Saturday, 22 August 2015

A Bustling End To IGNITE!: Day 2 Highlights

by Fasiha Nazren

After an awesome night for day one of IGNITE! Music Festival, day two was bound to be a good show. We had punk rock bands such as Attention! The New Portsdown, alternative rock bands with the likes of Take Two and even winner of Singapore Idol, Sezairi.

Unparalleled Gratitude: Runner-up of IGNITE! Band Auditions, were thankful for the support given from both the fans and the crew. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN

Opening up the second day was runner-up for IGNITE! Band Auditions 2015, Vessel. They were definitely the perfect choice as the opening act since they got the crowd excited from the very beginning. Performing hits such as What Will You Defend and Calibri, the flock of fans came closer to the stage so they wouldn’t miss out on their set. The alternative rock quintet ended their stage by showing their gratitude to the fans and crew for giving an unparalleled hospitality.

The band who got the crowd eager for them to perform as they handled some technical difficulties was none other than Iman’s League. Fortunately, the winner for IGNITE! Band Auditions 2015 were quick to entertain the crowd with their witty and hilarious conversations with the crowd. Playing songs such as Lisa, it was no wonder that they won the 3rd edition of IGNITE! Band Auditions.

Taking the stage next was none other than 6-piece pop punk rock band, Attention! The New Portsdown (ATNP). A growing name in the music industry, ATNP got the audience hot on their feet as they performed tracks such as Circles. They got the crowd wanting more as they ended their set.

Singing His Lungs Out: Vocalist of Take Two took the hearts of the crowd away as he sang some original songs as well as a cover of Peter, Bjorn & John's Young Folks. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN

The charming boys of Take Two crooned their way to the audience’s hearts. The five-piece indie rock band performed both originals such as Luna and a cover of Peter, Bjorn & John’s Young Folks. Making their set more personal, they got the crowd to clap along with them as they sang Always Been Right Here. It goes without saying that the band left the stage satisfied.

The crowd went insane the moment The Full Pledge Munkees took the stage. The ska punk quintet energised the crowd with Malay songs such as Mimpi and Positif as well as an English song titled Come Back Home. The audience bade farewell to the band with a heavy heart.

Rocking On: The lineup for the second day of IGNITE! obviously left this music lover impressed as he continued to head bang to the singing of every act. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN

Instrumental post-rock band, In Each Hand A Cutlass, made the crowd head bang from the very beginning of their set. Playing a 30-minute set, the band gave the audience what they wanted for the last song – a heavy metal one. At the end of the set, the crowd became more energetic due to the electrifying performance.

Singapore Idol sweetheart, Sezairi, made both the fangirls and the fanboys scream their lungs away as he took on the stage. Opening with a top favourite titled, Sayang. He even teased the crowd with a couple of songs that will be featured in his soon-to-be released EP. The finale item bonded the crowd as they sang along with him.

Wickedly Awesome: The headline act ended IGNITE! on a resounding note and made the crowd go crazy. PHOTO BY: RACHEL NG

The crowd chorused “Wicked Aura” as the veteran punk rock batucada band prepared for the stage. They satisfied the audience with hits like No Sleep Tonight, Lullaby and My Aura Is Wicked And My Soul's On Fiyah! Indeed, they did left the crowd's soul on fire as they draw IGNITE! to a close. 

Unsung Heroes: The festival went absolutely well mostly because of the never-ending efforts of the IGNITE! team. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN

To conclude IGNITE! Music Festival 2015, the festival wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless efforts from the planning committee all the way down to the event crew. Five months have passed and we’re glad it ended on a high note. We’ll see you again next year!

Friday, 21 August 2015

IGNITE! Is Back With A Bigger Bang: Day 1 Highlights

by Fasiha Nazren 

IGNITE! Music Festival is finally back for its 8th year running at Republic Polytechnic (RP). The first day of IGNITE! was nothing but a myriad of great local music accompanied with a relaxing ambience at the festival village. Performing for the first day were 8 local acts such as renowned hip hop artist, ShiGGa Shay, as well as RP’s very own Jammerz Arena.

Put Your Hands Up: The crowd was impressed with the blazing line-up for Day 1 of  IGNITE! Music Festival. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN
Warming up the stage was none other than alternative rock quintet, Cadence. As they took the stage right after classes have ended, many students were eager to get home - but Cadence got the crowd stopping to watch them perform a 20-minute set. Some even sat down to watch the rest of the festival after watching their performance.

After being part of IGNITE! Your Senses back in 2013, Arson is back again this year. This time, they're performing on the main stage. They got the crowd pumped up as they were playing their rocking set. Arson performed a total of 4 songs including an original from their debut EP, Spaceships, as well as a cover of MUSE’s Stockholm Syndrome.

Next to take the stage was RP’s Jammerz Arena (JA). Being a prominent band in RP, the crowd wasn’t shy to sing along with them as they sang covers of popular songs such as Paramore’s My Heart as well as Adele’s Set Fire To The Rain. As the vocalist was engaging between songs, the audience became more comfortable to move forward and cheer for JA. JA closed their set on an emotional note with their rendition of Citizen’s How Does It Feel. Nonetheless, they left the crowd impressed.

