After releasing 2 EPs in 2013 and one acoustic follow-up in early 2016, Singapore based emotive progressive rockers from TWO SEAS have recently wrapped up their DIIY European trek. As they traveled through our lands and met numerous supportive listeners and musicians, they learned a lot about our independent networking, local venues and its comparison to their regional specificity of Singapore. When we sat down with the band to discuss it, they expounded on various different issues, including more details on their project and future plans. Read the full interview below.
TWO SEAS caught me by surprise and instantly became one of my favorite artists using this unique use of ambiance and blending it into smart, well-thought song structures. I simply can’t wait to hear them further refine their multi-style sensibilities and produce more fully-formed works.
Top photo by Jensen Ching.
Hey there guys! You’ve just wrapped up your Summer tour in Germany. Tell us more about this trip. How did you organize it, why Germany and how was it?
Nice to meet you Karol! The tour was organised through our tour mates, yon (Germany), and ourselves through contacting promoters via mostly Facebook messaging. The guys from yon have done a few tours themselves and they know a bunch of contacts that helped in sorting out shows and accommodation for us. Initially, we were planning a mainland Europe tour with yon but we weren’t able to work out any shows in Netherlands and Belgium due to summer break. As it was our first (ever) tour overseas, we just wanted take things slow and let the yon guys show us around. Besides, we’ve heard nothing but good things about Germany so we decided on that.
The trip was an unforgettable experience! We learned so much from yon and we’ve become such good friends with them (we’re still suffering from tour withdrawals). We were so blessed to have made so many cool and amazing friends through this tour, every city/town we were in holds a special place in our hearts.
What are some things about that adventure you really miss?
Just being in a new city every day, meeting new people and hanging out with each other was really nice. Being exposed to a subculture where everyone is passionate about the same thing is something we admire and treasure.
What were your favorite venues to play?
Every venue we played in was unique in their own way so it’s difficult to pinpoint our favourite venue. We don’t have such cool DIY venues in Singapore so every one of them was an eye opener for us. All the promoters were very accommodating and provided us with really great vegan food and made the experience really cosy.
I’ve seen some pics of you hanging out with the amazing WILD ANIMALS from Spain. Their latest record is simply stunning, right? How about other bands and musicians met on the road? Can you share some names worth checking out?
Yes, the latest WILD ANIMALS album is awesome! And they were so tight live. The show with WILD ANIMALS was the only show we played with another band other than our tour mates, yon, but we were introduced to some bands that we really enjoy. ARBEITSGEMEINSCHAFT FORM, REASON TO CARE, DWARPHS, PIGEON, GIRLIE, NEW NATIVE, HEISSKALT and of course YON!
How has your view on European independent music scene changed after this trek?
We’ve heard a lot of good things about the European independent music scene and it has definitely lived up to its name despite our tour route. People are so open to watching bands they’ve never heard before and supporting them, and everyone we’ve met were super chill and friendly.
Alright, so let’s compare these experiences to your standard environment in Singapore. In terms of vitality, diversity and overall atmosphere, how do you compare both local and foreign independent music scenes?
Singapore’s local independent music scene consists of a wide variety of different genres and its equally vibrant as foreign ones. Our local scene is rather small and the local independent music community mostly consists of the regular faces and musicians who are in local bands themselves. Although its a relatively small scene as compared to foreign ones, Singaporean bands are starting to venture out internationally to push their music and put their name out so the local community will take notice.
What is it like playing shows there? What’s the crowd like at a regular gig in your area?
The crowd size at a regular gig is probably around 50-100 pax but it really varies depending on the venue size and the day of the gig.
Photo by Jared Rezel
Who are some of your favorite artists from Singapore? Are there any bands, labels, zines or promoters from your local area that you think we should check out?
You should check out bands like FALSE PLAINTIFF, FORESTS, KAJI, THE CAULFIELD CULT, BRUISED WILLIES, ISLES, 7NIGHTSATSEA, LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE, SPHAERAS, T-REX, RUTH, YUMI… Damn, there’s way too many to choose from haha. We were giving out compilation CDs of Singapore underground bands during our tour and most of these acts were featured in it!
Record labels would include Lithe Records, Middle Class Cigars, Dangerous Goods! Do check out Bandwagon (Singapore-based music website) and UniteAsia (Hong Kong-based music website for music around Asia).
Ok guys, so back to your band and to the very beginning of your adventure with music. What were your first experiences listening to punk related genres and diving into independent music?
I’m not sure about the rest of the guys but for me, it was listening to bands like LINKIN PARK, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND and Thrice when I was 12 years old. I guess my music preference just slowly grew into independent music.
What was the reason to pick up instruments and form TWO SEAS? How did you come to be involved in the band?
We’ve been close friends since we were in secondary school and one of our main common interests is our similar music tastes. I guess all of us just really love music and forming Two Seas was just the perfect way to do something we all love.
Recording wise, you guys have recently posted a couple of acoustic tracks and they are notably different from your previous work, which has been quite varied, as well. How do you envision your sound and where do wish to take it on your future recordings?
To be perfectly honest, this is a problem we have yet to solve and it has interestingly turned into a characteristic of the band. We try not to put ourselves in a box and write based on a particular genre so sometimes the songs we write may surprise listeners. Maybe eventually we will find a sound we really love and stick to it, but for now we feel comfortable letting the writing process take its own course.
How do you approach the composing process? Do you think about writing full records, concept multi-track structures, or approach each song as its own story?
When we first started out, we would jam together in practice studios and try to work on ideas that each of us had.
Eventually, we separated and some of us chose to pursue an education overseas. The writing process then became a little more complex and we have had to record and send ideas through Logic. It did help having 3 of us in the UK, which allowed us to meet on a monthly basis to hang out and share ideas. Jerald, our vocalist, who is currently in Switzerland, would join us in the UK once in a while as well.
When we met up again in Singapore we would then try to flesh out the songs in the studio. With all of us but Jerald back in Singapore, we are looking to write new material instrumentally and have Jerald write his vocals over them eventually. We currently approach songwriting on a song by song basis.
Photo by Jared Ryan Rezel
Are you preparing for another record?
We don’t have any concrete plans at the moment but we’d love to if the opportunity arises! We have some ideas that we’ve yet to record so maybe we’ll get down on doing that soon
Ok guys, so how do you stay inspired? Apart from this band, do you have other creative outlets?
We try to meet up and write music despite our busy schedules and share music that we think is awesome to stay inspired. We find innovative bands like Trade Wind and Thrice very inspiring. Watching a good live show once in a while also gets us pumped.
Apart from the band, Harris does photography and videos, mainly for a local live session production ‘65 spectrums‘. Zakhran plays drums in another math-rock/instrumental band SPHAERAS (mentioned before). Darren records instrumental tracks at home.
Do you have advice for young artists who want to get on the road with their bands and reach out for a bit more than just a Bandcamp profile?
Our advice is to talk to people who have gone down a similar path! Those who have gone before you will be glad to share contacts and give advice. We would be happy to share any such information if a Singaporean band was interested in touring similar places as we have. We got a whole lot of help from Nicholas from THE CAULFIELD CULT and BRUISED WILLIES and we are very thankful for all the assistance he offered.
Love this guys! Alright, thanks so much for your time guys. Feel free to wrap it up with your final words and take care! Cheers from Poland!
Thank you for having us Karol! Cheers!