By Eddino Abdul Hadi

 

[Note: This article was first published in BigO #169 (January 2000) in conjunction with the release of The Boredphucks' Banned In Da Singapura album. The CD was remastered and reissued in 2002 by BigO Records.
Click here to order the CD or to listen to soundbites.]


The thing about sitting down and having a tete-a-tete with The Boredphucks is that they speak their minds, diplomacy be damned. They talk passionately about their music and pour vitriol on the ones who cross their path. Unlike bands who take great pains to speak articulately in the hope of not coming across as loudmouth, offensive assholes, these guys just don't care.

Their brutal frankness is a refreshing relief from the banality of safe, MOR-oriented but supposedly "alternative" bands.
There has already been too much talk about how political correctness and diplomacy will be the death of the local music scene because nobody seems to be willing to give honest criticism, for fear of discouraging those who have put in an effort to release CDs, play gigs or organise shows.

 

You might love The Boredphucks for their comic, their satirical take on urban Singapore or just because they rock your trousers off. Or you might figure they're just a trio of hormonal pre-pubescents who've just discovered that saying "****" or "chee***" is an easy way to attract attention. Whatever it is, one thing they're certainly not guilty of is blandness. Local pundits do sit up and take notice because the scene has had enough of dull and pedestrian rock 'n' roll. The absurdity and recklessness found in The Boredphucks, traits necessary in all good rock bands, are what make them stand out.

Lead vocalist cum guitarist Sig Lendonn and drummer Sir Richard Tu Lan (they now sport new monikers as part of their new identity) look back at the eventful past year and the new CD, Banned In Da Singapura. Bassist J-Bob is absent due to a severe bout of chicken pox.

THE REVOLUTION 69 CD AND THEIR FIRST GIG
"We're The Least Pretentious Band In Singapore...."

1999 must have been quite a year for The Boredphucks. When you released your first CD, Revolution 69, early last year, were there any problems?

SIR RICHARD: Nope. Revolution 69 started off more like an excuse for us to have fun. We didn't have any problems with the CD. We only expected to sell 100 CDs just to make back our money. In the end we sold 1,000.

SIG LENDONN: After the CD got out, we found ourselves popular for the first time, we got to know a lot of girls. We kinda wish we were back in school again. Back then we were the social outcasts hanging out on the grassy knoll, now people actually think we're hip and cool. That album went down well with almost everyone, especially the Mandarin-speaking Bengs of our army, they all love our Hokkien songs.

SR: It didn't go down well with our parents though.

SL: My relatives came over for Deepavali and they all wanted to hear my CD, so I had to like program the player to keep playing Zoe Tay and Ballad Of Tabitha on repeat. One of my dad's friends said, "Hmm that is an extremely interesting band name you have there."

The Boredphucks' first "electric" gig was quite soon after that at Moods, wasn't it?

SL: That was so ****ing fun man, I was so drunk. It wasn't a gig, it was a party and we totally rocked the joint. All our friends were there and there were just these great vibes. It's always more fun playing in a packed joint. We were playing for the people who sincerely enjoyed The Boredphucks. A lot of people who like us aren't people from the scene. They hardly ever go down for gigs or buy any local albums. We're like their first local band so it's great we've actually converted some 98.7 kiddies and taught them how to rock!

SR: For some of the kids the only band they KNOW is The Boredphucks.

Why is that so?

SL: Because we're one of the most Singaporean bands around and we write about stuff that people identify easily with. I don't go on singing about how "the beauty of autumn leaves in UK make me wanna recite Indian poetry backwards" 'cos I've never done that s*** before. We are just being ourselves really, in our music. It's wonderful that people can actually connect with us. And it's an absolutely turn on seeing all these girls singing along to "I wanna phuck (rock) with you baby." It's a cheap thrill.

SR: We are the least pretentious band in Singapore. A lot of local bands are so obsessed with trying to be something they are not.

SL: Hey Sir Richard, don't we want to be rock stars and stuff?

SR: Oh yah. Aiyah but we cool what?

SL: People like happy songs.

 

So you consider your music happy?

SL: I think it's ****ing happy music, man. It makes you laugh and it makes you feel good. A lot of people overseas tell me it makes them miss home. Humour sells.

SR: Sex sells more.

SL: So there you have it. Sex and humour and more sex.

SR: And public controversy for added hype!

There was a lot of cussing and swearing then too, but why do you think nobody made a fuss then?

SR: Back then we were this new band which nobody gave a s*** about. So people didn't bother. Once you make it supposedly big you start attracting a lot of attention.