Stepping on the IGNITE! main stage for their first time was The Good Life Project (GLP). The crowd began to settle down and sat on the grass as the alternative soul band started their performance. Performing a total of 5 original songs, the seven-piece band got the audience to groove and get in the mood to their laidback music.

Causing A Riot: The band Riot !n Magenta gave a relaxing vibe to the crowd with their soulful melodies. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN

The next act to continue the relaxing ambience for the crowd was none other than Riot !n Magenta. Starting the set off with the alarm of a siren, the electronic pop band certainly got all eyes and ears on them. They then continued on to perform a total of 5 songs including the title track for their latest EP, Voices. The soulful melodies of Riot! In Magenta left some of the crowd to be in a euphoric state.

Making his presence felt next was up and coming hip hop artist, THELIONCITYBOY, also known as Kevin Lester. THELIONCITYBOY and his hypeman took the stage with energising hits such as She Wild. He was slated to perform a 30-minute stint. However, due to the overwhelming and enthusiastic response of the crowd, he decided to perform one more song just for the fans. They went wild as his hypeman went off stage to get closer to them.

Up next was instrumental rock band, This Is Atlantis. Being a fresh face at IGNITE! Music Festival, the four-piece band got the attention of the crowd as they performed songs such as Pillars & Portals. Their rock hits proved to be a hit among the audience as they began to bob their heads and tap their feet to the songs.

You Got It Dru: Though he felt nervous before performing, it was evident that he shook off all his anxiety with an amazing set. PHOTO BY: RUSHIQAH DAHLAN

Dru Chen charmed the crowd as he took on the stage. He performed a total of 6 songs including the crowd-pleasing You Got It Babe and Love of My Life. It was evident that Dru was having the time of his life on the main stage as he ended his set with everyone wanting more.

The crowd began to chant the name of the final act, ShiGGa Shay, even before he went on stage. Blazing the stage away with songs such as the catchy LimPeh and Moon Talk, the crowd continued to be impressed by ShiGGa’s charismatic stage presence. As he went down to the stage to get closer to the fans, it is a given that day one of IGNITE! Music Festival ended with a bang.

Regret not coming for the first day of IGNITE! Music Festival? Not to worry, as the second and final day of IGNITE! will be held at RP at 5pm on the 22nd of August tomorrow. Come on down to see local acts such as Sezairi, Wicked Aura and Take Two, along with an equally as amazing lineup. 

The IGNITE! Takes on Town Tradition

by Carlissia Kew

Drop The Bass: They say the brightest flame burns the quickest, but the IGNITE! Takes on Town team were merely having a short nap
before they continued to ignite the streets of town. PHOTO BY: AZMI ATHNI/PHOTO REPUBLIC IG

A mass of people decked out in red and black were marching down the streets of Orchard last Saturday morning in fits of excitement and synchronized cheers – no, it was not a post-celebration for SG50 – it was Republic Polytechnic’s IGNITE! Takes on Town. The tradition of conquering the streets by storm to generate hype for the school’s annual IGNITE! Music Festival was ignited 2 years ago back in 2013 when it had its first run and is still burning as bright as ever this year.

IGNITE! Takes on Town is one of the many fringe events that fall under IGNITE! Music Festival, a student driven annual music festival organized by and held in Republic Polytechnic that provides a platform for rising and established home brewed acts to showcase their passion for music. This year’s take on town which fell on the 15th of August conquered the route of ION Orchard all the way to Marina Bay Sands, having started from as early as 10am and lasting all the way till 4.30pm.

The 100 over people strong student body was made up of members and crew under IGNITE! Music Festival along with the participation of various Interest Groups (IGs). This year saw both fresh and familiar faces from last year, with the return of Jammerz Arena, Beats Encore, Rhapsody, Replug, Drama, Capoeira and the Student Council, followed by new turn ups such as Campus Arts Production and Gamelan Naga Kencana.

“Despite it being tiring having to walk from Orchard all the way to Marina Bay Sands, it was fun to be able to make new friends and promote IGNITE! Music Festival by accomplishing something we don’t get to see every day,” chimed Neng Fadhilah Bte Zulkarnaen, a second year School of Technology for the Arts (STA) student from Gamelan Naga Kencana.

Amidst all the cheering, the activities of this year’s IGNITE! Takes on Town were the ‘honk if you want us to dance’ segment carried down from last year, where students held up boards at traffic lights in hopes that drivers were game enough to join in on the fun, the ‘free hugs’ segments where warm embraces were given out to unsuspecting passerbys on the street and ‘stop the motion’ where the students froze in the middle of town. The highlight however, was ‘drop the bass’, where the whole 100 over strong student body literally dropped on the ground which granted curious stares and even camera opportunities from onlookers.

Drop The Bass really caught the attention of the people around us, and it felt really special to be seen doing something different like this in public,” Said Nicole Ho Mei En, a third year Centre for Enterprise and Communication (CEC) student from the IGNITE! Music Festival Marketing Team.

