Every week we ask a creative, artisan, or musician to share what music gets them going from dawn to dusk. This week, Singapore Alternative Rock & Shoegaze band Coming Up Roses marked the songs that inspire their day.
How is coming-of-age like for you? For the members of Coming Up Roses, such experiences warrant documentation in the form of music. Led by vocalist-bassist Emily Sera, and completed by guitarists Darius Oon, Lorenzo Romero and drummer Bruce Dylan Tan, their adolescent experiences fueled the band's songs. Specifically, child-like innocence and idealism with the revelations pegged with adulthood.
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Our launch show is this Saturday! We're happy to announce that we will be selling our brand new merch at the show too! Swipe left to check them out, we got shirts 👕 and cassettes 📼! Also, tickets are selling fast! We have limited tickets left and sales will end at 23:59 the day before the show (12th July) so do make sure you snap them up to avoid missing out! 😎😁 See you on Saturday! ✨✨✨
Coming Up Roses recently released their mini-album Waters, which is 'meant to be listened to in full', said Sera. Touching on emotion-led themes such as love ('Sky'), anger and disappointment ('Lies'), despair ('Waters') and loss ('Fall'), expect a genre-bending sound that combines elements of pop, grunge, heavy metal and shoegaze.
We caught up with Coming Up Roses to understand the intention behind Waters and what does coming-of-age means to them.
ESQ: How did the band settle with Coming Up Roses as its name and went with an alt-rock/shoegaze sound?
Darius: Coming Up Roses started as an acoustic duo between Emily and myself. We didn’t really have a list of names in mind or anything like that. We just came up with the name and it has stuck with us till now. In terms of our sound, I think it just comes from the chemistry between the band members and our own personal influences. For example, we don’t really have our vocals behind in the mix like your typical shoegaze band, though we incorporate shoegaze-esque guitars. It just so happens that the guitar parts we write tend to lean towards the alt-rock and shoegaze sound.
ESQ: What got you guys started in music and who are your musical heroes/inspirations?
Emily: Having a background singing in a choir helped to pique my interest in music. My local musical hero is Sara Wee from 53A because despite being an amazing singer, she remains extremely humble and grounded, which is something I aspire to be. My other heroes are Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice and Billie Eilish. They are my heroes because they don't fear to make music that goes against the grain.
Darius: I started learning piano when I was 5 years old so I have always been doing music. However, I only started playing the guitar when I was 13 because I started getting more into pop music over the usual classical repertoire you have to learn on the piano. Over the years, I think I’ve ‘unlearnt’ the guitar in the sense that I went from being the kid that badly plays the ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ riff in a guitar shop to be more interested in the sonic possibilities over the technical aspects of the instrument. My musical heroes would be Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth and the guys in Radiohead and Joff Oddie from the band Wolf Alice.
Lorenzo: I took up classical guitar as a kid and then progressed to the electric because it was cooler.
Bruce: Rhythm games like Tap Tap Revenge, Rock Band and Guitar Hero! I loved the music and gameplay so much that I started taking acoustic and electric guitar lessons, then moved on to learning the drums. ‘Til this day I have the habit of pressing guitar strings with my fingers flat against the fret like the buttons of the Guitar Hero controller instead of using the tip of my fingers (but it did make bar chords natural for me!)
ESQ: Tell us how Waters came about and its intentions.
Emily: Like most other songwriters, our songs are written from our own personal experiences. Waters came about in a time where we were trying to find our way through adolescence (and we still are). We wanted to write Waters to convey the conflicting emotions we encountered in our obstacles. Some might say that our music might appear bipolar but I feel that as humans, we are too complex to always respond to similar situations in the same way and hence the reason for our contrasting sounds. In Waters, each song showcases the different responses one can have to different relationships.
ESQ: Why use a single word for all the tracks in this mini-album? Is there a significant meaning behind this?
Lorenzo: All the song titles appear in their respective song’s lyrics with the exception of Tides, which has a reference in Waters. The titles take on a literal ('Lies', 'Fall') and metaphorical ('Sky', 'Waters') meaning based on the context of which they were written.
ESQ: What does coming-of-age means to each of you?
Emily: To me, coming-of-age means being able to realise and solve problems that you never knew were there. To me, in order to solve these problems, we must first be able to accept them, though this is something I still struggle with.
Darius: I think it just means realising the world isn’t a bed of roses. Especially in a culture where many topics such as mental health can be taboo and aren’t talked about the most openly.
