It’s not often we hear of many bands out of South East Asia, but hey, we’ve been hearing alot of good coming from Japan lately, so there must be more definitive musical talent in our neighbouring region. Make way for Singaporean pop punk three-piece Autumn Atlantic. The boys dropped their debut EP Reflections (our review here), a dreamy pop punk debut giving off mid-2000’s vibes much like acts like We Are The in Crowd, Mayday Parade and All Time Low did back in the day. While I’m still wondering if the term “neon pop punk” should even exist, Autumn Atlantic are doing their best in recreating pop punk on their terms in 2020.
We caught up with Syamin, Jeff and Faizal to get to know the band’s latest release and in the midst of that, we uncovered a little more about the South East Asian music scene, their infatuation for Blink-182 and… their undying love for Australia!
Hey guys! Congrats on the release of Reflections! It’s a solid collection of dreamy pop punk, that I feel like fans of All Time Low would love. But who are your influences as a band?
Syamin: Thank you. Glad you guys enjoyed it. Blink 182 definitely had a heavy influence on my interest in music. I’ve always wanted to play an instrument, but Blink 182 really encouraged kids like me who have no background in music to pick up the guitar and just do it. As a band, we were influenced by bands such as Relient K, Amber Pacific, Blink 182 and Yellowcard in our early days. I’d say in terms of delivery, our influence is more from bands of the late-2000 era, like Mayday Parade and All Time Low.
Jeff: Thank you! Since I was a teenager, it was a dream to form a band and release songs and that has finally come true! Individually, even though we listen to similar type of songs, I feel we have different preferences as our go-to. Personally, bands like Cartel, Spitalfield and One OK Rock have an effect on me and I could play their songs all day! As a band, I would say Blink 182 immensely influenced our direction and continue to influence us in many ways, from our demeanour to song-writing. Honestly, if it weren’t for Blink 182, I would not have even thought of forming a band!
Faizal: Thanks very much! I’m glad you enjoyed our EP. I have a lot of bands in my mind right now but for this EP, my influence of drumming would be from Travis Barker of Blink 182. He’s the G.O.A.T.
You guys are mad keen Blink fans, which I can definitely tell on one of your songs, ‘Break Free’. Can you tell us the story behind this track?
Jeff: I wrote this song at the back of getting out of a toxic relationship. In a nutshell, it involved constant threats that slowly ate into my conscience and sanity. My ex-girlfriend carried out one of those threats which unfortunately hurt my mother emotionally. It was one of the lowest points in my life and I felt I had to immortalise the bad experience in a song. The song is laden with metaphors to give it some sort of a dark character so that it accentuates the feelings and emotions involved. It was also to engage with a listener’s imagination because that was what I relied on when writing this song.
The chorus sums up how I felt throughout the nightmare and ‘poison’ refers to anger and frustration of not being able to break free from her clutches. I think ‘walking a tightrope soaked in gasoline’ best encapsulates the difficult situation I was in on almost a daily basis. ‘She stripped me of my every gold’ would describe how she painted a bad picture of me in my mother’s eyes. All in all, I’m very happy with how the song turned out!
Syamin: Jeff came over to my place one day and told me he had written lyrics about the ordeal of going through a toxic relationship. I constructed some melodies and we wrote the song in less than six hours. We then worked on the song with Faizal to get the structure right. The whole process up to the completion of recording the song took about two months. It’s the fastest recorded song on the EP.
You’ve also got a song on the EP called ‘Great Ocean Road’. Have you guys visited Australia and/or the Great Ocean Road?
Syamin: Yes! I was on my holiday in Melbourne and I went to the Great Ocean Road a few years ago. It was such as beautiful sight and pleasant experience driving. I truly appreciate the nature and people!
Jeff: I’ve only ever been to Gold Coast with my parents for a family vacation and I enjoyed every bit of it. I’m starting to miss that place!
Faizal: I love Australia. My wife got us tickets to Soundwave Festival in 2012 which was held in Perth. The line-up was awesome, and the crowd was fantastic. It’s definitely different from the crowd you usually get here in Singapore. I went for Soundwave Festival again in 2014 to watch Millencolin & The Vandals Sidewave perform at The Hi-Fi Brisbane.
