We conducted an interviewed with Singapore indie/emo rock/punk rock band THE CAULFIELD CULT on March 9, 2012.
Hey, guys! Pleasure to have you here. What’s up? How are you?
Hi, its a pleasure. Thanks for having us. I’ve just been completely swamped, I just made myself a sandwich.
Your music has been labeled with a range of sub-genres. How would you classify your sound?
I’m not very sure myself. What we had in mind when we started was a pop-punkish sound but i don’t think thats very relevant now. People have classified us as emo, punk, pop punk and post-hardcore from what I’ve heard, so I guess something along those lines?
In January we conducted an interview with another Singapore band, OVERTHROWN. We really enjoy the band. Please tell us what’s your relationship with the Lion City hardcore scene.
I’ve shared the stage with OVERTHROWN literally countless of times playing with other bands for the last 3-4 years and they’re good guys. Jai, their guitar player has been putting on shows since forever and without him, the scene wont be functioning as the last couple of years.
Me and brian (bass) have played in hardcore bands since 2006 prior to this band and the scene isn’t the same anymore, there are a lot of international acts coming down to Singapore now and the number of kids at shows are getting lesser and lesser. The rental of venues here is way more expensive than anywhere else i know of, so naturally ticket prices are higher and kids just dont have that kind of money to attend everything i guess.
When i first started going to hardcore shows, i thought the energy and positivity was great, regardless on whether some people say its a fad or a trend. Being a kid and jumping around, singing along to every band and making friends, being able to connect with strangers based on a common taste of music was a great feeling and it gave me a sense of identity and belonging to something substantial.
I don’t know if i was under the false impression of a very united scene back then or whether things just changed, but after a while some people in the scene thought it was a joke to use the term ‘lion city hardcore’ and made fun of the people who were more in to hardcore in terms of their dressing and their lifestyle. Most of those kids grew up to be full-time party people and arty farty hipsters.
There are still a couple of guys working really hard to keep things alive and its great. I cant say the same about myself but i try my best to still go to hardcore shows whenever i have the free time and spare cash.
What are the characteristics of Asian hardcore / post hardcore / hardcore punk scene? Have you had a chance to compare your independent music scenes with the Western punk world?
As far as characteristics in sound go, hardcore bands around this area are pretty much the same as bands of such everywhere else.
The scenes around here have their own world. I cant really say that a lot of bands get out much but some places in Indonesia and Malaysia have massive local shows with hundreds of kids coming down to sing along and have a good time.
I don’t think there are many bands, at least what i know of, that play music similar to us around here now, so we usually play alongside hardcore and metalcore bands. The punk scene in Asia consists of mostly street punk, crust and powerviolence bands. I might be wrong, pardon my ignorance. And I don’t know if we’ve had a chance to compare to the western scene.
MOUTHFUL OF AIR was a melodic hardcore band i played guitar in from 2008, we’ve been pretty active up till recent months due to other commitments so we’re currently on hiatus.
RECKLESS LANDING was my first ever band i started with a couple of guys in 2006 when i was 13. Brian, our bass player, sang in that band. We broke up in February 2010 and me and Brian talked about forming a more mellow, sing-ish band so here we are.
RUINS AND REMAINS are a metalcore band that i helped out a couple of months from 2009 through 2010 as they didn’t have a bass player when they started. And skinny, our guitar player, played with them for a couple of months as well.
Where have you been touring with those bands?
MOUTHFUL OF AIR toured South East Asia a couple of time with some really great bands like ANTAGONIST A.D., DRIVEN FEAR and RUINER. RECKLESS LANDING only went out of the country once in 2009 to Sabah, Malaysia with RUINS AND REMAINS.
You are heading on the UK tour in the end of this month. How was it booked? What’s the story behind you flying all over to the Royal Islands?
Well, when we started this band, we just really wanted to travel, hopefully to places we’ve never been before and see different things and the UK met both criteria so we decided to take the chance. Plus, i really wanna watch a football game and meet Elton John, which is the priority of the trip.
Booking it was a very long and tedious process, a couple of friends helped us out with some shows but trying to get things sorted out through the Internet is really tough especially when we’re an unknown and new band. All at sea records hooked us up with some shows with CARRIDALE (USA) who are touring the UK during the same time as we are, so that has been really helpful.
Are you planning to tour the mainland some time soon?
Definitely. Hopefully something will happen soon.
How was your first South Asian tour? Any stories from the trek?
It was great. Traveling with guys that I’ve known for such a long time is really fun and we targeted places that bands dont usually visit. Apparently we were the first ever foreign band that has played Sibu, Sarawak and Tawau, Sabah and the first to visit Kuching, Sarawak in 2 years. I guess because people think the scenes there are smaller than the big cities and its harder to access, flights-wise, but it was definitely an eye-opening experience, every band on the lineups were of different genres, deathcore, hardcore, metalcore, punk, grindcore, and everyone were really in to it and watched every band with no arrogant opinions, even though we’re not exactly a mosh-friendly type of band, people still had fun in their own way and some even knew the words to our songs. The smaller towns we visited were definitely the better shows we’ve played, and the people there are truly genuine and tries hard enough to keep their scene alive. And the beers are cheap too, which is of course the most important part of my point.
You released the “Leaving Cemetery Junction” LP in the end of October 2011. How was the album received?
We’ve had some decent reviews and I’m very satisfied with the overall reception of the record from people who’ve heard it.
Besides your BigCartel profile, how do you distribute your music? Are there any cool Asian distros you’d like to recommend?
We’re a little slow in getting our stuff out there because this is the first time any of us released something by ourselves and we don’t really know what the hell we’re doing. We were too impatient to wait for a label to find us and wanted to get our material out there while they’re still fresh, before we got sick of the songs ourselves.
We recently put our cds up on some local record stores that put up underground music and they’re also available at some distros and stores around Malaysia and Australia.
Some cool distros you can check out are Thornwire Records from Aarawak in Malaysia, Cactus Distro from Kuala Lumpur, Hati Records from Sabah, goxkillxyourself distro from Singapore, Rebellion Records from Johor, Malaysia and Pee Records from Adelaide, Australia.
So you do work with independent labels, cool.
Like i said, some DIY distros and labels around Malaysia and Australia are helping us put our record on their mail order and stores. But as far as releasing our records go, we don’t have anything so far.
What does DIY mean for you?
It means building your own house with wood you cut from trees yourself, living in the woods, bathing in lakes, hunting your own meat and growing your own crops.
What European bands are you into?
CAVALCADES, STILLBUST, AYS, NO TURNING BACK, DAITRO, EVERY SECOND WEEK, JESU, RAEIN, DISFEAR, SUIS LA LUNE, HELL IS FOR HEROES, FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, TO KILL, OK PILOT and SHARKS are some European bands that I’m in to and the obvious classics that i grew up with are THE BEATLES, QUEEN, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, AT THE GATES, OASIS, THE CLASH, RADIOHEAD, STIFF LITTLE FINGERS and THE CURE.
Thank you so much. Any final words? Feel free to add anything you want.
Check out some great bands from South East Asia that deserve to get heard – DANCE ON YOUR GRAVE, FOR BETTER ENDINGS, AFTER THE SKY, STRAIGHT FORWARD and CORPORATE YOUTH. Don’t check out ABOLITION A.D.
Thanks for doing this! I’ll get back to my sandwich now.
– Nick Prasat Kumar
THE CAULFIELD CULT live: