Things have been so busy since April – I’ve barely had a chance to keep up!
The Voices of Asia collaboration, as part of the Small World Music Asian Music Series, with these ridiculously talented ladies: Suba Sankaran, Amely Zhou and Vandana Vishwas, accompanied by Dylan Bell and Ed Hanley bandmates of Suba’s from Autorickshaw – was unbelieveable. Chinese classical, to Hindustani and Carnatic, to alt/rock to jazz to medieval European choral – really – really. Somehow all the pieces jelled throughout the evening. It was kinda magical.
Thanks to an amazing audience on taking a chance – great things can come from these experiments. Thank you Small World Music Society for being the catalyst of such amazing cultural experiments, for inviting me to play and for introducing me now to these amazing musicians.
It was a really different kind of show than the rock shows I’ve been accustomed to doing. Still very high energy and always raw – but it was really cool to have multiple voices, tabla and erhu, live on my songs. Reza Moghadas did a fantastic job, making sure we could all be heard and balanced and beautiful. It’s a real treat for me to be able to sing, and not scream, (although – I always love me some screaming). It was a plush seat theater – the Small World Music Centre – and roughly about 4 day residency! It was such a pleasure to work through and re-arrange the songs with musicians who are at the top of their craft. I was a bit nervous – to collaborate with 5 other musicians – all of us from very different genres/practices. But the team was amazing and the outcome brilliant. Sold out, standing room only April 25th show. (Video to come! Thanks Rodrigo Castro!)
This show was so successful and had such momentum, that the lovely Ed Hanley, our amazing percussionist and tabla player from Autorickshaw, suggested we produce a fundraiser in support of Nepal earthquake relief efforts. Some 20 artists based in Toronto, along with the Voices of Asia team, produced a pretty awesome and very eclectic nigh to celebrate Asian identity in support of Nepal Relief. The show sold out – and with a Government of Canada matching program, in one night we raised $5000! Many thanks to Ed for bringing everyone together and producing the show.
It’s been 13 months of my 18 month adventure.
13 months since I left a job to make music and embark on other creative endeavours. It’s a little intense just how much art has been created in that time – I am so beyond pleased to have taken the time to do so – and I think what I’ve learned so far is that being creative is a non-negotiable for me – I must always have the space and capacity to create.
In the past 12 months – SBS has written + recorded a 7 song EP titled Strength – that we are sharing for free online with all you lovely people who supported us over the past year. Every time you came to a show, or wrote to us, or even just gave us hi-fives – these were all more important than I think you’ll ever really understand. We’ve played something kinda crazy like 20 shows and met an innumerable amount of new cool bands, artists and friends.
This record was paid for nearly entirely from what we made at live shows – thank you for your love – this record belongs to you as much as it belongs to us. You can download the completed Strength EP at http://singbandanasingh.bandcamp.com for free (it also gives you an option to share monetary love to if you feel moved 🙂 Much love to Marco Adamovic, Rustom Irani, Vikas Kohli, Desi Punks, and you friends, for all the hours of rehearsal, recording, mixing, shows, love, hugs in making this record a reality. We have had some ridiculously fucking amazing times.
SBS will continue on in future. Strength is only 1 part of 3 EP series. There is still Beauty and Shimmer to produce. And in some time they will come to be…..
– As life is such – there has been a shift. Writing some of the new material, it didn’t really feel like a fit for SBS – almost entirely because – it’s not just me writing and creating these songs. I wrote a previous blog about how uncomfortable I’ve been using my name recently – a good chunk of that issue is because my name is not reflective of all the other love and effort that goes into these new songs. These new songs in particular are really a partnership between me and the tremendously talented Marco Adamovic, and reflect our want to explore and initiate social, cultural, political change through music: and this has led to the birth of Luxury lxry.bandcamp.com (Winter Sun is my personal new fave – but Love has something about it….)
Luxury is the new 2 piece we are rocking. We’ve already had a ton of love from the wonderful people at UTTV with the Map Room Sessions – a video interview + live performance piece. (The interview starts around 4mins in) <— Check it out!! Over the past few weeks, we’ve become more and more aware of our luxury to be able to openly play whatever music we want, when we want, how we want, to say the things we want. We thought it fitting to call what we do a luxury – even though really – every single being has a right to self express – but how many of us take advantage of this right? What do we do if it’s ever taken away or lost? Why are there always people who will be more or less heard or acknowledged? Why is saying what you believe in considered dangerous?
