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Album Review: Pharrell Williams - G I R L
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Album Review: 5 Seconds of Summer - She Looks So Perfect EP
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Album Review: Various Artists - Vampire Academy OST
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California pop rock outfit R5 is one of the hottest up-and-coming bands around. Combining catchy hooks and relatable lyrics with unique melodies and polished vocals, the young musicians exploded onto the scene in 2009 with their debut EP Ready Set Rock. R5 -Ross Lynch (of Disney Channel's Austin & Ally), Riker Lynch (of FOX's hit tv-show Glee), Rocky Lynch, Rydel Lynch, and Ellington Ratliff - just got off their European tour and is getting ready to release a full length album later this year. We tracked down the talented band and asked them about their upcoming album, music inspirations, and Asia tour plans.



What is your favorite song off your latest album Louder? Why?
Riker – (I can’t ) Forget About You – It's one of the strongest songs on the album and I remember hearing it for the first time and I thought Yeah!  We got something special here.

Rydel – Love Me Like That – Because it’s mine!  And it’s a fun change, it’s great to surprise everyone when a girl starts singing lead in the middle of the album

Rocky – Ain’t No Way We’re Going Home – Because live it jams hard!

Ratliff – One Last Dance – It reminds me of songs I listened to when I was little.  And I really like the lyric content.

Ross – If I Can’t Be with You – Because of the lyrics.
 

What can we expect with the new record coming out this year?
We’d say it’s a little more mature than Louder, but it will still have the fun, positive R5 vibe, and that summer, beachy vibe that we do with all R5 stuff.  We are really excited about it and still lots of work to be done!



What inspired your passion for music? Who is your biggest music inspiration?
Our biggest inspirations U2, Beatles, Rolling Stones….Walk The Moon, Maroon 5, Neon Trees
Riker wanted to be Michael Jackson and Elvis – that’s what kind of what started it initially.  Once we moved to California, Rocky taught himself how to play guitar and we used to watch Fall Out Boy videos and they really inspired us to start really pursuing music.


Team Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez or Ariana Grande?
Gotta support Demi Lovato!!


Your latest music video (I Can't) Forget About You features the band members being in different kinds of crazy adventures while in Japan. How was it like filming the video?
Rydel – Filming the video in Japan was amazing!  Once we saw the final product, we were extremely thrilled, even though it was very last minute that we decided to film in Tokyo – but it turned out amazing.  But I will tell you it was extremely cold when we filmed it, but everyone was so cool and we loved Japan!


Do you guys play tour pranks on each other or the other bands?
We stage bomb our brother pretty much every night – he DJ’s for us and plays on stage before we go on – we run out there and do crazy stuff and dance.  One time for Ratliff’s birthday we toilet papered his drum set before the encore of LOUD.


You guys are quite young to already be dominating the music scene. How do your family and friends feel about your rapid rise to success in music?
Ratliff – I find that any time I talk to my family and my families friends they all say how weird it is to see me being admired by so many people and travelling the world and they are really happy and excited for me.

Riker – Our friends and family are so supportive,, we are very lucky to have such love and support


Any plans to tour around Southeast Asia?
Heck Yes!  We definitely want to get to Southeast Asia.  If not this year , Definitely next year!  Hope to see you guys soon!

 

Listen to the full interview here!

 

Photo credit: Universal Music

Nearly 10 years ago, a 22 year-old Adam Lazzara might’ve been spotted hanging from the rafters at the tenth annual Vans Warped Tour. However with age and eventual fatherhood, the members of Taking Back Sunday who are currently in their thirties seem mellow and engage in laidback repartee with ease.

“I feel like we’re at board meeting. Sell, sell, sell!” jokes guitarist Eddie Reyes as Lazzara motions for the band to be seated closer to the panel of journalists they are addressing. A seemingly simple gesture – but one that echoes the group’s earnestness and strong belief in staying grounded. “Be cool. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that always be cool and be nice to people,” was the frontman’s quote of the day when responding to a question about TBS’s biggest takeaway after being in the music industry for apporoximately 15 years.

Name dropping the likes of Citizen, Jake Bugg and Lonely The Brave, we found out which young bands have been piquing the seasoned veterans’ interests whilst getting right down to the sources of joy behind their latest pursuit, Happiness Is. Conveniently released mere minutes prior to the media conference, Taking Back Sunday’s “peppy” new single, Stood A Chance was a subject that had to be dissected and from what we’ve gathered, these are thrilling times to be a fan of Taking Back Sunday.

Watch the full conference below!

 

Happiness Is will be released on March 18. Check out our review here.

Ahead of his opening gala gig for the inaugural Singapore International Jazz Festival 2014, jazz crooner and songwriter Jamie Cullum sits down (a rare thing since he's always in Momentum) to answer a few questions from us at Spin or Bin Music. Aside from the fact that he and his band goes onstage without a standard setlist, he gives us a boozy answer as to why he's always so active on stage, and how fatherhood has changed the way he tours now.

