ST Sessions: Get to know spontaneous indie group sub:shaman

Homegrown quintet sub:shaman are no ordinary upstarts in the homegrown indie music scene. -- PHOTO: VIDEO SCREENGRAB
Homegrown quintet sub:shaman are no ordinary upstarts in the homegrown indie music scene. -- PHOTO: VIDEO SCREENGRAB

Homegrown quintet sub:shaman are no ordinary upstarts in the homegrown indie music scene. Within a year of their formation in 2012, the band conjured up several high-profile gigs that included music festival Baybeats and the Night Festival.

They were also one of the local bands selected by Grammy-winning English producer Steve Lillywhite when he was looking for Singapore talents to record for his workshop here in 2013.

The producer behind rock and pop juggernauts like U2 and Jason Mraz, Lillywhite singled out the exceptional singing by synth player and vocalist Chew Wei Shan, comparing her to the late nu-soul chanteuse Amy Winehouse.

Their experimental blend of off-beat rock, jazz and electronica has also made discerning fans sit up and take notice, as has their noir-ish and conceptual approach to their debut EP - Outsider. - released in 2014. More than just a collection of their songs, the band has also made a short film of the same name to accompany the EP.

Chew, who also makes music as a solo act - Weish - as well as electronica duo .gif, is no greenhorn in the scene like the other members of the group.

Guitarist and co-singer Isa Ong also plays in other stellar local indie acts like Pleasantry and Amateur Takes Control. Bassist Hanis Isahak is also part of Spacedays.

Electronic effects artist Isa Foong has his own outfit Blankverse and drummer Syahadi Samad plays for several bands including Paris In The Making.

The group had its beginnings as Chew's backing band, before coming into its own as sub:shaman and today, she describes their songwriting process as being a "very dynamic, spontaneous sort of conversation".

The band name can be a metaphor for the way they approach music-making.

Hanis told The Straits Times: "The shaman go through a trance or ritualistic experience to express their inner consciousness, and that's what we want to convey as a band, the expressions that we feel."

dinohadi@sph.com.sg


Take part in a contest to stand a chance of winning this pair of B&O Play BeoPlay Form 2i headphone by Bang & Olufsen.

Watch the videos here and answer two questions.

1) From the first interview video listed above, were the members of sub:shaman friends before or after they formed this band? Before or after? Tell us.

2) Towards the end of their next interview video, Weish sings a refrain: "Show me what you are..." Complete the rest of the line she sings.

E-mail your answers to stcommunities@straitstimes.com and correct entries will be placed in a simple lucky draw. (This contest has closed on Mar 5, 2015.)

Watch more and connect with sub:shaman:

Website: www.subshaman.com

Bandcamp: http://subshaman.bandcamp.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/subshaman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/subshaman

Instagram: https://instagram.com/subshaman

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/subshaman

ST Sessions official backline equipment provider: Ebenex

Full list of ST Sessions acts in Season One

List of ST Sessions acts in ongoing Season Two