So while the SBS Lion takes a wee nap after a hectic 2 years of hard work, LXRY will be slowly waking and stretching it’s legs.
12 of 18 months into this creative adventure…who knows what’s next to come?
It’s been a long 2 months of radio silence. A lot has been on my mind.
First – let’s celebrate!! Strength, the first of a 3 EP series, is finally complete! It took 7 months to write, rehearse, record and now release. We did a total of like 12 shows in some 9 months. Strength is being officially released in August (which was like 6 months later than I wanted – I wasn’t pleased about that – but such is life- things happen when they need to – shifting timelines are difficult for control freaks like me). We’re sending out previews for people’s thoughts throughout July (holla @bandbandana if you want access to the sneak peek).
Second – the band is taking a much needed vacation until August. Take a look at the past posts – we’ve kinda been running + hustling the past 10 months. A break was in order before the very busy fall.
Third – I’m considering changing the name of the band. The band name has my name in it. I have always been slightly uncomfortable by this, my identity is not solely the band or even music for that matter, neither is it based on the other members of the band – and vice versa. But I gave it a shot. It still doesn’t sit quite perfectly – especially when you share a band with other people – I don’t really want to share my name. Is that weird? I don’t want to be reverse married to this strange esoteric entity known as “the band” – I’m committed, I’m obviously devoted, I just don’t want to share my name. I want to keep my name for myself. Is that selfish and bizarre? I think I will keep the name Sing Bandana Singh for personal music- however the 3 EP series Strength Beauty Shimmer, even if I was the original impetus for the band, I feel should have a different real cohesive band name – that’s representative of the sound and all of the influences and members that contribute to it’s existence.
Any thoughts on this conundrum? Any potential band names? My personal fave: Swans + Badgers. We need a new band name ASAP because we need CD artwork done ASAP – before the August official release. A little help here guys would go a loooooonnngggg way.
Anyway – I’m tired of thinking about all this ridiculousness (it could also be that I’m just over half way through this project and I’m frustrated and tired, alongside thrilled and excited – I’m on my way to enjoy some pie and stop thinking. Blueberry with vanilla icecream – yes I know it’s Monday morning – I may not make a regular paycheque – but I can damn well eat pie for breakfast – the beauty of being an artist).
These are two things I have been working on this month and BOTH are surprisingly foreign to me.
The band spent all of the Winter months writing, rehearsing, performing and recording the Strength EP, which is due out May 2012. The songs are hard, aggressive, thick, dynamic and lyrically pretty clearly about strength – my interpretation of strength – there were some ups+downs writing the material but no un-scalable brick walls.
It’s disorienting. Most of the material I have written is heavy and generally deals with issues we don’t wish to speak about (living beyond trauma, anger, depression, etc…). But Beauty – well that’s something we seemingly engage with every day, and can’t stop talking about, particularly in a time of heavy media saturation – billboards, tv ads, magazine pull outs, facebook, etc…
The facebook element really intrigues me – in past we would look to magazines and other external media to draw comparisons and build our sense of Beauty worthiness and attractiveness – I feel that now we do this more so by stalking our friend’s pages and the pages of totally random seemingly happy + seemingly beautiful strangers. We are very willing to take on the role of the advertiser by posting what we believe to be beautiful photos of ourselves to broadcast a particular notion we’d like to persuade an audience to believe. Simultaneously, we play role of an audience who is willing to accept the potential deception of the seemingly wonderful scenarios portrayed in the photographs/posts of others. We should recognize that with any medium there will be an inherent bias in the message – facebook photos are self-selected for us to look our best and to meet some standard (a standard that is quantified by the number of Likes). It’s an instantaneous model for the pursuit of crowd-sourcing a standard of our own Beauty.
But we all know that Beauty is far more than aesthetic. Many times when I think of Beauty I immediately think of love, or truth or justice or good or some other highly conceptual positive element. But I’m not entirely comfortable with that – again that’s too self-selecting, and things like being good or engaging with truth can be painful and difficult actions, but entirely necessary – can’t a painful truth be Beauty?
I’m trying to work from neither the aesthetic nor the emotional elements of Beauty. The definition that has really made the largest impact has been the phrase “being in one’s hour.” It’s the only one that’s really rung true in my mind as a place to start writing new material. It I have LITTLE IDEA what this EP is going to sound like in the end….it’s a grand experiment this Beauty.
