Listen up, folks: we’ve got a new power duo in the house, and it’s none other than Gentle Bones and MYRNE (also known as Joel Tan and Manfred Lim). As two of the most buzzing names in the local music scene, the R&B singer-songwriter and up-and-coming producer teamed up for their new collaborative album B4NGER PROJECT – an epic 10-track record filled with banger after banger.
Ahead of their album launch, we caught up with the twosome to find out more about their new music. While they mostly maintained an air of seriousness when talking about their craft, there were also moments where they let their demeanour slip once in awhile. Who knew Gentle Bones is a BIGBANG fan and MYRNE is a domestic geek at heart? Oh, and forget Gentle Bones and MRYNE – call ’em the Kampong Kias.
How did the B4NGER PROJECT come about?
Gentle Bones: We first met around five years ago when I just put out my first single ‘Until We Die’. He then asked if he could do a remix of it and the rest was history. I also managed to get him to remix Geniuses & Thieves, which he did a killer job on. But it wasn’t until last March that we decided to sit down together and come up with some songs of our own, which led to ‘JU1Y’ and we started from there.
What makes this collaborative album different from your personal releases?
Gentle Bones: We came to work on this album with the whole idea that we didn’t want it to sound like our previous releases. We wanted to try stuff that’s totally unfamiliar, and when we realise that what we both found unfamiliar came together as a really nice product, we just go in from there.
MYRNE: For me, my style leans more towards the EDM route – the standard formula of build up, drop and chorus. But in this album, every single track is totally different from each other so you’d probably find something you like in there. We haven’t really heard this kind of music in Singapore before either.
How was it like working with Sam Rui in ‘VODKA’?
MYRNE: We’re friends and we’re all in the same place musically. She’s great; a total R&B heartbreak queen. We like to hang out, drink kopi and write songs together. One day, we wrote this song which we found super moody and R&B, and we felt like Sam would kill it. So she came over, wrote the hook in an hour and we just fell in love with it.
Spill a secret about each other that people don’t know about you yet!
Gentle Bones: For Manfred, he looks like a ladies’ man – and actually, he can be – but deep down he’s very domesticated.
MYRNE: It’s the same with Joel. He seems like a super cool dude on the surface, but he really cares about his family and loved ones.
Gentle Bones: Mama’s boy lah!
Can you guess what are each other’s musical guilty pleasures?
MYRNE: [Joel] looks like the kind of guy who will listen to JJ Lin or something.
Gentle Bones: I love JJ Lin, ever since I was a kid! He also mentioned me in one of his interviews before (laughs). For Manfred, he’s very into the local rap scene – like ShiGGa Shay, I think people don’t give him enough credit. We’re both big fans of him!
What’s an unpopular opinion you have about the local music scene and what would you like to see more of?
Gentle Bones: I would like to see more people to just try. I’ve seen a lot of younger artistes that come up and immediately get torn down by the immediate circle of fans, so if more people could just start out and go for it, I think it would be nice.
What are the top three things on your musical bucket list for 2018?
Gentle Bones: Firstly, to put out this album–
MYRNE: Oh congrats, it’s done (laughs).
Gentle Bones: Probably play more shows overseas… I would also love to go back to Korea to perform. I was there for the Asia Song Festival in Busan back in 2016, and we did an acoustic performance at one of the cafes in Seoul. We got to visit the labels and met a producer who produced for a few of the K-pop boy bands. We hung out at his studio and you get to see the way the industry works. It’s really interesting.
We just had to ask – any K-pop artistes that are on your radar recently?
MYRNE: Personally, I would love to get DEAN to feature in a song if I had the chance to collaborate with him on this album, something like ‘5HE DGAF’.
Gentle Bones: Yeah… I’m a big BIGBANG fan since I was primary six. I love listening to their music, especially Taeyang’s.
Lastly, if you could come up with a duo name, what would you call yourselves?
Gentle Bones: Uh… Ubin Boy.
MYRNE: Or how about Kampong Kias?
Gentle Bones: Actually, that’s better. We should call ourselves that!
Thanks to Universal Music Singapore for the interview opportunity!
Gentle Bones and MYRNE will be performing for THE BANGER PROJECT SHOW at The Pavilion, Far East Square on 27 April, 8pm to 10pm. Don’t forget to get your tickets to the show here!