At the start of the year, I set myself a resolution that this year I should buck up and write more songs! Max Martin, whom I look up to, has been having world wide smashes from the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears right up to Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding, Adele and he’s still raging on. That inspired me to make that resolution and continue trying to chart hits for the Mandarin scene. So far, 2016 has led me to work on the title track for Hebe’s latest album and I’ve also had the honour of sharing a credit with 罗大佑 for 动力火车’s latest tour theme song so I think I’m on the right track! So I’m still writing and working on more unreleased productions to come.
Though the number of songs I write and produce are far more than the ones that are finally published and released, that has never discouraged me even after doing this for so long. The reason is simply because I enjoy it. I get excited even before I start creating!
Other than having a pure love of making music for others, here’s how I keep myself excited and focused before I approach a song or begin a music production.
1. Finding a direction
Sometimes it’s through the music direction that the record company sends me or sometimes it’s the artist who tells me he/she really loves a song or another artist and hopes to have a song in a similar style. With that lead, I’ll study, at times for weeks, just listening to that song or that album again and again before I even start on the song. It helps that I have an obsession with music =D Picking out hints that make the song work, it might be elements in the music arrangement, the way the melody flows or certain vocal stylings the singer uses. With a direction in mind, it’s easier to set a goal and at the same time, you won’t unknowingly keep writing something similar to your last work.
2. Staying in the mood
I get this question at times “So you don’t have a day job? What do you do everyday?” Everyday I’m listening to music, reading about music, learning, watching music etc. Even when I’m working on a production, a song or an arrangement, in between breaks, I put some music on, sometimes related, sometimes unrelated. I might even get out there to listen to a good band. As long as it’s good music that inspires me, it keeps me stay in the mood plus it gives me a push to try match the standard of the works I’m listening to. Good music is powerful, it evokes emotion out of you to throw you into a certain frame of mind. Listen to good stuff and you will be inclined and influenced to create good stuff as well.
3. Record EVERYTHING
My mobile phone has 1000s of voice notes. Before I even set up a microphone or start up my computer and studio, I will already have many ideas to draw from my phone. A riff, a melodic idea, a groove (yeah, I am not a beat boxer but I got my ways of “singing” drums =D ), sometimes just a vocal note to myself. Most of the time before I even start on a music arrangement, I know how it’s going to sound like from my audio sketches made beforehand. Hard disk memory is ever more affordable today so take advantage of it!
Yeah, that’s about it. No fancy burning candles or meditation sessions. If you like, you can share what you do before you start making music here as well!
It seems like every year we are in Shanghai, no complains here as Shanghai is cool! I have a few friends staying here and it’s always nice to hang as Shanghai is ever changing and a fun and vibrant city.
The Mercedes Arena is a super cool and impressive looking venue and it’s always fun to play here.
Actually we just did 2 back to back concerts with Wakin last year and this was the 3rd encore gig. To our surprise this year’s concert has an even better turn out! Completely sold out, we had audiences way up in ‘the hills’ on top and even right at the side of the stage, almost facing the back of the band. Wakin was very touched and the band performed full force, drawing from the energy of the crowd.
So now I’m back and starting on a very heartfelt production for an artist who’s also a good friend of mine. More on that later!
Recently, I had to change my car as my 10 years of COE was almost up. As I have a superfun family with the kid growing up, I had to let go my 2 door in exchange of a more spacious SUV. Comparing the price difference between a Japanese SUV and a Mercedes SUV (GLC), I decided to go for the Japanese option and invest the savings into sound instead! So here’s what I got with the price difference! Thanks to Swift Garage, Blizz Auto, SSL Asia and Audio Solution for the fair prices and great service!
The Jap car
For the SUV, I decided to get a Toyota Harrier Gs from the guys at Gavin and Ellson of Swift Garage and Blizz Auto who gave me a good deal coupled with prompt and hassle free service! Why the Gs? Because I noticed that there are quite a number of Harriers on the road so I decided to go for the Gs version which is of a more ‘hiao’ outlook =D The car is really spacious, a really nice smooth drive and most importantly, though bigger, this car is much more fuel efficient than my past few European cars!