Despite the fast paced nature of the event and the scorching sun, it did not stop some of the students from showing passion and compassion, one of the values of IGNITE! Music Festival, by purchasing tissues from an old uncle on the streets.

The idea of strutting down the streets and cheering your heart out might sound like a simple enough thing to accomplish, but behind the scenes of this large scale event comes meticulous planning of no small feat; preparation for the event dated back to as early as 4 months before.

“It was insanely busy for us having to manage our studies and prepare for IGNITE! Takes on Town at the same time and we faced many obstacles planning out the route along the way but despite all that, I am glad that my teammates and I managed to push through by not giving up till the very end,” said Amelia Wong Lee Teng, a second year Centre for Enterprise and Communication (CEC) student from the IGNITE! Takes on Town Campaigns Team.

Despite the difficulty of pulling such an event off, IGNITE! Music Festival hopes to continue keeping the tradition of taking over town by storm alive in the next few years to come.

IGNITE! Music Festival happens this Friday and Saturday on the 21st and 22nd of August starting from 4PM at Republic Polytechnic’s Lawn.

Starbucks: A Model of Successful Business

by Rushiqah Dahlan

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

Starbucks – a company that started small, but dreamed big – is now the largest coffeehouse company in the world. Everybody knows that. Here in Singapore, you can spot at least one store wherever you go. Considered as one of the most successful and admired companies today, Starbucks has grown organically from one local business in Seattle to more than 20, 000 stores in over 65 countries!

Current CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, was a general manager for a Swedish drip coffee make manufacturer, Hammerplast, when he first visited Starbucks in Seattle. When he saw great potential of Starbucks, he joined the team as he wanted to connect his life with it.

When Schultz went to Italy, he was inspired by the Italian coffee culture that he insisted that Starbucks adopts the Italian café model – small coffee houses at every corner of every street, which serves cups of brewed coffee and customers spend their time at the café with friends or families. When his idea was not accepted by the management, he left the group and started his own coffee business, Il Giornale, which was a success. When Schultz earned enough money, he bought Starbucks for about $4 million. His main goal was to expand Starbucks to numerous locations.
Starbucks underwent massive growth in just a few years and continued exponential growth from there. Between 2007 and 2008, there were Starbucks stores opening every weekday!

Small businesses have so much to learn from Starbucks and its fearless leader, Schultz. Besides the taste of its coffee, there are a handful of elements that propelled Starbucks to the forefront. Here are the key factors that contributed to the success.

1. Schultz’s Passion

“The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart.” – Howard Schultz

If it wasn’t for Schultz’s love for coffee, he would have given up and there would be no Starbucks. He was genuine and very determined to make his dreams come true. It was his passion and commitment that motivated him to work hard in order to achieve his goals.

You cannot fake true passion because people will immediately notice it. You (and your employees) need to love your products and services in order to get others to love them as well. Whenever you feel like giving up, think of what you can do to regain the passion and excitement you felt when you first started your business.

2. Know your customers and employees

At Starbucks, giving customers a memorable, personal experience is one of the most important factors that make them happy. Set up a customer contact programme to keep in touch with customers. Ask them questions to understand them better or ask for feedbacks to gain valuable insights, in terms of what is good and what to improve. When you cater to their needs and interests, they will most likely stay loyal to your brand.

Schultz once mentioned, “The way we have built our company by including the success of the company with everyone in it and not leaving our people behind is a great example of building a business the right way. We’re not ever going to turn our backs on our [employees].”

Don’t forget about your employees! They are important too, they help you run your business. Take time to get to know them and what they expect from the organisation. When you know your employees very well, they will feel appreciated and motivated to perform well at work.

3. Be innovative and take risks

“Don’t do things the way they’ve always been done. Don’t try to fit the system. If you do what’s expected of you, you’ll never accomplish more than others expect.” – Howard Schultz

Starbucks is extremely innovative. For instance, realising that consumers want to spend more time at its location, Starbucks began providing free Wi-Fi in 2010. They produced instant coffee for those who wanted to enjoy it at home. Now, they even allows customers to pay using their iPhone app. However, they did their best to stay true to its roots.

It is important to be adaptable, welcome changes to your business, think out of the box and be different. With the technology getting more advanced, your business needs to keep up with the changes as well.

4. Embrace social media

We all know that social media plays and important role in promoting and marketing your brand, but how can you perfect your social media presence. Starbucks used Instagram to tell its brand story. They used it to showcase their products, and also share images of customers enjoying their products.

You have to find the right platform for your businesses. Use it wisely, as Schultz pointed out that “the mistake most companies are making is that they are using social media as an opportunity to sell stuff. It’s really not designed for that.” That’s because you should use social media to increase brand awareness, engage in conversations with customers, maximize brand loyalty and demonstrate brand values, not to directly sell your products or services. This will then hopefully get users or viewers to buy or encourage others to buy from you.

5. Emotional connection

“Starbucks represents something beyond a cup of coffee.” It aims to provide people – regardless of age, profession or location – with an emotional and unique experience: a place to rest and relax from a busy day, socialize, work and even daily destination. Starbucks is often homey and welcoming. Starbucks wants their customers to feel that they care for them. You should too. Creating strong emotional connections with your clients will in turn drives repeat business.