And as for Taxes.….well you see I was supposed to be doing that this afternoon – but decided to write to you instead…..if ever you feel really down and out about your Beauty (whatever that means to you), know that you are always and forever more beautiful than taxes will ever be.
So – check it out – we are playing Canadian Music Fest (a part of Canadian Music Week) as part of woah! Music’s showcase!
This means 2 things:
1. See you Friday night!
2. We will be at the daytime conference at the Royal York on Thur, Fri + Sat.
Conferencing for some people can be intimidating- but hey – you know at least 1 band there & you can totally fake like we’re doing hardcore business deals over Twitter 🙂 People can seem a little cold, but usually a nice hello, a firm handshake and a warm smile and people will open right up! You can reach me + Marco directly via twitter — @bandbandana or @marcoadamovic — If you’re there too and want to chat about art and music and labels and love, let’s meet up!
I’ll be headed out to see DangerBand on Thursday night + Saul Williams on Fri night (After our show of course!); I’m going to do my darndest to see Lickpenny Loafer + Cousin Rufu on Sat night (we’ve played with these guys – amazing vocals on both bands).
There are clips up of the pre-mixed tracks! If you would like a preview of the new Strength EP before it is released in May, send us a Tweet!
Ok – CMW is going to be hectic – so everyone, eat well, take care of yourself and each other and we’ll see you out there at the shows!
FIRST…you may have noticed some changes… You may have noticed that the visual theme for this blog has been updated – I just felt that with the new songs, the site needed a sprucing up – SBS is also the only group that’s been posting here for the last 12 months so we’re cannibalizing TheWorkrooms.com – if there is an interest in keeping TheWorkrooms.com going – let us know!
SECONDLY…for your listening pleasure –> NEW SBS SONGS!!! These are the tunes we’ve been working on in studio!
THRIDLY….. today is my Father’s and Kurt Cobain’s birthdays. Below are some videos of music that they’ve both inspired me to enjoy and consume as my own –people always ask us about our influences – these examples explain the influences in SBS quite clearly I think. (They are long videos, the first 2 mins of each gives a good taste of the rest of the song).
February is a super hectic month because the calendar days are truncated – I’m not sure if that means we actually have less time, but such is the way with our ability to perceive time. I’m tired. Not going to lie. Actually the whole band is a wee bit tired – we’re taking a 2-3 week breather to write instead of rehearsing or doing shows. (So I guess we’re still working – but it’s not exactly the same).
Since the beginning of 2012 we’ve played 4 shows for some 500 people (playing with Arkells, The Elwins, Dead Shyre, CSI Annex, Lickpenny Loafer + Cousin Rufu), engaged a publicist, have a team working on building the culture label, have a logo for the culture label, updated our EPK, been in studio with Vikas Kohli at FatLabs and completed 6 new songs (in 51 days that’s not bad). We’d like to do more – but we need to take a small step back, rest up and plan for the upcoming EP releases.
Originally we were going to release 1 full length album of 15 songs or so – that has changed. We have decided to release three, 5-7 song EPs titled: Strength, Beauty & Shimmer. We will release one EP every 3-4 months (essentially every season, just like a fashion designer releases collections – thanks for the inspiration Jason Goldlist). SBS is pretty lucky that even though we are only a 3 piece band, we’re all actual musicians who can play instruments and sing at the same time (no joke – that’s pretty rare) – so we have a lot of variety in the song types we can create. Breaking down the album into separate EP’s will allow for each distinctive sound live it’s full life – then we can also provide listeners with the ability to make their own albums – when our band and/or label site is up.
The videos above are all about deep seated drunk love – isn’t that what February is always associated with – the heart + love in North America. But I’m just sayin’ that the heart’s got nothing without the lungs to feed it oxygen and a mind to put to use all that delusional emotion. I’d love to see little lung + brain emoticons to share with loved ones – if anyone has some available send them our way… We speak a lot about heart in music – but man – it takes all kinds of muscles and organs to make something like music work and work beautifully: it takes heart + guts + balls + brains + any other number of muscles, tissues and organs I know not of. (This is top of mind for me as my back’s been out of commission and I had never realized just how fully I took for granted how a whole body+mind is needed to make music – or love for that matter)…carrying on…..
This post really could have been 2 or even 3 posts – but I simply couldn’t stop working. Now it is time for bed…..or maybe just a few more tweaks before I go to sleep….