The Sound Toys
A SSL Matrix 2 for the Neater Dump
When I entered the music industry, it was a time where studios were huge with large recording and mixing rooms with tape machines. Any respectable recording studio had a SSL (Solid State Logic) or equivalent giant analogue console controlling the set up. All my productions in the early 2000s were mixed on these large analogue consoles. Unfortunately, with the huge studio format slump, we had to mix mostly “in the box” (meaning mixes were done entirely in a computer using software). Though we still could get work done, whenever I get a chance to work with an engineer to mix on a large format console, there’s a magic in there that makes things sound bigger, more dynamic with more of a three dimensional image. SSL has always been creating innovative solutions for the ever changing music industry and I was a fan of their modular approach of breaking down their large formats to accomodate to small studio set ups while retaining their Super Analogue sound. I experienced that last year when I helped Leo Studio get outfitted with one. When it came time for my own studio, Malcolm and family of SSL Asia were very helpful allowing me to test run the Super Analogue sound by loaning me a SSL Sigma and the Bus compressor for my on going productions, one of those was my song 日常 by Hebe, mixed by Frank. The mix turned out great and I even had an affirmation of that from Bing Wang 王治平 老师!
That’s when I decided this was a timely chance for me to take the plunge and go for a Matrix 2. It combines the best of both worlds of preserving the analogue magic during mixdown and the convenience of digital audio workstations. But what I like most about it is that I can now patch my outboard gear internally within the Matrix like how I work in the box! Finally, of course, the sound. When Frank, my trusty engineer brother hooked it up for me and got it going, I listened to his previous mixes with eyes closed and didn’t believe this was happening in my studio!
The SSL is for my ‘work’ and so next up was fitting up my car!
Audio Frog GB speakers/subwoofer, Mosconi 100.4 Amps with Helix DSP
It all started 2 years ago when I decided to get myself a good turntable set up at home, then it led to a whole 5.1 set up which led up to Hi Res audio players and Beyerdynamic audiophile headphones. I started becoming infatuated with surrounding myself with great sound. Thanks to my friend Dave who hooked me up with Vincent from Audio Solutions who coincidentally is situated in the same building as FM Pop Music School! I decided to get Vincent to custom made panels for the new ride and I must say he did a great job! Spending quite a bit of time everyday in my car, now my job of surrounding myself with great sound is complete! Meanwhile, I still have balance left over from the savings! will be shopping around to order some more toys for the studio =D
Many friends from Singapore love to visit Taiwan because of their food. I’ve been coming here for the last 20 years mainly for work. Most of the time I’m in and out of studios and the only time off is when I get to eat. Last 2 days I was here rehearsing with Wakin 华健 for our upcoming Shanghai show when Sora and gang decided to drop by to 探班! As we only had one day to hang, I brought them along to my top 3 eating places whenever I’m here. I’m not much of a food blogger, so I’ll point them out to you and you can go experience it for yourself! So here they are. If I only I had 3 meals in Taipei.
Many people rave about the beef noodles in Taipei. Me? I love steak, but never been a big fan of beef noodles both in Sg and Taipei. But THIS beef noodles, takes the cake. The top grade beef melts in your mouth and the noodles are just nice. There is even a grade of beef noodles on the menu that costs 10 000 NTD!
There’s certain types of food in Taipei that I don’t normally eat in Sg or anywhere else, that includes vegetables and things 清单 (healthy stuff in general =D ) Veges taste great in Taipei and the ingredients at 自然風涮涮鍋 are so fresh that the taste doesn’t need to be masked in heavy soups. Being a hot pot fan, the prices here are more affordable than those at home. As it’s one person per pot, I can order one portion when I’m here alone. 自然風 rocks!
There’s actually 涼麵 shops all around Taipei, however 陳家涼麵 was one of the shops that I was brought to when I 1st came to Taipei and the place is still popular especially among supper goers as it’s open 24 hours. I find that Singaporeans are more receptive towards their more ‘gravy-ish’ cold noodles as opposed to some other shops that make them more dry.
So here you go. This is wher I’ll usually go If I only had 3 meals to Taipei! Check it out. Enjoy!
If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you probably will have heard of the band U2. However I suspect most of the new generation might only know of U2 as that album that appeared in their IPhones. Recently, I bought their “U2 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Live in Paris” Blu Ray and was instantly reminded of how instrumental the band was in influencing so many important bands today as well as sculpting my melody and arrangement sense. So I thought I shall pick 10 songs out of their 13 album discography that heavily affected me in my music journey and share with those who are new to U2. Here we go!
1. Even Better than the Real Thing
The 1st time I was exposed to rock with machines (drum)
2 .Walk on
I was already in the music production scene then, and was very inspired by how Larry Mullen Jr, the drummer, could still churn a spin on the drum groove for a ballad.
It’s amazing the amount of melodic content that they can create in a one chord song.