SL: You've heard our CD and you know what we're gonna be like. If you're gonna pay to get in just to watch The Boredphucks and go home and bitch about us, then you really have to be a dumb ass. If you don't like us, stay at home and jerk off. At the Moods gig we were playing to all our friends. The vibes were incredible.

LOCALPALLOOZA '99
"There Was Only One Vulgarity..."

And the infamous Perfect 10 gig, Localpallooza...

SL: That was the ****ing best gig we ever played man. It was just so much fun.

SR: Best audience we ever had.

SL: The crowd was really rocking, even though it was raining. And the guys were moshing and the girls were all soaked in wet T-shirts!

SR: Girls were screaming OUR names.

Were you warned to not swear?

SL: Yes we were. I have this natural high when I'm on stage. I lost control.

So you didn't take the warnings seriously?

SL: I just wanna say that we weren't the only band or persons guilty of using vulgarities that day. We got targeted because during our set, things got outta control. The kids pushed down the barriers and some of them were crashing the stage. They were just having fun, they were not starting a riot. There was only one vulgarity, at the start when we kicked into our set.

Did you expect all the press articles, letters of complaints and criticism that came after that?

SL: No. I thought it would just die down because all I did was use a vulgar word on stage. Was I selling drugs to the kids? No. Was I selling pirated VCDs? No. I used a vulgar word on stage. I just got really pissed off when the article came out in the Life section of The Straits Times.

Why?

SL: Because Lea Wee (the ST journalist) told me she would write it intelligently. But as it turned out, she was just doing her job without noticing the fact that all her life, her CD player was playing in reverse. "The Boredphucks gig was peppered with vulgarities and obscene gestures." First of all, there was one vulgarity at the start, and HELLO? If we kept making obscene gestures how the hell are we supposed to play our instruments? She made us look really bad. Like we were criminals or something.

But you know that's exactly what she's gonna write about. You can't tell the journalist how to write it.

SL: Well, there's nothing I could have done to stop that article from coming out. I just think it could have been written in a more intelligent manner. Imagine all the parents reading that. They're probably thinking, "Is this what my son or daughter doing at local gigs?" It just has a lot of negative implications on the scene. I'm so pissed off. Why can't you blast the fact that a primary school kid can go down to his bus interchange and buy a triple X porno VCD entitled Anal Planet Part 3? Why can't you ****ing blast the fact that a lot of kids are screwing themselves up over drugs? All I said was a ****ing vulgarity! Everyone uses vulgarities at one point of time in their life! Was I performing a satanic, sadistic, ritual sacrifice of a chunk of mutton onstage Ozzy Osbourne style? No! I used a vulgarity that people shout at you everyday during national service.

What happened with the cops at the gig?

SR: We were called up by the police and we kena scolded jialat-jialat.

THE AFTERMATH OF LOCALPALLOOZA
"Singaporeans Are Ignorant And Judgemental..."

Now when you look back at it, what do you think about the whole affair?

SL: I do not have any regret saying what I did. I did it, yes. Nothing can change that. So I've moved on. This whole hoo-hah just goes to show how boring our scene is. A band can actually strike up a buzz by singing a vulgar song. And everyone just stops in their shoes, freezes, and analyses the situation of music in Singapore. These are the same people who own CDs with Parental Advisory stickers on them and love them. It's stupid, it's double standards and I'm sick of it. But I've moved on, we've completed our album. There were no restraints on that. I just gotta be a good boy when I play live.

What do you think of all those people who wrote in to complain about The Boredphucks? They say that you guys are just a bunch of foul-mouthed little boys... you didn't reply to any of the criticism.

SR: We don't really care about that. We just wanted the album to come out and let it speak for itself.

SL: I just wanna let all you people who bitch about us know that I find it amusing that I can actually affect you that much. Don't you guys have other things to do? There's only ONE letter I would publicly like to reply to, and that is the letter from Xiao Jinhong of BigO magazine.

(Clears throat) Mr Xiao Jinhong, I think you are an idiot. Talking about the punk ethic and ideals. Sure, you've gone ahead and been interrogated by the police, you've worked your ****ing ass off to raise money to record a CD, sure, everyone's telling you you're gonna get into trouble but you still go ahead and do it because you believe in it. What the **** do you know about the punk ethic and DIY? We have been DIY all the way from the start and we still are, you twit. You actually base your judgements on hearsay. "I heard from my friends that The Boredphucks are a bunch of kids who just use vulgarities for the sake of it." As a journalist, I think that undermines your integrity. Do yourself a favour Mr Xiao Jinhong, go get yourself a job at The New Paper.

SR: This really underlines how most Singaporeans are — ignorant and judgemental.



Do you think these people are being unfair to you?

