Arts & Culture

Islandeer Speaks of Love

Growing up chronicled through music.
Words by

Love has been recorded throughout the centuries in all ways thought possible - Renaissance paintings, statues that grace historical streets to modern graffiti art in hidden alleyways and musical albums by the greats. Be it ten ways to get over a broken heart or the unabashed lover professing endless adoration, love is one of the most familiar themes to the humankind.

And Islandeer is here to add their own take to the already diversified mix of what love is.

New to the Singapore music scene, the band consists of Christian Jansen (drums, guitars, keys) and Michael Garcia (vocals, guitars, keys). Their musical inspirations include Radiohead, Bombay Bicycle Club, and The Beatles - combining styles from 60s pop, 70s rock, indie rock and modern psychedelia.

Making it in the local music industry is already a tough battle to pick, but to make music about a theme as mainstream as love... Can there really be anything more to sing about love? What more can be said?

Let's find out.

It has always been said that music is a difficult industry to thrive in in Singapore. Do you agree? And if you do, why are you pursuing it?

Islandeer- Yes it is difficult to thrive on music alone, but it’s been getting easier in recent times. We think there’s a growing consensus that we indeed have genuine local talent, not just in music, but in the arts. We’ve got great musicians, producers, storytellers and artists coming up and hopefully the support keeps on growing.

Love has been written into music over and over again across the centuries. Why do you think that's the case?

Michael- Love is one of our universal languages and I think it is hardwired into our humanity, the urge to love and be loved.

And it transcends time so much that you see it in our history, from the earliest poems to our modern day love songs. So it’s no wonder that it is and always will be a major theme in music.

Christian- Love is a constant; somehow or someway, there has been and there always will have love in humanity. It’s become instinct to want love, and give love - so it’s become a feeling and experience that people can relate to. Yet everyone’s experience with love is unique, the way they show it, get it from others, and who they show it to makes it very personal- which I think is a key component for any art form.

Personally, what about love intrigues you?

Michael- I’m intrigued by the fact that love can be confusing and difficult in one moment and in the next, it can feel like the easiest and most natural thing on earth. The mercurial ideas of love are some of the things we are want to capture in our debut album.

Christian- To me, there are aspects of love that are overlooked. It’s common to hear songs about “he/she broke my heart” or a “boy meets girl” kind of song. There are more personal, intricate parts that really intrigue me and I think we both try to relay those parts in our songs, and hopefully they’re relatable.

What other themes may we expect from your debut album?

Islandeer- We wrote the songs from the ages 17 to 23 and over the course of those years, we graduated from Poly, got in and out of relationships, completed NS, and began proper adult life. So the themes on the album encompass whatever we felt during those years and events. Mostly themes relating to growing up, the good and bad sides of it. Young love, personal freedom, relationships, existential anxiety, etc. The things we experience as we go from our teenage years into adulthood.

If your album is to inspire a piece of art - theatre, film, painting, what do you think it might look like? Visualise it for us.

Michael- It would be a Wes Anderson coming-of-age film with a few animated dream sequences in it. Like Boyhood meets Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Christian- It would be a spacey, colourful animated movie- like Yellow Submarine. But it would be in Space, and its main characters would be named Flynn and Chelsea. They’d meet, fall madly in love, but in the process of maturing, end their relationship.

Taking their experiences they learnt to live their space-filled lives. The imagery is mentioned in one of our songs on the album.

All band photographs are credited to Izwan Abdullah @unrulymisfit

Related Articles