Understanding Challenges, Get To Know the Artists: Coming Up Roses & Islandeer

In this 21C era,

Dialogue, learning, and change can happen in many forms across digital mediums. Here is a raw and genuine conversation with emerging local musicians based in Singapore. This was a facilitated exchange with NEVER SG.

In an attempt to stay true to the artist's voice,

these responses have been left unedited.

Who is Coming Up Roses?

We are an alt-rock/shoegaze quartet from Singapore who writes songs out of our own adolescent experiences. The band consists of Emily Sera (Vocals & Bass), Darius Oon (Guitars), Lorenzo Mailum (Guitars) and Bruce Tan (Drums) and some of our main influences include Wolf Alice, Sonic Youth and the Joy Formidable.

What are some challenges you face as a musician in the Singaporean music scene?

One of the main challenges is probably a lack of music and gig venues, especially small and medium-sized venues. We reckon Singapore needs something like New York's CBGB in the 70s, a hub where people congregate just for music and to celebrate local bands and artists. Adding on to this, a lot of the mainstream audience in Singapore are not aware or not supportive of local artists. This is due to international artists dominating the charts and the radio. Of course, local musicians could also do more to reach this audience through marketing and growing a community around the music scene.

What would you suggest to counter these challenges?

More music venues and avenues for local bands! We can also promote greater awareness of local bands by playing more local music on radio stations and malls as well!

Creatively express your favourite colour.

Emily

The beautiful shell pink finish that Fender uses on their guitar!

Darius

my favourite colour is a dark blue-green, kind of an ocean-like colour

LRNZ

That colour of the sky before the sun rises and sets in between blue, purple and pink.

Bruce

FF3A00 but not FF3A01 (that sucks)

Who is Islandeer?

Michael

Islandeer is the 437th band name that Michael and Christian have attempted, and they hope that the number stays at 437.

Christian

Islandeer is our audible brainchild. It’s our collective hub of musical ideas. And it’s also the main focus of a very followable Instagram account (@islandeerband).

What are some challenges you face as a musician in the Singaporean music scene?

Michael

It’s quite hard to be taken seriously as a musician here. I think it’s because we look like we enjoy what we do.

Christian

There’s a lot of talent, and there’s also a lot of pressure to make money off it quickly, cause then you can apply for an HDB. It’s also very hot and humid, so when we play an outdoor gig, I sweat a lot.

What would you suggest to counter these challenges?

Michael

Making a name for yourself internationally would help a lot with that, sadly.

Christian

I think the too talented people should tone it down, let us catch up. As for the money, I think Singapore is getting into the hang of supporting local art, so that good. To battle the hot and humid outdoor gigs, we should either only have gigs indoors, or they should put Singapore in a giant dome like in the Simpsons.

Creatively express your favourite colour.

Michael

My favourite colour is orange, but it’s the kind of orange that looks rusty. Like a really old piece of metal that was painted with a vibrant orange colour, but over the years it faded, and rust began to appear, scattering around the paint and slowly spreading like a disease. I want a guitar with that colour, please.

Christian

My favourite colour is the last shade of blue before black. If black is the absence of colour, then if it’s like a very dark blue, then there’s still that small presence of colour. When you run out of black ink for your printer, just put it to the darkest possible blue, and it’ll seem black. You get to print your documents, fool whoever you’re submitting it to, AND you don’t have to go to the shop to buy black ink, all using my favourite colour.

I want to acknowledge and thank NEVER SG for being efficient this time.

For managers working behind the scenes. Thank you.

Shauna Goh