Sounds like a Winner

Published on 6 June 2016

Soi Music TV, an online music channel launched last December, is your gateway to the hippest music from Asia.

BY MELANIE LEE

It was a breezy evening at the shared rooftop of the colourful Rochor Centre. Pigeons were flying, wedding couples were posing, and then there was local synth pop band, Disco Hue, singing an acoustic version of their new single ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ in front of a lone video camera and a boom mike. Above, a few aunties hung their laundry on poles and lingered to listen.

It was a lean set-up. Director Shaz Hassan was behind the camera; producer Jillian Tan was holding the boom mike while prepping and interviewing Disco Hue band members Rush Ang, Sherlyn Leo and Auzaie Zie. They were shooting for Soi Music TV, an online music channel that showcases Asian musicians performing outdoors. While it has only been around for a few months, it has already shot some 70 videos in cities such as Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Bangkok.

For Shaz, who co-runs Studio Rarekind, a creative studio with offices in Singapore, Bangkok and London, working on Soi Music TV is very much a passion project. “The aim is to bridge the gap in the music scene between the East and West. Also, our main priority is filming outdoors, as we’re so used to watching scripted and heavily-edited music videos shot in studios,” he says. “It’s interesting to see the artists outside in the raw environment on the streets. It also bridges the gap between the audience and the artists.”

Musicians featured on Soi Music TV are appreciative of this opportunity. Says Jing Wong, a singer-writer from Hong Kong, “I’ve always wanted to share my music with people from all around the world, and Soi Music TV is a great platform that links musicians across the countries.”

While this ambitious music portal continues to upload new videos each week, it will also be filming in the Philippines and Indonesia. Music fans can also look forward to Asian-American artists from Los Angeles and San Francisco within the next few months. There are even plans to organise a Soi Music TV event later in the year.

“There are lots of interesting music scenes developing in Asia with plenty of music festivals featuring local acts. As such, we hope to see Soi Music TV being the go-to platform for musicians in this region to present themselves globally,” says Tan.

Watch Soi Music TV videos at www.soimusic.tv.

PHOTOS  Soi Music TV

Band Width

Meet the musicians playing on Soi Music TV.

JING WONG (Hong Kong)

I chose to perform ‘This Is a Love Song for Yourself’ for Soi Music because…

…this is a fun number to play ‘live’ with energy, and I thought it would be a good introduction to my music.

The most interesting thing that happened during the shoot was…

…we were shooting at a very local neighbourhood with people living and working in the low-rise buildings. Instead of telling us to shut up, people applauded through their windows after the shoot.

Being a musician in Hong Kong…

…can be painful because of the expensive rent. But the indie fans there, though a small community, really shower their love and I also get to know the audience pretty well too.

PHOTO Savia Chan

BEN BIZZY (Thailand)

I chose to perform this Thai rap for Soi Music because…

…it’s a quick and short verse that reflects my thoughts on the Thai hip-hop community.

I agreed to shoot for Soi Music because…

…their YouTube channel and website looked pretty legit. I thought it’d be good to do this one time for my country and put Thai hip-hop on
the map.

Being a musician in Thailand…

…is challenging because no one is willing to buy your music. However, I’m just glad that for the past five years, I’ve been pursuing my dream to rap. Some people don’t even know what they want to do with their lives.

PHOTO BizzyBen

SUIKO TAKAHARA (Malaysia)

I chose to sing ‘Mahar’ for Soi Music because…

… it was a simple performance I could play on the ukulele.

The most interesting thing that happened during the shoot was…

…realising how beautiful Kuala Lumpur can be while singing in its back alleys.

Being a musician in Malaysia…

…is exciting because the local music scene is still pretty new and there’s so much more we can build on. However, there are some people who don’t value our hard work and unfortunately, pay us as such.

PHOTO Suiko Takahara

DISCO HUE (Singapore)

We chose to perform ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ for Soi Music because…

…this song is one of the tracks featured in our new EP Arcade, and we thought it’d be fun to have an acoustic version of it as well.

The most interesting thing that happened during the shoot was…

…we had to use an old green rubbish bin to prop up the keyboard and the smell of trash lingered throughout the shoot.

Being a musician in Singapore…

…is great because the music community here is just like a kampong; there are always more experienced musicians looking out for the new bands. However, the market here is small, and it’s hard to get most people here to listen to local music because of the misconception that it’s inferior.

PHOTOS Marina Ah

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