 

How do you find being a dad these days, being away from the family to traveland play for crowds? Is it difficult to keep up?

I think any parent has to find that balance between work and home life no matter what job you do. I am working hard to find it! Of course it is difficult, being away is part of my job but it is hard to leave behind my thriving family. I try hard to be awayfor no more than a few days at a time. It makes my touring life very different.

 

Which also leads me to my next question: I’ve been to both your concerts in Singapore in 2007 and 2013, and both times you were jumping around the stage, or jumping on the piano, or even jumping down into the crowd. Now that’s a lot of jumping… Where do you get the energy to do what you do in each show?  

Food, whiskey, adrenaline and momentum.

 

Let’s keep the Momentum going by talking about your latest album of the same name. It’s a lot more jazz influenced this time round, is there a reason you went in that direction when composing? 

It’s funny - a lot of people say the opposite! I think with this album the soul of this album is of the jazz musician, but it’s dressed up with a lot of sounds from the current era of music. I wanted to make something that could only exist in this day and age but with a bunch of great musicianship behind it.

 

Which is your Favourite song on the album to play live?

Probably Save Your Soul. It seems to be the song that has touched most people from this album.

 

You have played in many venues and various settings (loved the time you performed at St Pancras by the way), both intimate and live with orchestral backing or a band. What is your ideal performance atmosphere that you will be able to vibe off the most?

It would definitely by one where we, as musicians, are able to bounce ideas off of each other spontaneously and freely. For that you need a good crowd, a good room and the stars in alignment.

 

I wanted to compliment you on finding the most ingenious methods of taking mainstream pop songs and jazzing them up. Will our Singaporean audience be lucky enough to hear another one of those this February?

I don’t have a setlist so who knows! But I’m sure I can squeeze more than a few in.

 

Speaking of cover songs, you reinvented the song Love For $ale by Cole Porter with a more grim, sonic overview on the subject matter, and a web film that was actually quite touching. How did that cover come about?

I have loved and played this song in a more traditional manner for over 15 years. I had a good think about the lyrics in recent years and it reminded of a lot a of the rap music I listened to growing up. Rap music was where I discovered jazz. I decided to try and do something which brought together those two worlds without it being too corny I hope. The film was devised by two filmmakers who have worked with Kanye, they are fearless movie makers. And that is what the song needed.

 

You are also helming a radio show on BBC Radio 2, how has that experience helped you musically?

Massively. It is inspiring to hear even more new music than I normally would and get to interview my heroes. It is also quite nice to have a regular job!

 

Any future plans?

Grand Theft Auto V.

 

You have been to Singapore at least twice now. What do you think of the audience reception here and what are you most looking forward to this February?  

It was incredible last time. If they even match half of the excitement we got last time we’re in for a good night.

 

P.S: Can I make a tiny request to hear you play When I Get Famous/ Edge of Something in February? So excited!!!

Will do!

*****

Catch Jamie live at the inaugural Singapore International Jazz Festival on 27th February at Marina Bay Sands Theatres. Tickets available from Sistic.

With a solo album out really soon, Farisha Ishak's life has immensely exciting since she emerged victorious in The Final 1. 

From intense recording sessions in the studio to rehearsals for live performances, the 20 year-old really has it going for her. 

Personally, Farisha and I went to primary school together and it truly is amazing to watch her grow up and be where she is today. 

Spin or Bin Music chats with the sweetheart of a songstress as she fills us in on what she's been up to and reveals some things we truly didn't know about her: 

 

 1)       How has winning The Final 1 changed your life? 

        I will always be thankful for The Final 1 because of the amazing opportunity it’s given me to live my dream. It has also given myself and other budding musicians and singers that platform to showcase our music and I feel that the competition has definitely allowed me to work on my confidence as a person and performer. I’ve been blessed with offers for performances at various prominent events such as Singapore Day, The President’s Star Charity as well as The First XI Finals, to name a few. Concurrently, I was also recording songs for my album in the studio so I have been pretty busy since the competition but I’ve never felt happier because I’m doing what I love.

 

2)      What can we expect from your album? 

        My album has a great mix of different sounds and that’s what I think makes it unique, in that I believe it has a song for everyone. For example, there is the element of love in “Aligned” and “Oh Cinta” yet there is also heartbreak in “Stranded” and “Bukanku Tak Cinta”. In the midst of all that, you can also find songs that uplift your spirits and hopefully inspire such as “Life is Beautiful” and “Believe”. I am very proud of my album and I certainly hope everyone out there will not only identify with the messages in the songs but enjoy the music too.

 

3)      What were some of the difficulties that you faced while creating this album? 

