Pat Rocks

For the love of Guitar (Hero)

By Patrick ChngEvents - 29 January 2010 2:13 PM | Updated 16 September 2010

For the love of Guitar (Hero)

Playing the game made him hanker for the real thing. This was the curious beginning of Shelves, a new band on the Singapore indie scene fronted by Noel Yeo.

He recounted how it happened to

“This is going to sound very convoluted, but it’s all true.

“Essentially, it started with (the video game) Guitar Hero. I spent a fair bit of time on it, and I thought, maybe I’ll buy a new, real guitar. Why waste energy on a fake one?

“I went online and found a Fender Jaguar that I liked. Bought it and naturally wanted to record it. I had a whole bunch of songs never used with any of my previous bands, (so I) decided to record those songs. Had fun for a while until I thought maybe it’ll be more fun if I tried to work the songs out with a band. So I put one together.”

Noel is no stranger to the music scene. In the early 1990s, he was in the indie pop duo, Silverspy, before fronting the band Suchness in the mid 1990s.

Suchness’ song Spellweaver is featured in the recently released three-CD box set of Singapore indie bands from the 1980s to the present +65 Indie Underground.

The rest of Shelves are Robin Chua (ex-drummer of acclaimed ‘90s indie rock band Livonia), Melvin Ho (ex-guitarist of Suchness) and Brian Koh, who also plays bass for Leeson.

Robin’s former band, Livonia, is also featured on the +65 Indie Underground compilation, which was released in December 2009.

“I have tremendous appreciation for the idea and effort it took to put it together. It’s really a landmark release in local music,” said Noel.

“I never thought how much people cared about music from that era until I talked to some of the younger musicians. The way it was described, even I got excited - and I was there!”

How does Noel describe Shelves' sound?

“Probably power pop. Strong vocal melodies over chunky, overdriven guitars. I would love to say strong vocal harmonies, but I don’t think we are there yet. Mel and I are the hugest fans of Big Star we know. Then there’s of course the bombast of Robin’s drumming.”

Are there plans to record an EP or album in the near future?

Noel says, “Definitely. It’s the prime reason why Shelves exists. Suchness didn’t record a single song apart from Spellweaver. We had a lot of songs, believe me, (and we) gigged a whole lot. But it all came to nought because we didn’t put any of our songs onto a record.

“It’s almost as if we never existed.”

“Compare that with Silverspy, which arguably a lot more people recognise, even though the band is older. Lesson learnt. This time around, Shelves must record: an EP, LP or digital album. Hopefully soon.”


Before you run out to get their future releases, you can catch Shelves ( ‘live’ at NOISY-POP! at Home Club on 30 January 2010, and at the +65 Indie Underground gig at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre on 5 February 2010. Other bands playing include Interlude, the Karl Maka  and TypeWriter. Admission is free.

Read more about other local bandshere.