THE LAST TIME we spoke to Eugenia, her synth-pop project, Riot !n Magenta (with Hayashida Ken) had just burst onto the scene with their performance at the 2012 Mosaic Music Festival.
Since then, the band has grown in size and depth, adding 3 members who are no strangers to the local music scene: guitarist Khairyl Hashim of The Great Spy Experiment, drummer Ritz Ang of The Summer State and bassist Sulaiman Supian of Obedient Wives Club. These new members have given Riot more room to explore the different timbres of their instruments and develop their sound sonically.
“The guys are such tech geeks,” Eugenia explains, “so it becomes very interesting to observe how they deconstruct and recreate stuff all the time with their gear.” This not only adds depth to their sound, but it also makes live sets more interesting. “I’m really enjoying having these added elements and energy to mess around with during our performances”.
After releasing their second EP, r3b00t late last year, the band went back to work and a new EP is scheduled to be released early 2015.
Eugenia is also busy in the Singapore jazz scene, making waves with The Steve McQueens, a group made up of similarly seasoned artists. The idea for the group was born at Jakarta’s Java Jazz Festival, where Eugenia and producer Joshua Wan were blown away by the creative energy of dedicated artists like Joss Stone and Roy Hargrove. Deeply inspired, they came back to Singapore and set out to recreate that same positive energy.
According to Eugenia, they lucked out and the band came together rather quickly. The band consists of like-minded, passionate performers with Joshua Wan on keys, Jase Sng on bass, Aaron James Lee on drums, Fabian Lim on saxophone and Eugenia on vocals. Since their genesis, they have been busy writing and performing, culminating in the release of their debut EP, Einstein Moments, last year.
The Steve McQueens have just returned from London, where they were working with Jean-Paul Maunick (aka Bluey of legendary jazz band, Incognito) to record their debut album at Livingstone Studios. The band will release their new record sometime late this year.
With so much happening for Eugenia, we wonder how she copes with both bands. Does she ever feel like she has to choose one over the other? Far from it. "Both bands are very dear to me and it's like having two siblings who are very different, but you'd die for any of them any day because you love them so much."
And how has experiences in Riot !n Magenta and The Steve McQueens affected her as a musician? "[Being in both groups] has enabled me to approach music making with an open mind towards the possibility of trying almost anything." Given the different ways that every musician expresses their creativity, Eugenia still relishes the collaborative aspect of her experience. "When creative energy is exchanged and channeled through ourselves, it manifests into something so beautiful - and it belongs only to you and the people you've collaborated with AT THAT MOMENT. There's only one of those in this entire universe!"
You can keep a look out for the products of such creative synergy and collaboration very soon with the release of The Steve McQueens' debut album later this year and Riot !n Magenta's new EP early next year. In the meantime, head down to the Black Swan to say hi to Eugenia (and The Steve McQueens) every Tuesday from 8pm!