Local bands battle for Barcelona

Local bands battle for Barcelona
Hard Rock Hotel - where the Hard Rock Rising contest will take place.

Formed in December 2010, the alternative rock quintet will be taking part in their first band competition, at Hard Rock Cafe Singapore tonight at 9pm.

In its fifth year, Hard Rock Rising is the world's biggest battle of the bands contest.

It sees musicians from around the world participating in a rock 'n' roll face-off in Barcelona where the winner will play at the Hard Rock Rising Barcelona global music festival in July in Barcelona, Spain.

Chasing Frequency and two other bands, Savage Tune and Suasion, were the top three finalists out of eight after an initial qualifying round that required fans to vote for their favourite.

The winner will advance to the regional finals and compete against the champs of other countries for a spot in Barcelona.

CASH PRIZE

It will also receive a $1,000 cash prize and $500 worth of food and beverage vouchers.

The bassist of Chasing Frequency, Roland Diano, 37, an auditor, told M: "We decided to join because we like the exposure... It's a privilege. There are not many platforms for bands like us to share our music in Singapore."

Mr Diano, who is from the Philippines, moved to Singapore in 2001 and is a Singapore permanent resident.

He said: "We're really excited, but nervous as well since it's our first time in a competition."

Their set list for Hard Rock Rising includes covers of Band On The Run by Paul McCartney and Wings and Enveloped Ideas by The Dawn, and original songs On My Way and Take Me Away.

Hard Rock Rising judge Gavin Cardoza, 53, keyboardist for local rock band Energy, said: "I'm looking for something different. (The bands have got) to be original.

"Even if they perform covers, it's how they perform them that matters. They can rearrange (the song), but don't perform it as it was, (otherwise) I might as well listen to the original.

"It's important to have one's own style and also put in the effort. Practice is the word."

Unfortunately, that is often easier said than done.

Mr Diano said: "Getting everyone together to hone our craft is the challenge. We all have our own responsibilities besides pursuing this hobby."

Mr Christopher Bong, 27, lead guitarist of pop-rock quartet Suasion, agrees. "There were a lot of difficulties along the way. Finding the time to get together despite our busy schedules was hard," he said.

Mr Bong is a music teacher who teaches guitar, piano and ukulele.

Suasion was formed about six months ago, although the original duo consisting of Mr Bong and singer Michael Intrator got together in late 2013.

The quartet has played at festivals and events, but Hard Rock Rising will be their first competition.

Said Mr Bong: "We hope to establish ourselves as a local band through this competition and get our original songs out there. "One of (the original songs) we'll be playing is called Ambition. It centres on making decisions about how to live your life and the person you want to be."

His advice for fellow musicians?

"There will always be this fear of getting on stage and performing something new. "But you have to get over those fears. Get yourself out there, because the more you experience, the more you learn."


This article was first published on March 25, 2015.
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andreas@sph.com.sg

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