You see your favourite stars on the headlines and hear your favourite tracks on the airwaves – but what people don’t see is the whole team of people who work behind the scenes to bring an artist’s creative vision to life. And nobody knows it better than the people behind Homeground Studios, home to locally-based producer duo Jason Gelchen and Tan Ming Jie.
Founded as a space for artistes to hone their craft in the comfort of their own home, this audio production house boasts a solid clientele of Singapore’s biggest names, including Gentle Bones, Jasmine Sokko, The Summer State and more. We hung out with Jason and Ming Jie to find out more about their decision on taking the route less travelled.
How did the idea of Homeground Studios come about?
Jason: It came to me when I was watching a baseball game, and something the commentator said really resonated with me. He was announcing that the winning team did exceptionally well because they were playing on their home ground. That was when it hit me. I wanted to build a space where music can be freely expressed and created in comfort. Hence, the inception of Homeground Studios.
Describe your current role and walk us through a typical day at work.
Ming Jie: As a composer and arranger, I write music and provide musical direction for artistes and corporate clients.
Jason: For me, I’m the studio engineer and music producer. There’s never a typical day at work – some days, I’ll be working on mixes and post-production edits, while other days could be spent solely on recording.
Instead of being a recording artiste, you took the unconventional route of going behind the production. What made you want to pursue this path?
Ming Jie: I started out as a performing artiste! Through time, I’ve realised that I’m more comfortable positioning myself as a composer and producer rather than an artiste, thus it’s where I am at today.
Jason: I actually wanted to be a bassist at first, but I came to a rude awakening when the boss of the studio I interned at previously told me to quit bass because, to quote, “I suck”. To get over it, I buried myself in studio work for hours non-stop. I realise now, in retrospect, that it was the universe’s way of guiding me towards music production. My love for production has only grown since then and it just feels like the right fit for me.
What’s a lesser-known fact you wish people would know about those who work behind the scenes, like yourselves?
Jason: That there are way more people working behind the scenes for your favourite artistes than you think. Just Google any Drake record.
Ming Jie: We don’t get to see a lot of the outside world. It gets quiet and lonely at times.
What are some of the sacrifices you’ve made in the pursuit of music?
Jason: My bedroom, for a start! It has become our studio now and I basically sleep on the floor. I’d put in a hustle hashtag somewhere if I could, but I don’t regret it. I’m blessed to be able to pursue something I love as a career and any personal sacrifices are worth it.
You’ve worked with plenty of local acts. Who was your favourite artiste to work with?
Jason: I love everyone, but Jasmine Sokko and Josh from The Boris Suit are definitely my favourites. They are always down for trying new ideas or just having fun experimenting musically with me.
What are your ￼would know about those thoughts on the local who work behind the music scene today?
Jason: I feel that today’s local music scene is still small with a lot of space and potential for growth. In the future, I’d like to see more collaborations between artistes.
Ming Jie: We’ve definitely evolved a lot since the time our pioneers pushed forth the Singapore music movement. I hope more artistes can find their own sound and never be afraid to push creative boundaries.
What ’s a piece of advice you would give budding musicians or producers?
Ming Jie: Be patient with yourself, always be open to new knowledge and trust in your professional judgement.
Jason: Stay humble and stay hungry! Never lose sight of why you started doing music in the first place. This is also my open invitation to drop me a DM on Instagram (@jasongelchen) if you need advice.
This article was adapted from Teenage Vol.30 Issue 3, out on newsstands now.
Stay in tune with Homeground Studios on their socials (@homegroundstudios)!