SR: It's not all the people.

SL: It's the system.

SR: Most people here just hear from other people all these bad things and then they believe and think that it's true.

SL: At the end of it all, we've done an album that we are proud of. And there are more people who love it than people who hate it. So I don't give a s***.

THE ONE TRUE SINGAPOREAN ROCK 'N' ROLL BAND
"Other Local Bands Suck!"

Do you think the scene is so boring that all there is to talk about is The Boredphucks?

SL: Exactly! The thing is, the local scene… no matter how ridiculous the lyrics may be. It's all based on true life experiences.

SR: A lot of bands don't respect their music enough to put in the effort.

SL: The first basic fault in the scene is not the problem of Singaporeans being unsupportive or like radio not playing enough local songs. The first problem lies with the bands themselves. Face it, a lot of local bands simply suck! When you compare some local bands to some of your favourite bands, you find they don't live up.

I really hate it when people say that, oh, this is great for local standards, this is innovative for local standards. **** the local standard, the local standard is so bloody low! Let's say you compared the Suede concert to a weekend gig at the Youth Park. Sure, Suede have a million dollars' worth of equipment but if you put them at the Youth Park and play with the same equipment we use, they would still be kicking ****ing ass.


Everybody's just stuck with this local standard thing and it will just never grow. For me, playing a gig, you're an entertainer, you have to entertain the audience. You don't just go there, ****ing play your stuff, with your bassist looking at your drummer the whole time.

SR: You can't use the excuse that you're busy with work or you're busy with the army. If you're gonna put on a show, and an audience is gonna be there, you'd better make sure you put on a damn good show for them.

SL: Yeah, the thing is, if you're not ready, don't play. Wait until your band is ready.

Do you think you're setting the standards for the local scene?

SL: Yes. It's an egotistical thing to say and everyone will think I'm arrogant and full of myself. I have been an avid follower of the scene for a long time. You get all these people coming in saying that the scene needs your support. Really, I hardly go for gigs anymore, and I only buy a few local albums. This CD is our way of helping the scene. Yes, we are setting the standard for everyone else to follow. Maybe a lot of you will say that we suck. Honestly, we aren't technically gifted musicians and you have every right to say that. But, soundwise, listen to this CD, this is the most brilliantly-produced album here so far. It doesn't touch (producer - Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Neil Young) Brendan O'Brien's ass but I hope albums after this will sound better. I want them to because there's nothing more irritating than listening to a CD that sounds like s***.

SR: We spent 16 hours a day recording for almost three months and went through so many sacrifices physically as well as emotionally. There are only a few bands in Singapore who are willing to put in the kind of effort that we did, that kind of sacrifice.


STAINING THE FAMILY NAME
"My Parents Were Willing To Bribe Us To Stop The Band..."

 

What kind of sacrifices are you talking about?

SL: First of all, the whole ban and the ridiculous article brought a lot of shame to all our families. It didn't make us look good. A lot of people don't realise the kind of s*** we went through and the amount of crap our families had to put up with.

Do you think it's fair that your family gets affected?

SL: Of course it's unfair, but what can you do about it here? There's nothing you can do about it. I just hope that for all the ****ing bulls**** we've gone through in the last ****ing year, something happens and something pays off. I think it will.

SR: My parents are actually on the verge of a nervous breakdown just because I'm in a band and I'm putting the whole family to shame. They've even banned Sig Lendonn and J-Bob from the house.

Do you think your parents are over-reacting?

SR: I don't wanna say anything about my parents... but they're the typical law-abiding Singaporeans and they're also the typical conservative Chinese, so there's really nothing I can do about it. I also don't know how I turned out to be this way.

Did you explain to them why you play in a band and do all these things?

SR: I did explain to them but there's only so much... I've gone beyond explaining anything anymore and I've really given up. I have to add that our parents have really sacrificed a lot for us but really, you can't expect to see eye-to-eye with them on certain things. My parents were actually willing to pay us any amount of money in return for NOT putting out this album. But I told them no way.

But did it cross your mind that if you start swearing on stage your families are gonna be affected?

SL: I did lah, but I guess... I'm just a ****ing punk with a major attitude problem. (Sniggers all around) There were a lot of times we just questioned everything. Like, "Should we go on?" The hard truth is, we stand to lose EVERYTHING with this CD. If they wanna get us, they can in millions of ridiculous ways. But we love our music. And this album is probably the best thing we've ever done in our lives. Nothing can take this away from us.

So You think changing your names really make you anonymous?

SL: No it won't... but it makes us look a bit cooler I hope!

Seriously, is the name change really necessary?