Remember, Starbucks started out really small, just like any other business. However, with an open mind and network, almost nothing is impossible. You should stay true to your passion and what inspires you, like Schultz did. A piece of advice from him, “Believe in your dreams. Dream big. And then after you’ve done that, dream bigger.” 

We are proud to have Starbucks as one of the sponsors for IGNITE! Music Festival this year! After all the jumping and moshing, you can find Starbucks booth at IGNITE! Village and buy a cup of happiness! Remember to be kind and thank the baristas afterwards.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Slick Snips at The ‘A’ Street

by Rachel Ng

Haji Lane is a name familiar to many. It’s got offbeat graffiti art on alleyway walls, whimsical boutiques and hipster cafes all residing on one street. On the second floor of one of its shophouses lies a quaint barber shop that can be easy to miss if you don’t observe closely enough.

The ‘A’ Street Barber Shop prides itself as your friendly local barber - walk down to shophouse number 53, and you’re instantly greeted by the traditional barber pole right in front, and its equally striking signboard along with it too.

24-year-olds Nooris Fadzli, Muhd Khairi Bin Sulaihi, Alfian bin Juffri (from left to right) are the resident barbers of The ‘A’ Street Barber Shop, which opened about three months ago.

Head barber Khairi (pictured above), did his first haircut almost ten years ago, when he was in Secondary 2. A passion sparked - he cut his friends’ hair in school, and continued to practice haircutting at the same time. A barber shop spotted his haircuts on Instagram soon after, and contacted him to cut at their shop.

After his stint as a barber, his very own The ‘A’ Street Barber Shop was born. Not having any rules or practices for his barbers, Khairi believes in letting his barbers do what they want with their own style with no restrictions.

The ‘A’ Street also takes in apprentices, such as 18-year-old Aqil Swafiq. He was also taken in after his haircuts were spotted on Instagram, just like Khairi back then.

It’s evident that these guys love what they do, and it’s easily proven with one thing: the look on their faces when they’re on the job. The passion and concentration on their faces, the laughter exchanged when they’re making conversations with their customers. To them, they’re not just customers - they’re friends.

Fun fact: They’re also Manchester United fans!

So what will they be bringing to IGNITE! Music Festival this year? Providing haircuts, of course! And at a discounted price no less! It’ll be one of the most unique booths at the festival, being the only one that’s indoor and air-conditioned. It’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you get to sit down in a barber’s chair, get your hair cut and styled, while watching a free concert at the same time. They’ll also be bringing Byrd hairdo products and pomade, made in California, to give you that slick look for the festival.

Don’t miss the chance and head on over to IGNITE! Music Festival on 21 - 22 Aug 2015, where The ‘A’ Street Barber Shop will be having their very first pop-up booth, operating from 3pm to 8pm!

Exploring managers and their relationships with bands/artists

by Jozua Zhang

Music Manager: Keith Tan (far right) and Edwin Waliman (left) sat down for a couple of hours to discuss an array of topics about the local music scene, such as the role of a manager in a band to gaining more publicity if and when your band starts getting attention after an EP release. PHOTO BY: FASIHA NAZREN

“As an artist you are sort of in your own little (creative) bubble, and then your manager is the one who actually reaches out and is a liaise point between the world and the band itself,” summarized Edwin Waliman, an associate for Secret Signals and who is also an artist.

Speaking at the TRCC Lab on 19th August on a Wednesday evening, Edwin was joined by Keith Tan, a music manager whose clients’ list extend from singer-songwriter Daphne Khoo to instrumental band In Each Hand a Cutlass, to conduct a Music Management Workshop by Macbeth.

Right off the bat, the duo started off the discussion talking about the motivations for a band having a manager, and that is it vital that an artist has his “work of art protected and that he sees a return (financial, or whatever) basically.”

“I’m guessing the most important thing for any manager is having integrity, a manager who is honest, who you (as an artist or group) trust most importantly and also someone who shares the same vision as you/or your group,” recounted Mr Waliman, who is also the bassist for the pop/rock band The Summer State, a band who released their self-titled EP as well as music video for their hit “I Do, I Don’t” a couple of years ago.

The duo reiterated that not every act or artist necessarily needs a manager and that the best manager a band can get is not the one who is the most famous or most successful, but the one who is the best fit for your band.

Keith also spoke about how if a manager rejects a band: “It’s not that the artist or band sucks, but it’s just that it might not be the right fit.” One example was if a metal band approached a manager who was active in the hip hop industry, it might not be great fit as he might not be as influential or prominent in the metal scene and could not have the right or necessarily the best contacts for that group.

However, they stated that there was no rule for that and partnerships between an artist and a manager of different genres do happen, and that it could very well be a great working relationship.

The duo delved into many areas of the business side of the music industry and how when some artists reach a level of success, they would tend to need a larger team who is able to meet the expectations of the artist or the group.

