably have enough material without vocals to write a few albums. Writing lyrics and vocal melodies always slow us down. Then again, we don’t have the creative juices of Anthony Kiedis from Red Hot Chili Peppers hahaha.

N: I’m afraid I’m guilty of that. Like what Ben said, we have a ton of material that is unfinished because it’s really hard to think of lyrics and vocal melodies that suit the songs. But we still try our best nonetheless.

S: Having different song structures and vocal melodies. We don’t want the normal intro-verse-outro stuff in every song. I feel I’m the most useless when it comes to vocal melodies. I can’t really think of anything when the whole band brainstorms for melodies. I’m only good at hitting things.

E: I feel there was a “formula” when we wrote our first few songs. It turned out well for us initially but as we progressed and developed ourselves, this formula started to get a little boring. So it’s been hard to step out of this zone. Personally, I try to listen to songs from different genres (even extending my playlists to EDM) to get more exposed to different melodies and beats. With this, I hope to gain more inspiration to write different basslines and expand my musicality over time.

faux pas ben

Popspoken: Having gone through Noise and now Baybeats, how has your journey developed from when you started?

B: Noise was a complete eye-opener for me as it really showed us how big the industry is. Like there was more to just playing music well and being tight. Noise paved the way for us to be more professional and to get more serious with the music industry. Baybeats has been a big opportunity for us to learn more about marketing, branding and to showcase ourselves professionally to a larger audience.

N: Truth be told, Noise was a major step for us and we realised then there were many other aspects that contributed to being a great band. We learned how to conduct ourselves better in the industry and to generally be more professional in what we do; on top of brushing up on our musicality and song-writing. Baybeats, on the other hand, is a different ball game altogether. It’s been really insightful for us so far as we learnt more about marketing and branding; aspects that we’ve been struggling with for a while.

S: I realised being in a band isn’t just about making music when we were in Noise. Having friends and mentors to help you out really makes you think of how far you want to go in the music industry. Baybeats has taught us to be more professional; having to attend courses really boosted our knowledge of the industry.

E: I’m just glad we underwent the Noise programme.

Being in a band isn’t just about making music; but being able to fully realise your potential as a band. When we were in Noise, we were assigned a mentor who taught us how to improve our musicality and how to market our band in the arts and music industries. Additionally, I’m happy we made friends from different bands and managed to embrace different kinds of music during the programme.

Now with Baybeats on the horizon, we’ve learnt to be more professional in how we carry ourselves; especially with marketing.

faux pas eddy

Popspoken: What is the dream for the band? Any particular milestone you would love to reach?

B: We hope to be the second band to play Glastonbury; although I think there are other bands and singers who will beat us to it.

N: I really wanna take this band as far as we can possibly go and play big festivals like Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds. It sounds a little far-fetched, but the dream is definitely on.

S: Coachella? Glastonbury? Laneway Festival? Haha.

E: I just hope our songs would reach a bigger audience (maybe as far as the UK or US) and listeners would get inspired they listen to our songs. In terms of gigs, maybe Laneway? Glastonbury or even Coachella? Who knows?

Popspoken: Anything to say to the fans and the people that attend Baybeats year after year?

B: You guys are the reason why we play music. We’ll make sure you have a great time! And to the people who attend Baybeats year after year, you guys are the reason why bands look forward to the Baybeats auditions every year. Thank you for supporting the biggest alternative music festival in Singapore.

N: We wouldn’t be here without the continuous support from our families, friends and fans. Thank you so much for believing in us and our music. We promise we’ll continue to push ourselves to greater heights and make you guys proud! To the Baybeats attendees, this festival is the pinnacle for many local bands – and you guys are the reason why. Thank you for your support all these years, and we’ll be sure to bring the “rock” back to “indie rock” this year and for many years to come.

S: Don’t stop bopping your heads to our music. More groovy sounds are on the way! To the people who attend Baybeats throughout the years (including myself), don’t forget to rock out! Enjoy what the bands have in store for you.

E: Don’t be shy to dance to the music, man. Give all your support to the bands who are taking the stages this year because you’ll never know what you’re gonna get.

Faux Pas the hell out at this year’s Baybeats Festival that is happening from 14 to 16 July 2017!
Their performance slot will be happening on 16th July 2017, 6.30pm at the Arena (Esplanade Outdoor Theatre).
Photography credits: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan
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