Regular nights at a club blasting Billboard Top 40s might be good fun, but it is club nights such as Emonightsg and Eatmepoptart that have a cult following. Dance floors with grooving bodies and voices all screaming out lyric after lyric, these nights are driven by adrenaline, delirium and alternative music. The energy is infectious and the closest definition of 'unity' you might experience right here in Singapore that grows from genuinity and zero obligations.
Eatmepoptart started out with only 50 people in the crowd and now, they will be celebrating their 13th Anniversary this weekend. How did this movement even start?
Adrian Wee, better known as weelikeme, walk us through the journey of Eatmepoptart right from the beginning.
How did Eatmepoptart get together at the beginning to make club nights happen?
I had the idea of having an indie rock / alternative rock night in 2004. During that time, I was already DJing for around four to five years, and was a bit tired of the club staple of house music and clubs and ‘chill out’ music at bars. One evening, when I was at a dinner gathering at a friend’s place, some friends decided to put on a playlist with generally music we loved during our angsty teenage years with britpop, grunge and alternative rock - the dinner gathering turned into quite a party!
Soon after, two friends and me, we decided to work on a club night based on that. We came up with the name ‘Poptart’, which was later called ‘Eatmepoptart’, and started begging clubs and bars and whoever was keen to book us.
Our first club show was at Mad Monks, which was what Canvas Club was called back in the day. It was a pre-social media era so we had to bomb flyers around town and actually call and ask friends to come. The first night, we were playing to 50 people, made up of friends and their friends. I remember it was such a fun night, despite the small numbers, and, these people probably went to tell their other friends and by the third month, we were packing in the place with hundreds of folks queueing to get in.
The following year we won ‘Best Club Night’ on Juice Magazine awards. A few years later the other DJs, who I started the night with, left due to their other commitments, and I pulled in a new team to carry on the parties.
Share with us your individual dj-ing styles, and did they evolve over time?
It was a mess at the start - we just played whatever the hell we wanted to, and maybe the beauty was in the spontaneity haha. Through the years, we’ve learned to control our sets a lot more by actually mixing the tracks and having a flow during the night like a proper club show. Of course it wasn’t easy as there was no one doing a similar thing which we could use as reference so we were just going with our guts. Today our sets are all a full mix of indie rock, alternative rock, nostalgia, electronic, that has been properly planned to keep everyone on their dancey toes throughout the night.
13 years on, were there any surprises you encountered that you did not expect when first embarking on this journey?
From the initial crowd we managed to pull, to the crowds we get regularly these days, everything was a surprise. HAHA. Looking back, we’ve somehow managed to get a good following despite our no-frills party with a local DJ line-up. Most promoters tend to look for international headliners for their nights and other nonsense tactics to appeal to primal instincts to bring in a crowd but I’m very proud to say that we have been sticking to a very basic ethos of simply celebrating music.
We stated this with no expectations and I’d be very content if we ended performing at a dingy dive bar to 20 people, as long as they are there for the music and positive vibes.
What do the next five years look like to you?
I really don’t know. The club scene has changed so much and over the years, we have been looking for a club we could work with on the long term. However, call it the economical climate or whatever other excuse, most venues end up closing shop or changing their direction towards something we can’t reconcile, like bad music and tastes.
Having said that, we always find ourselves nomadic. Our music is not your staple club sound so most clubs don’t know what to expect and are sometimes uncomfortable with an idea they aren’t familiar with.
So more often than now, if the clubs already have regulars, they will get frustrated we aren’t playing their usual Despacito shit and when it comes to a standoff, we will always be handed the shortest straw and have to move on.
However, we have a few great partners who can see the value in what we do. We’re still harbouring some hope that we will find a club to enjoy a long-lasting relationship with. This really sounds like dating omg.
Most memorable show you have played.
We had two amazing shows last year at Laneway Festival and Local Motion was one of the most memorable shows we had in recent years. It‘s an amazing feeling playing at a festival to thousands of people who are in sync with our sounds. There’s simply no substitute to that.
Three qualities a DJ need to thrive in the Singapore club scene:
Aiyoh, I really don’t know how to answer this correctly. I think the most important is an unconditional love for music and the desire to share it with others. I always tend to filter out the young DJs who I think are in it for just the fame. It’s a lot of work with marketing and making a name of yourself with some sincerity and positivity. Then of course there’s the technical aspect of it - you need to keep practicing to hone your skills.
Advice for young dis looking to break into the scene:
Always be humble. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Observe what the other DJs are doing at clubs. Do not ever play Despacito or Chainsmokers.