“There’s your manager, booking agent, a business manager, a lawyer and a publicist. So basically how it all works is that your manager is the one who controls all the traffic at the top, “ explained Keith, who then went on to talk about how a local band’s set up might function. For example, some managers double up as booking agents sometimes, and they take on different roles.

It isn’t always easy to have a band, let alone manage one. It was an eye-opener as the duo spoke about their experiences in band management, and the workshop, an IGNITE! Music Festival fringe event, was certainly beneficial to all the aspiring musicians and band managers out there in the local music scene.

IGNITE! Music Festival happens this week on Friday and Saturday, 21 – 22 August 2015, at Republic Polytechnic’s Lawn.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Chillin' for Reel

by Charissa Heng

Christiane Mikaela (left), and ANISE (right), came down to RP to have an laid-back, relaxed acoustic session at The Reel Room.

The start of the school week is probably always a hard time for students. Having to get back into the mood of studying, focusing on projects and dealing with difficult people are just some of the things that give us a hard time. Sometimes, we just need a little chill and that’s exactly what IGNITE!’s Chill @ The Reel offered.

Set in Republic Polytechnic’s very own café ‘The Reel Room’, the cosy and laid back feel of the place made it the perfect location for enjoying an afternoon of relaxation, good food and most importantly musical acts such as ANISE and Christiane Mikaela. Students gathered at the café and there was a full crowd by 12pm, settling down with their food, anticipating the performances. With dim lights and a library surrounding the venue there was definitely enough to provide people with what they needed to chill.

Kick starting the event was ANISE. She graced the makeshift stage with her presence, performing some of her songs like ‘Aoraki’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’ that were instantly crowd pleasers. Being a freelance designer, she does music in her free time and does it well, preferring the quieter varieties of music. She believes in performing in smaller venues only because she feels that it is more intimate and we totally agree! Having studied abroad for a few years, her song writing has been inspired by her surroundings and how she felt back then. During her set, there were whispers here and there about how good Su Hui’s (ANISE) voice was and it was certainly a treat for us!

Thereafter, it was time for Singapore’s very own part time Pin-Up girl to show us how the blues are done right. Singer/songwriter Christiane Mikaela took the stage reeled in people to the event with her strong vocals and catchy songs all within her set. In between songs, she would not hesitate to share with the audience the song writing process and what the songs meant to her. When asked about her preference for performing venues, just like ANISE, she states: “I prefer this kind of setting because it is more intimate and personal.”.

Although the 2 ladies are into pretty different genres, they share one love for music. With more up-and-coming local artists, the music scene in Singapore is definitely not lacking in.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

All Fired Up For IGNITE!

by Fasiha Nazren

All Fired Up! is a fringe event to showcase Republic Polytechnic’s (RP) very own Jammerz Arena (JA) who will also be performing at this year’s IGNITE! Music Festival. It was held on August 12th at South Agora in RP. This fringe event featured 4 JA bands – The Scarlets, Not So Average Joes, Keepsake and Still Wanna Bees. Making a guest performance was JA’s very own alumni, Tell Lie Vision.

Set Fire To The Stage: Jammerz Arena got the crowd singing along with their rendition of popular hits
such as Set Fire To The Rain by Adele. PHOTO BY: AZMI ATHNI/PHOTO REPUBLIC IG

The heart wrenching performance of How Does It Feel by Citizen pulled the heart strings of many. This finale item was even more meaningful to Syed Ali, 20, guitarist for the Not So Average Joes, as he dedicated this song to a relative who has recently passed on.

Though the last song touched the hearts of many, the other performances got the crowd banging their heads and singing along to the bands. Taking the stage by storm, JA also performed rocking renditions of 4 other popular songs. This included Set Fire To The Rain by Adele and That’s What You Get by Paramore.

Outstanding: Tell Lie Vision got their stage presence felt not only with their outstanding set,
but also with the constant interaction with the crowd.

Alternative rock and post hardcore band, Tell Lie Vision, definitely didn’t disappoint the crowd. The quintet performed four songs, including an original, Reconcile. The band definitely felt at home on stage as they belt their hearts out and also dropped jokes to get the crowd pumped. The constant interaction with the crowd proved worthy as the crowd began to sing along to the chorus of Reconcile with them.

“It felt really nice and great to be back and perform in RP. It’s like playing on your home ground.” said Vikkash Suruchand, 23, guitarist for Tell Lie Vision.

Put Your Hearts Up: The audience certainly enjoyed the performance put up during ALL FIRED UP! as they flashed
hearts with their hands and cheered for the performers.

Without a doubt, the performers gained more recognition and fans after giving an awesome performance. This includes Danial Japri, 19, a second-year Aerospace student.

“Personally, I didn’t know much about JA and have no interest in the local music scene. But after listening to their performances, they actually took me by surprise and are very good at what they do.” shared Danial.

For those that missed out this fringe event, not to worry as JA will be putting on an even bigger and better performance for the first day of IGNITE! Music Festival.

“It is definitely going to be more pumped up than All Fired Up!. The songs we chose for IGNITE! will have bigger projection but will still touch the hearts of many.” said Faith Ng, 20, vocalist for The Scarlets.

