Pat Rocks

Up Close with The Karl Maka

By Patrick ChngEvents - 27 May 2010 2:04 PM | Updated 16 September 2010

Up Close with The Karl Maka

It’s the start of a long weekend! Another thing to look forward to is eclectic Singaporean duo The Karl Maka performing at the Fred Perry Subculture Night on May 27 at Home Club.


I’ve been told that there will be great music, booze and loads of dancing at the brand new series of events called Fred Perry Subculture Night.

The event’s Marketing & PR manager Cheryl Ann Lee told that “Fred Perry Subculture Night is a local music initiative to promote the brightest music talents in Singapore and the best of our streets alongside Fred Perry, one of the first streetwear labels to establish a strong association with urban street cultures and music. With Subculture Night, we bring great music and warm friendships together in one night.”


The gig on 27 May features a tantalizing line-up: For This Cycle, The Karl Maka, I Am David Sparkle, Kurt from Clash The Disko Kids and Ming, Resident of HOME Club. 

I got up close with Jonathan Fong of The Karl Maka for a quick interview as they prepare for their performance at Subculture Night.


Is The Karl Maka officially a duo or has it expanded its line-up? 

The Karl Maka is officially still a duo but in the past year we've had the privileged and honour of jamming and performing alongside some amazingly talented musicians. The highlight of this would be at the recent Mosaic Music Festival where we collaborated with Biddy of Breakbeat Theory and Saiful of The Great Spy Experiment. We also had the brilliant musical talents of two young lads, Govin and Dexter, on the tabla, electronic drums and violin.

Through our live performances together, expanding the line-up most definitely adds to our sound and enhances the performance tremendously. Not only is it a blast having fun through making music with more musicians but there are also the aspects of learning more, improving, getting ideas and being more creative though bouncing ideas off each other. For the time being we're still officially a duo but I would not rule out the possibility of additions to our line-up in the future!

Which has been your most memorable gig so far, and why?

For me personally it would have to be the 'Just Can't Get Enough' Electrolab gig at the Esplanade Recital Hall in February 2009. Not only did we get to pay tribute to one of our greatest musical influences, Depeche Mode, and play alongside an eclectic mix of very talented Singaporean bands (4sides, Freaky-Z etc.) but the crowd that evening was just unbelievable in their appreciation and support.

They just... understood what we were about and really showed their love and appreciation for our performance. Till now I think back about that gig and I still feel overwhelmed by the positive response we got that night. It serves as the best reminder to be appreciative for what we have and to count all our little blessings as a band

Did you decide on any particular concept when forming The Karl Maka or was it a ‘let's jam and see what comes out’ scenario?

When we started the band we were very inspired by The Postal Service and we adopted their method of sending music and ideas across to each other via the internet. Given our various responsibilities and day jobs we found that it was an effective way to work. When we found the time we would meet at Ken's home to work face to face and develop and record songs that we had in his bedroom on his computer.


Any EP, albums or projects lined up in the near future?

We recently released our latest single With You, Always as a digital download button pack during our gig at Mosaic. The song itself can be previewed and purchased at so do check it out! 

We also have some material that hasn't yet been recorded and released so we're gonna work more on that and hopefully more tunes from The Karl Maka will see the light of day.


What can people expect from your performance at the Fred Perry Presents Subculture Night?

I don't want to ruin too much of a surprise for what we have in store but I can tell you that we will have a guest vocalist for the evening. Our performances are about interacting with the audience, having a good time so just come and check out our songs, have fun. And bust some dance moves if you wanna cut-loose!


About Patrick Chng

Forever young at heart, Patrick Chng loves going to gigs and checking out Singapore bands. He has also been playing in bands since the late 1980s, writing about music and being an important mover and shaker in the Singapore indie music scene. When he's not checking out or playing gigs, he's at home playing with his guitars and updating his Facebook.