I’m often asked this question. Where do you get your inspiration? I’d say in this day and age, it’s really difficult not to be inspired. There’s really inspiration to be found everywhere. This is especially true for musicians as we are surrounded by great works, new and old all the time. In fact I’d say there’s way too much great music that I’m always finding a hard time to balance between being lost in great music and making music myself. This is especially so for the last few months where we took a nice break to get out there and enjoy good music. As I tour frequently with Wakin, being able to get out there and experience different surroundings and culture is another way for me to think outside of the box to create something new. Even the way you think will be different when you are in an environment that you are not used to. You don’t even need to go very far. I’d say if you’re staying in the east of your country, heading to the west and just hanging around that area might bring you new insights. Picking up a vibey instrument also brings me to another world, sometimes they might not even need to be really well made, an out of tune dusty piano might suffice. You can gather with a great team of like minded people and inspire with each other (that works for me!). Everyone has their ways and means to find inspiration if they look hard enough. Inspiration can be found anywhere even if it’s non music related! From your friends, family, that old man that hangs around your void deck everyday. If you want to get out your rut, just get out there. Out of your comfort zone. Feel uneasy, it might do you good. The world’s a great place to draw inspiration! Here’s a view of some of my sources of inspiration =D
We landed in Sg from Osaka at 2am and we met up with our folks at 730am to head to Phuket! Phuket is my favourite beach getaway place in the world and this year is special as i managed to get all my folks there as well!
We had a group of 11 and I had to rent a mini bus to drive all of them around! Here’s my grumpy bus driver look
This was the 2nd time Lyla had been to Phuket and she totally enjoyed it!
Our Thai steamboat MK reunion dinner!
This is the first time I had a family holiday trip during CNY
We headed to the beach with LJ’s 90 years old grandfather, we got him a chair to rest and I blasted 邓丽君 tunes on my portable speaker so we all had fun!
For our last dinner, LJ found a great restaurant in Phuket Town. The food was great and the ambience was very nice. We’ll definitely be back again!
What a great year to start the Lunar New Year! May all your wishes come true. Huat ah!
I have mentioned several times that my entire musical existence can be traced back to this band. The first lead guitar part, bass line and drum groove that I tried to pick up was all from the song “Sweet Child O Mine”, the song that got me to pick up piano again was “November Rain”. So I was highly excited when Guns and roses announced that they were touring in Japan! Of course after that they announced they were coming to Sg too and we bought the tickets by then. But no regrets! The show was great!
As expected. Opening band Baby Metal was very entertaining. The band was super tight and the cacophony of blasting metal to the 3 girls was such a visual and audio treat. I loved the catchy poppish tunes and the girls were highly confident and full of stage presence.
And then the band went up on stage and the place went wild! I was glued to the band and got lost in my own world. Though I had watched so many concerts over the years, This was a surreal moment for me as I watch my teenhood idols perform before me. It’s like your favourite cartoon characters walking out of the TV. Slash was non stop amazing and Duff looked like a rock god in great shape. Axl has put on quite a bit of weight over the years, but looking at myself I can’t complain =D Though for some of the songs, Axl seemed to run out of steam but that’s understandable when you have to scream your way through so many hits! And many hits they played! Many of the songs from the cassettes that I wore out when I was young were performed and I loved that there were many extended guitar solos during some of the songs. Slash’s own guitar spotlight was mind blowing and he made it look so easy. It was a great gig and I left highly inspired to play more guitar!
In fact the gig was so good that I will be watching their Singapore gig too! Thank you Guns and Roses, you didn’t disappoint. Rock on!!!
Yeah yeah I know this post is a little late as I was too busy having fun during the new year! Past New Year Eves were usually spent partying as there will be a break for the Wakin tour then.
When I was working on 淳佳 for her last album, I was saying what fun will it be to rock out on stage together as the songs we wrote were mostly in a live band setting. So it was very nice of her when she invited me to back her up. This is my first time doing a live gig with her. It was a NYE music festival featuring many other artists from 信 to Alicia Keys and we had a great time rocking out on stage!
I also had a chance to have a quick catch up with old friends before they went up on stage. Was happy to meet up with Penny. We started out together years ago and I still have fond memories of her taking a bus from JB to work on demoes at my place. Though we been still working together on production work but it’s been many years since we last met!
After the show, we headed to Hood where it was my old band/house mate Ngak’s birthday. It sure was fun to jam again!
Here are more pics of the show. What a great way to start the new year!
Coldplay! Aaahhhh! I’ve watched 3 of their concerts previously including their first gig in Singapore where they were an opening band for Travis, another band from the UK. And I actually watched that gig with Xiaohan and Monica too.
It’s really cool to watch a band start from the bottom and work their way up to be one of their biggest bands in the world. With each concert, I watched the venues getting bigger and the band getting more and more confident and feeling totally at home in the presence of 10s of 1000s of fans.
This concert was exceptional and the band has grown to the status of giants.
Performing at the Etihad stadium in Melbourne. The band has 2 opening acts, including Lianne la Havas whom I’m a great fan of. It was nice that Chris Martin came out right at the beginning 2 hours before their set to warm the crowd up for the opening acts.
I like the fact that when I watch a concert at an outdoor venue out of Singapore, it’s not as hot. When the band finally came on. The atmosphere was electric. With a powerful repertoire of hits to choose from, they pounded the set with hit after hit and the energy just kept going on.
The lighting bands they handed out to the crowd amplified the atmosphere by illuminating the whole venue to different colours to suit the mood of the song.
Though this is the 4th time I’ve watched this band, the energy they give out never gets old. We totally enjoyed ourselves and I’m definitely up for their next tour!
