Pastel hues, arcade games and neon lights are just some of the ’80s aesthetics that Disco Hue pulls off with panache. Before you write them off as all style and no substance, this local synth-pop band shows us that the proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is 100 per cent homemade. Aside from juggling between self-producing and crafting promotional material for their new EP, Arcade, the band also proved its mettle by becoming one of the performing acts at Baybeats 2016. We hang out with members Sherlyn and Rush to find out how everything fell into place.
Hey guys! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Sherlyn: My name is Sherlyn. I just graduated from Ngee Ann Polytehnic in Mass Communications and am currently waiting for uni, which is why I have so much time to work on Disco Hue.
Rush: My name is Rush…
That’s your real name?
R: Yeah, do you want to see my IC? I have proof [laughs]! I’m 22 this year, currently serving the nation. I came from Singapore Polytechnic, studying Music and Audio Technology. That’s where most of the members are from too – Billy and Zie were from the same course.
So that’s how you guys met, but how did Sherlyn come to join the band?
S: Interesting story. Two years ago, when Vine was popular, I did six-second covers there. They saw my covers and approached me through a Vine message.
R: Our singer Christina quit because she had other commitments and we were looking for a new singer for almost a year. Zie stumbled upon this hash tag #sgvine and that’s how we found her.
You’ll be playing Baybeats this year. How was the audition process like?
R: We first had to send them a demo. The audition was hard as the judges were quite critical. It was also very short – we had 15 minutes to set up and play. As you can tell, our band has a crazy amount of gear and we were quite stressed about that. Fortunately, when it came to us, the judges were just heading out for lunch and we had the whole duration to set up. The second audition was even shorter, at 10 minutes, so we could only do one and a half songs. We did it at the Esplanade Outdoor Stage in front of a live audience to demonstrate that we could handle a big stage.
What was your biggest takeaway from that?
R: The judges helped us find our sound. Their comments were that they loved our studio tracks, but they felt that we could push it further in our live performances.
What’s the story behind your name?
R: When Zie created the band, he wanted this synth-pop/rock sound, like The Killers and Panic! At The Disco, to take root in Singapore, but there weren’t any local bands doing it – so he decided to start it himself. The ‘disco’ stands for the music genre and ‘hue’ refers to the different spectrums of dance music. We don’t just do one type of dance.
Are you personally fans of disco?
R: Yes, I’m a big fan of Earth, Wind & Fire. I grew up listening to that stuff – call me weird, but yes. I listen to a lot of ’80s stuff and love the catchy songs and synths they did. The funk guitar was phenomenal back then.
How do you feel about Prince passing?
R: I was so sad. To me, he was one of the greatest guitar legends; he’s up there with Jimi Hendrix. He was still on tour and I really wanted to watch him live.
Sherlyn, what’s it like being in a band with three other guys?
S: To be honest, I don’t feel any different because they treat me like a bro. They complain about girls in front of me, then apologise to me. I’ll be like, “Dude, I’m a girl too!” But honestly, I have no complaints.
Tell us about the “Gotta Find You” video.
S: Thievves Production took control of the direction of the video. Because it is a lyric video, we wanted the lyrics to pop out. Sports luxe is trending now, hence the tennis court. We also played around with pastel colours to really make the lyrics pop out. The motorcycle and tennis girl were there just because they look cool.
What inspired the name of the EP, Arcade?
S: I came up with the name because I was really obsessed with this book called Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which is set in a dystopian future with virtual reality.
R: It goes well with the album and the tracks because it fits the idea of the ’80s and old school arcade games. It also ties in with the visuals of the “I’ll Be Waiting” video.
What does it feel like to release an EP?
R: It feels like hell. We self-produced this EP and we’re doing everything ourselves, from the launch, photo shoots, posters, music videos… everything. It’s drawing to an end, so it’s a load off our backs. But it’s all worth it. The feeling of watching everything come together is quite fulfilling. Some of these songs are at least four to five years old, so it’s good that they’re finally getting out there.
What are your hopes for the band in the future?
R: We really want to do a full album, but we just want to play shows first and see where our EP brings us. We also want to tour overseas and play lots of festivals, to get our music out there.