To others it might be the “Bo Diddley” groove, but to me growing up, it was the “U2 Desire” groove.
5. With or Without you
This was the song that I kept hearing in jamming studios, jam bands and all kinds of school performances and band competitions. Because it had so much power in a very simple music arrangement.
The beauty of their songs is that though the melodies and music arrangements are simple, but it is really well thought out simplicity that sticks them to your head. It’s not easy to write a repetitious, mostly 2 word phrases in a chorus and rule the world.
7. Where the Streets have no name
This introduced me to the world of the creative use of the delay effect on guitars.
8. I will follow
You can be raw, you can sing a song that has about 3 notes in the chorus and you are poised to be the biggest band in the world.
9. Every Breaking Wave
From their latest album, this is one of the songs for me that grabs me the moment the melody in the first verse hits me.
During my short stint playing in clubs again, this is a song that we always enjoyed playing.
For sure there are many other U2 gems but these are the ones that touched me personally during my music journey. I’m sure you might have some others of your own, or if you haven’t really heard of U2, this might be a good time to check them out!
During our seminars, this is a question I usually pop before we begin, along with “What does a producer do?” and “what does a songwriter actually write?”. Usually I’ll get lame answers like…”A music arranger arranges music lor” or “A music producer produces music lor”.
Yeah yeah yeah, that’s true but there’s more. Many musicians including me didn’t know the actual responsibilities of these various roles in the music industry. But first, let me elaborate what a pop songwriter in the Mandarin music industry does.
In a song, there’s melody and there’s lyrics. What I write that ends up as a 曲(melody) credit in a song is a combination of notes (the la la la), rhythm (coupling a rhythm with the la la las) wrapped up in a harmony bed (a basic chord progression with a guitar or keyboard). A lyricist is the one that fits words to the la la las. And that’s what constitutes the pop song.
Using the core melody and lyric of the song, the role of the music arranger is to create a fitting music background and support it with the right combination of music instruments or vocal parts, deciding when each instrument plays or not, to allow the song to shine as a complete music piece.
Nowadays the playing field for music arrangement is well levelled with readily available music software in which some even throw in a band playing template loops and parts as well! If you have a Mac book air or an IPad, you might have doodled with Garageband before. And if you have done that before and found that your music arrangements just sounds like a huge mess, then that’s when you realise music arrangement is not just about throwing more than one instrument into a song and expecting it to work.
Things that a music arranger will consider includes, deciding what instruments to use and when, playing around with key changes, decide on a fitting music style, the tempo, the meter, the phrasing of the instrument lines, counter melodies, dynamics, accents, solos, embellishments, instrumental hooks, designing a good intro, interlude, tweaking the chord progression, finding the right tone for the instruments, understanding the limitations of each instrument etc. All these considerations are required to create a properly designed music arrangement with the aim of supporting the song and bring it to greater heights.
Here’s a link for an idea of how I create a basic music arrangement.
With all that being said, our next batch of music arrangement course for 2016 is starting soon! So If you’re really interested to take control and create your own music arrangements. Read on…
As a songwriter or a musician, we understand 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 how to even begin using a music making software.
Our 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 of one of the following instruments:
• Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboard
What more can you expect from this course?
*Trainees will be awarded a “Certificate of Participation” (T&C applies)
Please visit http://fmmusic.com.sg/academy/#arrangement-course for more information.
Email your enquiries and interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
First come First Serve Basis. Limited Seats only.
#fmpopmusicsch #fmmusicsg #writethesonginyou #musicarranger #songwriter #musician Jim Lim Huang Yr 黃韻仁
Whew! Last few weeks have been such a rush! Successfully completing our 20 Hits in 10 hours songwriting camp, we still had much to follow up. Compiling the demoes of the writers, talking to various new writers we discovered in the camp and business as usual for me, writing songs, catching up on new productions. 20 hits in 10 hours was our way of celebrating 10 good years of training songwriters in FM Pop Music School and I’d say we are very satisfied and happy with the results! Here’s 10 things we’ve learned from this meaningful event.
1. Singapore has talent
When we were in initial discussions for the camp, we were wondering if we can get enough good local songwriting talents to join. This wasn’t going to be a school holiday camp, it was a professional songwriting camp with the support from some of the strongest forces in the music and entertainment industry. I’m glad we managed to draw close to 300 talents out of which we picked the best for our 20 songwriting dream teams!
