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10 U2 songs that I grew up with

2016 July 20
by Eric Ng

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.


3. Bad

It’s amazing the amount of melodic content that they can create in a one chord song.


4. Desire

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.


6. One

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.


10. Vertigo

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!

What does a music arranger do?

2016 July 15
by Eric Ng

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.
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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.
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Here’s a link for an idea of how I create a basic music arrangement.

https://www.facebook.com/fmpopmusicsch/videos/608976412609952/?pnref=story

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 admin@fmmusic.com.sg.
First come First Serve Basis. Limited Seats only.
‪#‎fmpopmusicsch‬ ‪#‎fmmusicsg‬ ‪#‎writethesonginyou‬ ‪#‎musicarranger‬ ‪#‎songwriter‬ ‪#‎musician‬ Jim Lim Huang Yr 黃韻仁

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10 things we learned from “20 Hits in 10 hours”

2016 July 13
by Eric Ng

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!
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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.
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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
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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.
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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!

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/fatt.kew.7/posts/10153698609765959

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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.
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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!

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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!

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20 hits in 10 hours. What went down during THE professional songwriting camp!

2016 July 6
by Eric Ng

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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.

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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)
8) 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!
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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.

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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
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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.

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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!

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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
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Outstanding Composer : Jerome Yang Zhelun/
Mavis Chua Yimin
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Outstanding Music Arranger杰出编曲人:Koh Zi Hao
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Best Song最佳歌曲: 《六度分离》
词:Kaiyang 曲:Mary Wong/Yun Han 编曲:Mandric Tan
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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! “
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Quotes from the other mentors : 针对这次的创作营,其他7位导师也有话说:
陈建宁老师:“这次活动真的很成功,特别是感受到新加坡年轻一代的热忱,真的看到了未来的希望,大家一起努力喔!感谢感谢!”
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黄婷老师:“这次很开心也很有收获~谢谢FM细心的招待,很感动!让我们继续一起为华语音乐努力吧!”
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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!”
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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!!”
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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!”
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管启源老师:“忙完老搭档主办的一天专业流行乐创作营,没有节目效果,没有舞台,没有人又笑又哭,但却是老老实实地让大家成为专业创作人的音乐创作营,成果让人鼓舞。看来多两个月後马来西亚就会迎来第一场闭门式的,或许很快就会有第二场公开的,我们谈着谈着,像我们这种老创作人,应该也要找几天自己入营,几个人带着乐器器材离开熟知的环境,关在房子里写歌。我们都不知会碰撞出怎样的火花,但“老老实实“写歌这件事,是蛮有意思的。”
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小寒老师:“在中文歌曲创作出现青黄不接的现阶段,我们这一辈的音乐人都背负着发掘和教育新人的使命。这一次,在有限的资源下,和小小团队能一起将这般规模的创作营办起来,过程不容易,但听到作品的那一霎那,蛮感动的。心想:嗯,音乐的传承,我们办到了。”
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D)Continued grooming

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.

Wakin《今天唱什麼》- Reno Ballroom, Reno, Nevada

2016 June 15
by Eric Ng

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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

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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.

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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!

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Wakin《今天唱什麼》- Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, Canada

2016 June 15
by Eric Ng

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.

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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!

Wakin《今天唱什麼》- David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City

2016 June 15
by Eric Ng

Ahhhh our America – Canada tour began at NYC! Wakin was very excited to perform there this time as it’s at the prestigious Lincoln Center. Rightfully so, as not only many classical legends have performed there, many icons of the pop world such as Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Queen have graced the Lincoln Center stage as well.

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Usually when I reach to another country, I’ll browse through who is performing when I’m there and I was super delighted to see Gary Clark Jr performing that night! I’ve been following him since reading a review of his “Black and Blue” album on Pitchfork(or was it Rolling Stone?). Have bought all of his albums ever since. So I was totally stoked when I looked under gigs tonight at NYC when I was there last Saturday and there it was! “Gary Clark Jr and Albert Hammond Jr live at the Webster Hall”!!! We got to the club early and got to stand at the front row where we were treated to an explosion of passion, style, virtuosity and an outburst of great tone at the Webster Hall.
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During the Wakin performance, I was doubly honoured when I stepped into the David Geffen Hall as David Geffen is my idol as well! Geffen has been a great force in the movie and music business from signing industry changers such as the Eagles to Neil Young, to Guns and Roses, Nirvana etc. .The mood was electric with the crowd lapping it up with Wakin made many cracks about being informal in such a prestigious venue where many great classical performances were held.

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And that’s NYC, after that we moved to Vancouver, Canada.

Working on《下一站》performed by 動力火車

2016 June 2
by Eric Ng

I received a song request around this year’s Chinese New Year when I was in holiday in Bangkok.

動力火車主打歌 – 歌名下一站

Sampling 羅大佑 – 火車 A段的火車 火車. 再發展副歌,

或者火車 火車只出現在片段,前奏間奏…..

I was instantly intrigued and I felt, ok, I wanna nab this song pitch for many reasons. I first worked with 動力火車 around 2002. In the studio, they are also such a treat to record for many reasons, we have many common influences so I can tell them stuff such as…ok, gimme a “Steve Perry” here, or a “James Hetfield” HAAA over here, and they totally get what I say. Plus the fact that they are really proficient vocalists who constantly deliver take after take and it’s such a breeze for them to be drilled to get a brilliant vocal performance.

