Every week we ask a creative, artisan, or musician to share what music gets them going from dawn to dusk. This week, Singapore music duo Islandeer recommends tunes that stimulate harmony throughout the day.
In the sea of trendy EDM-based Pop, it's a gamble to look back at the yesteryears for inspiration. But Singapore budding music duo Islandeer, which consists of Christian Jansen (drums, guitars, keys) and Michael Garcia (vocals, guitars, keys), saw gold in '60s pop, '70s rock, indie rock, modern psychedelia. By adopting these musical styles, Islandeer introduced a sound reminiscing to Radiohead, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Beatles, Fleet Foxes, The Strokes that is catchy.
We caught up with the music duo to learn the meaning behind the 'Islandeer' name and why 'Momento' was chosen as the band's debut single.
ESQ: Tell us the origins of the ‘Islandeer’ band name.
Islandeer: Michael and I (Christian) met while studying in Singapore Polytechnic. We were both taking a diploma in Music and Audio Technology. We had a common taste of music and began playing music together, first under a trio called Advance Press, and then as a duo. We struggled to pick a band name for ourselves, all the names we liked were taken by other musical acts we didn’t know of. We settled on Islandeer, because it had a reference to Singapore with the 'island', and we wanted an animal reference because we liked bands like The Beatles, Cage the Elephant, Tame Impala and Fleet Foxes— so you get the idea.
ESQ: What is the ‘Islandeer’ sound and how does it stand out from your peers?
Islandeer: The Islandeer sound is our audible brainchild. It’s a unique concoction of our musical influences, personalities and experiences. It stands out because we make a conscious effort to write the songs together and we record all the instruments ourselves. That’s the fundamental basis of what our sound is, and it makes us stand out because we try to incorporate a lot of our individuality into our songs.
ESQ: Why release ‘Momento’ as the band’s first single among the songs that were written?
Islandeer: We wrote all the songs in NS, and we thought it had the most energy, and was the most relatable out of the other songs. When I (Christian) wrote the riff, I knew I wanted it to have pop-elements, lyrical hooks, and catchy melodic motifs to it. It’s quite a stretch from what the other songs sound like, but we don’t want to tie ourselves down to any particular genre.
ESQ: How do you guys think about the music streaming culture? Does it hurt or help budding musicians?
Islandeer: We think streaming platforms have their pros and cons, like everything in life. It’s easier access to getting our songs “out there”- which is really the first step. On the downside, the musical playing field is so much bigger because of how easy it is for people to play what they want to. They’re musically spoilt for choices. Although that helps us make sure our songs stick out amongst every other song available.
ESQ: What next for Islandeer? Can we expect a full album anytime soon?
Islandeer: We just released the music video for Momento. After that we’ll have another single coming out in mid-April, followed by two more singles, and then the album will come out in the second half of the year.
“Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged the comb across my—WAKE UP. GRAB YOUR BRUSH AND PUT A LITTLE MAKE UP.”
1. ‘Mornings'—Lost Weekend
"No pun intended with the title, this is an amazingly catchy song from my favourite local band and is always a great way to start the day." (Michael’s)
2. ‘Ladyfingers’—Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass
"My girlfriend and I always play this song in the morning. It’s just nice to sway to, and slowly gain consciousness to. And there are no lyrics, so you can have a nice conversation about dreams and your plans for the day." (Christian’s)
3. 'Changes'—David Bowie
"We’re both huge fans of David Bowie and the chromatic piano intro gives nice tension to start the day… and how can you start your day without some tension? Also, the cover of this song by Butterfly Boucher was the best thing to come out of Shrek 2. That’s how good this song is." (Islandeer)
“Cause I love to live so pleasantly, live this life of luxury, lazing on a sunny afternoon”.
1. 'Touch Me'—The Doors
"It’s my go-to shower song because I can be Jim Morrison without anyone looking. And I happen to shower in the afternoon." (Michael’s)
2. 'Picasso'—The 49ers
"If I’m listening to songs in the afternoon, I’m usually taking public transport somewhere. This song somehow makes me feel like I’m at home. Not to mention it has the perfect mix of jazz, hip hop, rap, and art references." (Christian’s)
3. 'Heaven On Their Minds'—Carl Anderson
"So this one’s quite obscure. It’s from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which we both unknowingly watched growing up. It’s the opening track of the musical, and it has a killer guitar riff. It’s one of the many strange, shared childhood memories we have, without having known each other yet." (Islandeer).
“We like the night because it can go on forever. It just goes all night long (all night), all night, (all night) all night long. Party, karamu, fiesta, forever.”
1. 'It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over'—Lenny Kravitz
"It’s a super chill song and I like my nights calm and relaxing. And I can sing the chorus over and over again ‘cuz baby it ain’t over till it’s over." (Michael’s)
2. 'Goodie Bag'—Still Woozy
"YouTube’s recommended songs algorithm is on point. I was directed to this song at the start of the year, and I’ve been listening to it since. The blend of harmonies, guitars and RnB drums just makes it a great winding down song for me." (Christian’s)
3. 'Gary’s Song'—SpongeBob SquarePants
"We’re both huge SpongeBob fans. So much so that we can recite dialogues from entire episodes. The episode this song is featured in, has Gary leave SpongeBob, and SpongeBob desperately tries to find Gary. “I cried when I first watched it on TV, back when I was 10.”- Christian. (Islandeer)
'Momento' by Islandeer is now available for purchase on iTunes.