SL: To tell you honestly... if any stupid article comes out I don't wanna see my family name all over the page again. We love our parents and we don't want them to have to share all the s*** we're going through.

But everybody knows who you are.

SL: Aiyaaah! Next question lah.

RECORDING THE NEW CD
"We Strive For Excellence..."

This new CD, what was the recording experience like?

SL: It wasn't an experience it was an event! Stressful, but fun. We always had friends around to liven things up. It was cool and, at times, even orgasmic! (Sniggers) It was a learning experience. We've improved a lot as musicians definitely, we're more involved with the music now.

SR: Yeah. Though I think at times we may have pissed off our engineer Leonard (Soosay). But he put up with The Boredphucks for three months. That's amazing.

SL: A lot of people won't believe this but we strive for excellence in our music. We're perfectionists in that sense.

SR: With most other local bands, let's say, for example, the guitarist is recording his part in the room, you will find the drummer and bassist are probably in the toilet, or outside smoking or talking cock, they don't bother to listen to what the guitarist is recording and to help him out.

But with us, we were there for each other all the way. When I was recording my parts, Sig and J-Bob were running in and out the control room and the studio just trying to get the right sound. For most of the songs, at one point or another, we had to get on our hands and knees to tweak every single knob we could find to get the right bass tone, guitar tone, snare sound, whatever. For Baby When You're Gone, it took us two days just to get the sound for the lead guitar and, honestly, we're still not 100 per cent satisfied with it.

SL: We don't have expensive American guitars or Marshall amps, we used mediocre equipment. But it's about how well you understand your equipment and make the best of what you have. For that we had to thank Mr Leonard Soosay because he really believed in us and devoted his time and expertise into shaping this album.

SR: We did all sorts of s***... we went out of our way to source for new equipment, we polished the cymbals, every few songs we changed the drum skin, every few songs I'll change my guitar strings, polish the guitars, warm up the amps for three hours. That's how good foreign bands do it, and that's how it should be done here.

SL: I could never live with myself if I put out something that sounds bad, that's not up to our standards. You should set very high standards for yourself even if you never reach it. But you'll still achieve something.

SR: You should never ever think that what you've recorded is good enough.

SL: To tell you honestly the sound of this whole album still isn't good enough for us.

SR: If we had the budget, we'd do it all over again.

SL: Sir Richard, for three months, hardly had any sleep because every morning, after the studio he had go to camp and back. And for me I was dealing with all the pressure from everyone to not record this album, to not include vulgarities in it. J-Bob and I quit work so that we could be in the studio all day.


THE BOREDPHUCKS DO AMERICA
"We Used Bob Marley's Sound Engineer..."

Was it in the original plan to master the CD in San Francisco?

SL: No. We wanted to get it mastered here but it just kept getting worse.

SR: We couldn't get a good sound from what we had.

SL: Another problem is the engineers here. They do not have the experience of recording a professional band in a professional way. Which local producer can truly say he's worked with a professional band and a professional producer on a consistent basis before and he has a good idea of how these bands and their producers go about recording?

SR: It's not just the engineers, the bands themselves also don't know how to get the sound that they want. Recording is an extremely thought out and planned process that integrates every single instrument's part and role. There's also a lot of experimentation and trial and error. Doing an independent recording on a limited budget and with a comparatively inexperienced producer, you can't expect the producer to be able to churn out the kind of sound that you want. So the band has to at least know how to craft their songs to make them sound the way they want them to sound.

SL: This is what you should do when you're recording, always play your favourite CDs and play your stuff side by side at the same volume and honestly ask yourself, does your sound live up to that CD? And if you don't, keep trying.

But those bands have mega-bucks backing by their label and access to top studios and engineers.

SL: Exactly, but that's the thing you should never tell yourself. I mean the reality is that we can't, like, record at Ocean Way Studios for a year with a million-dollar budget, but you should always push yourself to achieve that standard and not just be contented with getting something mediocre. You cannot tell yourself, "can lah, can lah, it's good enough." Just try till there's nothing else you can do and you're on the verge of breaking down. Then at least you can live with yourself. You can say you really tried your best. I really can't listen to local stuff anymore. It just makes me sick. The sound is so ****ed up. You can't even get a local album today to compare with the sound from a 1986 recording of Appetite For Destruction.

SR: Or even a bloody 1977 recording of The Sex Pistols for that matter.

SL: You still can't. And that's how far behind the production quality of Singapore music is.

So you felt you had to go to the US.

SR: That was our last resort but we had to do it.