Lorenzo: Personally, it’s a phase of life where one realises and takes charge of their future.
Bruce: To me, it was the realisation that everyone was the main character of their story, and learning that every individual is the same as me: everyone has their problems, their weaknesses, and their complexities.
ESQ: Is Coming Up Roses an on-stage persona/identity? Is it an extension of the band members or how different is it from every member? Why so and how do you guys juggle with it off-stage?
Bruce: We definitely have an on-stage personality but that’s just one facet of who we really are in daily life. We’ve all got an aggressive rocker in us, but we’ve also got a side that lazes around and binges on Netflix in bed all day. The rocker just takes over and it just feels natural on stage.
ESQ: What’s next for Coming Up Roses?
Emily: We've just wrapped up our launch show in July at SLED Productions X Decline. We have also recently released merchandise which we sold during our launch show and up on our website after. We definitely have no plans to slow down anytime soon so we will definitely be writing more new material and playing more live shows in the months to come!
“The honest truth is that we are really not morning people. But for this playlist, we’ve decided to choose some classics that won’t fail you and are great to start your day with.”
1. ‘Just Like Honey’—The Jesus and Mary Chain
“Such a simple yet unforgettable song. Plus, its played in the last scene of the movie, Lost In Translation. If you haven’t watched it we recommend you do. The somewhat jarring, trebly guitars are sure to wake you up as well.”
2. ‘Incinerate’—Sonic Youth
“Sonic Youth is one of our biggest inspirations as a band and we’re sure to many other indie guitar bands that have followed in their wake. Not their most famous work but ‘Incinerate’ and its album ‘Rather Ripped’ is one of the most accessible ways to start discovering their extensive catalogue.”
3. ‘Heaven or Las Vegas’—Cocteau Twins
“You haven’t really listened to dream-pop if you haven’t listened to the Cocteau Twins. Robin Guthrie’s glistening guitar work and Elizabeth Fraser’s inimitable vocal delivery on this track make it one of our favourites.”
“We usually spend our afternoons practising in a studio or writing and recording music. As such, we’ve chosen some upbeat tracks from modern bands that have had some effect on our own sound. Great tunes to listen to for a kick of inspiration in the middle of the day.”
1. ‘Your Loves Whore’—Wolf Alice
“When we made the decision to become a full band, we started by covering a lot of Wolf Alice songs and we had the pleasure of meeting them when they came to Singapore for Laneway Festival a year ago. To us, they are one of the best guitar bands around now. Plus, the fact that they’ve got a frontwoman that plays and sing have served as a great inspiration to us. This is one of our favourite tracks from their first album, ‘My Love Is Cool’."
2. ‘On The Luna’—Foals
“We like to try and play around with time signatures (without being a math rock band) and this dancey song from Foals’ latest album has some sections in 9/4 and is really fun to listen to if you’re into that sort of thing. Eagerly anticipating Part 2 now.”
3. '‘Saved By a Waif’—Alvvays
“This is one of our favourite tracks from Canadian band Alvvays’ second album ‘Antisocialites’. It’s got energy in spades, the instrumental work is amazing, great lyrics and the chorus is catchy as anything. What’s not to like?”
“All of us are pretty introverted so night time is when we spend a little time in our own bubbles, reflecting on life and just tuning out and listening to some good music. Unless we’re playing a show, then we’ll be throwing guitars and smashing cymbals.”
1. 'Sincerity Is Scary’—The 1975
“One of the best albums to come out in recent memory is The 1975’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. This single from that album is markedly different from anything the band has done before, with neo-jazz elements and a gospel choir. The swing on the hi-hats is really killer too.”
2. ‘Never Meant’—American Football
“This is a sad one. Sure, it became a meme but it’s a great song. The production on the entire album is lovely too; It feels like you’re in the room and it creates this really intimate experience. So iconic. LET’S JUST FORGET…”
3. ‘No Light, No Light’—Florence + The Machine
“It’s not as chill and quiet as the previous two but this just feels like a night track, title included, and we had to end with a bang. The lyrics are really personal and introspective which reflects our nighttime rituals too. Florence is one of our favourite vocalists and this is a massive track with strings, distorted drums and synth basslines. Perfection.”
Enjoyed the tracks? Check out our other ‘Dawn to Dusk’ playlists curated by guest artists each week and follow our Apple Music profile to access our playlist first when it's out.