Exclusive Interview with Laid Comers

Hood Bar and Café

With a full-scale concert-ready audio system, and a reputation for being the ideal venue for local music, Hood Bar and Café has continued to champion the cause in promoting local music, by giving homegrown artistes a stage and an outlet to express their originality via the Saturday Originals Session. The long-term aim of Hood Bar and Café is to raise awareness of local talents, and allow the world an opportunity to see, hear and experience the original music and content of Singapore’s bands.

I am very privileged to be invited to the official launch of homegrown electro-pop rock band Laid Comers’ single, If You Knew, held at Hood Bar and Café, on 12 February 2018.

They rocked the night away with their set of covers and original music:

Original: Home Alone riff

Cover: Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay

Original: Foxy

Cover: Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey

Original: Waiting for Someone

Cover: Outside by Tender

Original: Figure

Cover: Everglow by Coldplay

Laid Comers was born in 2009, in the cosy jamming studio of NUS Kent Ridge Hall Rockers. Fronted by Sean (vocals and guitar), with Kok (drums and percussion) and Almo (bass), the trio appeared in notable locals shows, including the Anaki Rocks Series, Overheard Sessions at Timbré Barbershop, and Saturday Original Sessions in Hood Bar and Café. The band’s earlier compositions, such as Postcards from Mars, were inclined towards rock music. In 2015, Oribelle (keyboards and piano) and Shou Wei (guitar) were scouted to join the now 5-piece band, elevating their sound to a whole new level. Their use of electronics such as the drum pad and the MIDI sampler has lent a very unique sound to their music. The current Laid Comers’ sound is not only described to be an “unpredictable mash of multiple sub-genres; spontaneously blending elements of blues, funk and pop with a rock staple”, but it is reflective of each band member’s quality, talent and personas. Waiting for Someone is one of Laid Comers’ most popular songs:

In October 2016, after 3 years of recording, Laid Comers successfully launched their self-titled EP, which charted #3 on iTunes Singapore. Their launch event, “Genesis” boasts a full-house, 280-strong attendance on board the rustic Stewords Riverboat.

Their latest single, If You Knew explores “the contradictory notions of how love and escapism plays out, reconciles and bears testament to the continual strive within a relationship”. With pensive lyrics, synth and electronic undertones, and its familiar rock and guitar-driven ending, this soundscape reflects the heartbreaks endured in a relationship. If You Knew is the “culmination of months of finding our niche in making genre-blending, energetic music that the band wants to be known for”.

Bloom talks with frontman Sean about their latest single, and also to find out what makes them the Laid Comers (this email interview has been edited for clarity and continuity):

From left: Kok Hong Bin, Alston Wong, Sean Goh, Oribelle Chai & Shou Wei

What were the motivating factor(s) to create this band, and evolve it to its current status?

I guess the main reason why we’re doing this is because we love music. For us, and for me, music is life. And it’s something that we can’t not do. We love getting together to write, to create and to play.

We released our self-titled debut EP (extended play record), “Laid Comers” back in 2016. We have put everything we love about music–head-banging rhythm, hip-swaying groove and heart-wrenching melodies, into 20 minutes of soundwaves. And we were grateful to able to “rock” it out back in October 2016, during our launch event, “GENESIS” on board Stewords Riverboat. A second EP is on the horizon as we have been crafting new tracks in the studio.

How do you work together as a band to develop a song (from the lyrics, to the music, to the sounds, etc)?

I am the main songwriter for the band. It usually starts with a tune in my head, a guitar riff, a musical idea and of late, lyrics or words that I’ve caught on in my daily life. I would put it out by recording bits and pieces, often in my phone and piecing them out during our jam sessions. I go for a more intuitive approach that’s based on feelings and emotions instead of theory and structure.

Once the backbone, or the structure of the song is formed, it’s about putting the groove together with the band; about layering the various instruments together. And I enjoy this process tremendously. Many times, a simple bass line from Almo or a groovy beat from Kok could help me find the right emotion to anchor on, or the type of atmospheric style we were looking for through Shou and Oribelle. The vocal melody just comes on by itself.

We’ll play them live at various events and gauge the crowd’s reaction to our music. If it’s good, and if the band likes it, it goes on for further refinement before hitting the studios for production.

Where do you get your inspirations for your band’s pensive but relatable lyrics?

Similarly to how I write the other songs, the lyrics & instrumentation of the song is inspired by my own personal experiences. If You Knew was originally written purely as a “happy” song. But I added a twist, quite late in the recording process, to include the struggles in a relationship; the essence of a “make-or-break”, I guess. A little more melodramatic.

