AsiA scout Network’s                                                                                                      ...
preface                                                                                                                   ...
ThroughouT ocT-Dec 2008, The ciTy scouTs were askeD To:                                       03




             Look AT:...
the headlines                                      04




          1)   Asia’s Quest For Identity
          2)   The Scen...
1 ) AsiA’s Quest for identity                                                                                             ...
ASIA’S QUEST FOr IdENTITy


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ASIA’S QUEST FOr IdENTITy


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ASIA’S QUEST FOr IdENTITy


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2 ) THE SCENE MAkErS                                                                                       09




While th...
THE SCENE MAkErS


                                                             SHANGHAI | Sean                           ...
THE SCENE MAkErS


                                                                                                    Non...
THE SCENE MAkErS


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3 ) THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE                                                                                         ...
THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE


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THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE


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THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE


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4 ) MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS                                                                                     ...
MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS


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MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS


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MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS


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5 ) BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT                                                                                21




Leading...
BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT


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BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT


Left: Black Cherry event flyer featuring Punk, Rock, Rockabilly, and Retro                     ...
BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT


                        HCMC | Van                                                             ...
6 ) EMBrACING EXPErIMENTAl                                                                                    25




Count...
EMBrACING EXPErIMENTAl

                               Ugong or                                                A flyer for...
EMBrACING EXPErIMENTAl



SCOUT ByTES : JAPAN’S NOISE SCENE                                                               ...
7 ) MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’                                                                                   28




Wh...
MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’


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MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’


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Rock On!! (2008)
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8 ) NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP                                                                               32




The sta...
NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP


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NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP


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NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP


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NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP



SCOUT ByTES : MArrIAGE IS THE NEW SPONSOrSHIP                                                ...
37




EXPERT
SOUND BYTES
Words from:

Tony Reno, Founder of Dragon Radio
Ian STewaRT, Formerly SVP of MTV Asia
EXPErT SOUNd ByTES



HONG KONG | Tony Reno                                                                               ...
EXPErT SOUNd ByTES



SINGAPORE | Ian STewaRT                                                                             ...
Asia Scout Network  Issue 8   Unseen & Unheard  Asias Music Undercurrents
Asia Scout Network  Issue 8   Unseen & Unheard  Asias Music Undercurrents
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Asia Scout Network Issue 8 Unseen & Unheard Asias Music Undercurrents

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Today's music is increasingly consumed, created, and distributed by passionate individuals who can set the momentum for a broader music movement.

With help from our trend scouts on the ground, we've published this pan-regional study that reveals regional macro-trends in alternative music culture across Asia-Pacific, as observed through the eyes and ears of youth on the ground and in the scene.

Spanning 10 cities from Mumbai to Bangkok to Shanghai, the study also highlights local artists, sounds, and communities bubbling at the fringe, selected from our scouts' updates on music, covering Sydney's art rock, Manila's sound art, Tokyo's visual music, and more.

Closes with interviews with our friends in the Asian music scene - Ian Stewart, now Head of Asia for Friendster, and Tony Reno, Founder of Dragon Radio.

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Asia Scout Network Issue 8 Unseen & Unheard Asias Music Undercurrents

