Beginner’s guide to Singapore local music

Many friends I met have mentioned that they wish to get into local music or film, but don’t know how to. Where should a newbie start? I feel that it will be a good idea to introduce some local bands with reference to foreign acts:

1. Pop/Rock
Love bands like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand or Coldplay? Singapore’s very own Electrico and The Great Spy Experiment will leave you in no doubt that we can match the hippiest bands in the world! Shirlyn Tan has also been making waves as a singer-songwriter.

2. Alternative
Radiohead gave their music away for free, but you need to buy The Observatory and B-quartet cds. In my opinion the most innovative bands in Singapore!

3. Punk
Nofx and Mxpx fly the flag worldwide, but The Suns, Plain Sunset and Force Vomit are our local punk-rock heroes.

4. Metal
Are you a headbanger like me who worships Slayer and Dimmu Borgir? Kneel before the blackened altar of Rudra, Impiety and Meza Virs!

5. Alternative Metal

Tool and Deftones rose from the nu-metal period, and here Lunarin push the boundaries of grunge art-rock.

6. Progressive

Dream Theater fans love a bit of everything, so they should check out the highly talented Zero Sequence!

7. Post-rock/experimental
Sigur-ros and Mogwai may be kings, but on our shores I Am David Sparkle and Documentary In Amber provide the cutting edge.

8. Local music websites
There’re tons of ‘underground’ websites about local music and film, but whether a newcomer can find them, is another thing. – This is THE site for local music. Get info about bands, gigs. Almost the whole local music community here!

Aging Youth – Read interesting interviews, reviews about local bands.

Channel V Amp is a regional portal where many bands post their songs and profiles. Songs here stream faster than from Myspace!

9. Gigs/Shows
There are local gigs happening almost every weekend nowadays. Check out the Soft forum under ‘Gigs and Concerts’. Timbre Bar/Cafe at Armenian Street features local musicians daily.

The Esplanade has free outdoor shows every weekend. Also, the annual Baybeats, the most happening local indie festival, happens around August at The Esplanade!

10. Magazines
Junk is an indie magazine from KL, and is dedicated to SEA music, including many Singapore bands! Junk comes monthly with a free CD and can be found in major bookstores and newstands.

11. Radio
On radio, 98.7fm has a local music program ‘Home’ on Saturdays, 7-8pm. Unpopular Radio and Rampage on the Airwaves have been faithfully podcasting sounds from our shores.

12. Stores
Some of the bands mentioned have their cds stocked in major stores like HMV and Grammaphone. Otherwise, Earshot Cafe at The Arts House and Roxy Music (#02-15 Excelsior Shopping Centre) stock all the local cds you need. Straits Records and Inokki (#03-30 Far East Plaza) also have good selections. Alternatively, email the bands you like and order cds from them!

Note: The above is not a definitive guide to the scene. This is just a general overview of the local music scene, for people to get started with. Most of the bands above belong to the rock spectrum, which I’m more familiar with. Heck, the genres above may be inaccurate too. There are many many other bands, websites and genres in Singapore. Feel free to go discover!

Look out for the 2nd part of this series, Beginner’s Guide to Singapore Local Film.


Zo Hee (Make Movie), the sequel to Zo Gang, features cameo appearances by local film personalities, including Tan Pin Pin. She is well-known for her documentaries Singapore GaGa and Invisible City.

This picture was taken at the kopitiam opposite The Substation, which has since been demolished.

Tan Pin Pin at Zo Hee
Aaron (Camera), Wesley (Ah Tan) and Pin Pin

Zo Gang goes Toronto

Zo Gang has been selected for 3rd Toronto Singapore Film Festival, 4-6 April 08. After touring Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, London and Hungary, Canada here we come!


From TSFF website:
“The Toronto Singapore Film Festival (TSFF) began in February 2006 with the passion of Singaporeans and Torontorians for Singaporean films. A grassroots and non-profit initiative, TSFF is one of the few film festivals devoted to Singaporean films outside Singapore, and has been playing to full houses since its inception

Football crazy

Back in May 2005, the Tak Giu cast went on the ESPN show, Football Crazy. Can you spot who’s who?

Football Crazy

Coming soon on, more old, hidden, unseen hosaywood photos and videos!

Making films, the Hosaywood way!

Here’s an article written for awhile back:

People often ask me: “What was your budget for making Tak Giu?”

I’m not embarrassed to say: “Erm, actually I made it with no money.”

Yes, that’s true; you don’t really need money to make a short film. Many budding filmmakers often think they are faced with budget constraints, but let me share with you:

How to make your first short film without much money and show it to 100,000 people

Sinema Old School opens!

Sinema Old School opened with a bang yesterday night and I was happy to be there. The opening film was Eric Khoo’s 12 Storeys, and upon watching it again on the big screen, you’ll discover many new things and will agree that this is a classic.

Sinema Old School is the first and only high-definition cinema solely devoted to Singapore films. This powerful indie 130-seater space will also host local band gigs, technology workshops and master-classes, film forums and dialogue sessions.

There’s also a store selling Singaporean Dvds, CDs, soundtracks, magazines, and movie merchandise. It’s located at Mount Sophia Old School (very hip place), about 10mins walk from Dhoby Ghaut MRT (or 20 mins if you walk very slow).

Kwa Hee (Watch movie) there is only $5 and $4 for students. For more info visit Sinema Old School and!

Sinema Old School

Sinema Old School Store
(Check out Hosaywood T-shirts on sale at the Sinema Store too! Pictures stolen from the Sinema site)

Best of First Take 2007

Nice crowd at Best of First Take

Best of First Take 10 Dec 07 Kristin with Fai, winner of Audience Choice Well done organisers!

The Substation Theatre was again filled to capacity for the Best of First Take last night, marking the end of the weekend celebrations of Moving Images’ 10th Anniversary. Audiences were able to vote for their favourite film after the screening, and Fai won most votes with his film ‘Bob’.

Zo Gang and Zo Hee received good response, and we look forward to screening it again. An actor from another film said he was crying laughing while watching it.

We also got the audience to say ‘Hosay!’ for the Hosaywood ‘commercial’. Watch out for it soon!