Entertainment

The xx Reveal The Bravest Thing They've Ever Done

16 Aug 2017 by Bryan Yeong

It’s been less than a month since The xx rocked a sold-out show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, but their mark as one of 2017’s gig highlights so far is indelible. We caught up with the winning trio amidst their whirlwind world tour to talk about their love for Singapore, tight-knit friendships and their growth as a band.

Not many acts come to tour Singapore with every album – and Jamie has been here as a solo artist too. Is there something about Singapore that draws you back?

JAMIE: When you are touring so much it’s really the people and the crowds you play to that make a place memorable. The vibe of the crowds in Singapore always makes us want to come back.

 

#ISeeYoutour

A post shared by The xx (@thexx) on

While the tone of I See You is bolder and more upbeat than previous albums, you’ve also previously mentioned it’s an honest reflection of yourselves. How so?

JAMIE: I actually think, as well as having the most joyful songs we’ve ever made, I See You also has the most raw and solemn songs on it too. We went through lots of ups and downs whilst making it, so that is a good reflection of ourselves.

In terms of songwriting and recording, how differently did the band approach the making of I See You?

ROMY: In terms of songwriting, Oliver and I worked very closely together this time, [whereas] in the past we’ve always mainly written separately. I think it just shows a natural progression in our friendship, in our openness, in our self-confidence, to be able to sit in the room together and write a song. For some reason, we always used to find that quite scary even though we’re best friends, so I’ve loved working and writing together. We give each other notes and tell each other if it’s not good, which is cool.

t[For] the recording, we went to different places around the world this time – we went to Marfa in Texas, Los Angeles, Reykjavik in Iceland. It was amazing to get out of London and see some different parts of the world, it was very inspiring.

The xx’s album artworks are often very striking and unusual. Can you tell us about the concept behind the reflective cover of I See You?

JAMIE: There is an obvious literal reference to the album title with the the physical album being a “mirror”. The title references how your friends can often be a mirror for how you see yourself.

I think the lyrics in the new album is probably the most tender and romantic ever for The xx, with songs describing love and relationships. Would you like to share us about the lyrical concept of the new album?

ROMY: We always love writing about relationships and emotions and the way that people make you feel or the way that you feel about people. For the first time on this album, we’ve written about how we feel and how we see ourselves. So it’s a slightly different idea in some of the songs – like in ‘A Violent Noise’ and ‘Replica’, Oliver is sort of questioning himself and the way that he’s going about his life, and any struggles he’s gone through. And I think that’s really brave and it’s great that he was really open to facing some things that were troubling him on this album. So I think facing things is a theme, as well as romance.

 

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Congrats on the ‘I Dare You’ music video. It’s fantastically tonal, the visuals and colour choices are great, and also features a solid cast, including Millie Bobby Brown and Paris Jackson. How did it all come together?

ROMY: Thank you! I’m so glad that you like the video. I think that we are very proud of it, and we are very proud the whole series we did with the director Alasdair McLellan. We did three videos and this last one was a collaboration with Raf Simons from Calvin Klein who creatively directed it, so the cast are ambassadors for Calvin Klein and Raf wanted to have them in the video. We were up for it because we were excited to have actors in the video as we’d never had that before. We’re just really big fans of Alasdair’s photography and it was amazing to do the music videos with him because it’s not something he’s really done before, and we’re so pleased with how that turned out. We really wanted to explore that warmer side of ourselves; I think we felt like maybe sometimes we’d been perceived as quite cold – a bit like vampires – in the past and I think we wanted to show that behind closed doors, we’re warm people. The sunlight and the youth and those elements [in the video] show a reflection of what we’re really like.

We see the colour blue much on this album’s appearance: album cover, skies in music videos… What gives?

