Disco Hue rocks Singapore iTunes charts with debut EP Arcade.
By Abigail Ang
After 4 years of line-up changes and genre experimentation, Singaporean band Disco Hue has found its voice.
With a unique blend of electronic pop, indie rock and funk, Disco Hue’s debut EP Arcade balances groovy sounds of the 70s with modern accents. Its digital release on May 13 saw some success, as it peaked at second place amid competitions from the likes of English rock band Radiohead and Korean girl group AOA. On August 3, the band even had the chance to fly to Japan for their own release party in Osaka, Japan.
Despite increasing promotions and appearances with Singapore radio stations and localized televisions program, the band expressed that they had yet to take it all in. “It’s strange that people go out of their way to tell us that we’re good,” said lead singer Sherlyn Leo, 20, said with a smile. “I was amazed that there were so many people (at our EP launch).”
Turnout for the band’s first solo gig on May 13 at the Aliwal Arts Centre, which features performing arts largely, was so large that they needed to produce extra tickets to meet the demand. “We could see people packed against one another from the stage all the way to the door,” guitarist Rush Ang, 22, said. “The crowd was singing so loudly I had to tell the sound engineer to increase the volume of Sherlyn’s mic.”
Formed in mid-2011, Disco Hue edged into the Singaporean music spotlight when the group released its dreamy, sportsluxe-inspired music video for their first single, Gotta Find You, this January. Since then, the clip has garnered more than 22,000 views on YouTube.
“It’s the song where I ‘hustled’ the most,” confessed synth player Auzaie Zie, 23, who wrote the song for his application to the University of Liverpool. “The admissions staff loved it so much that until today, they keep calling to invite me.” Amused but flattered, Zie had to turn down the offer due to monetary issues.
From here, things continue to take on more unexpected turns.
The formation of the band began at Singapore Polytechnic where drummer Billy Chua, 22, Rush and Zie met during their time in the Music and Audio Technology course. Their attempts at competitions were faced with little success and continually struggled to find suitable bandmates. “We’ve had too many line-up changes when we first started,” Zie admitted. “We changed our bassist three times!”
Disco Hue was met with an even greater roadblock when their previous singer, Christina Lye, left due to academic pressure. “We were stuck…we couldn’t do anything. And the guys (Zie, Rush and Billy) had to go for NS (National Service),” Zie added.
As luck or fate would have it, Zie stumbled upon a cover Sherlyn uploaded on Vine, a video sharing platform. Impressed by her pleasant and smooth voice, he offered her a spot in the band. “At that point I was bored and wanted to do something music related,” Sherlyn recounted. She noted that her singing career became more “real” only after the band started playing at a few gigs.
Disco Hue drew strength from the support of its growing fan base, despite its initial hiccups. “We were writing songs just for the fun of it, but people took (them) seriously,” Zie laughed. “They wanted to put our songs in their phones!”
1973 is but just 1 of the tracks that have been on its setlist for 4 years. “That song probably has the fondest memories for me,” Billy grinned. “The different stages, line-ups, scenarios are all kept within that song. It’s almost like a time traveling pod.”
For its EP, the band drew inspiration from a playlist of songs by other bands and artists with the intention of replicating a similar “feel”. “It’s helpful as a guide so I don’t go too far off (when songwriting),” Zie said.
While every Disco Hue member has his or her own distinct taste in music, the band asserted that it’s usually not difficult for them to reach a common creative ground as all the members generally “know what the song requires” and tends to write with that as a priority. “I usually come up with the main chords and send them to the rest (to add their parts),” Zie said. “If I’m stuck, I’ll sit down with Sherlyn to write more melodies. All of us have a spectrum of genres we like, and when you put the spectrums together, they overlap.”
Disco Hue also revealed that its new upcoming single is a collaboration with an undisclosed local artist “outside their (stylistic) circle”, but assured that it would be worth looking forward to. As Rush puts it, “Whatever (musicians) put out is to the world and everyone is going to listen to it, so we want it to be our best.”
Check out Disco Hue’s songs from their EP Arcade below.
Disco Hue’s ‘Gotta Find You’
Disco Hue’s ‘I’ll Be Waiting’
Disco Hue’s ‘1973’
The Softer Side of Disco Hue
Disco Hue played an exclusive song that was saved only for special occassions during their EP launch party. A softer and more melodic tune called “If It Wasn’t You” was written in dedication to their beloved parents.
Check out the live lyric video they released for your listening pleasure.