The last time Xiaohan, Monica (aka 冷玩妹) went on a trip together was in 2003! So it was a great chance for us to go to Melbourne together to watch Coldplay! It’s always nice to go on a holiday with good friends. The last time when we went on a trip, Ashley (Xiaohan’s daughter) wasn’t even born yet! This time, we had a great relaxed get away in Melbourne.
We stayed in a nice swanky Air BnB apartment just opposite of the Crown Casino where I performed 2 years ago with Wakin. This is the 2nd time I’m in Melbourne and I think after this trip, we roughly managed to comb through all the touristy places one needs to go when in Melbourne =D.
During this trip, I managed to hang with Sanjeev of Empra, who’s based in Melbourne and he brought me to all the nice music spots and chill by the famous St Kilda beach area.
My favourite shopping places are J.B Hifi, which sells lots of music where Sanjeev recommended me lots of cool Aussie acts to check out and Book Grocer where they have great deals on books in particularly music books all year!
I think what’s nice this time is that Melbourne now has a tram free zone meaning tram rides are free within the city. Which is great as Crown Casino is just at the edge of the city.
I’ll be back in May with Wakin for our Australia tour.
And of course, on to the main reason why we went to Melbourne….
Our last show of the year and the last stop of …. In China on Christmas Eve. This show was cool as it was bring broadcast live by 直播 as well!
There was a huge Wanda mall right next to our hotel Right smack in the middle of the mall was a giant slide! I’m sure if Lyla was there she would have had a blast. There were Christmas sales happening everywhere so we took advantage of it to buy last minute presents!
As it was nearing Christmas, a few of us decided to have our own little party at the Show district. It was a stretch of nice bars and pubs, we had a great time with a bunch of musicians from Phillipines. During the break, the musicians came to chat with us and realised we were here for the Wakin show. They shared with me that Quan Zhou is a small place, and in hang out places like these, everyone is friendly and knew each other. At the last set, I invited myself to play drums on stage =D
The show was nice and relaxed with a festive mood. As it was Christmas Eve we didn’t need to dress in our usual all black for the gig. Instead we had a green or red theme and Christmas hats to boot!
Every end of the year is a flurry of activities as it’s Xiaohan’s bday, my bday, LJ’s bday, our wedding anniversary, Christmas, New year is all right smack together and our parties usually stretch all the way till the new year! This year we also brought Lyla to two fun excursions during our birthdays!
So here’s my end of year celebrations in pics!
I must say I had a lot of fun birthday presents this year!
Though I come from the Hokkien descendence, but I’m not too sure where exactly I am from as 福建 is huge. Still, there’s always a sense of familiarity when I’m there as I can hear people speaking in dialects that I can sort of understand.
This Fu Zhou trip was cool coz the transport this trip was sponsored by BMW and not only I was chauffeured around in a spanking new BMW 7 series. I got along with the driver who turned out to be a BMW salesperson and he brought some of us out for dinner for both nights!
This show was really quite an experience as the venue this time was in the Fuzhou Olympic Stadium and it was huge! It was great for me to test out my new Zakk Wylde BFG Les Paul courtesy of the nice folks at Gibson!
What was even more cool was that the whole stadium was packed for our show this time and I think we were playing to more than 50 000 people.
It’s really a sight to behold when you look to that many people. You can really feel an overwhelming sense of positive energy. What was more amazing was that it was raining during performance but that didn’t stop the audience, decked in ponchos to brave it out for 3.5 hours just for Wakin. Of course Wakin responded in kind and kept thanking the audience and rocked the show giving it all he had, though the stage was sheltered, but he stood it out in the rain together with the audience as he was mostly at the edge of the stage which was open to the rain as well. Watching him caring for his audience, showing them concern especially when he told them to drink a big glass of warm water when they get back makes it no wonder why his fans are so loyal to him.
Our gig at Fuzhou left a nice impression on me as a cool place to chill. Hope we can be back soon!
Lyla is born in the year of the snake. I myself have a certain affinity towards snakes. I’m that guy who always volunteers at the zoo or night safari to pet or handle snakes if given a chance. Though LJ as with most people, doesn’t share this peculiar interest as Lyla and me, she sportingly went with us to the Penang Snake temple.
We were very excited when we got there and true enough, we could see many vipers slithering around the altars around the temple. There’s a snake breeding area at the backyard of the temple where we had fun spotting the vipers camouflaged in the trees. There’s an annex of the temple where we were allowed to carry a nice python and have our photos taken with it. Lyla was very brave and enjoyed stroking the python I carried on my back. I must say our photo with the python turned out very nicely =D
Kek Lok Si Temple
This was a Buddhist temple well known as one of Southeast Asia’s largest Chinese Buddhist temples. It also has a pond with many many turtles, I bought a few pieces of bread from an auntie for feeding the turtles.
Lyla had a great time peeling off small pieces of bread and watching the turtles swarm around to have a go at the bread. There are quite a few souvenir stores so we bought some shirts and clothes for my friend’s kids. Taking a lift up to the hill top stood a majestic 36.5 meter high bronze statue of Kuan Yin (also Guanyin), the Goddess of Mercy. It was breathtaking to watch and we took the cutest photos of Lyla praying at the Kek Lok Si Temple.
These are the most memorable family attractions we got to check out in our short stay there. And of course, I didn’t even talk much of the excellent food which itself is a tourist attraction in Penang. I’m sure you can find that easily all over the web.
So if you are thinking of having a short getaway in future with your family, go check out Penang. I’m sure your kids will have as much fun as Lyla did!