Indie musicians write new songs inspired by coffee

Riot !n Magenta’s Eugenia Yip (above left) and band member Ritz Ang looking on as a McCafe employee makes a cup of joe.
Riot !n Magenta’s Eugenia Yip (above left) and band member Ritz Ang looking on as a McCafe employee makes a cup of joe.PHOTO: SINGAPORE COFFEE FESTIVAL

Home-grown indie musicians have written songs such as Insomnia Cafe and Frappe for the Singapore Coffee Festival

There is a rhythmic quality to the whir of coffee grinders, the tinkling of a stirring spoon, the chatter of patrons and the myriad sounds in a cafe.

A group of home-grown musicians - indie-electronic band Riot !n Magenta, pop singer Joshua Simon and electronic music producers Fauxe and Mitch Advent - have recently used all these, and more, as the ingredients for new songs inspired by coffee.

The project, dubbed #SCFSounds, is part of the inaugural Singapore Coffee Festival, which will be held from June 9 to 12 at the F1 Pit Building.

Besides the soundtracks, which can be found on the festival's website (sgcoffeefestival.com.sg), the event will also feature live performances by a stellar line-up of some of the home-grown indie music scene's finest.

These include singer-songwriters Charlie Lim, iNCH and indie bands Pleasantry and Cashew Chemists at the event's two stages, the Intimate Stage and Coffee Stage, over the four days.

Keeping with the local vibe, the festival will feature screenings of four Singapore films - 7 Letters (2015), an anthology by seven local film-makers; hit getai film 881 (2007); comedy Singapore Dreaming (2006); and romance drama Eating Air (1999).

  • BOOK IT /SINGAPORE COFFEE FESTIVAL 2016

  • WHERE: F1 Pit Building, 1 Republic Boulevard WHEN: June 9 to 12, 11am to 9pm daily (June 9 for media and trade only)

    ADMISSION: $15 (for DBS cardholders, while stocks last); $28 (three-day pass for DBS cardholders); $18 (standard) from Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555)

    INFO: sgcoffeefestival.com.sg

  • Gigs

  • At the Singapore Coffee Festival F1 Pit Building

    June 9

    Intimate Stage

    4.45pm - Joie Tan

    7.15pm - Shakthiya

    Coffee Stage

    6pm - Cashew Chemists

    June 10

    Intimate Stage

    4.45pm - Charlie Lim

    7.15pm -Enec.e

    Coffee Stage

    6pm - Pleasantry

    June 11

    Intimate Stage

    2pm - Lewis

    3.30pm - Jaime Wong

    6pm - Jawn

    7.15pm - Dru Chen

    Coffee Stage

    2.45pm - iNCH

    4.45pm - Take Two

    June 12

    Intimate Stage

    2pm - Dru Chen

    3.30pm - Shakthiya

    6pm - Joie Tan

    7.15pm - Charlie Lim

    Coffee Stage

    2.45pm - Disco Hue

    4.45pm - Tim De Cotta & The Warriors

    6.45pm - Enec.e

  • Films

  • June 10

    9pm - 881

    11pm - Singapore Dreaming

    June 11

    9pm - 7 Letters

    11pm - Eating Air

For Riot !n Magenta, a quintet that have played at major shows, including this year's Laneway Festival Singapore, working on the new song for the festival was a chance to expand their musical palette.

Like Simon, Fauxe and Mitch Advent, the members of the band recorded the sounds at a McCafe outlet, McDonald's coffeehouse- style chain, and incorporated them into their tunes.

"The song is more upbeat than our usual stuff," says singer Eugenia Yip, 27.

"While we were working on the song, we got into a discussion on what coffee means to us and we came to a consensus that the song should reflect the adrenaline- pumping nature of caffeine."

Simon, who is also a deejay on radio station Kiss92, says he initially went for a cheery pop tune before ditching it for a more sensual R&B vibe in his track.

"I was working on a totally different track at first. It was a lot happier-sounding. I spent a whole day on it, went to sleep, woke up the next day, listened and hated it. It just wasn't me, it sounded more like a commercial for shiny happy people holding hands," says the 25-year-old.

He started from scratch, working from midnight till dawn, eventually naming the song Insomnia Cafe.

"I was tired, restless and exhausted and Insomnia Cafe happened. In my head, I saw a cafe for insomniacs, all these strangers meeting, keeping one another awake with their stories. Like a scene from a movie I'd watch."

Newcomer Mitch Advent, president of the National University of Singapore's Electronic Music Lab, named his tune Frappe, after the popular iced coffee drink.

"I had this jazzy sound in mind when I started working on the tune, came up with a nice progression and added an electronic feel to it."

The 24-year-old, whose real name is Mitch Goh, adds that the track is a teaser for his upcoming sophomore EP, which will be released next month.


Correction note: An earlier version of the article stated that Joshua Simon is a DJ on radio station ONE FM91.3. This is incorrect. He has since transferred to Kiss92. We are sorry for the error.  

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2016, with the headline 'Sounds of a cafe inspire new songs'. Print Edition | Subscribe