  1. 1. AsiA scout Network’s 01 InsIghts scoop Every 3 months, Mindshare Asia-Pacific invites designated ‘scouts’ living in each major city in Asia to provide The CiTy SCouTS: updates on urban youth culture and their own opinions on two preset topics, dropping their articles on our blog. Aiko Mizuno (Tokyo) At the end of the assignment, stories from our scouts are picked and pulled together by the MindShare Asia- Lokavid Chen (Taipei) Pacific Insights unit into a pan-regional, topical report, called the Asia Scout Network Insights Scoop. Ginette Chittick (Singapore) Sean Leow (Shanghai) We’re hoping this will help provide a close-up view of what the urban and opinionated 18-32 year-olds Asians Michelle Mossfield (Sydney) are up to, through real, local examples. The bird’s-eye-view regional perspective is meant to serve as a spring- Arjun S. Ravi (Mumbai) board to inspire new communication ideas, sometimes by adapting concepts originating outside the borders Dang Sering (Manila) of your respective countries to fit the local climate. Stirling Silliphant & Nur Aniza Santo (Jakarta) Van Nguyen (Ho Chi Minh City) This eighth issue is titled “Unseen And Unheard: Asia’s Music Undercurrents” and explores ‘leading Tintin Cooper (Bangkok) edge’ music scenes: alternative, independent music scenes that deviate from mainstream pop culture and are characterized by elements of creativity, rebelliousness, and novelty. Click here for profiles and pictures. The business directions are not explicit, but we hope that taking this with openness and flexibility can help MiNDShARe ASiA - PACiFiC: tease out the ideas that lie in the shadows and uncover the opportunities for innovation ahead. AChARA Masoodi (Ju) For the full version of the scouts’ articles, check out www.asiascoutnetwork.com The Scout This PDF copy contains links to the relevant articles, connoted by underlined and bold phrases like this JAMeS Chadwick Good and bad comments, or just tips on trends, we’d love to hear from you... Leader, Business Planning email: achara.masoodi@mindshareworld.com Thanks also to Zanyasan Tanantpapat for coordinating with the scouts.
  2. 2. preface 02 Why music for brand communications? authenticity, originality, and attitude for any brand looking to differentiate them- selves through those values. Music is a form of personal expression. In an age where marketing commu- nications has evolved from initially selling product features (what it is) to selling Also, as tools for music creation, consumption, and communities become even product benefits (what it does) to selling experience (how you feel) and onto selling more available to the masses and as developing societies mature, the Long Tail of identity (who you are), music presents an opportunity for brands to create this alternative, leading edge music scenes in Asia–Pacific is only set to grow. identity by associating with the right type of sounds and artists. Music connects with people. At a time when advertising clutter, media frag- The sTudy: “uNseeN & uNheARd: AsiA’s Music uNdeRcuRReNTs” mentation, technological advances, and social changes make it harder to reach consumers brands are exploring new ways to reach consumers and engage with This report offers a pan-regional view of emergent patterns characterizing inde- them. Music, with all the passion and loyalty it commands, is emerging as a pendent music culture that may be observed across various cities, highlighting medium with high potential. unique sounds, new music experiences, and their creators. It is an edited version of the articles submitted by the city scouts on the blog www.asiascoutnetwork. Music is looking for a new model. The digitized world has brought about revo- com, where they were asked to expose the four most important leading edge lutionary changes to the way music is created, discovered, and consumed. Old music scenes in their cities. business models for production, distribution, and promotion of music are disin- tegrating, and music creators are experimenting with new ways to make money. The selection is subject to views of the scouts, whose jobs as musicians, artists, This presents a huge opportunity for brands to be involved in music properties, designers, and content aggregators, link them closely to their cities’ alternative going beyond traditional sponsorships or endorsement campaigns. music scenes. Although the study may not be a comprehensive representation of the numerous music tribes that exist, it offers an unedited window into an emerging global culture where music is created, consumed, and distributed largely by Why ‘leading edge’ music? connected individuals rather than large corporations. Leading edge music is defined by music with elements of rebelliousness, creativ- Those seeking a more descriptive and detailed view of each city’s music scenes ity, novelty, and experimentation. This report explores the various leading edge are encouraged to click through the links in the report, which lead to the scouts’ music scenes that are developing and thriving at the grassroots level, created in articles on the blog complete with pictures, videos, and sound samples. defiance of the mainstream music culture that usually revolves around groomed pop–star idols and push mass–marketing tactics. Enjoy! Admittedly, the communities around these alternative music scenes are sig- nificantly smaller than the herds of pop–star followers, especially for emerging, developing economies. However, they represent a strong, untapped source of
  3. 3. ThroughouT ocT-Dec 2008, The ciTy scouTs were askeD To: 03 Look AT: The four most important leading edge music scenes in your city. ‘Leading edge’ refers to a culture that involves a sense of rebelliousness, mainstream defiance, creativity, and novelty. DeSCRiBe: A ‘music scene’ refers to a community Style and sounds of people who are connected together Influences (homegrown or globally by a common passion for a particular influenced) music style or genre Fans and the community Venues and events Sources and media channels for music Brands involved Crossovers into other scenes
  4. 4. the headlines 04 1) Asia’s Quest For Identity 2) The Scene Makers 3) The Holistic Music Experience 4) Mash-Ups, Hybrids, and Crossovers 5) Bringing Past To Present 6) Embracing Experimental 7) Music’s Offline Carriers 8) New Age Music Sponsorship + Expert Sound Bytes
  5. 5. 1 ) AsiA’s Quest for identity 05 The maturity of the independent music scene in each country varies according to its level of economic development and political freedom, which means the definition of ‘leading edge’ or ‘alternative’ may differ depending each country. In emerging economies where the independent music scenes are still in the formation stages, artists and their fans may still be excited and challenged by the rules hip-hop, rock/punk/garage, and electro (the popular music genres of the ‘alternative’ music world) as defined by their pioneering artist from Europe and the US. For them, it is ‘leading edge’ enough that local bands follow and meet original music patterns of their Western counterparts, maybe adopting lyrics and language for localization. However, for more established markets like Tokyo and Sydney, including pockets of more sophisticated artists in developing economies, the challenge has evolved beyond simply following the rules of West- ern genres. The more mature independent music communities are already mastering those genres and moving on to create unique sounds and styles beyond the classical scope of these genres. Leading edge music is evolving beyond specific music genres and becoming a quest for local artists to carve out an identity that is truly original even against the global music scene. “I am really happy that many of the bands out here are finally getting over the ‘imitation’ stage of song-writing and starting to inject their own culture and social issues into their music. Also, the fan base seems to be more appreciative of the home-grown scene.” Tony Reno, Founder of Dragon Radio
  6. 6. ASIA’S QUEST FOr IdENTITy 06 Shanghai hip-hop influencers: The Lab (left) and Red Star (right) SHANGHAI | Sean Underground Hip-Hop Mumbai rock band: Pentagram “Gary Wang, founder of The Lab (Shanghai’s most influential underground hip-hop organization), explains MUMBAI | Arjun the current influences and style of Chinese hip-hop: Rock Music “I would say we don’t have a Chinese style yet. If you really want me to say, what is Chinese style, I would “Pentagram is perhaps the ‘biggest’ [rock] band in Mumbai, and even India... I say it’s young, local kids really enjoy Western things interviewed the band a couple of years ago and frontman Dadlani made a very right now. Then maybe after 10 or 15 years, maybe relevant statement about the rock scene in India. He said, “We’re well known they can have their own style.“ and we do charge a lot of money, but the way things are structured in India now... Bollywood is omnipresent, there’s very little scope for anyone to hear any other ... Tang King, the Shanghainese MC and member of kind of music. Technically speaking, if we were in the States and we’d spent the Redstar recognizes the need to develop a local style, same amount of time and effort over there, we’d all be rich. But the fact of the rather than just following Western influences: “Add- matter is that, and we’ve always said this, the place, the people, and the fact ing your local style and adapting it to your country that we come from here, means a lot to us. So, whatever we wanna do, we is important to making your own hiphop,“ he says. wanna do from here.” “We should focus on how to combine Chinese and American hip-hop and create a hip-hop culture that really belongs to our own country.“