IGNITE! Music Festival happens this Friday and Saturday, 21 and 22 Aug, 4pm, at Republic Polytechnic Lawn. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Senses reIGNITE!d

by Nicole Ho

Hitting the right note: Radiant Archery used only their instruments to impress the audience. PHOTO: NICOLE HO

With IGNITE! Music Festival 2015 just shy of a week away, fringe events have been popping up prior to the main show. Last Friday, students were streaming out of Republic Polytechnic after classes ended, anticipating the joy of going home to catch up on their beauty sleep. What they didn’t know was that as they were walking past the commotion at the entrance, they were missing out on something even more exciting than napping on a Friday evening.

IGNITE! Your Senses is a platform for budding artists to showcase their work. Bands such as OrangeCove, Arson and Take Two have been featured at this fringe event in previous years, before moving on to larger stages and playing for more events. This year, we had the pleasure of hosting 4 relatively new local bands – Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH)’s Rubber Band, Radiant Archery, Heir of Hounds and Vessel.

Representing SAMH, Rubber Band opened the set with harmonious covers of Flashlight and Price Tag by Jessie J. They brought forth well-played renditions of these chart toppers, and with 1 vocalist and 6 musicians. It was also a heartwarming sight to see the smiles on their faces when they received a round of loud cheers and applause from the crowd after their performance.

Following that was Heir of Hounds – a 3-piece alternative, post hardcore band, who get inspiration for their lyrics largely from personal experiences, and are influenced by American bands like Emarosa and Hands Like Houses. Very aptly, their song titled, ‘Beginnings’, was the first song they opened with. The band also did a cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Drown’ for their last song, which got the audience was tapping their feet to the beat and singing along.

Post metal quartet Radiant Archery was up next, stunning the crowd with their instrumental talent. Don’t let the absence of lyrics dissuade you from their music though, as it somehow managed to capture a heavy sound as well as the distinct melody of each of their songs – a combination that can very rarely be pulled off, but they made it work perfectly.

Afterwards, Vessel took the stage as the finale for the event. “We are very surprised that RP students are so receptive towards our sound, and we’re very flattered, almost at a loss for words,” said the band’s guitarist, Nabeel Harith. The crowd cheered endlessly for them and were relentlessly moving to the beat of each song being played, they ended their set with a track titled ‘Obsessed’.

Not to mention, they also released their debut EP, Depths, on the following day. It seems like they are actively moving onto greater things, and if you’re as obsessed with them as we are (pun intended), then do catch them on the second day of the IGNITE! Music Festival where they will be playing, as the runner-up of the IGNITE! Band Auditions, first up for the day at 5PM!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Way to IGNITE! Your Senses

by Nicole Ho and Tan Pee Geok

As the highly anticipated local music festival, IGNITE! Music Festival, draws near, fringe event IGNITE! Your Senses played their way to the audiences’ senses.

The event served as a platform for up and coming local bands to showcase their music and talent, and this year’s ear-candy line-up featured Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH)’s Rubber Band, Heir of Hounds, Radiant Archery and Vessel.

Missed IGNITE! Your Senses? Don’t worry – you can relive your moments of fun and also get to know the bands a little better through this photo story!

Prepped and Ready: Behind the restricted area is where our IGNITE! crew run their final checks before the show officially kicks off. They have been preparing for the success of the several fringe events to ensure that they run smoothly. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

Gearing Up: The secret to a good show is not just about the bands and music. It’s also about the people behind it. One of our IGNITE! stage crew’s responsibilities is meticulously assisting bands to set up for their performances. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

Firing it Up: IGNITE! Your Senses’ enthusiastic emcees were decked in matching checkered shirts, and they fired up the stage by welcoming the audience to the show and hyping them up with their banter and nuggets of information of the bands. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

An Audience Awaits: As soon as classes ended, South Agora slowly filled up as people came down to enjoy the performance with their friends and unwind after a day of lessons. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

Overcoming Barriers: The highlight for Rubber Band from the Singapore Association of Mental Health (SAMH)’s set was their courage to perform in front of an audience. Using the different music instruments that they have learnt, they performed Jessie J’s Flashlight that sang straight to the audiences’ hearts. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

Guitar Hero: Seran Yeo, guitarist and main vocalist of Heir of Hounds opened their stage with a passionate performance of their debut single, “Beginnings”. The track came in third for on the iTunes Singapore Rock Charts, when they debuted as a band in 2014. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

Music Makes One: Instrumental post metal Radiant Archery took on the stage as the third act for IGNITE! Your Senses, striking a chord with the audience with just purely their music. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

Smooth-Sailing Vessel: A strong stage presence was brought by the quintet, Vessel, as they closed the show while performing songs from their new EP, which was also launched at the Aliwal Arts Centre on the following day. PHOTO: NICOLE HO / CAPTION: TAN PEE GEOK

With that, we close IGNITE! Your Senses! IGNITE! Music Festival 2015 is happening on the 21 & 22 August! Be sure to be there to immerse yourself in the growing scene that is local music. Do keep a lookout for more updates on our various social media platforms @IGNITEMusicFest. See you there!