SL: You have to realise, you're the underdog, you're competing with Mariah Carey, Backside Boys and other foreign bands which are extremely well produced. In order to reach this market you have to try to achieve that same standard. You wanna know how to spot a local song on the radio? Just listen to the snare. The drum sound always sucks. The layperson on the street doesn't understand songwriting or musicianship at a first listen. They're just gonna think the band sucks.

How about the more commercial, bigger-budget recordings like, say, Douglas O or Tanya?

SR: Tanya records in the US!

SL: We have a lot of respect for Tanya. She's probably one of the best songwriters here. And the tracks she recorded in the States were excellently produced. Her musicians are excellent. She has a lovely voice and she's a ****ing babe.

The budget allowed you guys to fly all the way to San Francisco?

SL: Nope. I sold off some of my guitars and my amp and we all had to cough up the extra dough. But the trip was worth it.

How did you find an engineer who'd be suitable AND willing to do your stuff on your small budget?

SL: My brother lives there and he has this friend who knew this 55-year-old hippy dude who used to be Bob Marley's live sound engineer. He liked the songs so much he agreed to do it for all we could afford to pay him. He only did it in an hour which was amazing 'cos we were spending two weeks trying to get it mastered here. Engineers in the States have so much more experience, they just take a listen and they know what to do. Engineers here lack that, they just do mostly advertisements to survive, so when it comes to recording bands, a lot of them don't have much of an idea of how to go about it.


NO MORE SWEARING
"The Boredphucks Are Law-Abiding..."

Do you think there's a conspiracy to make The Boredphucks an example for all the bands out there?

SL: No I don't think so. It's like those two students who were caught for taking drugs overseas. I feel so sorry for them, their lives are ruined. The same with local music. They can always just pinpoint a band and put them all to shame in the newspaper and distort people's perception of the band and the local music scene. That can kill the band. In a nutshell, things have to happen for good things to happen. If it weren't for this big hoo-hah about nothing, we wouldn't have found the desire and inspiration to go out there and prove everyone wrong by recording an album which is uniquely Singaporean and musically excellent.

So you are aware that whatever you do right now, the CD or gigs, you're gonna attract some of the wrong attention. What then?

SL: We just have to be really careful when we play live. In Singapore, the law is the law, you may not like it, but you have to live by it. It sucks. I hate it. But right now, there's nothing we can do about it. But we're working on that!

So you're not gonna swear on stage anymore?

SL: No. Unless it's a gig in my room and I'm playing to my friends.

Are you serious about that?

SL: OK you wanna hear it? Yes, The Boredphucks are not going to swear on stage anymore. I will do my utmost best to uphold social harmony and prevent the corruption of youth in Singapore by not singing vulgarities live.

This whole ban on The Boredphucks, how extensive is it?

SR: We were told that we cannot play any gigs organised by the National Youth Council or Perfect 10.

Do you think that's fair?

SL: To tell you the truth. I don't give a ****!

Do you think there's a chance you might get banned from any gig anywhere in Singapore?

SL: I hope not, because we enjoy playing in front of an audience. I live for that. It's a great feeling to see people singing along to your songs and having fun.

Do you think cops are gonna turn up at your launch gig?

SL: (Sarcastically) We'd love them to come. Then I can show them what a nice reformed young man I've turned out to be.

Will your good behaviour make The Boredphucks any less exciting?

SL: Definitely not. If you come for a Boredphucks gig, expect it to be wildly entertaining. As for our launch gig it's gonna be a ball. It's gonna be at the Coco Carib at Clarke Quay. It's a five-hour thing. We're kicking off with two hours of drum 'n' bass to get the crowd going. Then we have some circus acts and clowns to entertain followed by this all-girl dance group. We have a kick-ass opening act called Rioting James. Then we'll play a two-hour set of almost all The Boredphucks songs ever written.

SR: Hula hoops and party toys included.

So you're not worried at all about, I dunno, The Boredphucks' version of "The Doors in Miami" incident?

SR: There's really nothing we can do about it if it happens.

SL: What can we do? We're just gonna play and abide by the Public Entertainment Act and use no vulgarities live. And if we do that we're obeying the law. And I'm not breaking any rule. I'm being a good-natured Singaporean so I can't get into trouble.

What about the cussing on the new CD?

SL: I wanna stress, if you listen carefully to our CD, can you just get this straight into your ****ing heads all you idiots out there, not every single Boredphucks song has a vulgarity. And for the song with vulgarities, they are extremely necessary. So just listen to the CD. I just wanna let the CD speak for itself.


BOREDPHUCKS COP OUT?
"We're still Outrageous..."

It seems like The Boredphucks are admitting defeat, what with the
self-censoring.