  7. 7. ASIA’S QUEST FOr IdENTITy 07 SYDNEY | Michelle Aussie Hip-Hop “The make-up of Aussie Hip-Hop bands can range anywhere from and MC and a Turn Tablist to a full, live band, and everything in between. By definition, Hip-Hop is an artistic avenue for the expression of politi- cal views, particularly those of minority or under-represented groups in society. In the USA where it developed, these minority groups were specifically defined by race –ieBlack and Latino Americans. However, Australian Hip-Hop has developed with a broader commentary that tends to focus more on the issue of defining what is Australian, more specifically what is Australian Hip-Hop. Issues of race, socio- economic status and political unrest are generally discussed under the umbrella of the broader topic of ‘What Is Australian’.“ Aussie hip-hop band BlueJuice TOKYO | Aiko Ethereal Music “Even though she sang for the opening of the 2004 Olympics in Athens and walked the red carpet at the Cannes, Bjork, an artistically ingenious phenomenon from Iceland, still seems to me to be a byword for “underground” creativity. With her enormous gift for music and art, she has inspired many young artists in Japan, just as she has influenced a number of cre- ators worldwide. [The Japanese artists influenced by Bjork] are not mere copies of Bjork (as you can also hear from the sound samples below). They take the essence of why she is so special as an artist and mold it into their own artistry..“ Himitomoi, Japanese artist influenced by Bjork
  8. 8. ASIA’S QUEST FOr IdENTITy 08 SCOUT ByTES : GlOBAl rECOGNITION AT SOUTH By SOUTHWEST (SXSW) A huge badge of recognition for Asian indie bands is a performing slot at the great South by SouthWest (SXSW), a global music, film, and interactive event in Austin, Texas. According to Wikipedia, “South By Southwest (SxSW) is a set of interactive, film, and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas. SXSW is one of the largest music festivals in the US, with more than 1,400 performers playing dozens of venues around Austin over four days, in March.” Uniquely Indonesian: White Shoes & The Couples Company Hosting a total of 149,000 participants, 32% of music-related attendees coming from the ‘inter- national’ segment, and an official representative in Japan handling SXSW-Asia (sxsw-asia.com), JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling SXSW is becoming the place to showcase Asian independent music talent to the world. Retro Jakarta Part II: White Shoes & The Couples Company Asian bands that performed previously at SXSW: “Musically, White Shoes is a mish-mash of global JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling SINGAPORE | Ginette influences old and new: 1960s bubblegum pop, ’70s White Shoes and The Couples Company & Electrico & The Great Spy Experiment Indonesian movie soundtracks, and ’90s Shibuya The S.I.G.I.T Pop. They formed in 2002, growing evermore popular “Electrico was invited to the South By over the years.... More than any band I can think “White Shoes are one of only two Asian Southwest (SXSW) 2007 music festival and of, White captures the nostalgic imagination of bands not from Japan or South Korea on the performed several shows in California and Jakarta...For us White Shoes fans, there’s some- roll call of over 300 acts performing SxSW Texas... Ever shiny and sleek is The Great thing about this band that’s rooted deep within 2008; the other is also Indonesian: The Spy Experiment. Also having played SXSW Indonesia – it’s quenched our nostalgia for a time S.I.G.I.T, from Bandung. More of an ‘industry together with Electrico, the band played in which a lot of us imagine to be better than today. For showcase’ for A&R and the music press than New York at the Singapore Day in Central the rest of the world, it’s a entirely different face of a music festival proper, SxSW has helped Park...” a country al-too often spoken for by news headlines launch the careers of many fringe bands.” about natural disasters and travel advisories.”
  9. 9. 2 ) THE SCENE MAkErS 09 While the independent music scenes in developing markets like Tokyo, Sydney, and Singapore are supported by a relatively strong, passionate fan base and the availability of proper venues, the same cannot be said of those in the region’s remaining markets. In developing economies, unless that scene already enjoys a level of mainstream popularity or attracted the interest of corporate sponsorship, initiatives to grow the scene are virtually (and at times single- handedly) driven by one or a few non-profit artist collectives fueled by pure passion and the hope of creating a healthier, diverse music and arts scene in the long term. Under more authoritative govern- ments, this responsibility is sometimes directed to official state-run institutions. It is also quite common for these scenemakers and their projects to have international links: many of the events are either sponsored by foreign consulates, embassies, or institutions, or the scenemakers themselves are expats, have foreign backgrounds, or have international networks.
  10. 10. THE SCENE MAkErS SHANGHAI | Sean 10 Underground Hip-Hop “In Shanghai, almost everything related to under- ground hip-hop originates from or is related with The Lab, “a non-profit studio that supports a com- munity of musicians in Shanghai, with an empha- sis on DJ culture, local MC’s and live music.” The Lab organizes weekly DJ, MC workshops and events and is open for DJ parctice, lessons and jamming with live musicians.” Ozone, founder of Shanghai underground party Antidote Ruang Rupa’s Studio JAKARTA | Stirling Scenemakers Part III: Ruang Rupa “The group roundly acknowledged as being the The Lab, a non-profit studio that supports hip-hop in Shanghai Shanghai eArts festival sponsored by the city government. single biggest catalyst for Jakarta’s independent arts scene, the Ruang Rupa non-profit artists-run SHANGHAI | Sean trial, electro, electro-punk, nu-rave and dance rock. collective is approaching its ninth year of exis- Underground Electronic Shanghai Ultra - Scottish-born DJ who plays elec- tence.... Ruang Rupa grew out of the Jakarta Art tro, minimal and experimental electronic music.” Institute and is synonymous with a number of inde- Among the most prominent and active electronic pendent bands whose members were part of the col- musicians and collectives in the Shanghai scene: “Along with the weekly events put on by electronic lective. Among these are Goodnight Electric, White music organizers Antidote, Void ( ), Phreaktion, etc., Shoes & The Couple Company, That’s Rockefeller, “Ozone (Michael Ohlsson) is American-born DJ, Shanghai’s more electronic music fans can come and The Adams.... “ independent party promoter, founder of Antidote together each year for the Shanghai eArts festival. (a group of DJs and music producers who have The event is a sponsored by the Shanghai city “Everyone comes with a diverse network when they join put on monthly underground parties in Shanghai government and takes place at multiple official RuRu. So that’s why we have such a good network, since 2005. venues throughout the city. The eArts festival is domestically and internationally.“ - Interview with focused on bringing together art and technology with Indra Ameng, one of the driving forces behind RuRu “R3 – Australian born DJ and founding member performances and exhibitions from both foreign and and manager of White Shoes & The Couples Co. of STD, whose music incorporates trip hop, indus- local artists.
  11. 11. THE SCENE MAkErS Non-profit art collective 11 SABAW event flyer MANILA | Dang Experimental Sound-Art “Tengal is an Manila-based interdisciplinary media artist, com- poser, and filmmaker. He founded and organized the SABAW Media Art Kitchen – a not-for-profit, artist-run initiative and network platform for all kinds of information and communica- tion carried via modern electronic media focused specially in the region of South East Asia.“ Fete De La Musique Flyer by French Embassy in Manila HCMC | Van Electro Invades Ho Chi Minh Dance Floors MANILA | Dang Pinoy Soul “Electro has been so popular in Europe and now, as a logical necessity, it’s the main theme of Ho Chi Minh’s nightlife. At Bounce club, its The “Pinoy Soul bands also participate in festivals DJ-Brothers Andi and Hannes Teichmann, originally from Regensburg / such as the Fete de la Musique organized by Alli- Germany tonight. Other nightlife venues in Ho Chi Minh like Cage, Lust, ance Francaise de Manille (cultural arm of the you hardly find Hiphop music anymore. Those electro nights are designed French Embassy in Manila) and the Manila Jazz to bring the best of uplifting Electro and dirty House beats to a wider range Festival. Music lovers are especially drawn to the of clubbers. Has a new trend in clubbing been born? But, as my experience, Fete de la Musique because it offers different types the local DJ plays crappy electro. They are still far from perfect. So mostly, of musical performances from local talents ranging the clubs will invite those DJs from Europe ‘cause they know from jazz, hiphop to rock.”. how to rock a party from beginning to end.” Flyer for electro club night at Cage in HCMC