ROMY: Well, I’m glad that you’ve picked up on that, because that is definitely a purposeful theme. When we were discussing visual ideas – that’s something I’m very involved in and get very passionate about – and again with the idea of being seen as a bit cold and detached, we wanted to include a lot more natural light and warmth and sunlight on this campaign, as a reflection of what I feel we are like behind closed doors, which is warm and fun. The blue skies sort of came about when we were experimenting with mirrors and reflection, we wanted to have the sunlight in the reflection. The blue reflected in the mirror looked really beautiful – we made everything about the sunlight and the blue and mirrors. Those themes combined very much encapsulate the way I feel about this album, which is brighter, warmer and more celebratory.

 

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I See You feels a lot more intimate and happy than the previous album. Do you think it’s because you have more fun in doing this album?

ROMY: Yes I do, I think we have had a lot more fun and worried less, and [felt] a lot less scared about what we should do, what people expect from us, what we expect from ourselves and just [focused on] making music that we enjoy and experimenting. And that’s been fun. Obviously it’s very difficult making an album too – there were definitely some stressful aspects. It wasn’t all just fun times, but in comparison, I’d say this has been my favourite album to make.

With this album it seems there’s a new direction emerging: of transformation and breaking barriers. Was this a necessary progression for the band?

ROMY: Yes I definitely think so. We all just let go of the barriers that we had set around ourselves. We always had this rule that everything we recorded had to be playable live, exactly as it was on the album, and in a lot of ways I’m grateful for that – it shaped our sound and made it what it is. The fact that we don’t have layers and layers of instruments was because of that rule to make it minimal and playable live. But we never set out to be a minimal or a simplistic band, it was just our own limitations that made us sound that way. I think that we let go of that slightly on this album and we were like “let’s just see how that sounds”, still with the intention of not filling up the sound, because we like having a spacious sound, but we were just less strict with that rule.

What is the bravest thing the band has done?

OLIVER: I look back at our earliest shows and I don’t know where that bravery to get up on stage came from. It didn’t come naturally for any of us – we were shy teenagers with bags of insecurities, but we still got up there, did it and continued at it until it became comfortable.

Looking back and examining the present, how would you say you’ve grown and evolved as artists and as individuals?

OLIVER: I think we’ve grown a lot in confidence, it was something we were all lacking quite a bit. It partly has come with growing up but I believe this band has helped us with it a great deal. We’re still far from being the most confident people around but we’ve come a long way.

 

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Being longtime friends and bandmates, has your friendship ever made it difficult to address work issues? 

OLIVER: It’s often the other way around; we don’t hold back at our words with one another which can get tense, but I’d rather things were said out loud than be tiptoed around. Because we’ve known each other so long, we can also sometimes assume things instead of [addressing it], which can get wires crossed, but we’re really trying to avoid that by speaking more.

Being such a tight trio, what do you think is the biggest change or growth from the first album to your most recent work, I See You?

ROMY: I think that we’ve all grown up together very closely. Oliver and I have been friends since we were three years old and we met Jamie when we were 11 years old. And we’ve been there for each other through different aspects of growing up, and I think that in the past few years whilst we were making I See You, we were growing into adults and having to be more accountable for things that we were doing. Having more responsibility and just trying to take better care of ourselves, sometimes that’s hard. I think I realised that it’s important to give friendships attention and love, just as much as you would with your romantic relationships. And I’m really grateful that we’ve learnt to appreciate each other, and I think that’s very special.

Special thanks to Love Da Records for making this interview possible.

Was The xx your favourite gig of 2017 so far? Share with us your concert highlights in the comments below!

More related stories: 8 Reasons Why The xx’s Concert Is The Best Of 2017 Yet, We Speak To Sundown Headliners Jack & Rai, Derrick Hoh And Farrago, Justin Bieber Cancelled His World Tour For This Relatable Reason, DNCE’s Cole Whittle Talks Epic Birthday Plans In Singapore

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Entertainment

K-pop Girl Group Gugudan Is Coming To Singapore!

14 Aug 2017 by Johanna Teo

Coming to Singapore by popular demand, K-pop girl group gugudan will be staging a live show on our shores come 27 September.