SL: It isn't self-censoring. We are bound by a police warning not to use vulgarities live again. What can I possibly do about that especially in a country like Singapore? It's just like... come on, if I'm pissed off with someone, I would go "Eh! Can you just **** off?" I don't do an articulate geek mofo improvisation and go "Hey, you know, I'm really annoyed with the way you've been behaving towards me." I'll just say "**** you and **** off."

Does that mean you use vulgarities because you're always angry?

SL: No. We've always written songs, some with vulgarities, and some without. It's always been a part of us. We're happy, and we love to just let loose and have fun being ourselves. If people think we're being idiots I don't give a s*** 'cos we're really just having loads of fun while they are stuck on the sidelines being overly concerned about themselves. It's just that, I hate double standards. You can get all these black metal CDs which blatantly and outrightly defame God being passed by the censors. But when a local band does that, they just ban it.

Ban this, ban that. What was that? ****? BAN! What was that? K*****? BAN! Eh come lah, let's BAN everything! They never deal with problems they just ban it. It's like saying, "OK, we think that Marilyn Manson can go ahead and say '**** your God, your God is a ****er." That is OK. But, The Boredphucks, for the simple fact that we are Singaporean and we write songs about Singapore, cannot say the word "Chee***." The same thing applies to movies. Look at all the Hollywood movies, look at the language, why can't that be allowed in local films too? Besides, it's not like they're speaking perfect English in American movies! So what's with this Singlish hoo-hah? I really wish people would loosen up and just learn how to laugh at themselves and have fun. You only live once! Singaporeans need to learn how to have fun.


THE LOCAL YOUTH AUTHORITIES
"We're The Perfect Role Models..."

What do you think of the National Youth Council?

SL: I don't think they really care about the local music scene to begin with. Look at the ban, that speaks for itself. They say they wanna educate the kids in AIDS awareness, safe sex, the dangers of drug addiction and getting into teenage gangs, that is a good thing, that is necessary. But when are you going to start telling kids the importance of music and the arts? Why isn't that ever painted out in bright red on any National Youth Council banner? Isn't that a great, big part of growing up?

As a I kid, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to all sorts of music 'cos I had cool brothers who were always blasting stuff at home. Look at kids today? Their music knowledge is limited to our radio stations which blast pathetic faggot boybands all day long. Why not have a PROPER music and arts appreciation campaign? Not one which just simply uses local bands as a front without acknowledging them.

I read that article about how the National Youth Council wants to single out our singers because they make good role models for their "never say die attitude." Well. Mr Director of National Youth Council, I think I'd make your perfect role model. DUH!

Yah yah, so they're organising weekend gigs now. But they're filtering out the bands. And I'm not saying this because I'm feeling sore about the ban on The Boredphucks. I don't give a s*** about that ban. But what do they want? All these pretty boy bands to come out of Singapore? Come on, great music doesn't have to be limited to what is radio friendly and commercially lucrative. Get that straight.

How about the kids, the audience they're preaching to?

SR: Bands playing at the Youth Park now are probably thinking if they riot like The Boredphucks they sure gonna kena (get into trouble). A lot of these kids would get the wrong message. They probably think bands at the Youth Park are so ****ing boring and they would just go back to their idols from overseas.

SL: I would really love it if they could start up a campaign to get kids into music and the arts at a young age. Like telling kids, it's better to form a band than to be a Far East gangsta wannabe. Being in a band is healthier than shooting up with a bunch of junkies. So what if your kid's in a band who just so happen to have a tiny, little, inchy bit of vulgarity in a song he wrote. Would you rather have him sniffing glue in the school toilet?

Singaporean's aren't exposed to enough music. That's the problem. In the States you have concerts and bands playing every other day. And gigs are cheap, they don't cost 100 bucks for a front-row seat. There're so many restrictions here, which makes it so difficult just to go out there and organise a gig yourself. How the hell can we expect the scene to grow? We'll still be churning out the same useless bands year after year.


SINGAPORE ROCK ON-LINE
"Singapore Bands Cursed By Kalimah?"

Many people might not know that Sig Lendonn was one of the first people to put the Singapore music scene on the internet with the e-zine, Underground X'cess, back in 1995. What do you think of the current websites out there heavily promoting local music?

SL: That is a great thing, as long as they do it right. I just wanna state for the record that I once asked the AudioTrip website dude, "Hey, do you listen to heavy metal?" And he went, "Eh... 'Heavy Metal'? That band good or not?" That's what he said. He said he'd never heard the band 'Heavy Metal.' And I think that speaks for itself.

I believe they're called AudioLoad now.