  12. 12. THE SCENE MAkErS 12 waT Ch SO::ON Dry Flower 2003-2008 on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B626i8GlkPA Flyer for Bhavishyavani Future Sounds, one of Mumbai’s oldest electronic acts BANGKOK | Tintin MUMBAI | Arjun SO::ON Dry Flower-Experimental Music Electronica in Mumbai “SO::ON Dry Flower has come a long way since its first live music event in “Bhavishyavani Future Soundz (BFS) is one of 2003 which was organised by Koichi Shimizu and attended by a few friends, Mumbai’s oldest electronic acts. Though they broke mostly artists and musicians. Today it easily boasts a regular crowd of 500+ through only in the mid-‘00s they have been around and can truly call itself the sole underground movement in experimental since the ‘90s spinning beats at venues both large and music and one of the most exciting things to happen to music in Thailand. In the small. They have grown from being just a couple of past artists have included the indie and experimental, yet nevertheless under- DJs, to a collective that now includes French DJs ground in the Bangkok scene. These include Japanese musician and organiser as well. The band is known for their energetic kitschy Koichi Shimizu (Japan), Cliquetpar, DJ Mianoi, Napat Snidvongs, Space Bucha, artwork. The artwork is a take on that has its own Atit Sornsongkram, Goose, Desktop Error, Assajan Jakgawan, Little Fox, Talkless, unique style and sets the collective has success- Zai Kuning (Singapore)” fully performed in country as well, and are Mumbai’s answer popular electronic act Jalebee Cartel.”
  13. 13. 3 ) THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE 13 Music has always been closely interlinked to the arts and design scene, most commonly through the artist’s fashion, album artwork, and music videos. Asia’s leading edge scenes today, however, are tak- ing this concept even further, turning musical expressions into holistic experiences that blends sounds with visual art. Today’s leading edge music is not only expressed in sounds, but the spirit and philosophies of the music are also being captured onto various forms of visual art such as paintings, illustrations, instal- lations, manga, movies, anime, lighting design, and stage plays. These visual elements are very much part and parcel of the new experience of music consumption, integrated rather than supplemental to music, and may be produced by the artist individually or in collaboration with others. The drive toward this holistic music experience may have risen to counter the everyday music experi- ence that have been commoditized due the instant accessibility of mp3 files. “As tastes widen, the collection of tracks grows, and the manipulation of digital music becomes easier, the sense of the extraordi- nary is eroded, and the depth of the relation- ship with the artist is weakened.... Against, the backdrop of impersonal, slightly abstract qualities brought about by the digital age, it seems that live music is enjoying something of a renaissance.” – ‘Brands & Bands’ study by Brand Amp (UK)
  14. 14. THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE 14 Artist Ben Frost collaborates with Art Rockers Sinemusikalye, an event that got musicians together with visual artists MANILA | Dang Experimental - Sound Art “Some of the experimental artists are part of S.A.B.A.W. arts project, a sound art collective and record label that represents a cross-section of sound artists, performance artists, contemporary musi- Art Rock band “The Art” “The Art” event flyer cian-composers. It has released a CD compilation of music from members of the collective. Experimental artists get together through events such as Fete SYDNEY | Michelle dela Wasaque, a two-night event that presented Art Rock “handmade music that blur the lines between electro-acoustic, free improvisation, industrial, “[Art Rock] is used to describe a new wave of post indie grunge that incorporates the analytical sensibilities free jazz, performance art and freeform-noise, of it’s 90s predecessors (led, of course, by Nirvana and the Seattle Sound movement) with a new found and will be paired with the intensity of live romanticism and perspective on beauty in the world as expressed through art. Life doesn’t suck so much in video performances (vjing), exquisite homemade the Art Rock dimension. People suck. Money sucks. Power Sucks. People with money and power suck more machines, real guitars, absurd costumes, and than anything at all... Live performances can sometimes include props and performances by other art- even more live action on stage...Oftentimes, these ists such as painters, who share the stage and create paintings inspired by the music of the Art Rock experimental music artists practice other forms of show. By name as by nature, Art Rock finds most of its inspiration from the world of ‘art’ as a whole, expression such as sculpture and installation like Lirio particularly post modern forms. Local artists such as Ben Frost, Buttons, Kitty Horton and Azaria (also Salvador of Elemento. He creates his own instru- the lead singer of The Art) have had a lot of influence on the scene, creating much of the cover art for ments and exhibits them as works of art.” album releases for these bands, and at times performing with Art Rock bands.”
  15. 15. THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE 15 TOKYO | Aiko Visual Music “Manga artists were also inspired to create fic- tions stories based on [visual rockers]. The famous one was “kiss xxxx,” initially released in 1988, by Maki Kusumoto. It was a love story between an eccentric girl Kamome and a rather mysterious “Visual Music” bands boy Kanon. The Manga func- tioned as an intersection of music, fashion, and people... [NANA] was originally a girls’ Manga comic by Ai Yazawa. The story this time is not a romantic waT Ch one, but it’s about the friendship of 2 girls who hap- anime featuring visual rockers ‘Nana’ on YouTube pen to have the same name, Nana. Both the fashion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kCbwVFwjM8 and the music are also important elements of the story...It was made into a live movie, and the songs sung in the movie were, of course, sold at music stores. Some musicians even made a tribute CD... Visual Music bandsmen are often fashion icons as well as spiritual ones for their fans, since the genre has already involved the fashion as a part of its artistic and philosophical expression. These visual rockers are also often portrayed in Doujinshi (self-published Japanese works, usually novels or manga, by amateurs)” “Kiss xxxx” movie based on Visual Rock band “The Gazette” visual rockers
  16. 16. THE HOlISTIC MUSIC EXPErIENCE 16 waT Ch Modern Dog Concert’s Lighting by Designer Wit Pimkancha- Quirk It! at Prost napong on Vimeo http://vimeo.com/1250117 BANGKOK | Tintin JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling The Fine Line Between Design and Indie Music Melting Pot Part III: Quirk It! “The Indie Music scene is the only scene to “The recent Quirk It! 2nd anniversary party was just regularly collaborate with the leading designers out of this world. It was in a big motorbiker bar called of Thailand. Designers like Error, Duckunit, P7, Prost that has become very popular with indie gigs. B.O.R.E.D, Lost in Space do some of their most The combination of good music and the pub set creative stage sets and visuals for bands such as was mind blowing. Black walls were adorned by GrooveRider, Sqweez Animal, So::on Dry Flower, fantastical images of Conan-like barbarian bat- Modern Dog and so forth, while the bands receive tling dinosaurs, cave men-aliens and lots of big even more attention and get to play in a wacky bikes…all glow in the dark. One friend noted it’s setting such as above. Music becomes much like “Clash of the Titans-meets- Electric Light Orches- more interesting with a visual element present, tra-meets-White Trash Stoner Driving A Souped Up look at some of the infamous Pink Floyd sets for Camaro.” example. For me, the indie and design worlds have become one of the most interesting and innovative in Thailand, but only when they’re together.”
  17. 17. 4 ) MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS 17 The fusion of music genres is not something new in the global music arena, and the concept today is now manifesting itself at a fast and furious pace around the Asia-Pacific region. New music scenes, acts, and artists are emerging out of the fusion of sounds and styles from at least two music genres. From rock and electro, rock and hip-hop, new wave and jazz, the list goes on where the lines of music genres are blurred. It highlights the desire for new, original sounds that goes beyond the alternative rock genre that was once the domain of independent music, reflecting an acceptance of a wider set of music styles united under the ‘indie’ term. “If music defines a generation, then this cur- rent wave of youth are best defined by their “no rules mash-ups” philosophy to sounds. Forget music genres, the boom in “indie” makes total sense. Globally, “indie” goes from strength to strength, and it’s thriving in Asia where kids have all the tools they need to create and co-create, and the online and offline platforms to publish and showcase. What I find interesting is where while a few years back there was a clear divide between electronic and guitar music, today it’s all merged and mashed together. No rules. It will only get more exciting.” – Ian Stewart, Formerly SVP of MTV Asia
  18. 18. MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS 18 Ch waT Ch Tokyo hybrid jazz band: uni-birth on You Tube Zombie Ghost Train from Brigiittehandley and The Dark Shadows on You Tube waT http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfSeLRGTsJw MySpace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OpQdzehvGvc TOKYO | Aiko Jazz Hybrids “I think now in Japan, long after the bursting of its SYDNEY | Michelle economic bubble, people are experiencing more Rockabilly / Psychobilly/ Punk complex identity crises; also with greater numbers of both younger and older people taking up some form “The Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk scene is Sydney is one of the most distinct music scenes to have surfaced of performing or creative arts education in pursuit of in years.Rockabilly, as many would be aware, is a genre of music which emerged in the USA in the 1950s, their identities, jazz offers them an appropriate mix combining elements of Rock N Roll and Hillbilly music, and as such has prominent country and swing ele- of complexity and comfort that they need in their ments to it.Bill Haley is one of the better known rockabilly artist from that era… Punk music emerged in the pursuit… more and more young people are pursuing 1970s in the UK, the USA and Australia.It is characterisedby short, hard songs that profess non-conformist their musical career seriously, so as to become a pro- ideals and behaviours, both musically and lyrically.The Sex Pistols (UK), The Ramones (US) and Radio Bird- fessional, in order to create their own identities and man (AUS) are three of the most infamous Punk bands of the time… Psychobillycombines the fundamentals in the hope of making the world a little better place. of Rockabilly and Punk, adding elements horror and violence which are expressed lyrically as well as through In their lyrics, they talk more about life and embrac- heavy, theatrical make-up and costume. ing oneself, rather than about love and romance… An interesting thing with all those jazz-inspired Although each of these genres of music have existed for sometime, it is the combination of the culture young musicians is that they incorporate jazz with of Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk music that is now enjoying a very healthy resurgence in Sydney.These other music such as bossa-nova, rock, and pop. genres share similar musical elements, fashion sensibilities, anti-societal tendencies and, indeed, fans.” They take the music into higher, more sophisti- cated level.”
  19. 19. MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS 19 PinoyProgressive Rock Bands via heeroic MANILA | Dang Progressive Rock Bloco Singapura “Unheard of in the airwaves, a group of young local artists are pushing the boundaries of the rock formula of SINGAPORE | Ginette verse-chorus-bridge and experimenting Percussion Groups with unusual musical compositions and sound. Calling themselves Progressive “A new percussions group that’s playing the Esplanade Presents Celebrate rock bands, or prog for short, they December! series and Zoukout’08 is Bloco Singapura - helmed by my old pal Syed are slowly educating the local music Ahmad who also plays with very popular band Tiramisu. Much of this group’s scene, drawing inspiration from musical influence does not pull from the Asian sphere, it fuses Samba, jazz, classical, world music and rock Batucada, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Hip Hop and dancers. This collective is a burst of with non-traditional rock musical energy on stage.” instruments such as the violin and adding electronic sounds and syn- thesizers.”
  20. 20. MASH-UPS, HyBrIdS, ANd CrOSSOvErS 20 Blackout Apocalypse, 2008 Mumbai’s indie band ‘Shaa’ir+ Func” combines electro and rock JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling MUMBAI | Arjun The Melting Pot: Blackout & UberDamage Indie Rock “Blackout started about a year ago, as an effort to “With a kitschy look and a riveting live act, Shaa’ir+ revive Jakarta’s dormant post-PARC (R.I.P.) scene. Funchave become one of the top acts in the Mumbai The movers and shakers of Blackout were a big part rock scene. While their music blends electronica of PARC, one Jakarta’s most seminal and sorely and rock, their sound is fresh and has an ‘inter- missed venues back in early 2000. But this time, national’ vibe about it. They recently released their they decided to move on, progressing from the rock second album Light Tribe which was well received by and indie scenes to a universal state embracing all critics. The band has played several shows outside genres and scenes… From Drum’n’Bassto House, the country in places like London, New York and Rock’n’Rollto New Wave, SynthPop to Nu Rave Amsterdam and is fast becoming the international and Disco Shuffle Dance Punk, everything goes face of Indian indie.” at Blackout –oh, except Trance… The Blackout crew affiliates with many other party organizers like Javabass, Quirk It, Crime Scene, MischMasch, Microchip and more… “The spirit of ‘indie unite’ is the core,” explains Donna (founder of Blackout)”
  21. 21. 5 ) BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT 21 Leading edge music in Asia-Pacific are digging into the past to give a sense of originality and identity to their present-day creations. The past in this context can be separated into 2 broad themes: 1) Retro - references elements drawn from 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s pop culture with keywords such as ‘old school’, ‘analog’, and ‘classic’ 2) Traditional - references elements from each country’s nationalistic symbols, with keywords such as ‘classical’, ‘folk’, and ‘country’ Both concepts of the past are being incorporated into music through sounds, graphics, fashion, col- laborations, concerts, and lifestyle, becoming the main source of originality and differentiation for the particular artist or music community. The extent of these influences range from entire music scenes with numerous bands following a distinct music and fashion style, to single tracks where traditional or retro elements are weaved into the music.
  22. 22. BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT 22 JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling waT Retro Jakarta Ch Sweet Nuj “Love in the hi-Tech age” on YouTube aT C h w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XbBqScxVbs Jero’s enka number on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWCBW14PTfA “In Jakarta’s music scene, yesterday’s trendsare here to stay. From White Shoes & the Couples Company BANGKOK | Tintin TOKYO | Aiko to Sore, Naif to The Upstairs, Goodnight Electric Sweet Grandma Stealing The Spotlight J-Hip Hop Fuses with Japanese blues (enka) to Club ’80s, Jakarta’s most influential bands have forged their style from raiding their parents’ (or “Sweet Nuj might look like your lovely gran back “On the last note, an unexpected fusion of hip hop their older siblings’) wardrobes and record collec- home, but she’s captured the hearts of young people and “enka (Japanese blues)” occurred this year. tions... Call it by its many names: Retro, Vintage, in a typically eccentric and humourous thai way. It is more “enka” with some essence of hip hop, Mod, or Revival. This nostalgia appeals to young Instead of adapting to the new trends …. she refuses but surely, in the society in which almost all the people today in a way it didn’t a decade ago when to take heed, and instead takes well known rock possibilities of music seems to be laid out, and in it would have been derided as jadul (out-of date, the music, for example Body Slam’s ‘Pleng Ok Hak’ which people are not easily impressed, any of us kind of thing, well… your parents would be into it.)” (the ‘Broken Heart Song’), and sings them back in didn’t expect this was coming! Jero is an American traditional Thai country style, completely chang- who was musically influenced by his Japanese grand- ing the meaning of the lyrics just by doing this. mother… It was so sensational that he was hired to She is literally giving an old twist to a new song. appear in a coffee commercial.” Sucha, a freelance designer who has worked with Tiger Translate, Sanamluang records and DuckUnit was inspired to create the offbeat cover for her new album: “I was inspired by Sweetnuj’s contradiction and wanted to show the ambivalence of the old vs. the new, but in a visual manner. Hence the inside cover which pictures a sweet old granny dressed in traditional Thai grannywear, except that she also hap- pens to be sporting a trendy Ipod. In another image she sits gleefully in front of some antique furniture, C h White Shoes & The Couples Company waT on top of which is a Macintosh laptop with a sticker ‘Senandung Maaf’ MV on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ9wTSjHnMY that says ‘Koo Chart‘ (Save the Country.)“
  23. 23. BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT Left: Black Cherry event flyer featuring Punk, Rock, Rockabilly, and Retro 23 Right: A Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk female fashion style Wicked Aura Batacuda incorporates Asian percussion instruments SYDNEY | Michelle SINGAPORE | Ginette Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk Percussion Groups - Wicked Aura Batacuda “There is one night in particular that encourages local “For many years now, the local music scene has been dominated by guitar-driven Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punks to gather together in the bands and electronic musicians. We’ve got rising from the feedback percussion name of mayhem, and that’s Black Cherry. Currently bands exciting audiences with their raw energy, and new ethnic/fusion sounds. held at Bar Broadway, this is a night of Punk / Leading the pack is popular Wicked Aura Batucada… Often using Asian ethnic Rock / Rockabilly music, cherry topped off with drums such as the kompang and rebana, Wicked Aura Batucada have been some very lovely (retro) Burlesque performances. playing for close to 7 years now. Unlike local bands of the past which try to … art traditionally associate with the scene (ie incorporate Asian instruments for tokenism, I think WAB’s incorporation of Old School form, which features imagery such as Asian percussion fits in really well with the sound. And besides, many of the pin-up girls).” members are Malay and Dikir Barat which is a form of singing accompanied by percussions is pervasive in the Malay community.”
  24. 24. BrINGING PAST TO PrESENT HCMC | Van 24 Contemporary Folk “Vietnam showbiz is showing a big interest in Contemporary Folk genre. Nowaday in Vietnam ( specially in Hanoi), it’s easy to find a youngster (+18 years old) listen to it on the radio, in a café shop or even in the office. Some famous song composers and produc- ers like Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến, Lê Minh Sơn insists that “Contemporary Folk” will Vietnam Idol theme on be popular until the next decade. [The Loh Tsui Kweh Commune (LTK) - No. One Punk Band in Taiwan Contemporary Folk labeled as “Tai-Ke” (photo by Kingkiang) costume is a] mix of modern and tra- ditional fashion. It has affected on the youths’ daily styles too, such as jean TAIPEI | Lokavid with traditional long dress… “Contem- Music Meets Human Rights Issues porary Folk” is absolutely not catchy and flashy like HipHop with Nas, Justin “The mother tongues of Taiwanese and Hakka used to be considered as vulgar Timberlake…. But it’s a good mix of languages by the mainlander sovereignty to claim their political legitimacy. And Asian traditional instruments with people from south Taiwan who mainly speak Taiwanese were called with scornful modern, reflecting a trend in World title of “Tai-Ke.” … However, the interpretation of “Tai-ke” has been under- Music to combine portions of tradi- gone a positive transition with more and more people singing or rapping tional rhythm and instruments with with their mother tongue to fight and express their love for Taiwan culture. modern song structures to produce The so-called “Tai-Ke” culture has now been the trendy symbolic phenom- an easy-to –listen-to hybrid… A lot of enon for the love of local culture… Now we have new music genres of Taiwan- oldies have always complained that my ese, Hakka and traditional folks to combine with western influences such as punk, generation turns the back to traditional folk, and hip hop. After the seemly endless suppressing era, the voices of Taiwan music. C’mon, we are craving for it but local culture have won the hearts and approval by Taiwan people.” it’d be more interesting, easier for the endosmosis if Traditional genre has a new cover. And now, we temporarily satisfy with “Contemporary Folk”.
  25. 25. 6 ) EMBrACING EXPErIMENTAl 25 Countering the retro movement, young Asians are also pushing forward the boundaries of music into the future by challenging the concepts that traditionally define the notion of music. Experimental music is emerging to cater to the leading edge’s insatiable thirst for novelty and the unpredictable, going beyond the typical instruments, technologies, rhythms, and melodies that com- prise the major part of music today (even the indie type). The scope of experimental music varies widely but commonly involves modified or improvised instru- ments, unconventional playing techniques, and recordings from other sounds sources from the envi- ronment (ambient sounds). Experimental also commonly crosses over into indie rock and electronic genres, and visual or perform- ing arts. Some experimental music styles enjoying a growing fan base around Asia are 8-bit music (also referred to as chiptune), described as electronic music inspired by the sounds of 8-bit era video games (ie. Game Boy or Atari), and noise rock, basically fast and noisy post-punk sounds combined with experimental electronica. Experimental music is not new and has always commanded a small, underground group of followers, but its underlying philosophy - “an act not to be judged in terms of success or failure, but simply an act of which the outcome is unknown” - is gradually becoming more widely embraced as a challenge to the status quo, enjoying the sense of novelty that was once associated to the term ‘indie’ or ‘alternative’ music when it first emerged in the 90’s.
  26. 26. EMBrACING EXPErIMENTAl Ugong or A flyer for Erick Calilan (right) “Ragged Glory“ 26 using a self-made event by label circuit-bent device SO::ON Dry Flower at a performance. merging experimental and indie music. BANGKOK | Tintin Ghaust from MySpace Dying Turtle On Stage (Experimental Music) MANILA | Dang JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Experimental – Sound Art ‘Ragged Glory’ was another merge of experimental Melting Pot Part II: Ghaust and edgy indie music night organised by So:on Dry “Performers in experimental music use modified Flower Label, the only label to focus on this genre of “The immensity of Ghaust’s sound is instruments to explore other sound-producing capaci- music in Thailand. The lineup included knobfiddlers made all the more mindboggling by the ties, use nontraditional musical instruments and Desktop Error and Assajan Jagawan, Project Pry with fact it’s only two people: guitarist Uri unconventional playing techniques, and record from May-T (from ModernDog), Patomporn Patomporn A Putra and drummer M Edward. No other sound sources from the environment (ambient and Modern Dog as a headliner to bring in the guests vocals, no samples, no overdubs, just sounds)…. This scene is undoubtedly a vibrant one. and help expose the lesser-known bands to young a sweltering array of effects pedals and Experimental music artists are not just confined to people in Thailand. a measured – almost studious – inten- their works, but crossover to work with other equally sity...Ghaust fans tend to be the talented people in film, contemporary dance, graphic There was some great music, but I must say the kind of people attracted to structure design, etc… Those who attend these events are Japanese band “Eastern Youth” was agonising to and texture, music that make them usually students and practitioners of multimedia watch... On the other hand, everyone else seemed feel something more than what the and fine arts…. visual artists, sculptors, critics, film- to like it, probably because it was experimental, and template of mainstream (and most makers, and cultural workers… These events have no one really knows when to say that experimen- Indonesian indie) music offers. Their gained a wider audience in recent years because tal music is good, especially when it sounds like a performances are stripped-down, raw, of the support from art spaces for experimental bunch of cows being slaughtered. But it just goes and minimal. Unlike any other band music or sound artists, such as collaborations to show that the younger generation is becoming playing Metal, they don’t have any with visual artists and exhibits, or they get to per- much more open-minded to ideas of noise being pretensions to be hard or sinister. Nor form in between sets of bands.” music, and music being noise and all that, despite do they attract the usual black T-shirted the Japanese always end up stealing the show from throngs of crowd surfers and mosh- the Thais, including artists like Maywa Denki, Koichi pits. Their music and live show just is Shimizu.“ what it is.”
  27. 27. EMBrACING EXPErIMENTAl SCOUT ByTES : JAPAN’S NOISE SCENE 27 The noise music scene in Japan has been cited as one of the most experimental and avant-garde of modern music today. Its psychedelic sounds are not easy to listen to, but the “Japanoise” scene maintains a steady growth of followers domestically and is growing as an musical export (and inspiration for other musicians) around the region. Examples of bands riding on this wave are Maywa Denki and Melt Banana: Event flyer for BANGKOK | Tintin Japanese noise rock band Maywa Denki Literally Makes Melt Banana by Electronic Music Taipei indie party organizer Back 2 The (Experimental Music) Future “Maywa Denki (which literally translates as “Electrical Com- h TC pany”) Japan ’s idiosyncratic wa sweethearts, so famous for creat- Maywa Denki Live at Thailand’s Fat Fest on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0vwrOwTKzg ing their own “electrical products” TAIPEI | Lokavid after taking over their father’s Melt Banana Live by Back 2 The Future original (and very traditional) elec- trics company, have finally set foot in Bangkok to play at this year’s Fat Festival “For the whole new 2009, Back 2 The in Muang Thong Thani. Despite being a foreign band, Maywa Denki is extremely Future (an indie party/events organizer) pivotal to Bangkok’s experimental and indie music scene, and now their wide has already packed up their sched- exposure through Fat Festival is guaranteed to spark inspiration with young ules with various projects. .. the main music makers here, who have never seen such a thing in the past. upcoming event is that they are going to invite the famous Japanese New- Everyone who has come in contact with Maywa Denki loves their wacky yet wave grindcore band – Melt Banana” near-genius innovations which merge musical instruments and electronics into a completely new expression. In Japan they are celebrated on TV and have been (Melt-Banana is a Japanese noise sponsored for years by Panasonic, while they keep their “workshop” churning rock band that is known for playing out gadgets and unimaginable instruments, such as electronic boomboxes, per- extremely fast and noisy music mixed cussive wooden sunflowers that strum in time to music, a scary voicebox that with experimental electronica that squeezes out groans accompanying the band and even a castenettes machine, might be described as new-wave grind- which turns any ordinary Japanese workman into a new-age flamenco dancer.“ core – Wikipedia)
  28. 28. 7 ) MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’ 28 While digitization has made music more accessible and more varied, the fragmented music landscape that has resulted from it has created a new challenge for bands and fans to find each other. The music discovery process is far from linear and for music enthusiasts, undoubtedly involves online means, but it is noteworthy that offline channels still play a crucial role in the progression of a particular music scene or artist. In many cases, movie soundtracks have emerged as a powerful ‘carrier’ capable of propelling alterna- tive music from unknown depths onto mainstream popularity, likely due to the emotionally engaging, cinematic visuals that accompany the listening experience. Among music enthusiasts, street publications and live shows at key venues are still cited as important channels in introducing new artists, as is collaborations with other musicians, artists, publications, and collectives. “A new form of marketing and promotion has grown up that seeks to find a “carrier” for your message or product that will get dispersed over a wide area, so that as many people as possible catch the scent.” – ‘Net, Blogs, and Rock’N Roll’ by David Jennings
  29. 29. MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’ 29 Janji Joni (2005) JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Scenemakers Part II: Aksara Records Exit No.6 (2006) “In 2005, a charming indie film called Janji Joni (dir. Joko Anwar) opened to raves from Jakarta art-house TAIPEI | Lokavid film buffs and made waves on the international film From Indie To Mainstream festival circuit…. The soundtrack was released by Aksara Records, a compilation that includes “Soda Green is this lucky band that ever since the very White Shoes & The Couples Company, Zeke and beginning, the vocalist, Quin-Feng, quickly grasps the the Popo, The Adams, Goodnight Electric, and attention of many… Their second album was released many more. … Hanin (head of Aksara Records in 2006. “Little Love Song” from that album was music shop) refers to the Janji Joni OST as the adopted as the film theme song for the movie “biggest break we got,” and it’s still one of my “Exit No.6” and it has become so popular that you all-time favorite Aksara Records releases – if not could hear the song everywhere in Taipei.” all-time favorite Indonesian records…“
  30. 30. MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’ 30 TOKYO | Aiko Jazz Hybrids “The heat for Jazz even intensified after the release of a movie, Swing Girls, in 2003. It suddenly became a social phenomenon; those who normally wouldn’t listen to jazz started listening to the music… After this movie, many junior and high school brass bands transformed into jazz big bands. Also many local communities, besides the ones that have already been known for their jazz culture like Asakusa and Kobe, started organizing jazz festivals and competitions so as to revitalize their societies again. All of a sudden, I started to hear standard jazz numbers being played as BGM (the Japanese abbreviation for “background music”) almost everywhere I go including places like Izakaya, the Japanese-style dining bar.” TOKYO | Aiko Ethereal Music “I found out about Fonogenico when I got invited by MySpace to an event Swing Girls (2004) that the above mentioned Hitomitoi was also in. They actually had a head start when they debuted; their song, REASON, was chosen as an ending theme song for a popular Anime, “XXXHORiC”. Therefore, they were quickly recognized by Anime fans.“ XXXHORiC Anime
  31. 31. Rock On!! (2008) MUSIC’S OFFlINE ‘CArrIErS’ SCOUT ByTES : MySPACE – UNIvErSAl MUSIC PlATFOrM 31 Despite the fragmented and localized state of social networking sites around Asia- Pacific, MySpace still remains a common online platform for leading edge artists all around the region, if not globally. Although the extent of its role in the music discovery process for music fans may vary according to different countries, given alternative music-related’ online plat- forms such as LastFM, Imeem, Vimeo, YouTube, and the countless other local SNS, blogs, and portals, MySpace will still remain a requisite platform for artists and creators to profile themselves. One of the reasons is likely the fact that MySpace has become the default platform for prominent artists in the international stage. As a result, local artists from Asia will always feel the need to connect to them and the international music scene, as well as the key influencers of their local music industries, through MySpace. MUMBAI | Arjun Hindi Rock “While the Hindi rock genre doesn’t have any ‘big’ names in Mumbai, a few acts are beginning to emerge as popular with a growing section of audi- ences who want to listen to Hindi rock music… The Hindi rock scene was given a major boost in 2008 by the release of the Bollywood film Rock On!! which featured a soundtrack of songs in Hindi sung with a base of guitars and drums… Along with the growth of music channels and, since recently, awareness of the genre courtesy Bollywood film (Rock On!!), rock music is slowly but surely mak- ing its way into the minds and ears of listeners look- ing for a change, and corporates looking for opportu- nities to connect with young people.”
  32. 32. 8 ) NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP 32 The standard format for corporate brand involvement in the alternative music sphere, if any, usually revolves around the direct sponsorship of events such as concerts, festivals, parties, and competitions. However, many brands are breaking the typical event sponsorship mold and seeking alternative ways to support the independent scene by taking on innovative concepts in curating, creating, and distributing music content. From services that offer free music downloads to creative ways of selecting the artist line-up for con- certs to the production of new music tracks, these campaigns are paving the way for a new age of brand sponsorship that takes the lead in actively contributing to the growth of music culture, instead of simply exploiting it. “What this state of affairs demand from brands is a different kind of attitude to the usual commercial sponsorship. In some ways the new kinds of deal between artists and advertisers represent activity that is closer to a CSR initiative than a traditional campaign.” – ‘Brands & Bands’ study by Brand Amp (UK)
  33. 33. NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP 33 TIGEr TrANSlATE HEINEkEN Tiger Beer’s events called, “Tiger Translate” features collaborations between cutting edge indie musicians and visual artists. Tiger Translate events have gen- erally received acknowledgement as being ahead of its time and relatively more authentic than other sponsorship campaigns. SINGAPORE | Ginette Nokia Collaborates with Designers “I think Tiger Beer was away ahead of its time, having done Tiger Translate involving cutting edge designers and musicians about 2 years ago.” BANGKOK | Tintin The Strange World of Sponsorship “…sponsorship is a strange thing-perhaps the most successful so far is Tiger- Translate, mainly because it uses a different name than “Tiger Beer”, and has been strong on the live music side, but weaker on the arts side.” Also on Nerds Are TRUE Heineken i-GreenSpace Project “[Tiger Translate] is one of the few brands that have managed to find that subtle, delicate balance between sponsoring cool young people/ artists and not looking BANGKOK | Tintin too desperate or exploitative…” The Strange World of Sponsorship “Alcohol brands are still using blatant advertising tactics and direct sponsorhsip, but the smarter ones are catching on. Heineken’s “GreenSpace” proj- ect follows Montonn Jira (or Jay Montonn from the Indie Band Katsue) around Europe, America and Japan, telling the story while he recruits unknown bands such as Osaka Monaurail, Some Velvet Morning and Aluminum Babe [to perform locally].” Tiger Translate Event
  34. 34. NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP 34 Nokia Independent Artists Club website MANILA | Dang Fast-rising band Taken By Cars (indie rock) with DJ Funky Avy (electronica) for Motorola and Smart Communications My Space and the Independent Music Scene “A recent addition is the Nokia Independent Artists Club that allows listen- MANILA | Dang ers to download 5 songs a month for free. The site also picks independent Electronica - Sounds and TVCs artists who will be part of the club. Members who download music are requested to vote for their favorite song. The tops bands in the charts will MOTO MASHUP brings together 2 artists of different be invited to play at a Nokia event. The concept is pretty interesting because genres to create new tracks that mixes together their the downloading is free and independent bands are in the line-up - a great way sounds. The campaign produces new videos (TV spots) to check out new talent. Although for music lovers, 5 songs a month is a petty ‘mashing up’ the two artists and tracks for downloading number. It is yet to be seen if Nokia will start charging if people want to increase on their website. their download limit. “