Thanks to popular Korean music survival show, Produce 101, most K-pop fans would’ve already heard of gugudan, Jellyfish Entertainment’s latest K-pop girl group even before the 9-outfit band’s debut back in 2016. And even with their rookie status, the girls have quickly rose to fame with their debut mini album, ‘Act. 1 The Little Mermaid’ and follow-up record, ‘Act.2 Narcissus’ which was released earlier this year. 

Now, Dear Friends (gugudan’s official fandom) will be able to meet these up-and-comers on our sunny shores, through their first ever ‘gugudan Live Show In Singapore’!  A joint effort between MyMusicTaste and Jellyfish Entertainment, fans can look forward to gugudan hits like ‘Wonderland’ and ‘A Girl Like Me’, amongst other exciting performances. 

gugudan-Live-Show-in-Singapore-2017-Official-Poster

gugudan Live Show in Singapore 2017

Date: 27 September 2017
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: The MasterCard Sands Theater
Tickets: Ultimate Package $218, gugudan Package $158, A Reserve $88, B Reserve $68
Pre-sale tickets will be available on 22 August (Tuesday) at 4pm via one-time use promo codes. Public sales will commence on 24 August (Thursday) at 4PM. 

For tickets and more information, head to www.mymusictaste.com

More related stories: 101 Facts You Need To Know About Produce 101’s Wanna One8 Electrifying K-pop Dance Covers To Get You Movin’5 Up-And-Coming Acting-Dols To Watch Out For In 2017

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Entertainment

A DOTS Sequel? Here's What Song Joong Ki Has To Say

11 Aug 2017 by Chew Hui Ling

Sorry Descendants of the Sun fans: while Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo’s love have blossomed on the set, it seems like our favourite onscreen couple turned real-life lovers have no plans of having a Song-Song reunion on screen anytime soon.

Song Joong Ki The Battleship Island SG 1

With the wedding bells ringing, it comes as no surprise that Song Joong Ki would inevitably be met with a barrage of questions about his wife-to-be. All smiles during the press conference for The Battleship Island star tour in Singapore, he revealed: “Working with [Song Hye Kyo] in the future is something I have to give more thought to. I think it would be challenging because work is work, so it might be a little tough to work on the same production.” Oh well, Descendants of the Sun marathon anybody?

On a happier note, the Korean heartthrob also mentioned that he would be inviting The Battleship Island director Ryoo Seung Wan along with his co-stars Hwang Jung Min and So Ji Sub to his wedding, which will be taking place at The Shilla Seoul on 31 October. Ahead of the nuptials, Song Joong Ki was in town to promote his new blockbuster wartime flick, which sees him reprising the role of a heroic soldier after charming the socks of everyone – even Song Hye Kyo – in Big Boss fashion back in Descendants of the Sun.

Song Joong Ki The Battleship Island SG 2

In The Battleship Island, the 31-year-old portrays a special forces agent who is dispatched by the Korean Liberation Army to a labour camp on Japan’s Hashima Island (known as Battleship Island) during World War II. “If you count the number of years I’ve served national service in Korea as well as playing the role of a soldier in Descendants of the Sun and The Battleship Island, I’ve been living the life of a soldier for about five years now,” he quips, drawing laughter from the media crowd. “So it has become something natural to me. Besides, I’ve been sporting short hair after serving the army so I could comfortably immerse myself into the role.”

Even so, he admitted taking on this film does come with its challenges, particularly having to lose weight in order to depict the role of malnourished captive labourers. One can’t help but ask: who is the most likely to possess the best survival skills among the three actors?

Song Joong Ki The Battleship Island SG 3

It was a clear win for Song Joong Ki, who “recently served his national service so the skills from the training are fresh in his memory” according to So Ji Sub – to which the actor cheekily agreed “because I’m the youngest”.

We can’t wait to see Captain Yoo back in action!

Catch The Battleship Island, staring Song Joong Ki, So Ji Sub and Hwang Jung Min in theatres on 17 August.

More related stores: Iconic K-drama Filming Locations To Go ForCatch Ryan Reynolds, Song Joong Ki, Benjamin Kheng & More In Cinemas This AugustSong Joong Ki And Song Hye Kyo Reportedly Already Dating While Filming Descendants Of The Sun!

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Entertainment

All The Celebrity Emojis You'll Need To Express Any Emotion

7 Aug 2017 by Fabian Loo

Keeping up with your favourite stars – from Kim Kardashian to Justin Bieber and even Ansel Elgort – just got a lot easier with their official emojis. 

We’ve all been there at some point – trying to find that one emoji to convey the most abstract of thought, only to be disappointed after scrolling through the whole library. If you’re anything like me, then you would have days when you’re feeling as agonised as Kim Kardashian’s meme-worthy breakdown; or moments when you need to dish out Justin Bieber’s motivational quote of ‘never say never’. So instead of actually having to type your thoughts out painstakingly, won’t it be easier to just send a celebrity emoji straight to your friend? Yep, you heard it right. Kim Kardashian is not the only celebrity with an official emoji collection, and here’s a list that we’ve rounded up to help you keep up with these stars.

KIMOJI

kimojiImage credit: KIMOJI

For a personality as colourful and diverse as Kim Kardashian herself, having her own library of emoji seemed like the a natural thing to do. Immortalised in caricature are some of her iconic expressions and scandals, which will undoubtedly make any chat much livelier and animated. With over 500 emojis, stickers and GIFs, you’ll be surprised at how often a crying Kim can actually be considered a valid response.

KIMOJI, developed by Whalerock Digital Media, $2.98, available on the App Store or Google Play.

JUSTMOJI

justmojiImage credit: Justmoji

It seems like Justin Bieber might be indulging in his pre-pubescent boy-next-door charm back when he first started with his this line of emojis, which is more adorable than grungy. And interestingly, many of his cartoon stickers and icons draw on his past experiences – such as that one time he was charged for egging his neighbour’s house, or that other time when he announced that he would stop taking pictures with fans – and pokes fun at it (he also pokes at his abs in a shirtless icon – yes, you’re welcome).

Justmoji, developed by Kapps Media, $2.99, available on the App Store and Google Play.

MuvaMoji by Amber Rose

muvamojiImage credit: Muvamoji

Just like her shocking revelation about the time she dated Kanye West, the collection of emojis by Amber Rose is both bold and unapologetic. You’ll find yourself getting acquainted with situations you never knew was possible, like leaping out of a cake in a bikini, or twerking on the edge of a pink vehicle. Perfect for unpredictable situations and everything else under the sun.

MuvaMoji by Amber Rose, developed by AppMoji, $2.98, available on the App Store and Google Play.

ANSELFIE – emojis by Ansel

 

 

A post shared by Ansel Elgort (@ansel) on Jun 16, 2016 at 8:30am PDT

You don’t know it yet, but Ansel is slowly creeping into your life, one mobile screen at a time. You’re probably already re-watching The Fault in Our Stars, or hitting the replay button to his steamy music video ‘Thief’. And now, you can send (spam) his animated expressions to all your friends. “I constantly send stupid selfies to my friends making funny emoji-like expressions, so then I came up with this crazy idea … ANSELFIE! ANSELFIES are emojis! Made by yours truly!” said the heartthrob. Well, thank you Ansel, thank you. 

ANSELFIE – emojis by Ansel, developed by Jonah Kaner, $2.99, available on the App Store.

GAGAmoji

gagamojiImage credit: GAGAmoji

Mother Monster’s gag-worthy emoji collection ranges from designs that’ll steal budding musicians’ hearts, to homage-esque hashtags and cut-outs to honour the Grammy-winning songstress. To quote the meme: “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAS GAGA YOU LOOK SO GOOD”.

GAGAmoji, developed by House of Gaga Publishing, $1.99, available on the App Store

What are your favourite emojis to use? Express yo’ self in the comments section!

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The Sundown Festival, which celebrates the best of Asian music, returns for its eighth outing with local acts taking over the spotlight!