SL: AudioLoad? Oh, OK, they're becoming cooler... whatever lah. Anyway, AudioLoad has to be the biggest collection of BIASED reviews found in Singapore. The writers of AudioLoad are almost as bad as the writers at Teenage magazine. They don't know S*** about music. I read some reviews which praise a band to the sky, then I listen to the RealAudio files and I think to myself, "What the hell is this s***???" Imagine all the foreigners accessing that website. I would seriously be embarrassed to acknowledge that those bands are Singaporean.

But it seems most of the local scene action these days is centred on the websites and groups that organise regular gigs.

SL: It's a good thing to organise gigs and stuff, it's good exposure... for young bands.

SR: But please don't put the wrong band on the pedestal for everyone to see!

SL: Exactly, it's like lowering the standard. We should all set a high standard for local music. If I'm an American or some Brit or even some Japanese punk, I'd read a review, be really impressed by it, go out and buy the CD then when I get to hear it I'd be like "what a waste of my money, this band sucks!"

SR: Not to mention that I'd probably even go around telling my friends not to buy it, and not to buy ANY Singaporean bands' CDs for that matter, 'cos if the reviews say this is the best Singapore's got, then the rest of them must really suck to hell and beyond.

SL: The scene is so small that everybody knows everybody and everyone's afraid... "He's my friend, I better give him a good review." That shouldn't be, if you think it sucks, just say it sucks. If you think it's good, say it's good because it's good and it deserves to be mentioned. Every review I've read at AudioLoad is good and that's impossible. If every review is so ****ing good, then why aren't these bands famous in Singapore at least? Because Singaporean bands kena cursed by Kalimah? I don't think so. Most of them just can't make it.


MORE ON WHY THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE SUCKS
"Too Much Ass-Kissing..."

Do you believe that part of the problem lies in too much back-patting and a general hesitation to criticise local music?

SL: Of course! Way too much butt kissing is going on.

SR: Everything is good, every band is so good, every band's friends' band is good.

SL: (Mock voice) "Yah, check them out! The guy's lyrics are so emotional and insightful..." And then the lyrics are like, "Oh fly away to coastal town/Cast my shadow over the ocean/And I stay under the table/I see a headless man, is he my father..." What the ****?? Do you call THAT brilliant lyrics?

SR: Who the **** can understand lyrics like that?

SL: I mean we're not proclaiming that The Boredphucks write lyrics of absolute beauty. Boredphucks lyrics are just cheese but it's the only thing we can do, we don't attempt to write something poetic 'cos none of us are poetic to begin with, and then I read all of the reviews at AudioLoad and sometimes even in BigO, it's like, "Wah the band is so brilliant." And then when you actually see them on stage they are the total opposite. I think there should be more criticism. You learn from criticism. I mean being in a band, you're going to put your music out there for show and if you can't take criticism then don't be in a band. You can never please everyone so don't set out to. Just please yourself and the person you're having sex with!!

SR: The problem with all these local music journalists, they're ignorant like **** and don't know what they're writing about. Sometimes they angkat the band higher than Bukit Timah.

Some people accuse The Boredphucks of getting the same kind of preferential treatment from BigO and other press.

SL: We are extremely grateful to BigO for getting us started with Singles Club. Yes go ahead and say I have an ego problem, but when I look at it from a subjective point of view, I think The Boredphucks deserve the kind of attention they are getting in the papers, magazines and radio. It's not merely just something out of connections. It's hard work.

What else do you think is wrong with the scene?

SL: Local bands have got it wrong if they tell themselves, "I'm only in it for the music." You will never get anywhere 'cos music and image go hand in hand. I mean when people listen to Nirvana, everyone's like, "Oh Kurt Cobain, he's so depressed, he writes all these brilliant songs..." That is an image, his ****ing suicidal image! Or like Rage Against The Machine, "Wa***, they damn angry band!" That's their image!

Then you look at our local bands. You get a fella singing on stage holding a piece of paper, facing the band and singing at his gig. What the **** is that, man? Everyone says The Boredphucks are in it for the image, but I tell you, if we were just gonna dress in, like, Ah Pek pants and in one of those three-for-$10 T-shirts from Bedok Interchange, who the **** would listen to us? Local bands don't have image and they all NEED image.

SR: You also have to be business minded. Music is a business.

Do you think that sometime in the near future a new band might come up and try to top The Boredphucks in all the excesses?

SL: I would love to see that happen. I would love to have local bands that I could be proud of.

SR: Seriously, we hope so. Bands we could let our friends from other countries listen to without being embarrassed.

SL: Then at least we'll have new people to party with. We're not saying that we are the best band in Singapore. If another band comes along and we think they're good, then we'll support them all they way, man. We love good music. We love Force Vomit, we love Stoned Revivals. We love Humpback Oak and we love Tanya.

