Tilllate Magazine



Hailing from Singapore The Steve McQueens’ music is jazz infused neo-soulfunk, a groove-based hybrid of tight arrangements and freely improvised sounds. The Steve McQueens’ sound draws influence from artistes like Theolonius Monk, James Brown, Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Brad Mehldau and Robert Glasper; from soulful and sultry to eclectic and eccentric.

The Steve McQueens, who release their sensational debut album ‘Seamonster’ this month, are made up of Ginny Bloop (vocals), Fabian Lim (saxophones), Joshua Wan (keyboards), Jase Sng (bass) and Aaron James Lee (drums). We had a chat with both Josh and Ginny for Tilllatemagazine.com…

What was the inspiration behind the album and how did it all come together?
Ginny: We’ve been writing and arranging music since the band got together 18 months ago. The band is made up of really odd cocktail of people, with extremely varied influences, bound by a genuine love for songwriting and performing. We just wanted to translate that creative energy into a record. Prior to meeting Bluey, we were in the midst of preparing to record the album. However, it was after we were offered the production deal with Bluey in March 2014, that we sped up the process and intensity of what we wanted to have on the album.
Why the name ‘Seamonster’?
Ginny:  We decided to name our debut album ‘Seamonster’ because the song is essentially about journeying out into unchartered waters, and encountering the demons that exist along the way. It’s really about pursuing the things you want, and believe in, no matter how overwhelming or dark they may seem at times. It could be anything, you know. And that is pretty much the message that we wanted to send out with this album.
How did you all meet and how long have you been playing together?
Josh: We’ve all been in the scene but really came together after checking out the Java Jazz festival back in 2013. I guess the trip inspired us to do some of our own music. We got together to jam and there was an immediate chemistry. Then we took a 9 month gig at the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the rest just came together!
Tell us about Singapore’s music scene…
Josh: It’s a mish mash of different sub-scenes , a lot of Pop and Top40s, but the cool music: Indie , Jazz and R&B scenes are growing! There are a growing number of  indie festivals and communities coming up and supporting new creative original music. It’s a good time for bands and musicians!
Ginny: We’ve actually got tons of music living and breathing in our sunny island, though mostly underground. There have been a couple of independent festivals curated to champion the cause of original music over the years, which is fantastic. We’ve got a tiny but powerful community of musicians and supporters happening here.
Who are your musical idols?
Josh: Old school- Chick Corea, James Brown, Stevie Wonder. New school – Glasper, The Roots, D’ Angelo
Ginny: Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Karen Carpenter, Stevie Wonder, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Erykah Badu.
Where can we see you perform?
Ginny:  At O2 Indigo opening for Incognito in London on 23rd May.
Josh: Following that, some local gigs in Singapore.
Do you have a special lucky ritual you perform before you go on stage?
Ginny: We just hang out and laugh a lot together to get the good vibes going.
What’s your favourite Steve McQueen films?
Josh: Papillon and Bullitt
How was it meeting Gilles Peterson as we know he is very supportive of The Steve McQueens?
Josh: What an honour! The man is a champion of creative alternative jazz. And a super cool dude.
Ginny: He was very nice! I was prancing about in the studio while we recorded – I had no idea he had arrived, so I was a little embarrassed after, when I got out of the vocal booth and saw him sitting there. But he was very cool about it. Awesome human being!
Gilles is a keen Arsenal fan, word is that he gave you tickets for a game at the Emirates Stadium. How was your fist experience of a soccer match in the UK?
Ginny: Yes! He did! It was super exciting! Aaron and I took a train to the stadium while the rest of the boys slaved away in the studio. We had sandwiches outside while waiting for the match to start, and we didn’t expect to be seated so close to the pit, so we were kind of lost, walking around the stadium. When we finally got to our seats, the experience was simply overwhelming. We got to watch the match up close and soak up the vibes AND intensity of it all. People were shouting and cheering their guts out… I had to cheer silently because I still had to track vocals the next day. BUT IT WAS MAD! We had so much fun! We bought booklets to keep. We bonded through our touristy ways.
Finally, what was like to work with Bluey?
Ginny: Working with Bluey was one of the most humbling experiences of my existence. He was very supportive of who we were as a band, and what we were trying to create in the studio. When he was with us, he was always present in the moment. He was also objective as a producer, which is cool, because we’re all kinda crazy so it works to have someone sane in the studio to rein us in at times, to tell us what would or would not work. But at the same time, he gave us the creative freedom to do whatever we wanted. We love Bluey to bits and pieces.
‘Seamonster’ will be released on iTunes promo May 24th / Full release June 14th 2015 on Splash Blue. Highly recommended. 
You can catch the Steve McQueens live in concert on May 23rd (opening for Incognito) at 02 Indigo, London.



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