The Soundscapes of Singapore: An Interview with Deceased


Share this post:

Oftentimes, when we talk about music, we usually think about pop music from the US or the United Kingdom, and occasionally, South America. Rarely do we look for music in the region of Southeast Asia. However, if we look deeper, the underground scene in Singapore is creative, dynamic and colourful, albeit operating under state supervision. For example, the government can cancel concerts due to “security concerns”, as seen in the cancellation of Watain’s concert here in 2019. With bands such as Marijannah, Wormrot and Doldrey gaining worldwide recognition from some of the most established music review sites such as NME and Pitchfork (and who can forget Anthony Fantano), the underground in Singapore has never been bigger. 

In this article, we will be interviewing Amie, the frontman and vocalist of Deceased, a crossover thrash band—a genre with roots in hardcore punk and thrash—based in Singapore. In this interview article, we discuss music inspirations, the struggles of starting a band in Singapore, and the importance of supporting local music. 

Source: No Echo

Before we start, could you introduce yourself and tell us where you are?

I’m Amie from Deceased. Currently, I’m at home in Singapore. I am the frontman or the vocalist for Deceased. Deceased is a crossover hardcore, or you can even call it a crossover thrash metal band. Thank you for inviting me for this interview!

I hear Power Trip, hardcore punk and Metallica in your music. Are these your musical inspirations?

I mean, personally, yes, I agree. You can hear a lot of Power Trip. I mean, we’ll go there later. But the influences stem from more old-school metal, like Metallica, and Megadeth. Oh, and the old-school thrash metal, like Sepultura, Anthrax, Violator. These are the bands I listen to, it’s like the seed of how I actually wanted to play heavy stuff or even to play in a band. When I [was growing] up, I listened to my dad’s music. I listened to old school rock like Scorpions, classic heavy rock, even Black Sabbath. I think all of those bands, put together. That’s what inspired me to write the kind of music that I’m playing right now. 

How would you describe the music scene in Singapore?

Singapore is a very small country. Whatever we see on TV, or hear on the radio, it has been supported by the people in charge. In my point of view, because I listen to mainstream music and even the underground scene, I feel like the general public needs to start exploring more. I’m not talking about just heavy bands. There are indie pop bands in the underground. But the problem is, despite the recognition, the sense of being accepted is not there. To the public eye, we have this kind of stigma. But I feel in the mainstream, if the people who are up there in charge can actually help the artists in the underground, the music scene in Singapore will be big for sure. Everyone is just helping because there’s a lot of talent hidden in Singapore. You just need to scout.

What are some struggles of starting a band in Singapore?

There are two problems. Number one, I’m playing in a band. I need a place to practise. There are a few I can say studios in Singapore that accept bands who play this kind of genre (hardcore music), and they are welcoming. But there are also studios that don’t allow it. They want to take care of their inventory, and the instruments because they always feel like this kind of genre will spoil their equipment as the music is fast and aggressive. Secondly, the venue. The artists in Singapore need a venue to perform. They need a spot. You can’t be going to concert venues and say, “Hey, I want to perform here with my band”. 

Can you elaborate on the struggles of securing a venue?

The process of actually organising a show is not as easy as it seems if it hasn’t been supported by the institutions. For us, everything is DIY, our own money. We have to submit documentation. We have to submit our lyrics. I’ll make sure that our lyrics cater to their needs and make sure that we don’t say anything that is sensitive. If all is good, we are good to go. But you know underground music, it’s a message. It’s a statement. It’s from the heart. So that’s why I say the institution needs to start catering to the local music, not just the mainstream. Trust me, there will be one point in time we will feel like we’re done playing here. And from there, all these local acts, the underground acts, will slowly go away. All you will hear will be mainstream music with less diversity. This is happening right now.

Why support local?

One day, we will stop playing, right? There will be a point in time when we’re done. There are a lot of misperceptions about the term, underground. Always the negative stuff. The term “underground” is because we are not mainstream. So whatever that you see in the mainstream, there is a collection of bands of the same genres [underground as well]. The only difference is that we are not up there. So you all need to care because the music industry needs these bands. You know, if you keep recycling the same old shit in the mainstream media, then all these bands in the underground will just be underneath the carpet. We will just be supported within the community. Without support, the opportunity, that door will always be closed to us.

Check out Deceased on Spotify and Instagram. Listen to their newest single, “The Sword of the Almighty” here.