SR: But I think the Stoned Revivals album was a big disappointment, sound-wise. They have such good songs and they're great musicians and they're so talented but they just didn’t have a good producer.

SL: I think Esam has a fantastic voice. To tell you honestly, the only local albums we can listen to regularly are Stoned Revivals, Force Vomit and all the Humpback Oak albums.

SR: Stoned Revivals really let themselves down with the production of the album, they didn't do themselves justice. That's the thing with local bands.

SL: If you see them live they're fantastic. We really respect Stoned Revivals. They're DIY too and they probably understand what we go through. We respect people who put in effort to achieve their craft.

Any recent local releases that have caught your attention?

SR: Stroll.

SL: I think Stroll can write really good songs but as usual, the album was let down by the pair of ears for production. There're so many things in music recording that people just don't bother to pay attention to.


IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY
"We Wanna Be Rock Stars!"

 

Do you think money is the solution? That if The Boredphucks were to explode worldwide and make a gazillion dollars, then people would be proud to say, "Yeah they're from Singapore!"

SL: Yeah, definitely. No one gave a s*** about Mee Pok Man or 12 Storeys until the movies were invited for foreign film festivals and s***. Maybe if The Boredphucks make it big, we will play live at the National Day parade huh!

SR: But I can vouch for a fact that my parents won't be impressed no matter how much money I throw in front of them. So in my parents' case, it's not about money.

SL: This album isn't about making money. It's about believing in ourselves. But if you have money, it just makes life a whole lot easier. I'm sick of being broke.

People say you guys are just rock star wannabes.

SR: Come on lah, it's common sense!

SL: Why do you get into a band? To make music? If you are seriously contented with just having a jam every weekend with your friends, then don't record an album, it's way too much effort. You get into a band because you daydream about being Motley Crue or Guns N' ****ing Roses. There's nothing wrong with dreaming. I tell you honestly, we would love to be millionaires and drive fancy cars and go out with supermodels... but it's just a dream! What the **** is wrong with that?

We get all these idiots saying, "Aaahh, they all just want the fame! They just wanna be rich." Come on, honestly, if you had a million-dollar record deal, are you gonna turn it down for the sake of leaving your music untouched? Please. It's just so ****ing pretentious. Money helps. Would you rather own a Vester guitar made of plywood or would you rather have a 1969 Les Paul Classic? These people are just being silly.

SR: What the grunge movement did was awful. People see Nirvana, they think Nirvana, Pearl Jam, all these kind of bands just don't bother, they think they made albums just by plugging in and masturbating... they really think that Kurt Cobain never practised his guitar or he never bothered to sit down and write his songs.

SL: It's a lot of hard work and sacrifice, all the biggest bands in the world who have made it deserve their fame and fortune.

SR: Earn it!


HARD-WORKING MUSICIANS
"Nothing Can Stop Us!"

Do you think all the effort you put into the music justifies all the shock-tactics stuff that you do?

SL: Yes. We hear people say, "Oh, The Boredphucks just wanna make millions and millions of dollars, they're just vulgar for the **** of it and the music's just a backing." Come on, these people don't know how ****ing hard we worked on this album, to get the sound right, to save up $15,000 to record this ****ing CD. Money didn't just fall from the sky. Nothing in life comes easy. Whatever you dream, I believe, if you devote your heart, your mind and your soul to it, you will achieve it. Except something like, getting into bed with Cindy Crawford. I was dreaming that a lot in secondary school and it still hasn't happened.

SR: There are people who say that we don't care about our music, all we care about is scolding vulgarities... we've remixed our album a thousand times, we mastered it a thousand times, we put in thousands of extra dollars to send it for mastering in the US, just to make it sound the way we wanted it to, and it's not like I have nothing else to do with my life. We all have our own respective stressful, time-consuming, energy-draining life obligations aside from our music. And if we can do it, why can't other local bands do the same?

With this imminent album, what kind of marketing are you planning?

SL: Interviews, posters, we're having a big website being developed where you can order stuff online and chat and download extra songs on MP3. We'll also be having a launch gig on Jan 15 at the Coco Carib.

SR: We don't want to draw too much attention.

SL: But we always seem to do that. The album's really hyped up. People are saying this is the greatest local album ever. And I am confident we can live up to the hype. Of course, we do not want to attract any unnecessary attention. We may stand to lose a lot. But we love our music and this is our passion, the three of us have a chemistry that we can't share with anyone else. We have a great thing going and we believe in ourselves. Nothing can stop The Boredphucks!


For more... email singbigo@singnet.com.sg with the message, "Put me on your mailing list."