Replug Presents: Origins

by Nellie Qistina

Can You Feel My Love: As Replug’s set came to a close, everyone involved in the production joined the performers on stage as they sang the last lines of Geronimo by Sheppard together. PHOTO BY: AMIR BIN AMRAN / PHOTO IG

“It feels awesome.”

“It was very relieving.”

Those were the replies of Shaneeta Karapan and Raiyan Sufyan, two members of the Replug Interest Group in RP that performed for Replug Presents Origins, when asked how it felt after the performance.

This fringe event held at South Agora was aimed at showing people the era that they grew up in through the songs performed. Popular hits such as Crazy by Gnarls Barkley, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum were what started off their set and it ended with Geronimo by Sheppard, lifting everyone’s moods.

Initially, the plan was to have a simple show. A show that was really cut down, stripped, with no drums and just very chilled and relaxed. But many changes have been made since the initial plan and Replug Presents Origins was the final product.

When asked about the process leading up to the show, Shaneeta and Raiyan shared that it was one filled with many ups and downs. From going for previews and having to cut out almost half of the songs chosen to constantly motivating their team mates, it was a tough 3 months.

Another thing they both agreed on was how passion played a key role in their journey, not only in the one leading up to Origins but also through their journey in the Interest Group. Despite the constant struggle to manage their time between studies and families, they credit their stay in Replug to the passion that they possess.

Passion Plays A Part, A Large Part: Shaneeta says that the one of the main reasons why everyone still stays in their IG is because they all have so much passion for what they do. PHOTO BY: WONG ZHI XUAN ALEX / PHOTO IG

“Honestly, if it is something that you want to do, just go out there and do it. Yes, it’s going to be scary the first time you do it but once you do, you’ll just get addicted to it. Performing is like a drug,” said Shaneeta.

Beyond having the passion to do what they love, another important factor was to have the courage. Raiyan, the Vice-President of Replug, says that he lives by one rule. “Take 20 seconds of courage to do something that you want. You countdown that 20 seconds and just sign up for an IG or go on stage to perform and just do something crazy. You’ll never know if it’ll change your life,” he shares.

The Courage to Pursue: Raiyan Sufyan, the Vice-President of Replug IG, believes in one thing and that is to take 20 seconds of courage and just go for what you want. PHOTO BY: AMIR BIN AMRAN / PHOTO IG

These two members honestly hope that everyone has enjoyed their show.

However, they were not the only band at Origins. Guest band The Madhatter Project, opened the whole show by playing a few of their originals.

Quirky Quartet: The Madhatter Project has been together for slightly over a year and get their inspiration from many everyday experiences. PHOTO BY: WONG ZHI XUAN ALEX / PHOTO IG

From a song about a cat sitting on the window, looking out at a rocket ship flying past called ‘Rocketship’ to one filled with Harry Potter references called ‘Horcrux’, this band of 4 is unique for its set-up of multiple keyboards. They get their inspiration for their songs everywhere or if not, they research their songs. “Nobody screamed that loudly for us before,” Mark laughed as they ended their first song.

When asked to describe their band’s personality, phrases and words like “unconventionally conventional”, “quirky” and “a band of many personalities” were thrown out. The bands wants to push their audiences and people who listen to their stuff to ask questions through their songs.

This band believes that even though their sound may be unique compared to other bands in the scene, they should just “keep going at it, because there will always be an audience somewhere.”

All these fringe events lead up to the main festival happening at Republic Polytechnic on 21st and 22nd August.

Monday, 27 July 2015

The Story Behind IGNITE! Music Festival

by Nellie Qistina

IGNITE! Music Festival is in its eighth year running. That’s a substantially long time. And every year, it proves to be a roaring success.

But what is the story behind the iconic IGNITE! Music Festival? How did it start, and how did it become a signature event in Republic Polytechnic and eventually, for the local music scene? There’s no one else better to ask than Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, the Festival Director of IGNITE! Music Festival.

Spotted at IGNITE!: Festival Director, Ganesh Kalyanam with his daughter at IGNTE! Music Festival in 2014. PHOTO BY: Gowri Shaan

IGNITE! Music Festival: Passion & Compassion

When It All Began: IGNITE! in 2008 was not held at RP’s Lawn. In fact, it was at the open space next to TRCC.

It all started in 2008. They were sitting around and dabbling with the idea of hosting music festivals and considering what aspects to focus on. After speaking to many students and a lot of brainstorming, there was a realisation.

“There were no real platforms for local musicians,” said Ganesh. From there, they felt that it would be a great idea to showcase this local talent that was present then.

Apart from that, they also realised that in RP, there were a lot of fledgling bands and even students who were involved in bands and music. These students often find themselves questioning whether they’ll be able to make it or do well in the industry.

“So we felt, hey, this is a great opportunity for us to have a festival showcasing local bands who have made it, have done well and hopefully those bands would ignite the passion in our students to pursue and continue to pursue their interest in music,” he added.

