Baybeats Edition: Summations Adding Up the Pros & Cons of Making Music

Teo Dawn

Always ready to joke around and drop some casual truth bombs, Summations came out on a weekend afternoon to chat with us about music and Baybeats Festival 2019. Every member is no stranger to the music scene, with all of them coming from a previous band or playing for multiple bands at once. Guitarist Sean Sundaran is involved in many bands, including I, Devotion which is another band in this year’s Baybeats line-up. With multiple musical genre interests that range from electronic music to metal, this is a way he experiments and gains a sense of satisfaction despite the lack of sleep. He shared, “Music has helped me become a better person, in general, and it has literally saved my life a few times. Yeah.”

“Playing music helps give me a clear state of mind, keeps me focused and keeps me happy,” bassist Gary Doh reaffirmed. Despite these positives, it is a recurring trend where local bands may not last past a certain time frame. Why is this the general case?

Drummer Dzul Tay stated societal expectations as a possibility: “Somehow we are made to buy into the idea that by age 30, we should get married, have a kid, have a certain kind of job and all that. Everyone is supposed to have this particular flow of life, in that sense. It might not be something we want to do, but we start having this expectation that these should happen.” But of course, there are other reasons as well, such as a change of musical preference. One might start off with listening to pop and forming a band to pursue that, but switch to pursuing bands that play electronic or heavy metal when personal tastes start to shift.

However, regardless of these shifts and changes due to life or just preference, there are skills that can aid you through your musical journey. And Baybeats has been able to impart skills and knowledge to them. Gary elaborated, “One of the first workshop we attended was about marketing. Edwin from Secret Signals shared with us stuff that we probably don’t have it down perfectly yet, and visiting Leonard at Snakeweed Studios.”

“The Spotify workshop was actually an eye-opener, because it is the most used listening platform at the moment. So learning about their marketing methods and listening to their advice on how to market, what time to post and share, makes a lot of difference,” Sean added. It is all about strategy to maximise the efforts put in, especially when algorithms are at play through most social media platforms.

Wrapping up the interview at this point, guitarist Jethro Lim walked up towards us in his colourful get up and all his musical gear. It is never downtime for a musician based in Singapore.

The band first performed in conjunction with Sean’s graduation. So, why a band and not just a one-off performance together?

When Sean started composing the skeleton and basics for the recital. We all listened to it and thought that, “Wow, this is not something I’ve heard in a long time.” The music started to form up even better and we realised that we could make this a thing. We all were friends first anyway so playing in a bands with some of your good friends seemed like an amazing idea.

How does the rest of your bands inspire you to create music with Summations?

Definitely the work-flow. Each of our bands have different sort of ways how we made the band work. Mixing all the ideas and methods together helped to find a comfort-zone for the 4 of us and also a more efficient way to write and rehearse.

Having been around for a year so far, share with us how the journey has been.

The journey has been pretty amazing. We all found strengths and flaws within each other so easily together that it really helped to make all of us better as musicians. We matured from the experiences of each other.

What is another milestone the band has its eye on?

The band really wants to go on tour! The band takes a lot of inspiration from bands in China, HK, Japan and Australia. To be able to perform there and interact with other like-minded artists would certainly be something that would be monumental and inspirational to the say the least.

We always talk about how difficult it is to be a musician in Singapore. But let’s talk about what makes it so great to create music here.

Familiarity for sure. The music community can be a difficult place sometimes with squabbles and conflict, but there is still that sense of camaraderie at the various shows. It’s a small scene and everyone tries to support everyone; sometimes that in itself gives meaning to what we do.

Summations will be playing at this year’s Baybeats Festival that is happening from 23rd to 25th August 2019!

They will be on for 23rd August 2019, 7.30pm at the Arena (Esplanade Outdoor Theatre).

Photography credits: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan

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