Growing up in the era where Singapore’s Indie Rock music scene was just starting out, it was always a treat to catch Indie Alt-Rock OG band Electrico perform live alongside the rest of the Indie Rock bands (also OGs as a matter of fact) such as Plainsunset, The Great Spy Experiment, The Observatory, Another Sunday Afternoon and Concave Scream. For Electrico, what started out as a band performing in a neighbourhood church back in 1996, and garnering success island wide and beyond, gracing the stages of Baybeats Music Festival, SeptFest Singapore, Grainery Lane Australia and The Troubador Australia to name a few eventually, it was plain to see their music was one of the finest sounding products ever to emerge from Singapore.
After years of hiatus, Electrico are (finally!) back and recently released a collection of renewed songs from their last 3 albums, ‘We Satellites’ (2008), ‘Hip City’ (2006), and ‘So Much More Inside’ (2004), breathing new life into their earlier songs for the new EP, ‘B-sides Live at the Power Station’.
We caught up with the trio that make up Electrico, David Tan (vocals and lead guitar), Desmond Goh (bass guitar) and William Lim Jr (drums):
You’ve been on hiatus for a good number of years and you’re finally back! Could you tell us what have you been up to since the last album release?
David Tan: I’ve been busy being a husband, friend and father! As well as re-connecting with my other passions – though music always seems to be involved in a lot that I do, whether it’s DJ-ing, directing, composing or doing voice work.
Desmond Goh: I’m still doing things related to music, like being a producer, production manager and programmer for music festivals and events.
William Lim Jr: I have been teaching full time at Academy Of Rock (Goldhill Centre). Once in a while, I do small gigs like piano performances at the National Museum of Singapore, playing National Day songs on the Red Steinway concert grand piano and also help to cover drum sessions for a friend. All these small things alongside teaching.
What was the decision to hit reset and make a comeback at this time?
Desmond Goh: We really wanted to have our back catalogue on all streaming services, and instead of just uploading them, we thought – why not re-visit some of these songs with new arrangements and record them again? At the same time, we were able to produce live videos for these re-recorded tracks in the exceptional space of Pasir Panjang Power Station!
David Tan: I don’t think any of us felt that we were really done yet, but like Desmond said, a lot of it started from us wanting to get our music out on digital streaming platforms as we have been getting requests to do so over the years.
William Lim Jr: The fact is that we never felt like we were done, we wanted to get our back catalogue up on digital streaming platforms, and raised the possibility of new songs and performing together again.
We understand from the press release that you’ll be releasing a new live performance video as part of ‘B-sides Live at the Power Station EP’. Was there a particular reason why specifically these 4 were the selected tracks? Could you also break down for us what these tracks are about, and what they mean to you?
David Tan: These are tracks that represent a more soulful side of the band that was always there, but perhaps not as apparent unless you dove deeper into our catalogue. We thought it would be a fresh way to promote our back catalogue and also present another side of the band.
William Lim Jr: We wanted to try something new, including involving a string and brass section for a live performance of our past songs, we considered this when picking songs, to fit this purpose as well.
Based on these upcoming videos, do you have any memories performing them live back in the day that were memorable for you?
Desmond Goh: We played ‘Shadow’ a couple of times, and with its intricate arrangement, I remember feeling exhilarated playing it live!
David Tan: Of the four tracks, I think we have only performed ‘Shadow’ live. There is a video of an old performance up on YouTube and it’s probably our most epic track, so it was always received well when we performed it live.
William Lim Jr: I agree, especially the show we played at Baybeats, where the crowd was fun, body surfing even at the slow parts of the song. I figured that people would normally body surf to fast songs, but it was amazing to see it happen while playing ‘Shadow’ and ‘Electricorp’.
Growing up watching Electrico perform live was always a treat. With the videos that you are putting out in the upcoming weeks, these are together with session musicians including a violinist, cellist and trombone player. What was it like working and performing together with the ensemble of session musicians, considering this wasn’t done before in your performances?
Desmond Goh: It’s always eye-opening to play with other musicians, where we can learn other aspects of music arrangement from them. They bring another palette that we don’t usually use and it’s exciting to see new colours on the songs!
You will be releasing 3 of your last albums on major digital streaming platforms as well. For the younger generation of listeners who are completely unaware that you are the OGs of Singapore’s indie alternative scene, apart from the videos releasing, could you pick 2 other songs from these albums that they should listen to?
Desmond Goh: ‘Hail To The Friends’ from We Satellites (2008), and ‘Hello’ from Hip City (2006). Actually, they should listen to all of our songs!
William Lim Jr: It would be ‘Shadow’ and ‘Save Our Souls’ from We Satellites (2008) and ‘Electricorp’ from Hip City (2006).
Lastly, (and please no more teasing!), what can fans expect in the upcoming months ahead from Electrico?
David Tan: They will need to watch this space!
Desmond Goh: We hope to present what we have done in the live videos as a concert. It will be amazing to play to live audiences again!
William Lim Jr: Yeah, we can’t wait to play live again! It’s the best feeling in the world to show how much you love what you are doing. We hope to continue the next chapter of this journey with you all and have a ‘Good Time’ (also a song from ‘So Much More Inside‘ (2004) ) with you again!
Live performance videos from ‘B-sides Live at the Power Station‘ will be accessible on Electrico’s YouTube channel, with the brand new EP with the same title released in May this year. The band’s discography will be released every month and made available on all major digital streaming platforms.