That was how they came up with the name, “IGNITE!”, to ignite the passion of these students.

IGNITE! was not only about ‘Passion’ but it is about ‘Compassion’ as well.

It Comes From The Heart: The IGNITE! crew during Project Passion with Beyond Social Services. They taught these children a thing or two about Body Percussion.

As they were trying to convince people about the music festival, some people had negative perceptions of musicians. “They think that they are all either satanic or drug abusers or you know, people who are not the main stream. So there was a very negative impression of musicians as such,” Ganesh mentioned.

Many people hold pessimistic views of these musicians but fail to realise that they are likely to be everyday people who hold jobs whilst pursuing music in their free time. Some may be fortunate to do it as a profession but many others are ordinary members of the workforce, or even students who are struggling to keep their passion alive.

“We felt that IGNITE! would give another opportunity to showcase musicians, highlight their passion but also show that there is a good side to them as well. We wanted to highlight the compassion part of things, that just because ‘I play hard metal or heavy metal or anything of that type, it doesn’t make me a bad person,” he added. This part, was another dimension of the music festival.

We all know that many music festivals are predominantly about the music, the fun and all. But IGNITE! looks at using music to bring in different types of people together and not only promote passion but also ignite the compassion amongst these people.

That, is how we have ‘IGNITE! Music Festival. Passion and Compassion’.

Why A Music Festival?

Big Stage, Even Bigger Crowds: IGNITE! showcases acts of various genres every year to cater to the different likings of its audiences.
PHOTO BY: Benjamin Ng

But why a music festival? The answer to this was simple. The reason why a music festival was preferred compared to a rock concert, was because the Singapore music industry, as well as the bands in RP, were very wide-ranging in genres. Ideally, a music festival would allow for them to listen to a wide range of genres of music.


They call themselves the “ignitebestcrewever” and notably so, with the amount of hard work they put in each year, they are the “best team ever”.
Perhaps, the cutest one too.

As I listened to the story of how IGNITE! came about, I was amazed at how it all came together and produced a festival that has been running for 7th, coming to its 8th year. Presumably, something as big-scale as IGNITE! has to have a strong team and it does.

Initially when IGNITE! started, it was very much staff-driven. It was the staff’s contacts and the use of their experience in these areas. The students came in just to help out here and there. But now, IGNITE! is almost 90% run by students themselves. Kenny, the main producer for IGNITE! is an alumnus of RP and a lot of the people involved and running the different teams are either current students or alumni. Almost every aspect, from the production to the programming, logistics and the marketing, are all student driven.

As each year passes, IGNITE! has close to about 1000 students involved and they cut across all schools in RP. “For me, it is an even bigger achievement because as an educational institute, I think it is critical that any of these platforms that we create needs to be an opportunity for our students to apply what they have learnt and grow as a person, in terms of being able to manage resources, manage people, manage the event. And I think that, we have been very successful with,” he said.


“GREAT JOB, BRO!”: Two very familiar faces in the local music scene, ShiGGa Shay and Benjamin Kheng of the Sam Willows on stage at IGNITE! Music Festival last year.
PHOTO BY: Benjamin Ng

One other factor about IGNITE! Music Festival was that it is 100% local. Local bands perform and local brands at the village. “Why is this so?” I asked.

Ganesh replied: “Initially, the honest truth was nobody would have come because they don’t know who we are. So we relied a lot on our ‘kakis’ or those bands that we know who came and said “Okay lah, I know you all don’t have the money to pay me but I will come and play.” We relied a lot on our friends, who are all in local bands.”

Then as IGNITE! grew, they got more and more bands from all over the world writing in to them, asking if they can be part of the music festival. And at that point, the team had to make a decision; do they allow international bands to come or do they keep it local?

As discussion took place, they realised that a lot of festivals that brought in international acts ended up becoming more international than it is local and this is partly because of our local behaviour. We cannot deny that one would be willing to pay hundreds of dollars to see an international band but one wouldn’t want to pay to see a local one perform. Additionally, a lot of festivals have already given platforms for international bands to perform and thus, the decision was made to keep IGNITE! purely local.

They saw a trend that initially, when they get established bands to come and play, they were actually achieving what they have hoped for – which is for these experienced bands to inspire and ignite the passion among the younger bands.

Playing at IGNITE! also gives up and coming bands a sense of status and branding. “Every festival, you have a couple of acts that are more established and they become the headliners to attract the crowds. But when the crowds come in, they get to hear these new bands that they may not have heard of before. Many bands have come, played, and moved on to bigger stages and we are happy for that to happen. It is heart-warming to know that in our own small way, we have helped pushed the local music industry,” he stated.

Over the past 7 years, IGNITE! has definitely grown in its depth and its quality is improving. IGNITE! Music Festival is definitely so much more than your run-of-the-mill music festival. As the interview came to a close, I can safely say that the Festival Director himself is very proud of how IGNITE! has evolved, providing platforms to not only local bands to showcase their talent but also to students to further explore their potential and skills with an event such as this one.

Now that we know the story behind IGNITE! Music Festival, let’s hope that it will continue to write even greater ones in the future.