May 30 2016
Heartfelt, intense, relatable - this is the what DEON is capable of making you feel when you listen to his music. Bringing to you his latest EP, "Oceans Remix", a compilation of remixed tracks from his sophomore EP, "Oceans", just mid last week, DEON has also opened for Of Monsters and Men at their recent concert in Singapore early this May at The Coliseum.
While we are stoked for DEON's launch, we are even more psyched that he decides to launch a limited edition of hand-printed tote bag, exclusive to Naiise. What have we done to deserve this?
We caught up with him and quickly chatted with him on his latest EP launch. Read on and find out more about his EP launch, daily routine, inspirations and what goes on behind the exclusive tote bags.
Congrats on your new EP! How has the launch been?
Thank you! The launch has been good. My regular listeners have been looking forward to this "Oceans Remix" (EP) since we announced it last month. My sophomore album "Oceans" was quite well received, and audiences who subscribed to my work were looking forward to hear different takes on the songs, so finally it's out! I have been getting messages from friends and strangers, and so far everything has been positive. The EP is really a gift for everyone who has been involved in my journey thus far, musicians and listeners alike.
How long have you been in the music scene and how has it progressed so far?
I have been playing in bands in Singapore since I was 13, and what started out as a hobby progressively got serious as I grew older. As for my own singer-songwriter act (DEON), this is its 5th year in existence. Things have changed over time, I've seen bands come and go, recording and marketing methods change, with new acts emerging all the time. I wouldn't say it's better or easier, 'cause every music act is faced with its own challenges in its unique context. But, the advent of technology has given musicians more tools to get their music and expressions out there. Singapore's music scene has been growing, with more initiatives and money pumped in as well. Overall, I think we are moving in the right direction, but the musician in me wishes it to push forth faster.
What's the biggest dream you have for your music career?
My biggest dream would be to live comfortably (I know the term "comfortable" is relative) in Singapore with writing and producing songs for myself and other artistes as my staple. I'm working to get there, but I want to make sure I do it in my own fashion that aligns with my values. In other words, it's going to take time, a lot of time.
In your depository of music ideas, what's one of the topics you would like to sing about?
Currently, one recurring theme in my life is the motif of aging. People closest to me are starting to get really old, and as I move past my mid-twenties, the idea of getting older and "growing up" or "getting serious" constantly plagues my mind. My loved ones are more traditional, so to them, having a career in music is as good as not having a career at all - and it is always an issue, especially now as I get older. I know I still have the rest of my life ahead of me, but as I tackle my third album, personal accounts of growing pains will definitely take centre stage. Yes, I am currently in the process of writing new material for the next album.
If you could turn back time, what's one of the things you want to attempt again, and why?
Singing lessons at a young age. Or practicing the piano more rigorously. Or protecting my ears better through years of rehearsals. Or learning to cook better? Do I only have one choice? Okay, singing lessons at a young age. I picked up singing pretty late, and I just wished I had more time to sharpen my techniques. My friend, Pamela Song, who is a vocal coach, guided me through some techniques and they have stuck with me since then, making me wish I had lessons way earlier.
How has working Naiise help your music career to grow?
Naiise has been one of the rare outlets in Singapore that actually stocks a lot of local band's music and merchandise. And Naiise has been expanding quite fast, which means more platforms for Singaporean musicians as well. Basically, you guys really help with the mechanism of getting my music and merchandise out there, which allows me to pursue my craft for a longer time. The fact that there's a huge emphasis on local products just makes me feel proud whenever I step into an outlet. Thank you so so much.
Aww, thanks for your kind words! So tell us more about this exclusive handprinted tote bag that you have decided to sell with us. How did that idea come about?
Hana Wolhf, who has been doing all my album art since the first release out did herself with the artwork of 'Oceans Remix'. Since the EP is only available in digital formats, I thought it would be nice to let listeners own some official merchandise related to it. Personally, I love having something to hold in hand. My management, The Black East, got one of its resident visual artists, Joobaba, to hand print Hana's work on a very small batch of tote bags... and that's how the idea came about. It is a labour of love, fuelled by creativity. I love the fact that I got to work with multiple talents from different fields, to produce something so intricate, and on a design that I love so much.
What's your daily routine?
Waking up and sleeping at crazy hours, which in turn messes up my self-prescribed schedules takes the word "routine" out of my dictionary. Every day I try to be as productive as possible. I'm either teaching music, doing administrative tasks, practicing, rehearsing, planning projects with my management, meeting with collaborators etc. And when inspiration hits for crafting a song, I'd jump straight to the computer and my instruments and that basically takes up the whole evening.
Who inspires you the most and why?
A lot of people and incidents inspire me. I guess right now, my mother. Over the years, she's shown me how strong a person can be. It doesn't matter whether you're struggling financially, or struggling with your identity, or struggling with a sickness. You stand up and get things done because there's still time left on your watch. She's the one that gave me the push to go do things, even when I was filled with doubt. She's instilled a lot of believe in me over time, and has always been there to pick me up when I land in bad situations. I don't take these things for granted, and they are extremely underrated. People come and go, and they drop you just like that. But my parents have always picked me up, regardless. I just look to her as a shining of beacon of strength.
In 10 years time, where do you wish you'll be?
In Singapore, alive and well? Haha, life changes so much now, it's hard to say.
Any word of advice for budding singer/songwriter?
If you ever hesitate on giving things a chance, just say these three words, "DO IT LAH".