Singapore’s Altoduo dishes out a delectable fusion of math-rock, chillhop, and jazz in their food-inspired EP, “Jiak Simi?” Get ready for a nostalgic feast!
Singapore-based math-rock duo Altoduo is redefining the boundaries of music with their deliciously innovative EP, “Jiak Simi?” Consisting of Wini on drums and JP on bass, the band has crafted a unique sonic experience inspired by the one thing we can all relate to – food.
In our interview, Altoduo reveals the creative process behind their delectable fusion of math-rock, chillhop, and jazz. Taking inspiration from iconic Singaporean snacks like ice gems and muruku, the duo has crafted a collection of tracks that not only evoke nostalgia but also showcase their innovative approach to songwriting and performance.
The first track, “a happy meal,” features Wini and JP harmonising their voices as they play their respective instruments, adding a raw and genuine touch to their music. Drawing from their experiences performing live, the pair found it both fun and challenging to incorporate vocals into their sound. The result is a captivating mix of melody and rhythm that invites listeners to explore the connections between food and emotion.
When asked about the spiralling bass and drum loop in the track “muruku,” the duo explained that the snack’s spiral shape inspired the looping structure. This creative decision adds an unmistakable and irresistible texture to the song, reflecting Altoduo’s ability to think outside the box.
Another standout track, “Po Te Chi Pu,” pays homage to Singapore’s unique potato chip flavours. By incorporating ASMR-like chewing sounds and samples of children playing, Altoduo brings listeners back to the joy and nostalgia associated with these snacks. It’s an innovative blend of food and music, creating a truly immersive experience.
The EP’s title, “Jiak Simi?” meaning “What Shall We Eat?” in Singaporean dialect, serves as a reflection of the band’s commitment to connecting with their audience through shared experiences and memories. Their ultimate goal is to make math-rock accessible to everyone, and by weaving in themes of nostalgia and happiness, they’ve successfully managed to do just that.
Altoduo’s distinctive sound has been shaped by a wide range of musical influences, including The Omnific, Covet, CHON, Jakub Zytecki, Elephant Gym, and various Spotify chillhop playlists. Their creative process typically begins with either a drum or bass foundation, which they then build upon with melodies and, if appropriate, vocals. The final touch involves adding synth sounds to fill any remaining gaps in the sonic landscape.
As for their impact on the Singaporean music scene, Altoduo hopes to make math-rock more easily digestible for local audiences while also evoking positive emotions and memories. They believe their music can play a role in fostering a greater appreciation for Singapore’s daily life and culture.
When asked about the future, Altoduo hinted at an exciting collaborative project involving dancers, filmmakers, and artists. This upcoming project promises to showcase their incredible versatility and continued innovation in the music world. Be sure to keep an eye on their Instagram for more details on this ambitious endeavour.
Altoduo’s “Jiak Simi?” is a testament to the power of music to create connections, evoke nostalgia, and challenge conventional boundaries. With their unique blend of math-rock, chillhop, and jazz, Wini and JP are proving that there’s a place for everyone in the world of math-rock – all it takes is an open mind and an appetite for something different.
What inspired you to write an EP about food, and how did you choose the four food items that are featured in the EP?
Wini: Food is something that everyone can relate to, as it evokes different emotions and memories.
JP: Potechipu was our go-to snack during sessions. Ice gems and muruku, on the other hand, are iconic Singaporean snacks. We wanted to write about listeners’ preferences, too, not just our own.
“A Happy Meal” is the first track on the EP where both of you sing in harmony while playing your instruments. What was the process like, and how did you feel about incorporating your voices into your music?
Wini: It was actually quite fun for me. I gained more confidence singing while drumming in our past gigs in F1, Esplanade.
JP: I also wanted to take on the challenge of harmonizing with Wini. The recording process was straightforward, and finding the right kind of voice was a fun exploration. Incorporating vocals adds a more genuine and personal touch to our music.
How did you develop the repeating bass and drum loop in “Muruku,” and how did you capture the essence of the snack in your music?
Wini: The drum loops came in first, and then JP tried to do something even more loopish with the bass.
JP: Muruku is usually in a spiral shape – that’s where you hear the bass and drums looping.
Can you tell us more about your love for Singapore’s potato chip brands and how it inspired “Po Te Chi Pu”? How and why did you incorporate the sounds of potato chip chewing and children playing into the track?
Wini: We enjoy Singapore’s unique potato chip flavors, like Hainanese chicken rice chips and laksa flavors from brands such as Jack & Jill and Meadows.
JP: The ASMR-like chewing sounds and children playing bring back memories and create a nostalgic feeling. We recorded samples of ourselves chewing on the chips and then went to playgrounds to sample children’s voices.
“Jiak Simi?” is a common phrase in Singapore that means “What Shall We Eat?” How did you decide to use this phrase as the title of your EP, and what significance does it hold for you?
Wini: “Jiak Simi?” is a commonly used dialect phrase in Singapore whenever we ask each other what we’d like to eat, and most generations here understand it.
JP: We wanted to connect with our audience through shared experiences and memories by using a phrase that’s familiar to everyone.
The EP features a unique blend of math-rock, chillhop, and jazz. How did you develop your sound, and what are some of your biggest musical influences?
Wini: Developing our sound takes time. We’ve listened to countless math-rock and jazz in the past, and then started listening to more chillhop, thinking about what could be a common integration between the three.
JP: Some of our musical influences are The Omnific, Covet, CHON, Jakub Zytecki, Elephant Gym, and various Spotify chillhop playlists.
What do you hope listeners will take away from “Jiak Simi?” and how do you want them to feel when they listen to your music?
Wini: We hope they feel more positive, happy, and relaxed while listening to our music.
JP: The major takeaway is that math-rock is for everyone; you don’t have to be an expert in it to enjoy it.
What’s next for Altoduo, and can you give us any hints about your future direction? What can fans expect to hear from you in the future?
Wini: We have an exciting collaborative project in the works that involves dancers, filmmakers, artists, and other talented individuals. It’s going to be a short narrative featuring these amazing people, along with us as musicians, creating the music.
JP: We’ll also be presenting this live in various spaces around Singapore, so keep an eye on our Instagram for more details on that. We can’t wait to share this experience with our fans!
Thanks guys! Really looking forward to the EP coming out – good luck!
Wini: Thank you! We’re really excited about sharing our EP with everyone, and we appreciate your support.
JP: Thanks a lot! We hope you and the listeners enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it. Stay tuned for more from Altoduo!