Pat Rocks

S'pore heavy-rock band Caracal pound the circuit

By Patrick ChngEvents - 15 December 2014 4:12 PM | Updated 5:13 PM

S'pore heavy-rock band Caracal pound the circuit

Almost four years after the release of their debut album, ‘Bear. Shark. Wolf’, Caracal is back with a follow-up that will enhance their reputation as one of Singapore’s most exciting and hardest working bands around.

The new album, ‘Welcome the Ironists’, will be launched at The Substation Theatre on 18 December.

Although Caracal have seen numerous line-up changes, the band have been evolving and progressing as a tight unit. It now comprises frontman KC Meals, guitarist Gabriel de Souza, guitarist Field Teo, drummer Martin Kong, and Jude Lee on bass.

Their sophomore release is a tour de force. It’s dynamic, inventive, intense, visceral and heartfelt. 

InSing caught up with drummer Kong, one of the most unassuming guys in the music scene, for a chat about the upcoming album and more. 

Why the album title, ‘Welcome the Ironists’? What's the story behind it?

This album title comes from our first single, 'Welcome the Ironists', and we feel it best represents us as a band at this point of time in our lives. We are all finally done with national service and have all moved on to be working adults. 

At this point, we sometimes wonder why we are still playing and putting so much into our music when we know this band will never help make ends meet for us. To be honest, sometimes it feels like chaos, but we love it because this band has always been more than just a band. We're brothers and we've grown up together and have been there for each other since it began. Making and playing music together keeps us sane and we're always here to keep each other in check. 

That being said, we feel this album represents all ironists (like us) and people of different sub-cultures and passions that are going against the social norm, hoping to be truly welcomed by our great country, Singapore.  

How do you think the new album is different from your debut, ‘Bear. Shark. Wolf’? 

There are some songs in the new album co-written with our former lead singer Chris Ng. For this record, KC has immersed himself into being a full-fledged frontman and sounds a lot more comfortable taking on that role. 

Also, we didn't have a bass player for the most part of pre-production, so many songs were written and recorded with Field on the bass guitar.

We feel this album best represents our sound that we've always wanted to achieve – heavy yet thought-provoking. We've really put a lot of time and thought into this one and we hope everyone can feel it when they listen to the album as a whole. 

'Wolves', Caracal at Aspire Rock Festival 2012

You’ve just done a music video. Tell us more about that. 

Yes, it is for the first single, ‘Welcome the Ironists’. Leonard Soosay (producer, friend, also director of this video) came up with the story of us escaping a hospital. I won't spoil the rest of it for you guys.

You've performed in Canada, China and other places. How were the responses and what were some of the highlights of touring overseas?

We have also played in Taiwan (Spring Scream Festival), supported Malaysian bands Love Me Butch and Hujan in their Sang Enemy Worldwide Transgressions tour in KL and Jakarta, as well as done a five-date tour in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka). 

The response was awesome everywhere. The one that stood out to me was Spring Scream Festival in Taiwan. That was held at a huge empty park with five to six stages at different parts of the area. We started out with 20 people in the crowd. But we kept playing and making a lot of noise and the crowds from the other stages started running over. It was nice to see the crowd grow to, like, 80 to 100 people. One of them was even wearing the band’s t-shirt.  

You’re a drum teacher at Thunder Rock School. What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Imparting knowledge and grooming students to become drummers is a joy. I enjoy seeing students coming up with new beats, grooves, fills that I haven't taught them. It shows that they've put some thought into drumming and making their ideas concrete.  

What do you have in store for the audience for the upcoming album launch at The Substation?

Expect crazy showmanship and clever songs from opening band Silhouette. There will be new and old songs from us. To be honest… it’s a simple, straight-up rock show. Come hang out with us and have a good time.

What plans do Caracal have lined up for 2015?

We are hoping to tour regionally. So if anyone from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Hong Kong, China, Japan are willing to listen to some rock music, please hit us up.  

‘Welcome the Ironist’ album launch | Date: 18 December 2014 | Time: 7pm | Venue: The Substation Theatre, 45 Armenian Street | Admission: $26.50-$41.50 with CD bundle from welcometheironists.peatix.com