Local groups create DIY gigs

SINGAPORE - There is no lack of platforms for local acts to put their talent on display.

An annual music festival like Baybeats, regular shows at popular live music venues and a host of other events provide musicians with opportunities to spread their music.

But some are going further when it comes to taking matters into their own hands and creating even more avenues for themselves through DIY (do-it-yourself) gigs.

This weekend, two groups are doing just that.

One of them is local hip-hop collective Grizzle Grind Crew, who will be holding Grizzle Rhymes at Goodman Arts Centre on Sunday.

Another is indie-rock quartet Cashew Chemists, who have put together The Attic Show 2.0 which will take place on Saturday at Blu Jaz Cafe.

The reasons for self-organised gigs vary, but they include creating alternative platforms for themselves as well as the hopes of repeating the success of past performances.

Grizzle Grind Crew member Dhanish Nair, known as DJ Nashd, explained to LOUD: "When we had our first (externally organised) show in March at the Esplanade, the response was great. We wanted to replicate that."

The 23-year-old is part of the 10-member collective that includes rapper Shigga Shay and Ah Boys To Men actor Tosh Zhang.

While it's Grizzle Grind Crew's first attempt at self-organised shows, it's not something new for Cashew Chemists.

Their other DIY gigs include the first installation of The Attic Show in April last year and their EP launch show in January.

"There are a lot more artistic freedom and fun. It's enjoyment as well as a form of accomplishment... "We also just wanted to play music with our friends," said Cashew Chemists vocalist Yuji Kumagai, 24.

Cashew Chemists also include guitarist Brian Chia, drummer Zachary Chia and bassist Elliot Sng.


Going the DIY route comes with its challenges.

Acts handle everything from start to finish, including sourcing for venues and other acts, budgeting, promotional activities and the technical set-up on the actual day.

On top of that, there is also the actual performing.

"The first time, we were still inexperienced when it came to the technical knowledge, like equipment and checking the sound," said Kumagai.

But experience is key in overcoming that challenge and he hopes they will be able to do a better job this time.

For Nair, conflicting schedules among fellow members make communication harder, but it is a hurdle they resolve through technology, specifically Whatsapp and e-mails.

Their strategy is also to divide and conquer, tapping on the strengths of each member.

Cost is another consideration.

Grizzle Grind Crew, which managed to obtain a grant from National Youth Council for Shine Youth Festival, which Grizzle Rhymes is held in conjunction with, spent about $1,000 for the venue this Sunday and about $300 to $500 per invited act.

For Cashew Chemists, the takings from the show will be split according to agreed-upon terms with the venue owners, as well as the invited acts.

"But it's about the vibe and I don't really care how much we make. We just want everyone to have a good time," Kumagai was quick to add.