We’ve have remained fast friends with them since. Probably because of our love for good old rock music and also for the fact that they are the nicest people around as they always make time to play host whenever we have free time in Taiwan and of course I’ll take them out for some fun whenever they are in Singapore.

For the song itself, I loved the challenge to readapt a song from 羅大佑. Using just the verse of his song 火車, I was to flesh it out to a full song that 動力 can rock out to in their upcoming concert tour.

And hence I started out writing it. The writing of this song spanned 3 countries, Bangkok, Japan and Singapore. Why? The label felt this song, the classic song involved and the statement it was to make was very important to the next step of their career. They wanted to make sure the song fits the upcoming sold out concert that kick started their tour. As a result, I wrote 2 versions of the song, with the 2nd version having 7 different choruses! So in total there are almost 10 versions of this song! This is definitely the most rewrites I have ever done for a song. However with each rejected version, I felt even more driven to make it right as I loved the challenge, I love rock especially when it’s rocking out with friends! And finally we settled on this version that was released.

The vocal recording session for this song was a blast! This time, I decided to record the whole session in 96khz 24bit and they were very pleased with the higher clarity and punch of the instrumentation. So much that we had to declare it!

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So here it is, the final product 《下一站》by 動力火車. Enjoy!

词:管啟源/李坤城
曲:黃韻仁/羅大佑
製作/編曲/吉他/貝斯/鍵盤:黃韻仁
鼓:Gary Gideon.

Mixed by Frank Lee at the Neater Dump studio. Drums recorded by Mandric Tan @ Soundfarm Production Studios, Vocals recorded @ H.I.M studio, everything else recorded @ The Neater Dump. ‪#‎动力火车‬ ‪#‎songwriting‬ ‪#‎musicproduction‬ ‪#‎writethesonginyou‬ ‪#‎rockneverdies‬


The Power of Hi Res Audio

2016 May 18
by Eric Ng

Following the post of my experience of the Beyerdynamic T5p I thought I’d like to share about my experience with the power of hi res audio as well.

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For those unaware, previously the common mainstream listening format of music was the CD. One day some engineers managed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to represent the audio recording by removing some of the components of recorded sound, ending up with the format most people consume music today, which is the MP3. And yeah, it does sound great for casual listening.

Back to the uncompressed CD, the standard resolution that is used to manufacture them is 44.1khz/16bit. Meaning analog audio is recorded by sampling it 44,100 times per second, and then these samples are used to reconstruct the audio signal when playing it back.

Hi res audio takes it to a different level and currently there are albums out there that are available up to 96khz/24bit, 192khz/24bit and up. All these being numbers, how does it sound?

It sounds glorious! Put on a piece of music in hi res that you were previously used to listening on MP3 and you will find details you never noticed, musical nuances you never knew existed, subtle panning movements in the stereo field, a counter melody. You’ll enjoy the unadulterated luxury of listening to the separation and impact of a mix the way the artists and mixing engineers intended. Once you listen to a hi res audio file, you’ll suddenly realise how much you have missed in the current MP3 age, and way more, as the resolution suddenly surpasses even the CD format which is usually the source MP3s are compressed from. As a music maker, these details unsurfaced actually inspires more ideas when I’m creating my own productions.

There are now brands like Sony, Pioneer, Pono etc releasing Hi Res Audio players. After trying out a few brands, I settled on a Astell & Kern AK100II.

And how do you get these hi res audio files? You can purchase them like what most people used to do ;) Sites like Hdtracks.com offer hi res audio files and they are really not too much more expensive compared to purchasing albums on ITunes if you compare the vast difference in the quality of the files.

I’ve purchased well recorded albums like Beck’s Morning Phase , Soundgarden’s Superunknown , 30seconds to Mars’s LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS, Florence and the Machine’s, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful etc. Even though I have purchased some of these albums in CD previously (and some in casette tape and vinyl as well) but I do not regret it. The experience is different and you’ll feel like it’s a new album all over again.

So yeah, I’m a Hi Res Audio convert. Don’t take my word for it, go experience it!

I love my job

2016 May 18
by Eric Ng

Almost to the mid of 2016! Last year was cool as we continue to not only train but also discover more potential writers from our composing courses to join the FM exclusive writers fold.

With an average of 70 units of songs sold by FM yearly. This firmly makes us believe our efforts are worthwhile to realise our vision of making FM Pop Music School not just a school but also a gateway for us to help aspiring professionals into the industry!

Moving to our spanking new office last year with great vibes and with our new motto “Write the song in you”. I decided my new year resolution was to
try push FM’s publishing unit to greater heights and that included writing more songs myself and with my trusty team of FM Exclusive writers to contribute to the cause!

I’m happy to update that in the past few months of 2016 have been exciting we’ve been pushing our works to many exciting to be announced top artists!

More songs also equal to more fun production cases, I’ve had a hectic first half year recording many fun projects here’s some of them =D

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There might be a few factors why this year is picking up for FM Publishing,
for e.g. our fortnightly writers gatherings where we share ideas, the encouraged collaboration, the yellowness of the office or for the fact that we believed and signed the right people to come on onboard our hit making team =D.

This wouldn’t have been possible without our writers’ hard work, and of course our powerful admin team to kick our asses to keep shifting songs and our partners at Warner Chappell as well!

With our upcoming songwriting camp, I believe we’ll be able to attract more promising talents and increase our community of like minded individuals and future hit collaborators!

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20 years into the industry and 10 years of grooming talents in FM pop music school…Am I tired of it? Naaahhhh I’m more excited than ever for the FM team. On to more hits!

#ilovemyjob



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