Featuring Jasper Tan
WHAT IS IT that gives you the bad vibes? Or should I say, vad bibes?
That’s the term that Jasper Tan has coined to describe the essence of his work – the embracement of both visuals and music. Melding the two together to create music videos, he attempts to infuse a certain je ne sais quoi to his productions. And incidentally (or perhaps not), that’s also the name of his videography-cum-photography studio.
Before picking up the camera, the 22-year-old hopped from one hobby to another. He went from apprentice at a hair salon, to one at a tattoo parlour. But these never kept him grounded – he knew they didn’t fully interest him.
His first camera, a second-hand Canon 550D was one he deemed “o-piang” (Hokkien for lousy). Yet “o-piang” as it may have been, it sowed the seeds of today’s Vad Bibes; it got him started in snapping and documenting the many casual gigs and concerts that he attended with his friends.
Just as Jasper had begun to gain interest in photography, his camera gave way. Perhaps it was overly trashed around, or it was really just unreliable, either way, the fungus inside rendered it useless. It seemed as though his bid to properly learn the different techniques of videography would be derailed.
“I decided to stop using the camera and just ‘waste’ my life away. Go to army, then go home to sleep and back to the same routine again,” said Jasper dreadfully.
It wasn’t long before routine took its toll, and he began to realize how restless he felt without a creative outlet. Looking through his old videos and photos didn’t help either; they only made him realize that he mustn’t let his interest slip away so easily.
Jasper’s big break came when he was approached by a member of a band called Villes, Bryan Ulric, for help with the recording of an EP launch. It was at that moment that his hobby became something bigger and what started as a simple request evolved when Jasper and the Villes began working in partnership. Newly minted as the band’s videographer, he documented the three-piece band throughout their tour through Jakarta and Malaysia.
“In Singapore, you don’t see crazy fans; they don’t really express or show it. Maybe Singaporeans are [too] shy to let loose. When you are a band in Singapore you don’t see much support you feel discouraged. But in Malaysia or Jakarta the crowd there is really crazy and they do stuff like crowd surf.”
Jasper also went on to directing his first music video for Villes.
Having no prior knowledge in directing a music video, all he could do was to throw caution to the wind, and go with his instincts in developing a storyline and concept for the video.
Over the course of a few months, innumerable shots of sunsets were taken, abandoned houses were visited, and Pulau Ubin trekked. The video's concept was seen to completion.
Unsurprisingly (and with such scenic backdrops), Jasper's first music video production was a tasteful treat for both the band and himself. “Who'd knew I could pull that together,” Jasper muses. When others watched the video of the acoustic song, they praised it to be an amazement of the transformation from a metal genre song to a simple acoustic song.
One thing led to another, and other local bands have since looked for Jasper to capture moments and gigs though the lens of his vad bibes philosophy. Most recently, Jasper has been working with up-and-coming local singer-songwriter Joel Tan of the Gentle Bones to direct the music video of his anthemic tune “Until We Die”.
In spite of increasing attention to the work he produces, Jasper remains humble, choosing to celebrate the art of the musicians and artists he works with, instead of cashing in on increased business. “When you work with the people from the music scene, they don’t earn a lot of money, so it is very difficult to charge a fee. It is more of helping one another.”