Envisage Ministry of Sound going Rock on the 5th of December.
I'm serious - four arenas, two packed to the brim with independent live acts and the other two with cutting edge Drum and Bass and cranking Hip-hop DJs. It's an amazing fact that all the performers in this ambitious project are independent. Even the headliners, some of which are signed to record labels such as EMI and Universal, are only on distribution deals. Could this be some great underground movement? You bet it is.
If live music and the street vibe are your bread and butter, Flow is definitely for you. Presented by Nokia and supported by Adidas, Miss Earth Singapore, Whosgoing.sg (official youth Portal), Nightlife.sg (official online media), Exitmusik (underground music partner), Think Magazine (official press media) and Soft.com .sg (official live music partner), the event has an impressive line-up, showcasing over 20 independent musicians across four platforms in the 40,000 sq.ft venue.
The event will also be opened up to a younger audience with the ground floor (comprising the main arena and smoove) accessible to 16+ patrons and will be smoke and alcohol free for the night. The rest of the venue (accessible for those 18 and above) will have alcoholic beverages served as normal with smoking restricted to Pure, 54 and the Sky Lounge.
Hosted on the night by Miss Earth Singapore 2006 winner Shin as well as Singapore Idol finalist Paul Twohill, Ministry's main arena will feature Australian Industrial maestros DIVINE9 (above) and a line-up of the best local talent.
Veteran rockers Concave Scream, Baybeats 2006 crowd favorites Plain Sunset, Power 98fm's 2006 "best Singapore band" nominees Saw Loser a.k.a Pug Jelly and West Grand Boulevard, Tien, a showcase of Krumpers, B-boys and beat boxers by the iLLers as well as popular Japanese Visual rockers Seraph will get the crowd jumping and surfing.
The "Independence" stage in Ministry of Sound's Pure Room, powered by SOFT, will feature a segment of younger talent headlined by World Battle of the Bands 2006 Singapore winners Flybar. They will be supported by Singapore battle of the bands 2006 finalist Project Ultrasound, Powerjam crowd favorites The Nerves, Sevenfalls, Ivy's Vendetta, Sound Expulsion, Airtime, Stentorian, Face Off, Sunset Strip, Feizoniq and August Star.
If that isn't enough - Smoove will be the "Hip-hop" stage with 2003 DMC Champion DJ Koflow turntabling together with Ministry's own Rattle and Tang. The "originals" stage at 54 will feature some of Singapore Drum and bass elite with Vortex, the man behind Exitmusik, Guerilla's Kiat, MC Kane and subversive founder Zul.
Just six months ago, Gashaus Marketing manager (and also our own senior writer) Mark Koh struck a deal with youth promoters Playprojekts (led by an 18 year old Winson Lau) and the iLLers, a hip-hop performance company, conceptualising the event as a youth for youth initiative that will serve as a platform for under-exposed musicians, putting them in a high visibility environment that might both serve to create awareness as well as grow the market. Throw in some scene favourites and a dash of niche genres and boom- we have a kick-ass party.
Doing live production on a large scale has daunted many, including the promoters of the Sembawang festival as well as "Rock da Fort" in Fort Canning. "Youth Gone wild" which held over 2,000 screaming teenagers was also a veritable rigmarole with stage production fitted inside the hall of Whitley Secondary School. I'd say Baybeats have it easy with in-house fixtures. Luckily for the organisers of Flow, Ministry of Sound has ample A/V equipment that would circumvent most of the staging needs save the musical equipment that will be sponsored by Jamwerkz. Whether Flow becomes a milestone or joins the ranks of the hit-and-misses will depend on the 5th of December itself.
We sincerely worry about the moderate apathy of the average Singaporean clubber towards local original music; only the youth audience, ranging from mere 16 years of age are avid supporters, which is a relief considering a generation of downloaders still turn up at live shows. Faced with not a few challenges, one should have a pressing time consolidating a decent turnout - but with a little community support, the mass appeal of Flow's main acts plus a little commercial element from the non-live stage might just do the trick.For more information visit www.flow.com.sg,?Photography courtesy of Divine 9
Being the weasel I am, I endeavoured to get a bit of an inside scoop from Flow's Main sponsor, Nokia. Eventually, I was rewarded with the opportunity to ask Lim Wee Khee, the Marketing Manager of Nokia Singapore a few questions regarding their involvement with the festival:
GASHAUS: Pardon my ignorance: Is this Nokia's (Nokia Singapore) first foray into local live music? If so, why? If not, what are other Nokia presented/sponsored events that comprise of mainly local live music artists?
No, this is not our first movement into supporting local live music. Nokia has been a Supporting Sponsor and also Esplanade's first outdoor venue naming sponsor for Mosaic Music Festival for the past couple of years.
This year, we had two outdoor venues - the Nokia Powerhouse and Nokia Music Station - to offer an outdoor music experience that was open to all music lovers for free. Another local event we supported recently was "Rock D'Fort" during the Singapore Arts Festival. This event provided a stage for many talented local bands to perform.
And while we want to continue supporting the local scene, we also want to bring international music to Singapore. For example we recently supported MTV when they brought Coldplay to Singapore, as well as supported the Stephanie Sun concert for the Chinese music fans here.
There are many more music events planned, including the upcoming FLOW! Party at Ministry of Sound, taking place on 5 December and LIME Sonic Bang happening on the 8-9 Dec.
GASHAUS: Is there a social dimension in Nokia sponsoring such events (are you guys helping develop the scene?)
Music absolutely connects people socially. There is so much emotion and personal experience tied to music. Nokia believes in connecting people to their passions, and we all know that many people are passionate about music.
We want to connect people through their common interest in, and passion for, music. The extension of this is connecting musicians to audiences, musicians to musicians, connecting Singaporeans to their favourite music, and so on.
So, our music sponsorships are about giving local bands an opportunity to play, as well as giving Singaporean residents the opportunity to see and experience the music they love.
Hopefully this focus will have an impact on the local scene growing from strength to strength.
GASHAUS: What do you think the state of the local, original music scene in Singapore is like? And the region?
I think that the local, original music scene, specifically in Singapore is going through a phase of growth. Home support for different genres of music from jazz through to rock is growing and this can only bode well for all the local bands here.
We want to continue to connect Singapore to the new music emerging across the region. From J-Pop, to K-Pop and Chinese artists such as Stephanie Sun - Singaporeans should be able to access, and enjoy, the eclectic mix of international music that so many people are passionate about.
GASHAUS: Name some local artists that you would like to have their talents develop further...
Electrico is one band I am putting my eye on. They are really good at working up the crowd. Their latest album has this song "Love in a New Wave" which really seems to capture that thrust of who they are building themselves to be.
Concave Scream, who will be performing at FLOW, is another good band. They have been in the local scene for such a long time and their fans range from the young to the young at heart. What more can a band ask for?
GASHAUS: What are some of your products that might be handy for the music lover?
Music on the Move is, and will continue to be an important element of the mobile experience. Nokia has blazed a trail for music on mobiles - from handset personalization via ringing tones to music consumption through integrated FM radios and MP3 support.
One of most recent music-optimised devices is the Nokia 5300 Xpress music (picture, right). The Nokia 5300 Xpress Music will certainly hit the spot with all, especially music lovers and youth. It's unique, distinct features are its dedicated music keys so conveniently designed to let you play/ pause, forward, replay and rewind with ease.
Integrated with a universal headset adapter that is compatible with any 3.5mm audio jack, live and breathe your music from anywhere, anytime. With a smooth slide mechanism, the Nokia 5300 Xpress Music is also capable of storing up to 1500 songs with a 2GB microSD memory card, supports the Bluetooth Stereo Audio Profile A2DP, and has a cool 1.3 megapixel camera.
The other device that the music lover should have seen by now is the Nokia Nseries Music Edition. A stunning multimedia computer in a compact and savvy exterior with superb photography features and integrated stereo speakers to provide 3D sound for optimal audio pleasure, the Nokia N73 Music Edition has a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics and auto focus.
The Nokia N73 is truly a camera for the Internet age, enabling people to share their photos on the Web in an instant, on Flickr or other photo sharing communities.
The Music Range combines sleek black design with heightened mobile music experiences appealing to the music enthusiast in everyone. Key benefits include dedicated music access keys, Nokia PC Suite and new software for easy sync and music management, and additional storage capacity.