We’re writing a small mini-series of interview features, ‘Asian Delights’, in which we highlight local acts throughout the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand we think are worth your attention.
We interviewed Singaporean pop duo SLAYN to ask them more about their recent release, their music and what’s next in the pipeline.
Comprising members Cherie Rui Min and Joshua Evan, SLAYN’s new album SUMMER IS OVER’ is a lyrical microcosm of a breakup album, detailing the 7 chapters of healing from failed relationships. The album released on 27 August also presents as a multinational collaboration between the duo, Indonesian electronic producer ABRAM and Hong Kong R&B/Rap artist-producer Gareth. T.
SLAYN, Gareth.T and ABRAM are also currently working on a remix EP for the song to feature artists of diverse styles, expected to be released in the last quarter of 2020.
AL365: Hi SLAYN, Vanessa here from Asialive365. Thanks for answering our questions. Congrats on the new album ‘SUMMER IS OVER’! How are you doing these past few months? Lots of stuff including music and live performances have been put on “pause”, so it’s always nice to see when new music is out, or when a new video is made during quarantine or safe distancing times. Tell us more about this new album – was it conceptualised during the months of “lockdown”?
Cherie: Thank you so much! These past few months have been different, which is a great time for reset and re-evaluation. I’m enjoying spending more time with family and friends here in Singapore since I’ve just moved home earlier this year. Besides working on SLAYN materials and writing/recording, I’m mostly teaching at my company Vine Music Studio, which I co-founded during the circuit breaker. The album SUMMER IS OVER has actually been in the works since last year, when Josh and I were both living together in Los Angeles.
Joshua: While we recorded and filmed mostly last year in LA, the lockdown was really a conducive time for us to refine and dig deep into our production of the album. I moved back home to Singapore from Boston where I was studying because of the pandemic, and serendipitously that made working on the album with Cherie so much smoother.
AL365: How does it feel to have this new album out and what has the response been like from family, friends and fans so far?
Cherie: This was our very first album, so these songs have such a special place in our hearts. We’ve been meaning to get these songs out to everyone for quite some time now, and we are so glad to finally give everyone a taste of what our sound is like, while continuing to find our voice and express ourselves and our emotions in our songs.
Joshua: We are so thankful for everyone who has supported our art and listened to our new music so far. Cherie and I always hope that our music serves a deeper purpose beyond entertainment, so we hope this album’s story translates and brings healing. We are also excited to share our new music soon!
AL365: You mentioned about the 7 chapters of healing that the album has. There are seven songs in the album. Would you say that each song represents each emotional stage?
Joshua: Yes, the seven songs are ordered chronologically. They embody the emotional progression of a breakup – from heartbreak, to rebounding, healing, liberation and finally the maturity of accepting mutual culpability for the breakup.
AL365: What do you hope listeners and fans will take away from the songs after listening to them?
Cherie: Our music is very personal to us, and we hope to let our listeners feel the same way we did while writing these songs.
Joshua: This body of work is a time capsule of music that is both very specific to a point of time in our lives but we also think it talks about things that are universal and relatable to many people.
AL365: We understand the music video for the title track was shot in Los Angeles during the summer and Boston during the winter. What was that like?
Cherie: We had so much fun filming with two different videographers – Hwang Jing in Boston and Josh Chung in LA! I first filmed with Josh Chung at the mountains and beaches in Malibu to be in line with the lyrics in “SUMMER IS OVER”. It was really exciting doing location scouting on my own and picking out my wardrobe pieces. I flew to Boston the next week to film with Hwang Jing, Abram and Gareth. That shoot in Boston was excruciatingly cold but it was fun to be filming with everyone. It was an interesting experience working with two different videographers and putting these amazing shots they captured together. We tried to make the shots from the two locations come together cohesively, but we also intended for the settings to be contrasting. Our vision was that the mountains and beach in Malibu represented Summer and the idealized part of the relationship while the snowy city landscape of Boston represented the lonely harsh reality that the relationship had ended. Jing did most of the work editing, while Josh and I gave our input of our specific direction and vision we had for the video. We love how it turned out and we are so proud of it!
AL365: In 2018, you worked with fellow Singapore singer-songwriter LEW for the song ‘Lies and Covers’. In this album, we see collaborations with Josh Choo, Indonesian electronic producer ABRAM, and Hong Kong R&B/Rap artist-producer Gareth.T. How have these collaborations been like and do you plan to work with other fellow music folks? Any dream artists?
Joshua: Collaborating is always so fun. The exchange of ideas and cross pollination within our creative processes with other artists have led to new paths we have never taken before. We have a bunch of new music on the way and most of them are actually collaborations. We are so excited to share our new projects very soon!
AL365: Is there anything you can share about the upcoming remix EP?
Joshua: We have recontextualized some songs from SUMMER IS OVER the album. Some who have listened to the album might be surprised by the new directions we are taking musically…
AL365: Tell us about the kind of music (or artists) you grew up listening to – and if you feel that it has influenced any of yours?
Cherie: I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and Beyoncé. I’ve always been passionate about pop music, despite being involved in musical theatre, classical and rock productions. I feel like the music I write and produce is a culmination of all the musical influences I’ve had in my life.
AL365: We see that some performances in Singapore are getting a chance at slowly coming back. How do you feel about this?
Cherie: I hope so! I do miss going to live shows. I’d love to see everyone getting back to playing music and pursuing their passions. I also miss playing in shows and getting to meet new people.