Interview: Singapore’s Scenery Proves that Distance Can’t Kill The Band’s Chemistry

How much chemistry can there be in a band that records their music remotely from each other? Quite a lot if you ask Singapore and Melbourne-based band Scenery.

After hitting their stride with “Evening Time” and surprise hit “Baby, It’s Been A Long Time”, the band’s most recent release – “For You” is a Raveena-inspired lo-fi R&B ballad that’s reflective of lead singer Ryan Lim’s experience with long-distance relationships, with both his girlfriend and Scenery itself.

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Kane Loveday and Jeremy Chua, the band’s lead guitarist and bassist/audio engineer, are both in Melbourne at the moment while Ryan was forced to relocate to Singapore right before Covid hit.

Still, it hasn’t stopped Scenery’s plans for the future as they gear up for an EP release within the next year. Have a listen to their latest single “For You” here and read on for my full interview with them below.


Turntable Thoughts:

Tell me about Scenery.

Ryan:

Well, right now we’re based in both Singapore and Melbourne. The other 2 boys are in Melb while I’m in Singapore. We first met in Australia during university, but after graduating I had to fly back to Singapore.

We mainly do indie R&B, lo-fi music and we have 3 singles out so far.

Turntable Thoughts:

How did you guys first meet?

Ryan:

All of us just met through mutual friends. 

At first, I was busking in Melbourne and tried to do things by myself, which was a bit limiting. When I did live shows, I thought it would be nice to have a guitarist accompanying me. It was me and Kane playing together for a bit. After that, I met Jeremy when we had to play a gig that Kane couldn’t make it for, I had to bring Jeremy in.

I already knew of his ability as a multi-instrumentalist so it was no brainer to have him on board.

Jeremy:

Actually, our first meeting was from a party at Laundry through our mutual friend Alicia.

Ryan:

Yeah, which is quite ironic cause none of us are like ‘party people’.

Jeremy:

We were stalking each other’s Instagrams for a while before we met. [laughs]

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Turntable Thoughts:

Jumping right into the music, how about you guys tell me about your new single “For You”?

Kane:

We took a lot of inspiration from Raveena and this other artist called The Color Fractal, who’s Singaporean. Initially, Ryan came to me with the vocals over acoustic guitar. It was folky instead of the vibey sound that Raveena does. We stuck with that version for a while because we recorded it for a University of Melbourne event called Mudfest – an Arts competition.

After that, we left it aside cause we were focusing on more on our other single “Baby, It’s Been A Long Time”. When we came back to it, we decided to add keys to it and changed the chords to make it more ‘Raveena-ish’. The drums were also different. We basically changed everything.


Turntable Thoughts:

In your press release, you described the song’s themes as “introspective night drives home to start-stop relationships”. Was there any experience in particular that inspired this song?

Ryan:

I first wrote the song when I was in Los Angeles for summer school while in a long-distance relationship. “For You” is about that relationship cause I was looking forward to my time there but when I arrived, I realised I couldn’t have the company to spend it with. Everything pales in comparison when I didn’t have someone to share the feeling with. 

That was the subject matter of the song but the themes of long-distance and longing were very relevant when we brought the track back from LA to Melbourne to work on. However, we couldn’t finish it and I had to return to Singapore. We had to finish everything up remotely.

“For You” then became, in a sense, a relationship with both my girlfriend and the band.

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Turntable Thoughts:

I’m also curious. What made you choose Raveena and The Color Fractal as your musical inspirations?

Kane:

I guess I was just listening to a lot of Raveena at the time.

Jeremy:

Yeah, this was one of those songs that Kane and Ryan spent a lot of time working on while also performing it, so they already had it sounding a certain way. When we finally sat down to produce the song, we all happened to be listening to the same music. Sounds that are warm but also simple and interesting, so that’s how it naturally came to be.  

Ryan:

The Paper Kites were also a major influence as well – the feeling of a night drive on the way home. This idea was a constant in our last 3 songs. Putting people into that introspective mood.

Jeremy:

Although Kane and I weren’t in LA, Ryan telling us about his experience and listening to the original version, we got the feeling he conveyed right away. Compared to our previous stuff, this song, in particular, is really about the lyrics and feelings that carry it.

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Turntable Thoughts:

Could you tell me about Scenery’s first-ever music video (out 15th Jan)? How long did it take for you to finish it?

Ryan:

Well the song took 1.5 years to make. The music video took…

Kane:

1 night. [laughs]

Ryan:

I wanted to capture the Wong Kar Wai feeling, so when Jeremy showed me his friend DanVisuals’ profile, I realised it would be a perfect fit.

We filmed it in Singapore and unfortunately cause the two of them aren’t here, they couldn’t appear in the video, which is part of my grand scheme to sideline them. [laughs]

Jeremy:

The video was entirely Ryan’s vision and it was just spot on.


Turntable Thoughts:

Your previous singles “Evening Time” and “Baby, It’s Been A Long Time” have both seen considerable success since their release. Does the fan reaction to them affect the creative process for “For You”?

Ryan:

Nope.

Jeremy:

No. [laughs]

Ryan:

It’s good encouragement since there are people listening to our music. We’re not super famous or anything but it’s nice that it can mean something to someone out there. Creatively, it didn’t really affect us. The three of us have similar music tastes and vision so it’s super easy to work together. Nearly every input we have is just agreed on.

Jeremy:

I don’t think any of us hold Spotify numbers in a very high regard. Because of how this year has been, we haven’t met a lot of people that have listened to it, aside from the occasional messages that make us realise our music is actually out there.

In the end, we’re still working in our bedrooms or over the internet. It feels very much the same.


Turntable Thoughts:

I wanted to get into that as well though. How did you guys record “For You”?

Ryan:

We started recording it at the end of November.

Kane:

Around the same time we did “Baby”.

Ryan:

We did it in Jeremy’s dorm room in Melbourne.

Jeremy:

The recording process for our stuff is almost always the same. Usually it starts with Ryan writing the meat of the song – lyrics and melodies. Kane sprinkles his magic guitar dust to make it sound good. Then, when they decide that they’re ready for me ruin it, I just shit on the turd. [laughs]

I just mix it and add in anything that they might think is needed.

Kane:

Usually he adds bass.

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Turntable Thoughts:

What are your plans for the future?

Kane:

So we plan to release an EP – 5 tracks. Hopefully we can get that done by next year cause we took pretty long to do “For You”. We wanna work on getting things done quicker.

Jeremy:

Our workflow as improved enough for us to record remotely within a reasonable time too.

Ryan:

For me, it’ll be nice to have the band back at one point or another and perform. Performing has always been something I really look forward to. Hopefully that can happen soon. Fingers crossed.

Posted by

Based in Melbourne and Malaysia. Jensen is a part-time journalist and full-time music fan.

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