IT IS HUMAN NATURE to keep looking for a high, to lose our selves, to escape into something that's bigger than living. We all manage this euphoria at one point, one way or another. The Sets Band, however, have almost perfected this art of mental, emotional and maybe even physical escape when they perform their unique brand of music. ‘It’s this zone that we get into. There is this rush we feel when we play live, or during a good jam session.’
Conceptualized only after their first gig at Timbre’s 2011 Rock and Roots and sped along by a night of inebriation, The Sets Band sought out, from the start, to create a sound that is their own. ‘We love creating our own music. Building stuff. Building a whole different life and story. Making something that is transient yet for a short time tangible.’ Listening to their first EP, titled: Base, I find myself struggling to situate the band in a specific genre, yet able to see the flow between each track as the album progresses.
The key lies in the band’s name. The quartet, namely: Joshua Tan, Sim Jin, Marcus Lim and Harold Lim, explain that the name came about because their sound transcends genres. Instead of playing one specific type of music, each song they play almost seems to come from a different genre, and each song from a different set. ‘We realized we didn't have a fixed genre. Our influences range from reggae to blues to pop rock to even Getai. So we had an identity crisis. But at the end we felt really good about our music. So The Sets band. We play many sets, and our sets change and move.’
Moving past their boyish yet humorous comment that their band’s namesake is almost a homonym of a more explicit word, I found that many of the band members had very little formal musical education. ‘We couldn’t even play covers when we started out. We made our own music because it was the only way we could feel the high we wanted.’ It was this high they were chasing that allowed them the drive to release an ep and achieve substantial success in the local music scene. A dedication to achieve a state of ecstasy through their auditory musings was not something to be trifled with. ‘We make it a point to jam every Sunday for the whole day, for the past 6 years. That's more than 400 odd sessions. We need to keep this flow. It’s our way of life now. If we don't meet up it's weird.’
A band whose music evolves with them, remixes and remakes are nothing foreign to them. Collaborating with Nicco from another local band, While The Kids Are Surreal, they recently released a remix of their popular song ‘Rebound’ that really lives up to their name. Currently the band is working towards releasing a new album, to be released in the later half of 2014.
The band also has other social media platforms that are worth checking out: Snapchat: @thesetsband, Twitter: @thesetsband and Instagram: @thesetsband.