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Wakin《今天唱什麼》last stop – Singapore

2017 September 18
by Eric Ng

The last stop. But of course the music doesn’t end there. We have more shows lined up for the rest of the year. But this show spells the end of our 《今天唱什麼》concert tour.

As previously mentioned, our show coincided with the Foo Fighters show right across the road at the National Stadium. Some of us who missed the show decided to cross over to buy the Foo Fighters merchandise to feel better.

And so, guess what T shirt I decided to wear for the show? With other lesser artists, they might get sensitive about it. But Wakin, being the ever 大方 artist thought that it was hilarious. Halfway during the show he passed the mic over to me to have a word with the audience. I share with everyone that 20 years ago I watched the Foo Fighters concert in Singapore. At that time, I never expected 20 years later I will be playing for an international 天王巨星周華健 right across the street. So if u ask me if I rather be at the Foo’s gig opposite or here playing with Wakin to my family and friends. Of coz I rather perform with Wakin laaaa…We all had a good laugh.

This is the fourth time Wakin performed in Singapore this year alone. Surprisingly, the show was once again, entirely sold out. I had my family in the front row and I had quite a few friends who messaged me, telling me they’re at the gig. Even my neighbour was there!

The show went well and ended more than an hour after Foo’s gig across the street! All in all, a nice end to a fun tour. On to the next one!

After that we had a fun after party with our friends.

Wakin decided to stay a day more and we had so much good food, it was crazy!

Foo Fighters Live in Bangkok

2017 September 13
by Eric Ng

20 years ago, life was very different. I just came out of army. Without a clue what to do. I loved music, did a few gigs and wrote a few songs here and there but I didn’t know if I could make it as a career or not. 20 years ago, Foo fighters had a concert in Singapore. They opened for Sonic Youth at the Harbour Pavillion, a concert venue where I watched acts like Pearl Jam, Mr Big, Suede, Alanis Morrisette which has since long closed down. I watched as Dave Grohl led a band with, raw but with really hooky songs performed their short set before Sonic Youth came on. Even then, with those songs, the Foo Fighters set left more of an impression on me than Sonic Youth.

Fast forward 20 years, Foo Fighters have went on to be one of the biggest bands on the planet. Selling out venues such as the iconic Wembley Stadium and more. In 2007, I even had a chance to meet him in person for a very brief moment at an album release party in Singapore. He seems like what everyone say he is, a all round general nice guy with a big heart who truly just wanted to rock and roll.

I watched on, with respect as Dave achieved complete freedom to fulfil his artistic pursuits with music documentaries like “Sonic Highways” and “Sound City”. As a musician, I’d say this is where you say “Life is complete”. However he doesn’t seem like he is about to retire anytime, and the first few singles from the upcoming “Concrete and Gold” is solid proof.

And so with that, we flew to BKK to catch their concert as I had a gig just across the road in Singapore on the same day.

With the first scream from Dave’s lungs, the concert became all I expected what 20 years of experience can bring to a great artist and more. For 2 and a half hours, hit after hit, delivered with full power washed over the audience. This is my third time watching a concert in BKK and I’d say every experience has been great as the audience is super responsive, loud and went all out to have a great time.

Great music can really change your life. Thank you Foo Fighters. What a great way to end our BKK getaway!

Bangkok Getaway 2017

2017 September 13
by Eric Ng

Travelling…This year I’ve been to Taiwan, Japan, Australia, various parts of China, Vietnam and Thailand(twice). I find that travelling really fills me up with inspiration and I find myself raring to create better works when I get back, or at least you can say that’s my excuse =D

Actually the reason why we went to BKK this year was because of Mr 周華健. One of my favourite bands, the Foo Fighters, was playing on the same day that Wakinw as performing in Singapore! I thought, no way am I gonna miss this gig so we headed to BKK.

And this trip was really cool coz we decided to spend a week there. I got to hang with my friends who brought me around to really cool local places. For e.g. somewhere out there in BKK where it doesn’t feel like you’re in BKK!

A truly relaxing place, I’m not even sure of this exact location, other than it’s near the Dolphin View Point. It’s super quiet and the local seafood was delicious!

More Thai Food, you can’t really go wrong anywhere in BKK.

With what looks like a century old cooking pot for Beef Noodles. This shop is famous among tourists, the beef noodles is really good!

For the foodies, the address is 336 Ekkamai 18 Alley, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110, Thailand

As we had a week there, I managed to have some time to visit a friend’s studio and write some songs! What a super fun BKK getaway this has been!

Funkie Monkies presents “Song writing as a career” by Mr Benjamin 林明陽老師

2017 August 29
by Eric Ng

He’s produced more than 65 albums including Jacky Chueng 张学友’s Mandarin albums in between (1995~2001), with “True Love” holding the highest record of Mandarin album sales (1.6 Million in Tw, and more than 3 million global sales). Other than a top music producer, he’s been an A&R, Sound Engineer, Musician, Arranger. He’s written songs such as 你最珍貴, 愛是永恆.

He’s Benjamin, 林明陽老師, and I’m proud to name his as one of my mentors.

In 1997, I was trying to make a living, performing in various pubs. I was also writing a lot of songs, making demoes with friends, with no idea why. Other than the fact that I enjoyed writing them. I was approached by a Mr Steven Fock to join his music publishing/production company Musset which later would include Penny 戴佩妮, Hanjin 陳奐仁,陳文華 etc. He paired me up with 小寒, she 填詞 and we threw a lot of songs every week to Steven who would pitch them to the Taiwan music industry.

I have to admit most of my songs then were too raw, too alternative or too rock. But for this very reason, I got a call from Steven one day. He told me a Taiwanese producer wanted me to help him do up music for a song. He heard my demoes felt that I’m suitable to work on this song.

I was given the song. With that came very clear instructions on the chart, right up to the bass, guitar and drum fills! And of course, I couldn’t read music, so Steven had to ‘bang bang bang bsshh bsssh’ to describe what was in the chart. I proceed to program the drums, play the bass and guitars just like how I would do my demoes. After a few changes, that song 《加速离开》 was released. It was the title track of the album for a group named 中堅份子. And that was how I entered the Taiwan music production scene.

Of course that producer was Benjamin 林明陽老師. That collaboration led on to me working on his productions for Jacky, 鄭中基 and many others. That teething period was invaluable to me. Being a multi faceted music maker, Benjamin 老師 generously shared with me countless tips on what makes a song work, production wise, arrangement wise and most importantly melody wise. To the Mandarin music industry, it is really ALL ABOUT THE SONG.

Years have passed and we still remain fast friends. Earlier this year, I mentioned to Benjamin 老師 about our song camp last year. I said we’ll be doing it this year as well. Ever the generous soul, he said “Whatever you guys are doing, give me a call, I’m in!”.

With that I’m happy to invite the aspiring songwriter, the music makers to join us in

“Song writing as a career” by 林明陽老師 Mr Benjamin Lin

This is a Pre Seminar Event to our upcoming Professional Songwriting Camp.
Admission is FREE.

3 September 2017 (Sunday),
2:30 pm, 2MM Talent Hub.
Very limited seats! Please RSVP right now using this google form:

Benjamin 老師 opened the doors for me into the Mandarin music industry. With his wealth of experience. I’m very sure you will have a lot to learn him too!

Friends in Concert + soft launch of Stories We Sing

2017 August 18
by Eric Ng

Over the weekend I was invited to check out Friends in Concert – Our Voices at the National Gallery. It was a gathering of 72 teachers from 50 schools to collaborate and perform. This is an annual event where teachers share their love of music with the audience.

This year was a little different as they also took the opportunity to soft launch Stories We Sing, a collection of twelve commissioned songs specially designed for the professional development of music teachers. This is a collaboration between STAR (Singapore Teachers Academy for the aRts) and the National Arts Council. Xiaohan and me had the honour of being part of this program by composing a song for them. Our song is called 对手.

To articulate the pedagogy for the music classroom, each song is made complete with a set of student-centric lesson ideas, co-designed by teachers, for teachers. To me, composing this song was actually way more pressurising than writing a pop song for a superstar artist as I knew that kids like my daughter will be using this song to learn music during class in future! The team at STAR and NAC (Thanks guys!) were really supportive, giving us helpful directions but allowing us complete creative freedom at the same time. During this process of working with the team from STAR, I got to see how passionate our local arts teachers are in improving and sharing their craft with the new generation. After the song was completed, I got Jia Cheng (龐家成) from the Funkie Monkies Production Team to handle the lead vocals and it all turned out well in the end. I’d say the most fun part of producing the song, apart from working with my trusty team, was that I got to involve a group of all STAR teachers in the backup vocals as well. They were not only full of energy and enthusiasm. These guys were spot on pitch contributing to the epic-ness of the song.

