Bands from Sundown Festival discuss set list and music inspirations

Local and overseas bands that performed at Sundown Festival 2015 share with Imagine TV Network the music that inspired them and how they choose the songs for their set list.

Words by Imagine TV Network

Skechers Sundown Festival concluded its seventh year with an attendance of over 9,000 music lovers. This year featured performances from six countries, including five headliner acts, three fringe acts and a guest artist.

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Potato, a band from Thailand, say they just finished a concert in their home country and has concert tours planned for next year. They named English rock band Muse as one of their inspirations and said their favorite song is "Dead Inside."

Koki from Japanese band INKT remarks that they usually include "Shangri-La" for all their gigs because it is an upbeat song. "[It] can communicate with our audience as they can wave to it." Fellow band member Kei mentions that their set list reflects the character of their band and Koki adds that they consider how the songs appeal to the audience when deciding what songs to include.

Although the five-member band share a common passion for composing, their taste in music varies widely. Mackaz was straightforward, saying, "Bruno Mars. I watched him 'live' and want to be him."

KC has been listening to by music from Hiatus Kaiyote whereas for Kei, Russian band Russkaja, with its fusion of punk rock and ska, inspires him with its unique sound. Koki refers to the music composed by Bjork for the musical film "Dancer in the Dark" as inspirational and say he got goosebumps listening to it. Sassy, on the other hand, opine that Hello Sleepwalkers, a band from Okinawa, Japan, is the "hottest four-beat genre band around."

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For local singer Cheryl Loon, one song in particular holds special meaning for her. "I wrote “Dancing with Angels” for my late cousin who passed away in a tragic accident 2 years ago. I hope it gets through to him."

The singer, who is preparing to launch her EP next year, says she used to get sore throat regularly until she started drinking honey green tea. She also loves the melody of the songs by British duo Honne and describes the lyrics as simple but beautifully executed.

Cashew Chemists is also in the midst of recording for their album and second EP. "Life has given many changes to us but we are working hard on our music," the band shares.

"Mountain," a song they played during Sundown Festival, is described by the rock band as "a track of big riffs and weird sounds." Noting that the song is representative of their vibe for their upcoming album, they emphasize they are no longer "poppy suit kids."

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"Best Friend," a song by American indie band The Drums, was instrumental in inspiring a few songs in Farrago's album. "The energy they put into it and the reaction they got from the crowd blew me away... It was the [transition of] sad song to a happy beat concept that inspired me a lot," David Hawkes recalls."Traffic Lights" is another important song for the band because it was the song for their first music video and is always the first song on any of their set list. "It also follows that sad song to happy beat concept," he adds.

Crafting a set list depends on many factors and for the band's set list for Sundown Festival, the twenty minutes allocated meant the band was more inclined to pick songs that were high-energy and that the audience could sing-a-long. "[They were] feel good songs that get the place rocking and [put] people in a festive mood," he says.

Caracal, who recently performed in New York as part of the Singapore: Inside Out showcase, is frank about the toil of being an independent band. "Staying alive has been occupying our time as well. It is hard," the band remarks, adding that like other Singaporeans, work occupies their remaining time.

The formula Caracal follows for determining their set list is simple. "Most of the time we just play a setlist that we aren’t sick of hearing ourselves," they share. "Given Breath," a song the band wrote for their parents, is often featured in their set list.

"The song was written for our parents, and it is a tribute to their endless sacrifices for us, and how we can never pay them back but continually try to anyway." The band expresses that the song has a weird vibe and feels both heavy and light at the same time.



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