Meet the "other" "Obedient Wives' Club", the latest indie local band that is blazing a trail in the scene. Within the few short months of its formation, it has snagged a series of gigs and quite the buzz for its brand of Spectorgaze music. In earthlier terms, their songs have a dreamy, retro-pop quality which makes it endearing and quite a good accompaniment to a nice rainy evening at home with some hot whisky-laced Milo.
This appeal has clearly not fallen on deaf ears, and with only live recordings currently available. the band has nevertheless been picked up by a Los Angeles radio station.
publichouse.sg spoke to two of its members, Keith and Lennat, who were quick to point out that these are all graces that they, though grateful for, did not actively seek. Much like their tongue in cheek name, their expectations do not go beyond that of playing the music that they love. Both down-to-earth and yet fiercely cultured in the bands and genres which move them, the band's current successes are nothing compared to their lifelong victory at retaining and guarding their passions.
Why the name?
Keith: It was a band name waiting to be used.
Lennat: Keith had the brilliant idea to name it as such. It has a pretty nice ring to it. Plus, it’s much better than naming the band Heng A Khe Bong.
What have the reactions to the name been like?
Keith: Before people heard us, they asked if we were sure about the name... after we put stuff out on bandcamp, it's been about the music and not the name.
Lennat: Most of my friends kept sending me links and updates on the real Obedient Wives Club. When I bring up where Joy Division got their name from, that usually shuts everyone up.
Any thoughts on the actual Obedient Wives Club?
Lennat: It makes me want to start an Obedient Husbands Club. Now that would be revolutionary, teaching clueless men how to properly please their women and be submissive instead.
Describe your music.
Lennat: I hate the word “gwee” cos it sounds like “kueh.” Sorry Keith. I much prefer Spectorgaze, a term that Keith originally coined.
(Biddy: Feel free to message the band for further explanations on these terms....)
Who would be your ultimate fan? Describe a character.
Keith: Sune, Sharin, Chris and Beth all rolled in one
Lennat: My ideal of an ultimate fan would be someone who knows all our music inside out and could possibly win a million dollars if all the questions are about OWC. I’d love to have someone like William Miller in Almost Famous to be our ultimate fan.
Who are your members?
Keith: Inky the Gem, Sulaiman the Topman model, Lennat the Goddess, myself, the dispensable one.
What comes to mind when you see the term "local music"
Keith: Metalcore, screamo, emo and postrock.
Lennat: Bands struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of the so-called local audience.
Keith: Best Coast, Raveonettes, Seapony, Ringo Deathstarr, Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Frankie Rose and The Outs
Lennat: As a band, I would say bands like Raveonettes, Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Girls. Personally, I’m schooled by the gospel of garage rock by the White Stripes. It has made me who I am today.
Name a few local bands if any that really influenced u?
Lennat: I wouldn’t say any local bands have influenced me musically. It's more of their tenacious spirit and “never-say-die” attitude. For that I would say bands like Astreal, TypeWriter and The Great Spy Experiment.
What kind of gigs are best to play in and why?
Keith: Gigs are best held in small venues like Home Club. The general public doesn't really care.
Lennat: I personally prefer gigs held in small venues. It’s the intimacy and the connection with the band that I would love to have. I don’t like my rock ‘n’ roll on an epic scale. Rock ‘n’ roll should be delivered in a raw and dirty place that you can’t move an inch in. I’ve never seen The White Stripes in a small venue and I really wish I have. Take for example, a gig in the 100 Club vs a big music festival in an open field in the U.K. I'd rather be baptized by rock ‘n’ roll sweat then the summer rain.
Why doesn't the general public care in your opinion?
Keith: I think the general public only cares if you are big and "mainstream".
Lennat: Because they don’t bother to go out and educate themselves. Real local music fans care about music. They go out and hunt for music that they like. They have an active interest, regardless of whether the music had “exposure” or not. Instead of asking non-local music fans why they don’t like local music, maybe we should ask local music fans why they like local music instead. I bet you 10/10 are music geeks. Though, I’m pretty sure there are people in the “general public” pool who are into cool non-mainstream music who lambast local music for not being good enough. It’s cool. They have their opinions. If they don’t like it, I don’t see any point of forcing any music, be it local or not, down their throats.
As for audience reach, I think that depends on the musician. If I want fame and glory, then I’d be a Singapore-Idol-ish pop star. If I want fame and glory, I wouldn’t be playing the kind of alternative (as opposed to the common mainstream) music. If I want fame and glory, I would have long given up chasing pavements that lead to nowhere. I play music because I connect with it. Good music makes me feel. And what I deem good music is the similar kind of music that I play. If people like it, great! If they don’t, we will never meet.
What are your motivations?
Keith: I cannot speak for the rest(of the band) but honestly when I had this idea in mind it was for myself and 3 friends. Because I know these 3 ppl are into the same bands as myself. I never bothered and will never bother to want to be on radio or anything like that. That is why i was surprised when we got picked up by the LA station. I want the people who like my band to be into the same music I listen to.. Not listening because everyone else is.
Lennat: For me, I feel that we just want to play music that we like and have fun while doing it.
What does music mean to you?
Keith: I won't say "music is life", but I am fiercely passionate about the bands I like. The same way I am passionate about the films and books I like.
Lennat: Music used to be everything for me. So much so, I annoyed the hell out of all my ex-bandmates and warranted the title of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Pastor” because I preach about music to people constantly. Through time, I discovered that maybe too much of a good thing could be a bad thing. So I’ve started to diversify a little. There’s more to life than just music. Even so, I don’t think I could ever live without music being a big part of my life. IT IS a big part of my life. I love playing music and drumming for a band. But it’s definitely not everything.
Why do you feel this passion is necessary?
Keith: Without passion everything becomes a chore right? Like work for most ppl... once they lose the passion.. they whine about their jobs. We dont make money from music. If the Rolling Stones lose their passion.. they still get paid a few million each gig. That's motivation enough. If the passion or even fun in making music is gone for me then there's no point in going on.
Lennat: I’m like Keith. Fiercely passionate about the things I like. If there's one thing about myself I’m proud of, it’s my passion. There’s not much to hold on to and motivate yourself with as a musician here in Singapore. We are all clearly driven by passion. If not, what else?