2. It’s possible to make a hit in 10 hours
During our pre camp briefing sessions, we had writers who were concerned whether they could pull off writing a complete song with their team members in 10 hours. I assured them it was possible because prior to this camp I had been trying out with our FM writers, taking about 3-4 hours to firm up a melody and arrangement skeleton. With some of whom might be complete strangers, I’d say give and take 10 hours should be enough.
During the 2nd day where it came time for the showcase, all 20 teams managed to pull it off! With the judges being very impressed with the quality of the songs and arrangements all recorded in a makeshift recording studio inside the Teo Heng KTV suites!
3. Music brings people together
All apprehensions were abandoned when we brought these groups of people together as they were all there for the same purpose. To make good music. Getting all revved up in the early morning is not an easy feat for most creative types, but getting hyped up they did with the driving power of music.
4. Unity is Strength
I think one thing many of the participants took away from this camp is that unity is strength. One might be able to sing well but not be able to play an instrument as well, the other might be able to rock the guitar but lack keyboard skills and a song doesn’t sound like a hit till it is coupled with the right music arrangement and paired up with the right lyrics. During the pairing, I also tried to mix their usual writing genres up so they get a different perspective in writing. The winning melody team was exactly like that, where a east meets west melody duo was paired to great results!
5. Everyone should help each other
The 2nd day we had a mentor sharing session where Jian Ning, Huang Ting, the Warner Chappell and FM Team had a 2 hour session of sharing tips and experience from the industry. Over that session, our guests selflessly offered what I found very beneficial advice for those who hope to enter the music industry. Information is meant to be shared and not to be kept from competitors, that’s the way the industry can grow. For those interested, Fatt shared minutes of the talk which can be found here.
6. Be your own judge
During the camp, we had different group of mentors paying visits to the various teams at different timings. With music being subjective, it was not surprising that different mentors might give different or even opposing views. This actually happens in the real world as well, with a client’s decision making influenced by various team members giving various opinions which sometimes might confuse you. Part of being a professional is to take in all tips, accessing them and finally filtering them to your benefit.
7. Music is a universal language
Though this camp was targeted at the Mandarin pop music industry, we’ve had demo submissions from writers of Malay, Korean and Russian heritage. Out of which some were selected for the camp, and the end result was a unique fresh sounding Mandarin pop song. This is actually the strength of Singapore songwriters as we come from a melding pot of cultures and music influences. And that’s what we can contribute to the Mandarin music scene, which spans to anywhere in the world where there are Chinese audiences, and that’s a HUGE audience.
8. There’s always something to learn
Acquiring knowledge is never ending. I’m sure many of our participants learned something thru this whole process. Whether it’s working with like minded team mates, meeting a future collaborator or picking something out from the mentors during the seminar. Even for songwriters like us who’s been doing this for quite a while, we are always learning something new everyday. And what better way by surrounding ourselves by so many aspiring musicians and songwriters!
9. Passion rules all
The participants came from different backgrounds, we’ve got gigging musicians, students, NS boys, lawyers, school teachers. Some cancelled overseas trips when notified about being accepted and one even brought her upcoming newborn along to write songs. It was a heart warming sight and that’s how hit songs should be born. No matter what career path you’re in at the moment, if you have the interest and the passion for creating something of your very own to carry you through, you’ll be able to create something that will resonate with many others. Once the passion takes over you, it will naturally lead you to discipline yourself in time management. Don’t take it from me, take it from my lyrics partner who used to work in a bio lab by day and write hit songs for superstars at night!
10. The future for Made in Singapore music is bright
After hearing the 20 teams presenting their songs, all judges were very impressed with the results that these new talents had to offer. The overseas guests were very touched to see a full house turn out of almost 300 songwriters at Hood, listening attentively to what goes on behind the scenes in the music industry. It makes we at FM very happy to organise this meaningful event and keeps us excited for the future of Singapore made hit songs. I’d say with what we’ve seen in “20 hits in 10 hours”, the future of Made in Singapore music is bright!
To celebrate 10 years of grooming songwriters at FM Pop Music School. Funkie Monkies presents “20 Hits in 10 Hours” The Songwriting Camp. This is the first time Singapore has ever held a professional songwriting camp of this scale to such great success!
1. The Audition
A nationwide open call for melody composers, chinese lyricists and music arrangers ended on 1 June 2016, receiving an overwhelming response of almost 300 Original works from unsigned Singaporean and Singapore Permanent Resident writers.
