Hailing from Perth, indie-electronic sensation Angus Dawson recently found himself abroad for Singapore’s Music Matters festival. From conferences and gigs, to hangovers and exploring the city, Angus takes AU Abroad along for the ride with this tour diary. Click through for all his insights and photos of his international adventure…
3:30am. Alarm blaring in my ear. Normally a terrible thing, especially when you’ve had zero sleep the night before. But when you’re travelling to an international music festival that you’ve been invited to perform at, it’s not so bad. Dreary eyed, but uncharacteristically fizzy we found our way on to the plane issue-free, which for touring musicians is a big bonus. We (Louis, my drummer, was also accompanying me) arrived with very little to go on, everyone has different things to say about Singapore. Needless to say, we were pretty blown away. For two minimum wage, scraping-the-barrel musicians, the wealth of this place was overwhelming. I mean, Singapore has the same rules as Australia, but everyone seems to follow them without question.
Me looking fully stoked at the airport.
We managed to do a bit of exploring, aided by the single most talkative, uber-proud taxi driver in history, which included the Art & Science Museum. A few ‘art…….get it?’ moments were had. And also the Ritz-Carlton, which was the home of the conference arm of the festival and was the most stunning place I’ve ever seen.
After dinner we ran into our mates from Our Man In Berlin who invited us back to their place for a swim and some expensive scotch. Solid day.
Sneaky snap before our radio performance on Lush FM.
After being pretty wrecked from day one we managed a bit of a sleep in before heading off to the conference to see what was happening. There was a lot happening.
Me trying not to say something stupid during an interview…
The show was at the Timbre Music Academy and it was a beautiful building, on the bill was an electro artist out of the Philippines, two loop artists from Cape town, a singer-songwriter from Auckland (who turned out to be the nicest person ever) and another singer-songwriter out Switzerland (equally kind). We quickly learned just how broad and diverse this festival was and it was incredible humbling. The gig was good and people had really nice things to say about (and to) me. After I got back to the room I checked out some of the acts and turns out most of the international artists are well-established, highly successful and hugely popular in their home countries. And it made me realise just how lucky I was to be a part of this.
Singapore is siiicckkkkkkk *shakkas*
That day was pretty fast-paced and was a great insight into the touring world, which we’re only just getting used to. We shook some hands at the conference and indulged in the free coffee and then headed off to my first ever radio performance at (apparently) the only station in Singapore to steer clear of pop and play all the other stuff. A dude called Elias ran the show and he was a top-notch gentlemen, had such a blast in there and it went really well. All of Singapore’s media came out of the one building so it was extremely hard to get in and out causing us to nearly miss our show that night. But we didn’t, and it was a good one.
If you squint, you can see my name up there…..somewhere.
Post-show we shared a couple of $20 pints (standard) with some other Perth dudes and had a good time. Interviews were a very new concept to me but I learned that a really enjoy them. It gives you a chance to really appreciate what you’re doing when you’re doing it, which in the industry is a very rare case, its usually all about ‘what next’ etc. Taxi, hotel, sleep.
What a day. It began with crawling out of bed, force-feeding ourselves and attending some keynote speeches of the conference. All anyone could talk about was the Aussie BBQ, a showcase of Australian music curated by Sounds Australia. It was a hugely hyped showcase and for good reason – the level of talent was incredible.
Seeing my name on shit still trips me out.
It dawned on me just how fortunate we are in Australia. In so many ways but in a musical context specifically. The standard was so high and it made Louis and I really proud to be musicians from our country and the relevance and importance of something like the Aussie BBQ (which is run all over the world) really hit home.
Lou and I with Elias, host of Lush FM and general sick lad.
The gig was good and everyone was so kind to me after the show. It was a perfect end to our run of shows so afterwards we celebrated…….maybe a little too much. From clinking bottles with fellow Perthies to swigging straight whiskey with a Russian band to sharing drunken stories with a Swiss folk musician and a Canadian metal band. In any case, I stumbled through the hotel hall at 4:00am trying all the wrong doors and tripped over Louis who was passed out right outside our hotel room, sporting a bottle of water for a pillow. It was a largely forgotten night, but truly a night to remember.
Hungover. I noticed myself becoming complacent with my surroundings, which was unfortunate because Singapore’s architecture and city is truly amazing. If you’ve never been, do it, its on another level when it comes to man-made beauty, a city-lovers paradise.
Sinkin’ wets with Alex from Pilerats in our microscopic hotel room.
We had the day off so we ended up exploring with some mates. Complacency was replaced by awe as we checked the indoor ‘Garden By The Bay’, and it was an insane indoor ecosystem showing off vegetation from around the world in such a unique way. There was no gig booked for the day, so we thought it was a good idea to have a quiet night for our early flight the next morning……is what we should have said. We rounded off an amazing trip by sharing drinks with new friends and old and lapping up the festival into the small hours. Which meant we had zero sleep for our flight home….not the best.
No caption necessary, only heckles.
The Bottom Line:
I am very fortunate to say that this has been my first real taste of touring (playing multiple shows away from home), and I learnt so much from the experience. We met some beautiful people from all over the world and made lasting friendships. Singapore is not like any place I’ve been before, such wealth and awe. I also walked away with a stronger idea of what I want from music and also a stronger want and love for what I do.