"I try to make music as much as I can – every day": Intriguant speaks on playing at BIGSOUND 2018 and new music

"I try to make music as much as I can – every day": Intriguant speaks on playing at BIGSOUND 2018 and new music

The underground electronic realm has long been one of Made In Singapore music’s best kept secrets. But Louis Quek aka Intriguant, who stands amongst the ranks of legendary homegrown audio-visual collective Syndicate, has been one of the scene-stealers who has seen his transmissions break ground with incrementally bigger audiences. His 2016 debut album Recluse is an enduring genre-spanning testament of his worlds-bridging appeal.

In early September, he’ll represent Singapore at BIGSOUND 2018, Australia’s esteemed music industry showcase where he’ll play a standalone set as well as at Hear65 @ BIGSOUND, a second Singapore showcase presented by the National Arts Council.

Hear65 speaks to Intriguant about his upcoming sets and what the new music he’s poised to release will sound like.

How does it feel to be selected to play at BIGSOUND 2018?

I’m very excited to see what BIGSOUND is going to be like and what kind of crowd will be there. I actually went there with the LUSH 99.5 crew two years ago and it was a good experience; Kiat, Vanessa Fernandez and myself played as Syndicate. It was fun. This time, I’m going as a solo artist and playing new original music, so I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Musically speaking, what’s changed for you since your last BIGSOUND stop?

In the two years that have passed, I’ve moved on to something more progressive. I’m leaning more to 4/4 stuff, more house and techno with a hip-hop influence. It’s faster and more club-focussed. That’s the kind of set I’ll be playing at BIGSOUND. I try not to be complacent with music. I try to make music as much as I can – every day. Even if there’s a bad chord progression or melody, I’ll treat it as practice and build on it. With music, if you put the work into it, you might arrive at something really good.

And how do you think Singaporean musicians benefit from playing at overseas showcases like BIGSOUND?

This is how I see it: If you play in a different country, you’re basically a nobody. You’re introducing yourself; you're telling people who you are, where you come from and what you bring to the table. You invite people to get to know you through your sound and music. Even though the world has been made small by the Internet, there’s so much information going around. But since you’re there, you should make the best of it. It’s so good to be able to interact with new listeners face-to-face. It’s a good opportunity to be a part of that two-way exchange.

How did you go about preparing your set for BIGSOUND?

For this particular show I’m playing, I’ll be showcasing material I haven’t released yet, like, an EP that I’ll launch probably later in the year. I’m trying to use it as tester. I’m assuming that people there have my profile and have heard my older stuff. What I’m trying to do is make it interesting by playing stuff that is totally different. I want to draw them into my music with a whole new batch of songs.

You recently performed Temporal, which was very well received, at SIFA. How was that experience for you?

We conceptualised the show to be a very immersive audio-visual experience. From there on out, I want to do shows that are more focussed on the music. The lights were an extra sensory layer but we don’t always have the luxury of that. I want people to concentrate on the music and understand how it works in whatever context it’s played.

Tell us more about your upcoming EP.

It’s a new batch of songs that I’ve been working on for a while. It’s very different from Recluse. I actually played some of the songs at the SIFA show. Besides that, I’ll also be releasing a remix album of Recluse. I worked with 10 producers from all over the world. There are producers from Singapore such as Syndicate’s Kiat and Safuan Johari, as well as Fauxe and Yllis and Similar Objects, who’s from Manilla, Fujimoto Tatsuro, who’s a Japanese producer part of the Cosmopolyphonic crew, and Daisuke Tanabe, another prolific producer from Japan.

Hear65 @ BIGSOUND will take place at BIGSOUND Festival in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Australia on Wednesday, 5 September. Find more information here.