TypeWriter pay tribute to Mustafa Centre in music video

TypeWriter members (from far left) Robin Chua, Desmond Goh, Yee Chang Kang, Patrick Chng and Alan Bok wear costumes inspired by 1970s disco icons Village People for the Sorry, I Got Carried Away music video.
TypeWriter members (from left) Robin Chua, Desmond Goh, Yee Chang Kang, Patrick Chng and Alan Bok wear costumes inspired by 1970s disco icons Village People for the Sorry, I Got Carried Away music video.PHOTO: LITTLE ONG

Home-grown band TypeWriter are avid fans of 24-hour mall Mustafa Centre and it shows in their work.

Their last album, Indian Head Massage (2010), was named after a DVD that frontman and songwriter Yee Chang Kang found at the Little India mall.

In the new music video for Sorry, I Got Carried Away, a song from their new EP, What You're Feeling Is Not Enough, the band members, dressed in costumes inspired by 1970s disco icons Village People, can be seen pushing abandoned trolleys back to Mustafa Centre.

The band will launch the new EP with a live performance of their tracks at the Esplanade Annexe Studio today.

Yee, who sings and plays guitar and harmonica, tells The Straits Times that the giant mall, which attracts a crowd at all hours and has a wide variety of wares, has a distinctive charm: "I have always found Mustafa Centre fascinating. "

For the video, drummer Robin Chua, 44, who joined the band in 2015, came up with the idea for the Village People get-up, while Yee merged it with a photo series, #takemebacktomustafa, that he previously came up with on Instagram.

"The idea is about having random people in the CBD (Central Business District) area, after midnight, all looking tired, jaded and soulless, perhaps after doing shift work, or working overtime. The Village People wardrobe is like the facade or image that they take on during office hours, unknowingly, to show how we are all guarded sometimes," Yee, a film-maker who directed the music video, explains.

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"We see them individually discovering abandoned trolleys along the way, bringing these 'lost souls' back to Mustafa, a place of solace. It's a metaphor for their very own lives."

The 45-year-old's love for both music and film means that he conceptualises his songs together with visuals and vice versa.

"Music and film are from the same source. They come from our feelings, our expressions, our hearts. How we tell a story in a film, with fades and dissolves, is very much the same as how there are ebbs and flows in the emotions of a song. I am very happy that I get to do both."

Yee formed TypeWriter in 2001, a year after his former band The Ordinary People split up.

Like him, the rest of the band are seasoned players in the homegrown music scene.

Guitarist-singer Patrick Chng, 49, is also the frontman for indie pioneers The Oddfellows, bassist Desmond Goh, 41, is from indie-rock trailblazers Electrico and guitarist/keyboardist Alan Bok, 39, played in an outfit called Interlude and has produced recordings for bands such as Obedient Wives Club.

Chua has played with bands including Livonia and Shelves and is also a part of DJ collective Tiko Disko, which will do an opening set at the EP launch show.

Despite the pedigree, Yee emphasises that TypeWriter are not a band that bank on past glories and that they are always looking ahead musically. "With the passage of time, I sure hope we have progressed in terms of our music and songwriting. It is only natural. We all live and learn and, with that, we are constantly inspired, frustrated or deflated by our ongoing experiences in life. These feelings, in one form or another, end up on our new EP."

Sorry, I Got Carried Away, for example, is about not fitting in with societal norms.

"Fitting into every single thing in life doesn't necessarily mean it is a good sign. We have to take our time and think for ourselves. I think that is important in life."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2017, with the headline 'TypeWriter pay tribute to Mustafa Centre in music video'. Print Edition | Subscribe