  35. 35. NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP 35 Converse enlisted three artists (Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes), Santogold, and Pharrell Williams to collaborate for the song ‘My Drive Thru” SYDNEY | Michelle Five Stars for Converse “In a nutshell, Converse has enlisted the talents of young, ‘cool’ music stars in their summer advertising campaign, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the brand. The campaign kicked off with a musical col- laboration between Pharrell Williams, N.E.R.D, Santagold and Juliana Casablanca (of The Strokes) which resulted in the song ‘My Drive Thru’. Now, Converse has expanded the concept across print, television, outdoor, digital and cinema. For the print arm of the campaign, Converse have featured emerging music artists such as MGMT, Kid Sister, YACHT, Bradford Cox and members of Gallows, Fiery Furnaces, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and Care Bears on Fire. I first heard of the campaign about two months ago, and what grabbed me the most was the artists that Con- verse had chosen to promote their product. Whoever is working behind the scenes at Converse has clearly done their homework. As any 18-25 year old with an interest in music and fashion would know, these are the musical stars of today and tomorrow, not too cool that they’re unrecognisable, and not too pop as to be un-cool. Converse have proven they know their customers think are the who’s who, and have thus fortified the credibility of their brand within that market.“
  36. 36. NEW AGE MUSIC SPONSOrSHIP SCOUT ByTES : MArrIAGE IS THE NEW SPONSOrSHIP 36 In Australia and beyond Asia, youth brands are taking on radical concepts of music sponsorship, moving away from traditional endorsement deals and taking on the role of nurturing music talent and releasing music tracks. Levi’s has signed up Australian bands and releasing songs under its own record label called ‘Levity’. The initiative also promotes the artists’ work and invites them to star in Levi’s marketing upon their voluntary consent. There is news that Red Bull Records is quietly extending its global initiative to nurture emerging talent from its Red Bull Music Academy program into a Red Bull Records, which will be the launching point of well-known acts and complete unknowns that may have developed through the Academy program. P&G’s TAG Body Spray deodorant (US) has formed a joint venture with the leading urban record label Def Jam in which it is not just associating itself with artists for promotional purposes, but putting in place business models that give it the potential to share in any success of the artists, and the record label they appear on. (Source: Brand Republic) These campaigns may represent the future relationships between bands and brands in the age of music digitization and media fragmentation. Brands seeking to enter the music arena may have to go beyond the one-off endorsement deal sidelined in a campaign, and shift towards building a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship with bands and their fans in order to establish credibility and authenticity among music enthusiasts.
  37. 37. 37 EXPERT SOUND BYTES Words from: Tony Reno, Founder of Dragon Radio Ian STewaRT, Formerly SVP of MTV Asia
  38. 38. EXPErT SOUNd ByTES HONG KONG | Tony Reno 38 FouNDeR oF DRAgoN RADio (www.DragONraDiO.hk), a Bi-MONThLY pODCaST OuT OF hONg kONg ThaT COLLeCTS aND pLaYS The BeST OF aLTerNaTive aSiaN MuSiC, BOrN OuT OF a DeSire TO Share aSiaN MuSiC wiTh FrieNDS arOuND The wOrLD. Who are the people that submit their music to Dragon raDio social networking and iLike introduction to music. I have found more than a few anD Who are your listeners? bands that way. I am already considering moving my show over to Twitter and just TONY: tony: The bands and listeners that participate in my shows are just like me; pro- sending out the music as Tweets. Then at the end of each month, I will recap all active fans of music. They don’t wait for music to come to them, they go out and the songs in a podcast. search for it. Maybe a minority among music fans, but a very dedicated bunch. Bands from Asia find me on MySpace or are referred from other bands that I What are your thoughts on the indie or alternative music have played on the show. Some more proactive labels (indie) send me their latest scene in asia? hoW has it evolved or progressed? releases; I love working with them in that way. I play one song from a CD they TONY: tony: I am really happy that many of the bands out here are finally getting over sell and allow fans to download that one song (within my half hour show) and the ‘imitation’ stage of song-writing and starting to inject their own culture and then they get direct sales from that exposure. Don’t know why the big labels can’t social issues into their music. Also, the fan base seems to be more appreciative accept that this model works. Some music comes in from regular listeners too. of the home-grown scene. Its nice to see fans in Asia not only appreciate the They have something that they think I might enjoy and they send it to me; I really western alternative acts, but also acknowledge that there are bands in their own enjoy that community aspect of my show. country that sound just as good and sing in their native language. What changes have you observeD in the Way music is createD, What are some exciting sounds or artists coming out the consumeD, anD DiscovereD Within the region in the past 2-3 years? region? TONY: tony: I am surprised that most bands still seem to deliver music on CD. With TONY: tony: This is an impossible question for me to answer. I am so close to the bands all the MP3 and file sharing going on, I would think they would be selling USB that I play, I would feel bad if I left anyone out! Needless to say (I only play music drives or selling more online. There are some good internet labels out here like with Asian language lyrics), the thing you can count on in the future is more local japanfiles.com, peoplesrecords.net, white rabbit records, panda records, etc...I language alternative rock. Japan and Taiwan have always been strong producers of think the local business folks in the industry out here have got it right. Educating rock music, but the scenes in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have been the bands and the fans will always take a bit longer. One thing that is encouraging growing rapidly in the last 3 years. I expect to hear more from India and Vietnam is the use of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, AlivenotDead, ChannelV’s Amp; all that in the coming years.
  39. 39. EXPErT SOUNd ByTES SINGAPORE | Ian STewaRT 39 FoRMeRLy SVP oF MTV ASiA, iaN haS BeeN iNvOLveD wiTh YOuTh MarkeTiNg aLL hiS LiFe; FirST aS a CONSuMer, TheN a STuDeNT, aND TheN wOrkiNg FOr The LikeS OF COCa-COLa, OgiLvY, MTv, aND hiS OwN YOuTh ageNCY FiLTer, whiCh waS aCquireD BY aegiS. iaN reTurNeD FOr a SeCOND STiNT aT MTv aSia iN 2006, where he raN The regiONaL BuSiNeSS FOr The MTv BraND. You’ve been involved with campaigns that specificallY target t the tools they need to make their own music. Couple that with the rise of social the asian Youth market for more than 10 Years, previouslY as networks for publishing your work, and the huge demand for live music, and it’s svp of mtv asia and co-founder of the urban Youth trends never been easier to be a rock star. Now, how to make money from it all. agencY the filter group what’s so interesting about this tar- . get market? What are your thoughts on the indie or alternative music iaN: ian: The sheer numbers as a start, Asia and particularly SE Asia has a very high scene in asia? hoW has it evolved or progressed? proportion of under 24’s in the population. What stands out is that they are very iaN: ian: If music defines a generation, then this current wave of youth are best forward looking, super optimistic and highly tech savvy. In markets like Thailand, defined by their “no rules mash-ups” philosophy to sounds. Forget music genres, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and especially Vietnam music passion is very the boom in “indie” makes total sense. Globally, “indie” goes from strength to high. Local music industries are very developed (as is piracy, sadly) but there is strength, and it’s thriving in Asia where kids have all the tools they need to create also strong demand for quality regional and global artists. So many opportunities. and co-create, and the online and offline platforms to publish and showcase. What I find interesting is where while a few years back there was a clear divide between You’ve identified the trend for “asians loving asia” can You . electronic and guitar music, today it’s all merged and mashed together. No rules. explain a bit about that and its effects on music culture? It will only get more exciting. iaN: ian: “Asia Loving Asia” has been on the rise for the past 5+ years: as the quality of Asia creative output has improved (fashion, music, design, even sports) so too What are some exciting sounds or artists coming out the have the export of these talents to the region and the world, which in turn creates region? local pride for their offshore superstars. Everyone from Jay Chou to Thaitanium, iaN: ian: Too many to mention, but it’s interesting that (Thai indie pioneers) Futon have Asian talent is kicking it on the international stage, and it’s leading to more artists re-banded as Goo, simply because they wanted to reinvent: a perfect reflection of that aspire to follow in these footsteps. It’s like a snowball. the times. The harder sounds coming out of North Asia are also an interesting evo- lution. Check out Big Bang’s new video, an amazing example of the new Korean what changes have You observed in the waY music is created, Indie Wave. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFnaQSidwis consumed, and discovered within the region in the past 2-3 Years? iaN: ian: Because of piracy most kids can get their hands on all the music they need for inspiration, and the boom in white-label hard and software means they have all

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