• Banks: “My music is my heart”Posted January 13th, 2015 At 8:15 pm By MTV ASIA

    Banks

    Banks is a woman of few words. Born Jillian Rose Banks, the 26-year-old songstress started crafting songs when she was 15 to help her deal with her parents’ divorce. And the dark emotional streak and fragility certainly show in her music that’s liken to acts like The Weeknd and Aaliyah. Cutting her teeth by uploading her songs to SoundCloud, Banks inked her first recording deal with Good Years Recording and released her debut single “Before I Ever Met You” in February 2013. Another EP titled Fall Over followed, but it wasn’t until her second EP London that music critics finally lauded her as the next big thing to watch out for. True enough, by late 2013, accolades by BBC and MTV streamed in and various media outlets were paving 2014 as Banks’ breakout year. In September 2014, Banks released her much anticipated debut album Goddess to rave acclaim. With her mesmerizing live performances, Banks has been doing the live circuits rounds and will be performing in Singapore for the first time at the fifth edition of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore on January 24 at The Meadows, Gardens By The Bay. If dark R&B and sultry vocals are your thing, Banks’ performance is certainly one hell of a show that you wouldn’t want to miss.

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  • Jungle: “Whatever style of music we’re playing or writing, what’s important is that we’re having fun!”Posted January 13th, 2015 At 7:35 pm By MTV ASIA

    Jungle (Photo: Dan Wilton)

    They were once heralded by the NME as “the UK’s most mysterious act.” Choosing to let their music speak for itself, UK-based act Jungle is not a band big on each member’s identity. Simply known as J and T, the two founding members of the band grew up together since they were nine years old, went to the same school and played in the same bands. It wasn’t until 2013 that the pair started Jungle and made everyone took notice with their brand of retro future funk. A debut single for “The Heat” was released in October the same year and shortly after, a nomination for BBC’s Sound of 2014 followed. And the rest? All upward trajectory, of course. Now expanded into a seven-piece band for their live shows, Jungle scored over 4 million plays for their “Platoon” music video, released their self-titled debut record in July 2014 via XL Recordings, and clinched a spot on MTV Push in September 2014. Needless to say, Jungle is hot stuff. And if you are really looking forward to dance and jive to their modern take on old skool funk, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore has got you covered. Back in its fifth year, the festival will feature Jungle as well as a slew of some of the best acts around the globe for this year’s festivities on January 24 at The Meadows, Gardens By The Bay.

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  • Little Dragon: “Sometimes, reality is a little boring and we have to make things up!”Posted January 13th, 2015 At 5:48 pm By MTV ASIA

    Little Dragon (Photo: Marco van Rijt)

    Already in its 5th year running, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore is undeniably one of the most anticipated music festivals in the Southeast Asia region. This year’s festivities will once again feature some of the best and most exciting acts around the world come January 24 at The Meadows, Gardens By The Bay. Repping Sweden this year is none other than Little Dragon, an electronic quartet that has been charming both critics and fans alike since their inception in 2006. With the release of their fourth acclaimed album titled Nabuma Rubberband that scored a Grammy nod for Best Dance/Electronic Album, Yukimi Nagano (vocals, percussion), Fredrik Källgren Wallin (keyboards, bass), Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards) and Erik Bodin (drums) prove to be a great force to be reckoned with in today’s ever-changing and fickle musical landscape.

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  • Agnez Mo: “I do what I believe in. I will sing what I feel is real to me.”Posted October 17th, 2014 At 3:47 pm By MTV ASIA

    Text and Interview: Jerry Leong

    If you’re at all into pop and R&B music, you’d better start taking heed of the name, “Agnez Mo”, for this is one spunky pop icon you’ll want to keep an eye on. With an exhausting list of over 80 award nominations, Agnez Mo is already a bona fide superstar in her home country of Indonesia. Having begun her career as a child singer and actress, her musical and acting exploits propelled her into an unprecedented level of dominance in the Indonesian entertainment industry.

    Her next target? US pop chart supremacy. Agnez Mo’s first international single “Coke Bottle” (featuring rapper extraordinaires, Timbaland and T.I.) hit the States last month and like a shaken up can of soda, it’s been fizzing up the web with over six million views online to date. This explosion of popularity is an encouraging marker for her international debut album which is poised to be released in early 2015.

    For the spry Agnez Mo, the journey of striving to reach her ambitions far outweighs even the music itself. She is all about smashing stereotypes, embracing your true self and translating dreams into reality.

    We caught up with the multi-talented maestro, who now spends her time in L.A., to hear what she has to say about the challenges which Asian musicians face while breaking through the American music scene as well as her thoughts on her own personal music journey thus far.

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  • Guy Sebastian: “Everyone’s got their personal demons. In my life, it’s constantly trying to keep everything going.”Posted July 7th, 2014 At 9:15 pm By MTV ASIA

    Text and Interview: Jerry Leong

    Popular singer-songwriter Guy Sebastian has come a long way since emerging triumphant in the first edition of Australian Idol way back in 2003. The baby-faced young lad has now evolved into a confident and seasoned performer, as witnessed in his recent MTV Sessions performance where he belted out track after track with supreme gusto.

    Guy’s reached lofty heights in his musical career too, having released several critically successful albums and collaborating with hip-hop luminary, Lupe Fiasco, for the smash hit, “Battle Scars”. All this success has not gotten to Guy’s head either as he remains refreshingly down-to-earth off-stage. It is obvious that even after 12 years in the music industry, he remains as passionate about his craft as ever, eyes lighting up like a Christmas tree and voice waxing lyrical whenever he speaks about his work.

    In our interview below, we spoke to Guy about his upcoming album, “Madness”, some of his own personal “Battle Scars” as well as whether fans will see the return of that unforgettable afro.