If You Knew is an exploration about our contradictions in love, in a relationship. It’s about us wanting love and escapism, security and adventure. I guess these are things that we hardly conceptualise. That we are complicated beings. Security and Adventure. Love & Desire. That they might actually be counterpoints. But I guess, in many ways, that’s what keeps a relationship going. There is also a central theme that resonates throughout the song–that there is power in emotional vulnerability.

As a rising homegrown band with over 9 years of music-making experience, what are some challenges your band has encountered?

I guess time and resources are the biggest challenges to us. We’re always trying to do more. But other commitments do get in the way. This is especially so when we have our full-time 9 to 6 jobs, and coming together to make music at times, is a luxury. But we continue to make music nonetheless, because we love doing so.

You boys have shown that making music is about more than just being a pretty face. How much practice did you have to go through to perfect one song?

We didn’t wanna make music to look good. We wanna make music because we love doing so. Putting a great song on the record that’s appreciated by our supporters is more important to us then appearing on say, the cover of a magazine.

I guess there’s still quite a bit of work to ‘perfecting’ our songs. Still a long way to go but I believe we’ll get better at what we do. It’s a lot of practice, a lot of hard work that goes into recording a song or rehearsing for a performance. Especially so when we all have full time jobs. But I guess, it’s worth it.

Oribelle, how has your presence as the band’s only lady changed the musical direction of the band? What would you say to other aspiring female music artistes?

I would say that I bring a new sound and a refreshing image to the band. I guess a tune, a melody or a song may be interpreted and expressed rather differently between girls and guys. I lend that healthy or alternative balance, perhaps. The band appreciates this and draws inspiration from my lead lines, patches, tunes etc. And I, in turn, draw inspiration from them.

To all aspiring female music artists, I would say, keep pursuing your dreams. Let love and inspiration be your fuel.

What would you like to say to your fans, and our aspiring local musicians, young and old?

I wouldn’t say “fans”, but our friends and community. We are very appreciative of the amazing support that’s been given to us. We are thankful and hope to produce more music and better performances in the many years to come.

For aspiring local musicians, to always continue to pursue your passion. To never give up. To make it a part of you.

Influenced by the likes of Cold Play, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, Maroon 5, ARIZONA, Tender, Lana Del Rey, Foster the People, and Imagine Dragons, Laid Comers–and their fun-loving, sometimes unpredictable, and an always-a-pleasure-to-be-around nature reflected in their soundscape–with its distinct blend of electro-pop rock music, is working towards their second EP, and is all set to take on both large local festivals, and the international stage in the near future. Follow them on Social Media and show your support for local talent by sharing the links to their music!

Email: laidcomers@gmail.com
For Media Enquiries: Contact Sean
I hope that this interview has inspired you to pursue music, and make it a part of your life. Let Bloom School of Music & Arts support you throughout your musical journey. Quote REFXDENISE when you make an online enquiry here. Or drop by our studio to find out more:

I will now leave you with the most anticipated single by Laid Comers, If You Knew, which is now available on iTunes, Spotify and other streaming sites:

If You Knew

(Single) 4:18
Produced by Edric Hwang & Laid Comers
Song written by Sean Goh
Vocals by Sean Goh
Keyboards & Piano by Oribelle Chai
1st Guitar by Sean Goh
2nd Guitar by Shou Wei
Bass by Alston Wong
Drums & Percussion by Kok Hong Bin
Recorded by Dino Ong for Gryd Studios
Mixed by Edric Hwang for Gryd Studios
Mastered by Leonard Fong for Horus Studios

Every time I see you smile

The sky’s a different blue

After all that we’ve been through

Feels like everything’s surreal

Oh, I know it’s never easy

Perhaps this love will break us

I wonder if you knew

If today’s an endless highway

Hold me close, I’ll take you all away

For tomorrow always begins with you

Makin’ out, turn up the radio

Somewhere the sun never comes down

No place I’d rather be with you

If the sky should fall

I’ll hold you in my arms

Get lost in time with you

There’s nothing I won’t do

Oh, I know it’s never easy

Perhaps this love will break us

I wonder if you knew

If today’s an endless highway

Hold me close, I’ll take you all away

For tomorrow always begins with you

Makin’ out, turn up the radio

Somewhere the sun never comes down

No place I’d rather be with you

I’ll take you to a place

Somewhere only I’ll know

Somewhere only we’ll go

Somewhere only we’ll know