I’m finding it hard to hide my amusement as the three male members of Ellipsis describe their female drummer’s outfits. “She’s always in these psychedelic pants”, explains vocalist, Zhengping as Japheth earnestly chimes in. “It’s actually quite amazing… because her pants are never the same!”
I can sense Yenhui, the female subject of our conversation, getting steadfastly redder by the minute as she laughs her embarrassment off. Perhaps it was time to switch the subject.
“Who’s the clown of the band then?”, I ask.
Three accusing fingers simultaneously point at Japheth, who suddenly looks very surprised. “You need to look at his pictures!”, exclaims Jowell. A brief moment later I’m looking at a mixture of serious and hilariously candid photos from the band’s latest photoshoot.
F: These are pretty interesting photos. I’m curious though, where did the idea for the earmuffs come from?
Zhengping: I was out shopping with my friend, thinking of props for the shoot. We are at Daiso just looking around randomly. She was the one that suggested the earmuffs. I found it kind of ridiculous at first. But after giving it some thought, I decided we could be like… space invaders coming to earth. If you look at our pictures, the backdrop is always of nature. You see these guys wearing white and with white earmuffs. The earmuffs… that’s our communicative device that blasts music 24/7.
F: Speaking of nature, let’s take a look at ‘Fireflies’ for a little bit. How did you guys go about crafting a song like that?
Yenhui: Well for our songs Zhengping will usually come first.
Zhengping: Well I came up with the song first and then share it with the band. Before ‘Fireflies’ all of our songs were rather mid-tempo, or slow to a certain extent. So I thought why not have something more upbeat? Something with a funky vibe? So that’s how ‘Fireflies’ came about.
Jowell: But not just ‘Fireflies’. The way we write as a band is very room-based. We are constantly jamming. And Zhengping is the man with the plan. He always has the song first. And then we all come in and do our little bits.
Yen Hui: Yeah the rest of us will take it from there.
F: Interesting. And for ‘Fireflies’ you guys did a collaboration with a company called LINK Carbon Bicycles?
Jowell: Oh yeah, Kenneth’s bike company. It is supposed to be locally manufactured.
Yenhui: Yeah, they manufacture and design bike parts and also the same for jerseys. Kenneth is a friend of mine. When he heard ‘Fireflies’ he really liked it and felt it was a nice soundtrack to push his product.
Jowell: And we also got a music video!
F: Other than Kenneth has there been anyone else who has either taken an interest in you guys? Or perhaps been particularly supportive?
Jowell: The Sapporo Safaris were pretty supportive. Kevin (lead singer of Sapporo Safaris) was the one who actually brought us in for their album launch gig. We’re very grateful to Kevin for that opportunity. And for the last Home Club gig we’ve had Amir…
Zhengping: Yup. The second time was Amir. First time was Ren.
Jowell: First time was Ren the bassist for MUON. He’s also very excited, he’s helping us do the mixing for ‘Padawan’. Then after that it was Amir Kadir for Identite.
Zhengping: We’ve had Daryl as well.
Jowell: Zhengping met the guys from Shelves, Noel and Daryl at Music Matters. Daryl is actually helping us track the acoustic version of ‘Padawan’.
Zhengping: Yup, at Guitar77.
Jowell: We’ve actually been very lucky actually to get all the support that we’ve got so far. Olivia from the lomoshop, Daryl from Shelves, and Ren from MUON.
Japheth: We’ve been very blessed.
Yenhui: Yeah, that’s the word.
F: You mentioned Daryl is helping you track an acoustic version of ‘Padawan’?
Jowell: We were just at Peninsula actually. We were doing an acoustic version of ‘Padawan’. Which is sort of our single.
Zhengping: Yah single.
F: Is this acoustic recording going to be on an EP?
Zhengping: It will be a single album. So we are going to market it when the single version of ‘Padawan’ is out. So this is somewhat the accompaniment. We were thinking of doing it acoustically because for ‘Padawan’ we’ve always pushed our sound up against a wall. This time we just tear everything down and perform it for what it is with real sincerity in it.
F: So the single is going to have both the studio and acoustic versions of ‘Padawan’?
Zhengping: Yup and maybe one or two more tracks? The rest are remixes though. So it’s sort of like a sneak of what is coming up next. For our band we’ll be releasing more in a ‘single-like manner’ rather than having everything up at one go… say in an EP.
F: What’s the reason for this approach?
Japheth: I think we want to keep the hype and keep the momentum going. If you release an EP straight away, and if you don’t have new stuff after that the momentum kind of dies down. You get what I mean? So we just want it to be done one by one to have things constantly flowing.
Jowell: It’s also an interesting way to see how the market will respond to us. Let’s say if we do ‘Padawan’ in one month and another song in another month, the hype is still there. Besides these days everyone is doing digital releases instead of hard EPs. It’s also a better way to connect with the fans. So every month we have a new song for you. It’s different from 5 song EPs where you get five songs at once. We’re keeping it as Japheth said, constantly flowing.
Zhengping: We like to make it such that it builds up slowly. One song by one song. But when you put things together it might tell you a brand new story. We would really like to share who we are as a band together with the larger audience by sharing what we’re doing step by step.
F: What is ‘Padawan’ about?
Zhengping: ‘Padawan’ was written by Daniel, one of our guys who left. He came up with ‘Padawan’. We actually did it at the SMU Basement because quite a few of them are Soundfoundry members, this SMU music club. They have a studio at the basement, so we always chillout there. We were at the hallway and he came up with the tune. We find it really catchy actually. It doesn’t give off a serious vibe, but we feel that it’s full of meaning and sincerity.
F: Full of meaning eh? That’s because the Padawan is a…
Zhengping: The Padawan is a Jedi trainee.
Jowell: I don’t know. I’ve never watched Star Wars.
Japheth: You’re the only guy I know who doesn’t watch Star Wars!
Yenhui: But yeah. The Padawan is a trainee Jedi.
Japheth: An apprentice.
Zhengping: Yeah. So it’s how he dreams of growing up to become a Jedi master someday. And he know the path is going to be like…
Yenhui: Really difficult, with lots of difficulties.
Zhengping: But the Padawan knows he has to fix his mind on the prize and go through all the hardship just to get to his goal.
Japheth: Kind of pretty much relates to us as well.
Jowell: Yeah in a way we’re training to be Jedi masters.
Zhengping: One day you’ll see us rolling with the big boys.
Ellipsis are a four-piece band from Singapore.
To obtain updates about their upcoming debut single, Padawan, follow Ellipsis at the following links: