In the heart of Geylang, a place better known for its good street food and scandalous red-light district, a small building is given new life as an underground gem for local musicians to be discovered and communities to be birthed. In efforts to enliven the Island’s music scene, Anaki Records hosted Rock N’ Shop to bring together local bands, like-minded individuals through shared passions for street styles, booze and the ultimate unifying instrument – music. This was a bold and unique concept, that aimed to bring together two fairly distinct art forms, music and fashion, onto a single platform. It was the perfect platform for patrons of one, to experience the other. This consequently increased the exposure and appreciation of everyone who attends.
Anaki Records is located in a relatively secluded location, Yu Li Industrial Building, but should not be much trouble to find. If you’re taking public transport, the closest train station would be Aljunied. What follows is a brief 5-minutes journey towards the building tower. Alternatively, you could take up to 14 different buses and alight at “Bef Lor 23 Geylang” bus stop, followed by a 1-minute walk towards the building.
At the building lift lobby, take the red lifts up to level 7 where you’ll see a wide and spacious corridor; turn right on the first door and it will transport you to a cosy musical haven.
Stepping Into Fashion Trends
Rock N’ Shop held a killer flea market featuring pre-loved designer wear from street brands like Diesel, Miss Sixty, Stella McCartney and Jeffrey Campbell, amongst many other brands. Starting prices are as low as $2. How’s that for ensuring that everyone got their hands on luxury merchandise without breaking the bank. It was truly a steal! I would recommend arriving as early as possible to get first dips! Event-goers swiped most of their stocks by the time I reached the flea market. Take my advice and go early, you will not regret it.
Juliana, the organiser of the event and the owner of the event venue, referred to their inventory as “a collection of clothes from cool people; outfits that have been ‘Okayed’ by cool artistes and fashionistas alike”. Evidently so, this careful curation of unique designs and prints certainly displayed individual flair, as well as, statement pizzazz to make one feel and look like a total badass.
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The various bands started playing from 7pm onwards. The ambience at night took on a whole new character. Rich burgundy walls, professional stage lighting and a booming sound system.
The stage at the venue was deliberately not elevated, with the organisers intention of facilitating a more up close and personal interaction between the band and its audiences. It sounded like an ideal but unlikely explanation at first. Yet throughout the night, at several points during the performances, the lead singers onstage actually extended their microphones to audience members and engaged enthusiastic individuals to take over the limelight. For instance, during Terrestrea’s metal core piece, one of the guys standing nearest to the stage was handed the mic where he bellowed out the chorus intensely – its spontaneity and unrehearsed nature was electrifying and it was impressive to experience such cohesion amongst strangers that have nothing in common, other than a shared passion for music.
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Fuel Yourself with Some Booze
Nothing moves a crowd more than a glass of cold beer and soulful music to bop your head to. It was a huge plus point when I saw the cosy bar at the venue. It served up a limited but still quality range of alcohol, with popular choices like Hoegarden and Corona beer, or Hendricks gin, Absolut Vodka and even Monkey Shoulder Whiskey if you’re in the mood for something with a bit more kick.
The in-studio bar possessed its own characteristic charm with old-school rock band and music posters plastered all over the walls. The design really stood testament to the organisers’ passion and fandom for good music. Retro decorative lighting, dimmed in a way that would make any guest feel comfortable grabbing a drink or two.
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Before the performances began, I managed to get acquainted with Juliana Koh, the founder of the independent label, Anaki Records, to explore the studio’s values and objectives.
According to Juliana, Anaki Records is about promoting the “not your everyday bands”. The aim here is to introduce names that the public has never heard before. A platform for fresh faces to have some real stage time. This studio platform has become symbolic of opportunities; granting lesser known and experienced bands a stage to perform and live out their rock star dreams. Until now, the studio has raised a ruckus in Singapore’s artistic scene with its all-encompassing multi-genre music performances.
Specifically, for Rock N’ Shop event, Anaki had partnered with 9 rising local bands – Trust the Chaos, Terrestrea, Pep Talk, Fall Before Rise, We the Villains, Lula The Magic Queen, The Echo Wrecks, Cesspit – to take centre stage at their studio. Personally, I have never heard of any of these bands before. Undoubtedly, scepticism on the quality of music crept in. However, my perspective and opinions changed 180 degrees just several minutes into their performances. The amount of unrecognised talent in just these few bands astounded me. I would recommend giving them a listen, and events like Rock N’ Shop are the perfect opportunity to do that.
To end this off, let me let you in on some juicy news. Juliana accidentally let slip Anaki Record’s plans in February to host a 2 days beats-fiesta. Subsequently, their audience will be introduced to an unorthodox form of metal-beats music. Not forgetting of course, old-school hip-hop beats too.
Better still, Anaki’s events won’t just end in February. In fact, every 3-4 months, the recording studio organises similar events to reunite music lovers together.
Will you be there the next time?
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