B) Songwriting Camp Day 1 18/6/2016
Out of all the eager applicants, a total of almost 80 participants including vocalists, melody composers, lyricists, musicians and music arrangers, were carefully selected and grouped into teams of 3 or 4. The 20 teams were given a room each at the Teo Heng KTV Studio at The Star Vista. During the 10 hours, 8 renowned mentors made their rounds, sharing tips on A&R, Lyrics writing, Melody composing and Music Arrangement to up the level of their compositions.
The 8 distinguished mentors are 八位导师是：
1) Mr Ian Chen Jian Ning 陈建宁 (Leader of F.I.R., renowned Taiwan Producer)
2) Ms HuangTing黄婷 (Renowned Taiwanese Lyricist, A&R)
3) Ms Vickey Tseng 曾珺萍 (Greater China Director of Warner/Chappell)
4）Ms Jessica Chang 张静怡 （Creative Executive of Warner/Chappell Music Taiwan)
5) Mr Kuan Chi Yuan 管启源 （Renowned Malaysian Lyricist, Producer, Author)
6) Mr Eric Ng 黄韵仁 （Producer, Melody Composer, Arranger, Educator, Founder/Executive Director of Funkie Monkies, Director of FM Pop Music School)
7） Jim Lim 林倛玉 （Producer, Melody Composer, Arranger, Educator, Singer, Director of FM Pop Music School)
Xiaohan 小寒（Lyricist, Author, Educator, Founder/Director of Funkie Monkies， , Director of FM Pop Music School)
These 8 highly experienced mentors spent 10 hours visiting all 20 teams to listen to their songs, arrangements, as well as vet through their lyrics. Mentor Ian Chen was so earnest in helping the teams, he started tinkling on the keyboard and conducted a live demonstration of how to attain a better tune!
The teams had only 10 hours to finish at least 1 complete song with melody, lyrics, music arrangement and a recorded vocal in the Teo Heng suites, sending it off to Funkie Monkies Publishing upon completion.
Although 20 Hits in 10 hours was essentially a hit songwriting camp targeted at the Asian Mandarin Pop Industry, interested applicants were not limited to the Chinese race. Russian Singapore Permanent Resident, Roman Tarassov, as well as a Jamiel Said, a local Malay musician, were successful in their auditions and were selected to take part. Roman’s team composed an interesting musical number using elements from his heritage. Most interestingly, being the most experienced vocalist in the group, Jamiel, not only composed the melody with his team mates, but with the help of Hanyu Pinyin, he sang the demo of their song as well. Judges and guests during the showcase were highly impressed.
Each of the 20 teams was made up of musicians who specialized in different genres and musical instruments. Through this camp they had to learn how to rely on their strengths while working in sync with a total stranger to complement their weaknesses. As agreed between all the mentors who have achieved success over the years, great music making is a product of team work.
C) Songwriting Camp Day 2 18/6/2016
On the second day, participants’ demoes were presented to the mentors in Hood Bar and Café, after which they had to face the mentors to be critiqued on their song and how they could improve it.
After the closed door showcase， registered members of the public were allowed in and were treated to a miniconcert of hit songs written by Funkie Monkies writers performed by FM Pop Music School Students and Teachers. Familiar hit songs included A-Mei’s “Hostage”, Tanya Chua’s “Amphibian”, Show Luo’s “Unnamed Sadness”. Afterwhich the 8 mentors gathered on stage to give an insightful talk on the music industry and how to convert their dreams into reality to a house packed to the brim with music lovers.
A Toast to 10 years of FM Pop Music School!
Mentor Ian Chen mentioned that he was touched to see so many young Singaporeans striving for their dreams in music. Mentor Huang Ting on the other hand, had a word of advice for the writers who want to make it in music: “Perseverance”
List of Winners优胜者名单：
Outstanding Lyricist杰出作词人：Tan Wei Sheng
Outstanding Composer : Jerome Yang Zhelun／
Mavis Chua Yimin
Outstanding Music Arranger杰出编曲人：Koh Zi Hao
Best Song最佳歌曲: 《六度分离》
词：Kaiyang 曲：Mary Wong／Yun Han 编曲：Mandric Tan
There were anticipated and unexpected wins. One pleasant surprise was 24 year-old Koh Zi Hao, a self-taught musician with no prior formal music training.