What does the song mean to you and is there any relationship to the well-known Aussie landmark?
Syamin: That trip made me reflect on many things in life. So, upon returning to Singapore, I was really inspired to write a song that would capture the thoughts and feelings that I had when I was there. The underlying message of the song was “you can’t always get what your heart wants”. On a side note, this song took a little longer than I’d like to complete (two years plus). But I just wanted it to sound right.
We don’t hear many bands from Singapore, but what’s the music scene like over there?
Syamin: Music in Singapore is very much different than most countries. We’re a very small city-state. Singapore musicians only perform a few times a year. We heavily rely on foreign music to add vibrancy to the scene, whereby regional acts from Asia Pacific are always welcomed. As bands, we grew on the backbone of the local underground and DIY scene. But as we seek to expand our reach it’s good that we are geographically strategic. Many Singapore musicians thrived in neighbouring markets such as Malaysia.
Jeff: I would say the music scene here is quite vibrant and people are more receptive to a lot more genres now. I also think it’s good that there are annual music festivals here like IGNITE! Music Festival and Baybeats Festival where people can come for free and watch various acts showcase their talent. Feel free to check it out!
Faizal: Like Syamin and Jeff mentioned, it’s more to local underground and DIY scene in Singapore. I think the only mainstream acts available in Singapore would be Baybeats Festival, a 3-day event where you have all kinds of people with different music influences come together to have fun and support their friends and favourite bands on stage.
I must say, the Singaporean/South East Asia market kinda reminds me of Darwin’s music scene, with the city being so far away from the rest of the country! What’s the best live show you played pre-COVID?
Syamin: I would say it was our first show in late 2007. Back then, we only relied on MySpace to promote our music. I was mind-blown when the entire venue sang along to one of our songs we posted online. I guess it does help that most of the audience were made up of like-minded people who listen to bands we were influenced by.
Jeff: Yes I agree with Syamin, I would say it was our first ever show which was before we knew Faizal. I was excited and a bag of nerves at the same time before our set. I won’t forget the feeling. I was pleasantly surprised when the crowd actually sang along to one of our songs!
Once shows return, tell us what one can expect at an Autumn Atlantic show?
Syamin: You can expect a highly energetic and engaging performance. We’ll try our best to interact with our audience while we are playing live. But definitely, you can expect on-stage banters between the three of us. Hahaha.
Jeff: I just simply hope that people would really enjoy our songs as much as we did making them!
Faizal: This is a first time for me with Autumn Atlantic. I did watch Autumn Atlantic perform live as the opening act for the EP release of a Malaysian band called One Buck Short at a skate park. The crowd was wild and energetic on Dance Rock. I really want to bring that level of energy to the stage and give the same to the crowd.
That Malaysian band sounds eerily like a parody of a classic Australian punk rock band One Dollar Short! Is there anything else you guys’d like to share with us here in Australia?
Jeff: First of all, I hope that everyone there is keeping safe and staying healthy amidst this pandemic. I’ve only been there once but I love how warm and friendly the people were towards me and my parents and would definitely want to visit Australia again. On another note, I wish that we could interact with more bands in Australia and maybe learn a thing or two in the hopes of improving ourselves as a band to make better music.
Syamin: I think Jeff said it perfectly. We just can’t wait to make love to Australia.
Faizal: Wow. I love the people there. I feel like I can retire in Queensland, Mt Tambourine when I’m old. It’s so quiet and peaceful.
Yeah, look. Queensland’s quite the place to be. Thanks so much for chatting with me guys. Hopefully we will see you on an Australian tour whenever international borders reopen. Stay safe!
Interview By Tamara May (@citylightstam)
Autumn Atlantic’s debut EP Reflections is out now.
Check it out here
Autumn Atlantic – Reflections tracklisting:
1. Yesterday, Today And Always (My Heart)
2. Break Free
3. Give Me A Summer
4. Great Ocean Road
5. Dance Rock