Hardcore pioneers unite

LC93 comprise (from left) Faisal Sahrol, Izar Ahmad, Ady Nur Iskander Shawal, Suhaimi Subandie and Mohd Haermee Othman.
LC93 comprise (from left) Faisal Sahrol, Izar Ahmad, Ady Nur Iskander Shawal, Suhaimi Subandie and Mohd Haermee Othman. PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

LC93, made up of musicians from home-grown hardcore bands of the 1990s, revisit the scene's landmark works with an album

Veteran Singapore musician Suhaimi Subandie's retirement from the scene did not last more than three years.

He thought he had hung up his guitar for good when, in 2011, his band, hardcore stalwarts Stompin' Ground, called it quits to spend more time with their families.

But three years later, he could not say no to his old friends from the music scene, who asked him to join LC93 - a band that pay tribute to the music of the home-grown hardcore scene in the early 1990s.

The 52-year-old, one of the pioneers in the Singapore hardcore punk scene, says: "I really liked the idea of bringing back the music from bands that the younger generation of hardcore fans here might have forgotten about."

Tomorrow, LC93 will launch their debut album, Wiser Stronger Together, with a gig at Aliwal Arts Centre. The songs in the album revisit the music found in Lion City Hardcore, a seminal home-grown compilation CD released in 1993.

  • BOOK IT / LC93 ALBUM LAUNCH

  • WHERE: Aliwal Arts Centre, 28 Aliwal Street

    WHEN: Tomorrow, from 4.30pm

    ADMISSION: $15 before 7pm, $20 after 7pm, at the door

The band's name - short for Lion City 1993 - is also a reference to the iconic collection.

Released by music label Reconstrux Records and now-defunct music magazine Big O, the 20-track CD featuring 10 bands, including Stompin' Ground, has been hailed as a landmark work in the underground music scene.

In an article in The Straits Times that year, music critic Chris Ho dubbed it "a much-needed collection to highlight the oft-misunderstood nature of hardcore rock in the most hi-fi state to date".

All the bands featured on the CD are now defunct.

Besides Suhaimi, LC93 comprise musicians who were originally members of the bands that appeared on the compilation - vocalist Izar Ahmad, bassist Mohd Haermee Othman and drummer Ady Nur Iskander Shawal were from Voiceout; and guitarist Faisal Sahrol played in Voiceout and Upright. They are all 39 years old.

Izar says that while the current crop of Singapore hardcore bands has made great strides, releasing quality music and touring overseas, LC93 are a reminder of what the music was like back in the day.

He adds: "What we hope to achieve with this first album is that these kids should know we had our humble beginnings.

"The sound and the style we had might seem outdated, but it was ours to be proud of. The essence of that original 1993 recording was very raw. The bands had limited knowledge and access to the 'popular' hardcore sound, so we came up with our own interpretation."

Recorded at TNT, a music studio in Parklane Shopping Mall that was also where many of the musicians would jam and hang out in the 1990s, Wiser Stronger Together features many cameos from other singers and musicians from the original bands and also newer acts.

Suhaimi says a lot of the topics that the band sang about more than two decades ago are still relevant today.

"Our lyrics dealt with things such as racism, animal abuse and drug abuse. These are all issues that are still around today," he says.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2016, with the headline 'Hardcore pioneers unite'. Print Edition | Subscribe