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  • DJ Krush: “It is very important to move forward and experience everything you’re interested in”Posted March 4th, 2014 At 3:32 pm By MTV ASIA

    Text and interview: VJ Alan Wong

    It’s rare to find an artist with a style so unique that it’s hard to define. Most music is familiar to us and fits nicely into a specific genre. Well that’s not how DJ Krush works.

    Japanese DJ Hideki Ishi a.k.a. DJ Krush refuses to let genres define his style. He strives to create music that is brand new, unique, and like nothing else his audiences have ever heard. DJ Krush is a legendary DJ in Japan and is considered one of the pioneers of Japanese hip hop. Over the last 20 years, he’s been creating tracks that rise above genre classification and become personal outlets for his own self expression. For DJ Krush, music seems to be a way of life, a process through which he can explore himself and the world around him. His music is an experience. And the most exciting thing? You will get to experience it when he is here in Singapore come March 7 at Gem Bar!

    To prep for his performance, I got the chance to ask DJ Krush a few questions about his process, style and Japanese hip hop. Read on!

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  • James Blake: “We make mistakes all the time. That’s the beauty of doing things completely live.”Posted January 23rd, 2014 At 6:27 pm By MTV ASIA

    Text and interview: Lennat Mak

    “You’d have to excuse me. I’m just eating some bread,” mumbles James Blake over the phone from his London apartment. Apparently, the British singer/songwriter is taking things very easy with just two phone interviews scheduled for the day, thus opting for a late breakfast. Having released his second album Overgrown back in April 2013 to unanimous critical acclaim and snagging the Mercury Prize in the same year, James is certainly looking to take a breather from all hustle and bustle of being a constant buzz act of most major music press. In comparison, the foreseeable future of 2014 seems rather free and easy. He has just recently finished a guest appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Residency show where he dropped a new track named “40455” and is currently in the middle of his Asia tour that includes the exclusive appearance at the Singapore leg of Laneway Festival. After which, he would move to L.A temporary with Chicago-born MC/rapper Chance to see if they could “make something together.” It all seems so chilled and relaxed that makes one envious. But madness might pick up again if he does win more awards that he is nominated for in the coming months. Who knows? With music seemingly taking a backseat, we did some catching up with James and talked a lot about love, his Asia tour and more.

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  • Savages: “If what we are doing as a band can inspire a generation of people to find the strength to trust their instincts, that would be incredible.”Posted January 23rd, 2014 At 4:38 am By MTV ASIA

    Text and interview: Lennat Mak

    The first time I saw Savages live was at Rough Trade East in London last May. The band was going to release their debut album Silence Yourself and one could almost feel the electrifying tension of anticipation in the air. Much has been written about the band prior – dystopian post-punk, commanding manifestos, unwavering ethos, and their stark monochrome aesthetics shrouded with a veil of mystique. Which goes to say, Savages is definitely not a band you could easily chance upon and forget the next minute. Jehnny Beth (vocals), Gemma Thompson (guitars), Ayse Hassan (bass) and Fay Milton (drums) are a band that presents themselves exactly how they want to be. Live, there’s no doubt that they will immerse and connect themselves right in the moment with you. Now, here comes the caveat: What they require of you, is your full attention. No smoke nor mirrors. Just your complete, utter surrender.

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  • Kurt Vile: “If you really want to do it and if you have the talent, don’t wait around for something to happen”Posted January 6th, 2014 At 5:23 pm By MTV ASIA

    Text and interview: Lennat Mak

    Listening to Kurt Vile’s understated blend of psychedelic fuzz folk is like taking a long scenic road trip across the great America. Dusty skies, deep red sunsets, windows rolled down, wind in the hair, and wholesome sense of working class triumph. Obvious shades of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Velvet Underground aside, what’s unmistakable about the Philadelphian troubadour are his unhurried slacker drawl and heart, which he attributes to his upbringing in a household of 10 and formative years of slogging blue collar jobs at end. People say life experience is what makes a man, and what you hear of Vile today took miles in his shoes since his first demo cassettes when he was a mere 17-year-old. At age 34, Vile has already released five albums and most notably, his latest and critically acclaimed – Wakin On A Pretty Daze. And words of advice from Vile? As we found out in the phone interview with him below, if you have the talent and you want it bad enough, you should never sit around and wait for things to happen. They never do until you work for it on your own.

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  • Youth Lagoon: “Nothing of worth should ever be rushed. When someone tries to push me to do something fast, I go out of my way to do it slower.”Posted January 2nd, 2014 At 6:08 pm By MTV ASIA

    Text: Lennat Mak
    Interview: Noah Harland

    The art of creative intent can be an elusive subject sometimes. Why do artists choose to write and present their music the way they do? What inspires and compels them? And why do common people like us relate to the songs like they are the soundtrack of our lives? If one could put all those tidal waves of complicated feelings eloquently in plain words, we suppose songs would lose their subtle musical nuances that play in your head whenever your memory triggers a familiar emotion. For Boise, Idaho native Trevor Powers, otherwise known by his moniker Youth Lagoon, his creative force comes from the subconscious, where his mind is off on a million things at once and moments where he chooses to focus on, resulting in two albums – The Year Of Hibernation (2011) and Wondrous Bughouse (2013) – of introverted, visceral pop oddities. This January 25, Youth Lagoon will take on Laneway Festival Singapore where all his wondrous musical idiosyncrasies will come to life on our shores. We tried to get a hold of the 25-year-old on the phone for a chat, but his tour schedule seems to put us all on the wrong end of the line. So for now, here’s an email interview with Trevor that reveals a little bit about his creative process, why commercial success does not mean a thing to him and how patience is one thing we should all learn in our lives.

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