Mentor Eric Ng expressed，“When I went into the room to guide this arranger, I found out that he didn’t understand some of the basic music terms that I was telling him but yet when I played it to him, he could replicate it with ease! It suddenly threw me back to when I 1st started out 20 years ago. As a musician with no formal music training, I learned mostly by ear and similarly had not much knowledge of music
theory or chord names beyond the simplest ones like the major and minor chords. Hence I totally identified with Zi Hao and realised that this guy is a raw talent. When he finally submitted his demo, I realised the demo had some problems in the sound and guessed there was a technical issue with his equipment. I messaged him at 2:30am to let him know the problem and gave him a chance to fix it. Instead of complaining, he went right ahead to fix up the song till 9am, sacrificing sleep. H even politely replied me at 7am that he is working on it and didn’t respond to my messages as he didn’t want to disturb me in case I was sleeping. With some polishing and grooming, this guy has some serious potential. People like these shows that nothing is impossible as long as we have the passion and have a hardworking and eager to learn attitude to drive it! “
Quotes from the other mentors : 针对这次的创作营，其他7位导师也有话说：
Vickey 老师：“10小时马拉松式的写歌营，创造无限的音乐奇迹！FM 小寒老师、黄韵仁老师，林棋玉老师与参与的创作人，不眠不休地投入！Music is alive！You are the best!”
Jessica 老师：“A truly inspiring event hosted by Funkie Monkies!! Check it out! It’s my privilege to be one of the mentors of this very first writing camp in Singapore and everyone was awesome! Good music and great vibe! Looking forward to more new discovered Singaporean talents!!”
林倛玉老师：“Participants are impressive indeed, within 10 hours, they had to write a song with proper melody, structure, lyrics and music arrangement, together with a few teammates whom they might not have met before… That’s not easy and quite a feat! As a mentor, I salute all of you! *respect* Hope all participants learnt something and most importantly made new friends and have great FUN making MUSIC!”
The lucky winners were awarded an exclusive songwriter contract with Funkie Monkies Publishing, an Exclusive Feature as well as premium prizes from Peak Fusion, Beyerdynamic and Teo Heng KTV were given to the various winning teams in hopes of encouraging them to work hard and be the next generation of hit makers from Singapore.
This valuable nationwide talent-scouting event for the new generation of hit makers does not stop here. Writers of the highest potential during this event will be also signed on as Exclusive songwriters under Funkie Monkies Publishing. They will continue to be trained by Asian pop veteran hit makers Eric Ng, Xiaohan and Jim Lim.
From Wikipedia. Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World”, Reno is famous for its casinos and as the birthplace of Caesars Entertainment Corporation.
This 10 days America/Canada has been a cool one as I wrote a lot of songs in the hotel room during my free time and I even managed to sell one of them while I was still there. Songwriting is really such a rewarding passion. =D
We had quite a few days stop by at Reno, so other than writing songs, I had time to explore this city of casinos and other than casinos it’s actually quite a laid back place with some nice parks and rivers.
There’s also a lot of pawn shops in the area where there are many interesting things that people put up for sale. I even saw a James Goodall acoustic guitar on sale on one of the shops, trying my luck, the price was at 4000USD so I decided to give it a miss =D
There was also a small little music shop by the lake and once again I had a listen to a few of their Reno local bands. After I listened to them, I decided they were not really my cup of tea so I didn’t buy the albums, however the shop owner was still nice enough to say “That’s ok, I appreciate that you asked to check out our local talent”. Cool guy.
And that was our last stop for our America/Canada leg of Wakin《今天唱什麼》, not sure if it was because this was the last gig, it felt extremely good and the audience was really loud and crazy. And with that, I headed back to Sg to prepare for our “20 Hits in 10 hours” Songwriting camp! With almost 300 entries of demoes to listen, I knew it was gonna be great, and I decided not to waste time and started listening to the demoes on my way back!
Vancouver, I’ve never been here before. However our Vancouver trip was a rushed one before we headed to Reno so I didn’t have much time to wander around. One interesting fact was that Lamb of God, the band was playing a few day after us at the same venue. Every time we do gigs in the west, I’ll find out these fun facts. The last time we did a Mohegan Sun gig where Van Halen played a few days after us and we shared the stage with Celine Dion at Caesars Palace etc.
I’d say the most memorable part of the trip was when we had an hour break before our gig at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre so I took a look around and found a vinyl shop just around the corner simply named, Vinyl Records where I had a good quick intro to the Vancouver band scene by the very helpful owner. I decided to pick up these 4 LPs to check it out.
When told I was touring with a Chinese artist, he asked me for Chinese acts recommendations on vinyl as he’s always on the lookout for cool stuff to sell and his chinese LPs fly off the shelves whenever he comes across them. I shared with him that it’s not often that I see chinese artists releasing LPs nowadays but I told him to check out Stefanie Sun as she does has some releases on vinyl. He duly noted it down.
The gig went well as usual and we were off to Reno!