It was heart warming to watch the teachers coming together to perform familiar Singapore songs. I got to preview some of the other songs from “Stories We Sing” and I can see how they can be enriching to the new generation. Our song was performed by Lim Hwee Sian, a star teacher in her own right. It was an eye opener as I got to see the song put into practice. Hwee Sian transformed the outdoor venue into a classroom teaching the audience how to sing parts of the song. And most of them caught it fast and began singing along. I can definitely see how this going to be fun for both students and teachers in the classroom!

As we are wrapping up the post production of the songs, there will be an official launch in November. Will share more details of this song then!

《你可以愛我嗎》All I ask of you – AK 葉子淇

2017 August 17
by Eric Ng

I seem to have quite a few releases this year performed by actors =D Earlier this year was Andy Lau with 《慢慢習慣》, next 娄艺潇 with 《野生情人》 and this is AK 葉子淇, an actress from the mainland China.

I remember writing this song in a hotel room in Taipei. One guitar, one lonely hotel room, songs. To me, that’s my idea of fun. The arrangement also features the first time I used my Kemper Profiling Amplifier for recording. The Kemper is a digital device that simulates real amplifiers and it’s been rocking my recording life!

We completed the tracks last year but she was too busy to promote the album as she was constantly filming after that. Usually I’ll record the vocals for overseas artists in their home turf, however AK decided to come over to Singapore to record the two tracks I wrote. AK was classically trained as a musician, so it was a breeze recording her. Again, I should mention that room for creation is much smoother when the artist or musician has done his or her homework. It makes the time spent during recording much more effective and we can explore more details rather than just trying to nail the parts correctly. AK was well prepared and handled all her own backup vocal tracks as well. I like it when the artist can be involved in the backup vocals whenever possible as it adds a stronger personality in their tracks.

Being in Singapore, she got to have a short getaway from filming. We even had a night off to the Night Safari. During their “Creatures of the Night” show, I got to drape a python over my neck which I always enjoy =D.

And now her debut album is out! Check it!

《你可以愛我嗎》All I ask of you
Performed by AK 葉子淇
詞: 寫詞人小寒 Lyricist XiaoHan
曲/製作/編曲/吉他/貝斯/鍵盤/合聲編寫 Melody/Producer/Arranger/Guitars/Bass/Keyboards/Backup Vocals arrangement : Huang Yr 黃韻仁
鼓 Drums : Gary Gideon
大提琴 Cello : 王言 Wang Yan
大提琴編寫 Cello arrangement :
Huang Yr 黃韻仁, Tan Kah Yong
合音 Backup Vocals : AK 葉子淇
錄音室/錄音師Recording Studio/Recording Engineer:
The Analog Factory (Vocals), SoundFarm Production Studios(Drums) Mandric Tan, the Neater Dump (Everything else)
混音/混音室 :Mixing Engineer/Studio:
Frank Lee @ The Neater Dump

Fun at the Kok Fah Technology Farm

2017 August 16
by Eric Ng

One of the fun parts of being a parent is I get to get in touch with my inner child again! (or did I ever grow out of it?) Lyla’s school organised a field trip to Kok Fah Technology Farm where they grew vegetables.

Vegetables, as a kid I used to hate eating them. So I like the fact that the farm got guides who made vegetables fun and engaged the kids by making their own salad. After that they were more enthusiastic in eating their own creations. The farm was very clean, organised and child friendly. The kids also got to play with aloe vera jelly after the guide cut it up to explain how they extract the jelly. They also learned about the different kinds of common greens that we eat and how they look like. These include Dou Miao, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potato leaves.

As always, Lyla’s teachers did a great job of taking care of her and her friends. They’re always a happy bunch!

Super fun times!

野生情人 – 罗艺潇

2017 August 15
by Eric Ng

This was a song I wrote about two years ago. When I was told that I was going to be producing this song for Loura 娄艺潇, a well known actress from China (14 million plus Weibo followers and rising). I had my concerns as this was not an easy song to sing. However when we entered the studio, my doubts very soon disappeared as I heard her belt out the song in perfect pitch.