Happening on 5 August 2017 at the City Beach Resort, there’s no better way to get into the festive National Day cheer than immersing yourself with the very best of Singapore’s music scene. In anticipation of the concert, the Teenage team caught up with three of the acts –  Derrick Hoh, FARRAGO, and Jack & Rai. 

Derrick Hoh

 

A post shared by Derrick Hoh (@derrickhoh) on Apr 30, 2017 at 4:54am PDT

How does it feel to be headlining the first all-Singaporean lineup of Sundown Festival?

I feel incredibly excited! I’ve been pushing local music to everyone I’ve worked with throughout my music career and to be able to be part of this year’s line-up is extremely exciting for me.

Any homegrown acts that have caught your eye recently?

Ling Kai! We touched base recently, and I’ve been a secret admirer of her work. Her music is very different from what I do but I love that untamed nature of her music – it’s very refreshing. Hopefully we can work together in the future!

What can we expect from your upcoming live showcase at the Esplanade?

It’s going to be extremely intimate. Besides debuting my new singles, I am going to have many close interactions with my fans. Since my last showcase, my life was nothing short of a rollercoaster ride and I can’t wait to share these experiences with my fans on stage.

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

I’ll be busy filming a drama in Singapore and working on brand new singles for myself. I’ll also have multiple releases in the coming months as a songwriter, with songs I penned for some great artists. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose them now but stay tuned to my social media channels to get the latest updates.

FARRAGO

 

A post shared by FARRAGO (@farragorock) on Jun 26, 2017 at 3:50am PDT

This isn’t your first time performing on the Sundown stage. As a headlining act, how does it make you feel this time round?

The organisers of Sundown Festival have been good to us over the years. It’s great to be asked back and we are looking forward to playing to people who may not have heard our music yet.

What are three songs off your discography you think a first-time listener should definitely check out.

‘Hissy Fit’, ‘Traffic Lights’ and ‘Trilby Hats and Sunflowers’.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

That is extremely hard to answer as a group. We all have very different tastes in music, hence the name of the band. Some examples – Toto, Slayer, Dream Theater, Beck, Brian Wilson, No Doubt, Courtney Love and Stevie Wonder. Confusing, right?

What’s next in the pipeline for you?

It’s time to get recording again. Some new material is ready to be worked on and hopefully we can step up to another level. Unfortunately, the studio we recorded our album at has closed its doors so we are still trying to figure the logistics out. That is the plan in the next few months. Pete, are you reading this?

JACK & RAI

 

A post shared by Jack & Rai (@jackandrai) on May 13, 2017 at 3:40am PDT

What are your thoughts on the current music scene and how has the landscape changed from when you first started out?

The scene is really vibrant now, as compared to when we first started in 2002! Digital music production has allowed more musicians to record their own material and put it out there, so we’ve actually seen quite a surge of young musicians being heard online, plus NAC’s Noise Programme has also provided a pretty consistent platform to showcase some of these acts live.

Any homegrown acts that caught your eye recently?

Plenty! More recently, we’ve seen acts like LEW, Shak, Stopgap and Take Two (now known as M1LDL1FE) and we totally enjoy the music they are creating.

If you could turn back in time and have a conversation with Jack & Rai circa 2005, what would you say to them and how would they respond?

Present: Guys, you really need to start writing and releasing more of your own material, make music videos, get on Youtube and do more of your own stuff!

2005: Got it, bros! We’re working on it progressively!

Present: *roll eyes*

You guys are known to have great teamwork, but when was the last time you guys disagreed on something?

The last time? Probably on which song to play next in our set, which usually results in a blank stare and then one of us quickly reacts to jump into the intro of the song he wants to play!

Catch the Sundown Festival 2017 on 5 August at the City Beach Resort, Labrador Park. Tickets from $15, Sistic

More related stories: DNCE’s Cole Whittle Talks About Epic Birthday Plans In Singapore101 Facts You Need To Know About Produce 101’s Wanna OneGLOW Is The TV Series About Women’s Wrestling Nobody Knew

 

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