Against a sanitized backdrop of fast food music, Syndicate was conceived over rounds of beers to reduce the growing impact of harmful beats and caveman frequencies in the accelerated world today. Along the way, it transmogrified into a serious idea to create a space for sonic expression and visual experience in post-efficient Singapore. What initially appeared as rounds of accidental & random recruitment exercise soon resulted in the formation of an audio-visual collective with names that are no strangers to the scene and some that are just strange.
Propelled by the inactivity in the electronic margins of the sunny island, Syndicate is here as a super-collective to fill a void. It is now set to tear apart music categorization and regurgitate something to call its own.
A Melbourne stint at the age of 19 brought a loud revolution in the life of this cherry pie. Learning through grooves and sleeves, this over energetic nature lover returned to Singapore with a bagful of tunes and started the city’s first all-girl DJ night, PopMyCherry! Since then she has played alongside Four Tet, Moderat, Hudson Mohawke and was selected as a participant for Red Bull Music Academy 2010 in London.
The glitch maniac is easily amused by the physical effects of low end frequencies, quirky samples and glitchy waveforms that tickle the membranes of one’s brain. She insists that they are the perfect cleaning agents to get rid of mundane everyday noises. With that manifesto laid, Cherry is perpetually ready to drop her glitchy beats & heavy bass on unsuspecting brains.
Long time stalwart of Singapore’s underground electronic music scene, Kiat has been championing the darker side of electronica for over 17 years. From the decks to the studio, it has always been about quality breaks, heavy basslines & leftfield influences. With tunes sought after by the top shelf DJs in the scene such as Goldie, Doc Scott, and Marky just to name a few, Kiat has been featured as the “Leader of the Nu-Skool” in international drum & bass magazines, KNOWLEDGE and ATM.
In 2009, Kiat took it a level higher by launching a digital music label, Qilin, together with stablemate, The Vortex. Not confining to drum & bass, Qilin is platform constantly on the lookout for more experimental sounds from all facets of electronica. With Qilin & Syndicate rolling out nicely for the sugar addict, Kiat is currently finding inspiration from blending his primary love for experimental hip hop together with other progressive electronic sounds from the world over.
Not to be mistaken for the retired NFL player and more inspired by the academic/writer of the same name, Max Lane sets out to twist found sounds within broody beatscapes. A project still at its infant stage, the pastiche of sounds has been getting through to discerning ears in Singapore, the airwaves of New York and gathering peculiar interests from Australia.
The mind and the hands behind Max Lane is one of the co-founders of the elusive upp/circular collective. Being part of the self-absorbed They-Create-You-Tolerate movement, Max Lane insists on flirting with low end frequencies and paving the path of global sounds with clove cigarettes ash till the next batch of aural weapons of mass destruction is found. He is the secret jester indeed.
Izaak Stern is on a journey across musical tangents, where nothing is prescribed and nothing is certain. The part-time cynic views beat-making as an exploratory process and claims that the end product is his unconsciousness recorded. The analog warmth of vinyl samples are often juxtaposed against the digital electronic mindset to various end results.
From the bedrooms of Singapore to the speakers of London, the faceless sounds of Izaak Stern have been emerging from the depths of the underground. An experimental flavour that has left a mark on many discerning listeners and even the New York Posts stated “will leave you cotton-mouthed for more”.
A long time music collector and harbour of useless musical anecdotes, Darren Dubwise has been involved in Singapore’s bass scene since 1999. After playing an active role in the drum & bass community with Kondense.com & Exitmusik.com, in 2006 Darren conceived Dubwise; a club night based on the Jamaican sound system culture. The end result was a hybrid of reggae, dub, grime, UK garage and the then infant dubstep.
The night however was short-lived, but its notoriety was kept alive as a DJ duo when the residents, Darren & Castro, were billed to play as Dubwise at major festivals such as the Good Vibrations Festival and Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival here in Singapore. Darren then brought the Dubwise sound around the region playing gigs in Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong & Kuala Lumpur. As a purveyor in the fine art of bass, he has played alongside other renowned bassheads such as Stereotyp, the Gaslamp Killer & Kode9 just to name a few.
Always straddling between the realms of visuals & sounds, Rafi Dean is a DJ, music producer & visual artist all in one. Dubbed as the Best New Local DJ in 2004 by JUICE Magazine (Singapore), Rafi went on to create hybrid performance sets which brought DJing, live electronica & live visuals together. This led him to the semi-finals of the Heineken Thirst Competition 2005 in Singapore and was also invited to perform at the Hong Kong Fringe Club in 2006.
Not satisfied with club-based performances, the technology geek started composing music and generating visual content for the NUS Dance Ensemble with a special performance at the Singapore Arts Festival in 2010. With Syndicate, Rafi is set to conduct more visual experiments & computational art research. To mark his words, you can expect something different every month.
As a motion & interactive designer for non-web spaces, Brandon Tay has over 6 years of commercial experience in the realm of music videos, motion graphics and visual programming. He has worked with Australian music video collective, KROZM, on clips for bands like Cut Copy, Van She and the Midnight Juggernauts.
Commercially, Brandon has worked on projects for MTV Asia, the Sci-Fi Channel and Animax. He has also created visual accompaniments for music acts such as the Observatory and participated in the Singapore Design Festival 2009. This visual geek proved that he has creativity in his vein as well when he landed work with noted media artists Ulf Langheinrich and Gina Czarneki on large scale media installation works. He assisted Langheinrich in a project called “LAND” which was featured among others at the Liverpool Biennial and the Shanghai eARTS Festival in 2009.
A music lover who knows no boundaries, Sammy Panamuga has been collecting music from a wide spectrum since her university days in Melbourne. From electronic beeps to techno grooves, Bollywood funk to 1930s Shanghainese tunes and cinematic soundscapes to funeral lullabies, Sammy’s taste in sounds transcends time and geographical space.
Her sets are soundtracks to the parallel worlds hidden behind window reflections, urban patterns and power lines. Other than letting her imagination runs wild, Sammy unveils her other side by being the content guardian for Syndicate and ensuring the collective’s online presence runs smoothly.