When I commented on her pitching being spot on she replied “老师,音准和拍子不是一个歌手最基本需要的条件吗?”I said…errr..nooooo…hahaha.

I have the most fun in the studio when the musicians or singers are on the same wavelength as me, and can catch what I’m trying to describe to them. Production not only becomes more efficient, there is more room for creativity as we can spend more time trying out new parts. Loura is one of them as she nailed the backup vocal parts I was throwing at her with the inflections and delivery.

So here it is, 野生情人 – 罗艺潇. Check it out!

《野生情人》Performed by :娄艺潇 Loura Lou
作词 Lyricist:管启源 Al Kuan
作曲 Composer/制作人 Producer/编曲 Arranger/键盘 Keyboards/吉他 Guitars/贝斯 Bass/合声编写Backing Vocals Arrangement:黄韵仁 Eric Ng(Funkie Monkies Productions 新加坡)
鼓 Drums : Gary Gideon
弦乐编写:黄韵仁 Eric Ng/冯文甫Bang Wen Fu
合声 /Backing Vocals: 娄艺潇
制作统筹 A&R:杨杰
录音师 Recording Engineer:Mandric Tan(鼓 Drums), 江松松(弦乐), 黄韵仁 Eric Ng(其它)
录音室 Recording Studio: Soundfarm Production Studio (鼓 Drums), 北京唱片厂(弦乐), 乐名片Studio(人声), The Neater Dump(键盘 )Keyboards/吉他 Guitars/贝斯 Bass)
混音師 Mixing Engineer:沈文釧 Darren Sim
混音室 Mixing Studio: The Neater Dump
母带后期处理工程師 Mastering Engineer: Joe Bozzi
母带后期处理录音室 Mastering Studio:Bernie Grundman Mastering.
Original Demo sung by Jin An Cheng
OP: Funkie Monkies Publishing Pte Ltd
(Warner/Chappell Music Taiwan Ltd.)
SP:Warner/Chappell Music Publishing Agency (Beijing) Ltd.

Work and Play. A Quick Getaway to Kuala Lumpur

2017 July 19
by Eric Ng

Just got back from very quick getaway to Kuala Lumpur, catching up with 阿管 and friends, and lots of great Malaysian food!

Actually I’ve known 阿管 since 2002. Time passes by in such a flash. We’ve went through so many ups and downs and yet we can still hang anytime and have a good laugh. It’s hard enough to retain true friends in the real world, let alone in the music industry.

The food! We only had a few meals in KL so we made sure we get our fix!

This is my all time fav “Onion Fried Chicken” at Wong Ah Wa at Bukit Bintang. It’s not even on the menu, and I always have to describe it to the waiter. It rocks!

Black Man Nasi Lemak

Kin Kin Ban Mian

Ok, this trip was not entirely a getaway. I went there to do some drum recording with old friend, session drummer John Thomas as well!

I always thought my first recording with him was in 2002 when I got him to record for 梁静茹’s tracks. He reminded me that it was actually earlier on where I engaged him for his first drum session for the Mandarin music scene for a few 羽泉 tracks!

Fast forward to 2017 where John is one of the top touring and session drummers for the Mandarin music industry. He balances up his passion for jazz by doing regular jazz club gigs and music festivals as well. This time we recorded him at Nomad studio, a recording studio he owns where he lays down his drum tracks.

Work and Play is always best when it’s combined. What a short and fun getaway!

How do you get started as a music arranger?

2017 July 14
by Eric Ng

Next week will be our first lesson for our music arrangement course! Teaching music arrangement and songwriting are actually very different though both elements are very important in making up a great hit song.

For the uninitiated, according to Wikipedia, this is what music arrangement means.

In music, an arrangement is a musical reconceptualization of a previously composed work. It may differ from the original work by means of reharmonization, melodic paraphrasing, orchestration, or development of the formal structure. Arranging “involves adding compositional techniques, such as new thematic material for introductions, transitions, or modulations, and endings…. Arranging is the art of giving an existing melody musical variety”.

