Four studios to check out

Vibes, a band of part-time musicians, have been jamming at Wee Lee for more than two decades. Wee Lee Music Centre's owner Sam Ng. TNT studios, one of the oldest jamming studios in town, and its owner Ah Boy. The Music Parlour's owners Justin Mendoza
The Music Parlour’s owners Justin Mendoza (on piano) and Jaye Foo (on guitar) with musician and Foo's girlfriend, Kana Oya. ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Wee Lee Music Centre’s owner Sam Ng.
Wee Lee Music Centre’s owner Sam Ng.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Vibes, a band of part-time musicians, have been jamming at Wee Lee for more than two decades.
Vibes, a band of part-time musicians, have been jamming at Wee Lee for more than two decades.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
TNT studios, one of the oldest jamming studios in town, and its owner Ah Boy.
TNT studios, one of the oldest jamming studios in town, and its owner Ah Boy.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Live Amp Studios

Where: Chinatown Plaza, 34 Craig Road, B1-08  Number of studios: Four Rates: $17 to $23 an hour, depending on studio size and hours Open: 10am to midnight daily Other services: Equipment rental, organising gigs

The owners of Live Amp Studios, brothers Roland Diano, 38, and Ernest Diano, 40, are hobbyist musicians who love to jam during their downtime so it is no coincidence that the bulk of the clientele here are non-professional musicians in the 20 to 40 age range.

The equipment here is top-notch.

For example, all the studios have tube amplifiers, arguably a superior type of amps preferred by many guitarists.

The Diano brothers jam here themselves, so together with studio manager Ezekiel Paul, 30, they make sure all the equipment is in good working order and that the place is always spotless.

The studio started out with two rooms at nearby Keong Saik Road in 2010 and moved to its present location at Chinatown Plaza in 2011, where it expanded to four rooms.

More than just a place to jam, the studio is always on the lookout for budding talents.

About five times a year, it organises a gig series called Jam With The Chief, in which bands which jam there regularly are invited to perform at various venues such as bars and clubs.


Wee Lee Music Centre

Where: 74 Lorong 25A Geylang Number of studios: Five Rates: $17 to $20 an hour Open: 1 to 11pm daily Other services: Equipment rental

With a prime spot right next to Aljunied MRT station, Wee Lee Music Centre is a branch of one of the oldest jamming studios in Singapore, BMC Music Centre in Bedok.

Owner Sam Ng, 49, is an old hand in the family business and has been helping his father run BMC since his schooldays. BMC opened in 1983.

Wee Lee opened in 1990 and has not changed much in the last 26 years. The place has five studios, a plus point as it means that more often than not, a studio is always available.

The rooms themselves are fuss-free and while the equipment is not new, the staff make sure that they are all in working order.

The place is a favourite with veteran club bands such as Shagies, whose members jam here often.

Home-grown jazz musicians, such as flute player Rit Xu, have also been spotted practising here.


The Music Parlour

Where: Peninsula Shopping Centre, 3 Coleman Street, 04-20 Number of studios: Three Rates: $15 to $40 an hour Discounts are available with monthly membership accounts that start from $50 a month for every band Open: 10am to 10pm daily, after hours by request Other services: Recording and performance space

The newest kid on the block, The Music Parlour, stands out from other jamming studios here with its fancy decor.

Owners Jaye Foo and Justin Mendoza are not just musicians and songwriters but they both also have a background in architecture and interior design and came up with the quaint and rustic look themselves.

Inspired by their love of fantasy series such as Harry Potter and The Chronicles Of Narnia, the place has moveable shelves which double as doors and vintage items such as an antique, working gramophone.

The three jamming rooms are equipped with new, quality equipment.

The rooms can also open up into one big space which hosts regular, small gigs for a 50-strong audience.

The location is superb. Peninsula Shopping Centre is also a musician's haven, with many music equipment stores in the basement.


TNT Music Productions

Where: Parklane Shopping Mall, 35 Selegie Road, 03-22 Number of studios: One Rates: $18 an hour Open: Noon to 11pm daily, call and book ahead Other services: Recording and equipment rental

One of the oldest jamming studios in town, TNT was a mini-hub for the home-grown alternative music scene back in the 1990s.

Run by Mr K.K. Wong, affectionately known as Ah Boy, TNT was not just a place to jam for notable bands such as hardcore pioneers Stompin' Ground, but was also a hangout spot for scenesters to socialise.

The studio opened in 1989 in Parklane Shopping Mall and moved to its current location two floors down in 2000.

While the studio and its equipment are not new, they are well maintained and the place has a cosy and homely vibe.

Ah Boy has not changed the rates in 20 years. Jamming at the studio still costs $18 an hour, a decent price for a studio located on the edge of town.

TNT also has a reputation for allowing bands of all genres to jam and make as much noise as they want, unlike some studios which disallow bands from heavier genres such as metal, punk and hardcore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Four studios to check out'. Print Edition | Subscribe