        My schedule would clash with recording sometimes. There was also a period when I was sick and we had to postpone recording. Recordings have to be consistent so any slight change in my voice will result in a postponement of a recording session. Also, as it was my first time doing professional recording in a studio, I was still getting used to juggling emoting the song and working on the technicalities in my singing. However, it was a great experience and I am still learning a great deal from my recording sessions.

 

4)      Who were your biggest inspirations when it came to making this album? 

        The songs that I wrote in this album are influenced by John Legend and Emeli Sandé.

 

5)      How do you handle school work on top of grueling recording sessions? 

I am currently deferred from my NUS course to focus solely on my music career. However, I will definitely be going back to school and I believe that when I do, it would take a lot of sacrifice and spectacular time management to juggle the two. Nonetheless, it is a challenge worth taking ☺

 

6)      Has there been any strange encounters with fans? 

 Hahaha well I wouldn’t say that they were strange but I think there was a very sweet fan who sent a letter to my home address. It was very heartening because in that letter he expressed his admiration for my music and it really is moments like this that make me so thankful for having an opportunity to share my music with everyone.

 

7)      What is the one really funny thing that we don't know about Farisha that the world definitely needs to know? 

 I am a person who likes to create humour and I enjoy making people happy! I like to talk a lot and my family gets very annoyed at how random I can be sometimes. When I was younger, I'd be the noisiest person in the car, imitating tv advertisements and persuading my family members (who were unfortunately stuck in the car with me) to participate in my nonsense! hahaha On bad days, I would get ignored and told to keep quiet but on good days, I would manage to get the whole car to play along with me! Though I am no longer as 'enthusiastic' as I was before(as a child), I still fill the silences during long car rides by trying to initiate games and what not :) 

 

 

8)      What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on stage?

There was once during a rehearsal that I fell down the stairs in my heels because the steps were uneven and I misjudged the height difference. BUT thank goodness that it (1) Happened during rehearsals so only the crew witnessed my embarrassing fall and (2) didn’t result in a sprained ankle. (the heels I wore were stilettos!!!)

 

9)      Do you have any strange routines that you MUST do before going on stage?

Before performing, I have to be left alone because I get too anxious when I’m surrounded by people. I would normally visually go through my performance in my head before I go on stage. If all else fails and the air condition decides to turn backstage into Antarctica then I’d do jumping jacks. (in my heels and also in a secret spot haha)

 

10)     What is your absolute favourite song to sing on stage? 

I love to sing the songs that I’ve written. There is a certain kind of connection with songs that I’ve written and I love performing them on stage.

Photo credit: Hype Records

 

It's difficult to break into the American music industry, especially so when you’re an Asian artist, but Malaysian songstress Yuna has seemingly done the impossible!

Despite currently being on a crazy press tour for her new album Nocturnal, Yuna took the time off to chat with us, and answer a few juicy questions! Yuna tells us more:

 

1. How did the album’s name Nocturnal come about?

All of the songs were written when I couldn't sleep at night. I thought it could be like a compilation of songsI wrote in my nocturnal mode.

 

2. Nocturnal has a poppier sound then your previous releases, what influenced this progression?

My sound has always been pretty pop but I think it's more obvious on this record probably because people are paying more attention to the sound. I have to say it's more polished than the previous records

But I've been listening to stuff from SBTRKT, Little Dragon, Haim to mainstream artists like Justin Timberlake's 20/20, Drake, Frank Ocean, so it's a mixture of me and what I love.

 

3. What tracks on the album are you most connected to and why?

Mountains, I've always wanted to make a track like that.

 

4. Being based in the U.S. currently, was transition from Kuala Lumpur easy?

It was actually quite easy. I had a mindset that I was going to focus on writing and making music that’ll be heard worldwide, so it wasn't really a huge deal for me because it was what I wanted to do and I was actually doing it.

 

5. Have you ever had any pressure from your label or the industry, expecting you to change?

No everyone I've met has been super supportive. Even if they were its probably just lack of understanding but once they finally know why I am the way I am, they're really respectful. People are really more open these days.

 

6. In addition to your singing career, you also own your own fashion label. How does music influence your design process?

It's two separate things, I feel. What I design for clothes is normally not based on my music, but more on what I want to wear on a night out to a fancy event or what I wanna wear to go out and run errands. It's more towards something stylish yet comfortable.

 

7. Who are some of your favorite designers?

Helmut Lang, Alexander McQueen, Richard Chai, Mary Katrantzou and Prabal Gurung… just to name a few!

 

8. Do you have any tours or collaborations for us to look forward to?

I'm on US tour right now. and then I'm going to Europe! Hopefully, I’ll get to come back to Malaysia and perform some more.

 

9. Lastly, what’s your most anticipated album of 2014?

Definitely Frank Ocean’s new album!

*****

Yuna will be performing at the Esplanade Concert Hall on February 24. Tickets are available on Sistic now.

Photo Credit: Verve Records