I’d say the last sentence sums it all. Music arrangement is dressing up an existing melody to turn it from a good song to a great one. As a pop music arranger, you plan the structure of the song to give the listener the fullest emotional experience. You choose instruments, you design where they appear throughout the song. It’s like you are a painter. Given a subject (melody + lyric) you combine the most suitable tones out of the different instruments you have to bring out the song.

So how do you get started as music arranger? Other than joining us in our 10 month basic music arrangement course, you should already get started on these

– Explore a DAW of your choice

A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is basically a software where you can record, combine and manipulate different instruments to create a music arrangement. There are many different DAWs in the market including Protools, Logic, Garageband, Abelton Live etc. I’d say they all can perform essentially the same functions in different styles of workflow. Find one that you feel comfortable in and start playing around with it.

– Notice when and how music instruments appear in hit songs

When does the acoustic guitar come out in the song? When does the drums come in? What is the bass doing? Is piano playing arpeggiated notes or comping chords?

A drum part filled with frantic rolls might sound good in a driving rock song but will kill the mood of a ballad. Till today I’m frequently listening out to all kinds of music to stay in touch of what works for different styles of music. It’s about building your own ‘taste library’ that will benefit you when you work on your own music arrangements.

– Starting observing how your favourite records sound

Music Arrangement is not just about adding some drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and you’re all set. A snare drum is not just a snare drum. A snare can sound fat, it can sound thin to blend in with a clap. It can be an acoustic snare, it can be a 808 drum machine sound. It can be drenched in reverb or dry in your face.

Play around with sounds

Nowadays most DAW comes together with sounds for you to create your own music arrangements. These are called soft synths. Guitars, Bass guitars and hardware keyboards/synths can add on to your palette of sounds as well. Play around with what you have and see which sounds you like and which you don’t. Music arrangement is not just about notes, it’s about how things sound as well. The best recordings have well planned instrumentation. These elements combine together to create a music backing with well balanced frequencies.

I’m always asked how do you start writing songs, or how do you start making music arrangements. And I always say, just start. That’s more important than anything. As for teaching music arrangement, we aim to provide you with information on the concepts of music arrangement, not really to teach them to use a software. That kind of information is really all over the internet. The concept and musical taste of a music arrangement is more valuable and important than learning how to use a DAW.

End of the day, it really boils down to interest, practice and hands on experience that will allow you to create great sounding and interesting music arrangements.

So if you have always been interested in music arrangement, go ahead and get a DAW and get started now! If you interested to learn the concepts of music arrangement and what goes behind a music arrangement with our well experienced lecturers, read on!

As a songwriter or a musician, we understand that when you are starting out, often you have no clue on how to begin creating an arrangement for the songs that you’ve composed, or even how to begin using the music software.
Our Music Arrangement courses takes you through the concepts of music arrangement, demystifying the basics using Apple Garageband starting with built in loops and moving on to building your arrangements from scratch using Protools -the leading music industry software found in most recording studios.
The 10 months syllabus, formulated by 黃韻仁 Eric Ng and Jim Lim 林倛玉, taught together with our highly qualified lecturers, caters to anyone interested in music arranging, no matter if you are guitar or keyboard based.

This music arrangement course will be beneficial to songwriters and musicians that would like to learn how to arrange songs using Garageband and Protools.
What you will learn in 10 months:
• Learn the concepts of music arrangement
• Gain awareness of the interaction between commonly used music instruments
• Understanding groove and harmony, the basic building blocks of music arrangement
• Building your own multi-instrument arrangements from scratch, track by track with guidance by our highly qualified and patient instructors
• Learn the basic concepts of polishing and mixing your tracks
Basic requirements:
• Basic knowledge of one of the following instruments, drums, bass, guitar or keyboard
Group Class Size: min. 5 max. 15 students
Commencement Date/Timing : 19th July 2017,Wednesdays, 7:30pm
Course Duration: 10 months, 40 weeks (40 lessons),
Course Frequency: : Once a week (1.5 hours per lesson)
* Trainees will be awarded a “Certificate of Participation” during their last class of their course (T&C applies).
As you will be trained using Apple computers with Garage-band, Protools software and a midi keyboard, it is advisable for you to have your own set up to hone your arrangements. However, we do provide Apple laptops during class usage at a first come first serve basis.
Email your enquiries and interest to First come First Serve Basis. Limited Seats only.
#fmpopmusicsch #writethesonginyou