Having burst into the local music scene back in 2017, Singaporean noise-rock mainstays, Subsonic Eye has made a conscious effort to retain their sonic energy, be it in recording or live throughout the years, while maturing together in sound. Evidently, the band is back with their third full-length album, ‘Nature of Things’.
Shedding heavy fuzz and fanfare for rawer tonality and wearied lyricism, the 9-track album marries vocalist, Wahidah’s inimitable vocal presence, with guitarist Daniel Castro Borces’ signature restless strums and riffs, Spencer Tan’s rhythmic foundation basslines and Lucas Tee’s drum work, and Borces’ interplay with guitarist Jared Lim’s (of Asian indie trailblazers Sobs), focused on melodicism signals an honesty beyond their clouds of youth. – It is a synergy that allows for innovative reverence to touchstones across the rock spectrum – from 90s’ iconic avant-garde noise band, Sonic Youth, to Indie-rock wunderkind, Snail Mail, to Mathy art-rock Glasgow band, Life Without Buildings. Popwire got the band recently to break down their latest album, ‘Nature of Things’.
Hey guys thanks for doing this, and congratulations on your album release!
For starters, why don’t you share with us what the new album is all about?
‘Nature of Things’ is about expressing ourselves honestly and finding freedom in doing so.
In 3-4 sentences max, please break down for us what each track is about. It could be of the track itself, or maybe it was for a particular reason, or of how it was produced or something memorable that happened while producing a track. Feel free to be very free form in this one.
1. Consumer Blues
Talking about consumer habits and mindsets that can be attributed to the way the modern world is.
2. Cabin Fever
Being stuck at home and craving intimacy.
‘Fruitcake’ tells a story about a bitter person who is missing a lot in life.
This single is all about feeling excited and refreshed after a new start.
Being immersed in something bigger than myself.
6. Nature of Things
‘Spiral’ talks about how life feels different after a whole shift.
8. Kaka the Cat
This is about our guitarist, Daniel’s cat getting sick, and the anxiety that comes with it.
‘Unearth’ is all about the process of going through ecological grief.
Watch the official video of Unearth here:
10. Matahari [Japanese Bonus Track]
This one’s a bonus track that’s only available on our Japanese pressed vinyl
What was the process like coming up with the album?
Our process has been the same since the first album. Our guitarist, Daniel will come up with an instrumental demo, then send it over to Wahidah (vocals) for her to come up with her vocal parts. They go back and forth over Telegram until they’re happy enough with them to show the band. After that, the whole band works on it together. Repeat 9-10 times. We were just super lucky to have worked on the songs as a band before lock-down kicked in.
Comparing your past albums where you touched on the typical teenage angst and growing up, we loved that you went a different route this time for the album. Why the need to reinvent yourselves?
We grew out of the whole angsty thing and realized that the world is actually a pretty beautiful place. We wanted to write songs that reflected that and hope to turn people to that perspective as well. We also just got jaded with the whole drowned out sound we used to have, so it was very refreshing to play in a new way.
We noticed that the single, ‘Matahari’ is only available on vinyl specifically. Why not in the album available on the rest of the streaming platforms?
… So it gives people an incentive to buy the vinyl hehe…
The single, ‘Kaka The Cat’ took a rather good-humored turn nearing the end of the album. Who is Kaka The Cat?
Kaka is Daniel’s 3-year-old tabby black cat. She’s his second cat, with the first one having an unexpected death that really traumatized him. So, when Kaka got sick, he was afraid he’d lose her too, like his first cat. Thankfully, she’s all well and good now… although very noisy at night.
You say Sonic Youth, Life Without Buildings, Snail Mail, Adventures, and Speedy Ortiz were your music influences for the album. What has resonated the most from these music legends while you were producing this album?
Specifically, with Sonic Youth, the new sound was heavily influenced by them. What resonated the most with them was the fluidity, freedom, and importance of the guitar. It’s the wall-of-sound thing that you get from Shoegaze, but with the clarity and attack of Indie-rock. Some of the sections they get in to feel like a spiritual experience in aural form. They paved the way for this style and a lot of things we’re doing (instrumentally) are just our homages to them.
There are other outstanding shoegaze/grunge pop local bands including Astreal, Sobs, and Cosmic Child. In your opinion, what defines Subsonic Eye?
We love all those bands! What defines Subsonic Eye is the synchronicity of every instrument. We like to think of it like we’re symbiotic, and no single instrument takes the lead.
And now that ‘Nature of Things’ is out, what’s next for Subsonic Eye?We hope to play more shows now that it’s finally allowed again!
‘The Nature of Things’ is now available for streaming on all major digital streaming platforms.
For physical purchases of ‘The Nature of Things’ Japanese pressed vinyl, cassette tape, and all other merchandise, head over to Subsonic Eye’s Bandcamp page!