AsiA scout Network’s


InsIghts scoop
Every 3 months, Mindshare Asia-Pacific invites designated ‘scouts’ living in each major city in Asia to provide updates on urban youth culture and their own opinions on two preset topics, dropping their articles on our blog. At the end of the assignment, stories from our scouts are picked and pulled together by the MindShare AsiaPacific Insights unit into a pan-regional, topical report, called the Asia Scout Network Insights Scoop. We’re hoping this will help provide a close-up view of what the urban and opinionated 18-32 year-olds Asians are up to, through real, local examples. The bird’s-eye-view regional perspective is meant to serve as a springboard to inspire new communication ideas, sometimes by adapting concepts originating outside the borders of your respective countries to fit the local climate. This eighth issue is titled “Unseen And Unheard: Asia’s Music Undercurrents” and explores ‘leading edge’ music scenes: alternative, independent music scenes that deviate from mainstream pop culture and are characterized by elements of creativity, rebelliousness, and novelty. The business directions are not explicit, but we hope that taking this with openness and flexibility can help tease out the ideas that lie in the shadows and uncover the opportunities for innovation ahead. For the full version of the scouts’ articles, check out This PDF copy contains links to the relevant articles, connoted by underlined and bold phrases like this Good and bad comments, or just tips on trends, we’d love to hear from you... email: The CiTy SCouTS: Aiko Mizuno (Tokyo) Lokavid Chen (Taipei) Ginette Chittick (Singapore) Sean Leow (Shanghai) Michelle Mossfield (Sydney) Arjun S. Ravi (Mumbai) Dang Sering (Manila) Stirling Silliphant & Nur Aniza Santo (Jakarta) Van Nguyen (Ho Chi Minh City) Tintin Cooper (Bangkok)

Click here for profiles and pictures.
MiNDShARe ASiA - PACiFiC: AChARA Masoodi (Ju) The Scout JAMeS Chadwick Leader, Business Planning

Thanks also to Zanyasan Tanantpapat for coordinating with the scouts.

Why music for brand communications?


authenticity, originality, and attitude for any brand looking to differentiate themselves through those values. Also, as tools for music creation, consumption, and communities become even more available to the masses and as developing societies mature, the Long Tail of alternative, leading edge music scenes in Asia–Pacific is only set to grow.

Music is a form of personal expression. In an age where marketing communications has evolved from initially selling product features (what it is) to selling product benefits (what it does) to selling experience (how you feel) and onto selling identity (who you are), music presents an opportunity for brands to create this identity by associating with the right type of sounds and artists. Music connects with people. At a time when advertising clutter, media fragmentation, technological advances, and social changes make it harder to reach consumers brands are exploring new ways to reach consumers and engage with them. Music, with all the passion and loyalty it commands, is emerging as a medium with high potential. Music is looking for a new model. The digitized world has brought about revolutionary changes to the way music is created, discovered, and consumed. Old business models for production, distribution, and promotion of music are disintegrating, and music creators are experimenting with new ways to make money. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to be involved in music properties, going beyond traditional sponsorships or endorsement campaigns.

The sTudy: “uNseeN & uNheARd: AsiA’s Music uNdeRcuRReNTs”

This report offers a pan-regional view of emergent patterns characterizing independent music culture that may be observed across various cities, highlighting unique sounds, new music experiences, and their creators. It is an edited version of the articles submitted by the city scouts on the blog www.asiascoutnetwork. com, where they were asked to expose the four most important leading edge music scenes in their cities. The selection is subject to views of the scouts, whose jobs as musicians, artists, designers, and content aggregators, link them closely to their cities’ alternative music scenes. Although the study may not be a comprehensive representation of the numerous music tribes that exist, it offers an unedited window into an emerging global culture where music is created, consumed, and distributed largely by connected individuals rather than large corporations. Those seeking a more descriptive and detailed view of each city’s music scenes are encouraged to click through the links in the report, which lead to the scouts’ articles on the blog complete with pictures, videos, and sound samples. Enjoy!

Why ‘leading edge’ music?

Leading edge music is defined by music with elements of rebelliousness, creativity, novelty, and experimentation. This report explores the various leading edge music scenes that are developing and thriving at the grassroots level, created in defiance of the mainstream music culture that usually revolves around groomed pop–star idols and push mass–marketing tactics. Admittedly, the communities around these alternative music scenes are significantly smaller than the herds of pop–star followers, especially for emerging, developing economies. However, they represent a strong, untapped source of

ThroughouT ocT-Dec 2008, The ciTy scouTs were askeD To:


Look AT:
The four most important leading edge music scenes in your city. ‘Leading edge’ refers to a culture that involves a sense of rebelliousness, mainstream defiance, creativity, and novelty. A ‘music scene’ refers to a community of people who are connected together by a common passion for a particular music style or genre

Style and sounds Influences (homegrown or globally influenced) Fans and the community Venues and events Sources and media channels for music Brands involved Crossovers into other scenes

the headlines


1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8)

Asia’s Quest For Identity The Scene Makers The Holistic Music Experience Mash-Ups, Hybrids, and Crossovers Bringing Past To Present Embracing Experimental Music’s Offline Carriers New Age Music Sponsorship Expert Sound Bytes


1 ) AsiA’s Quest for identity
The maturity of the independent music scene in each country varies according to its level of economic development and political freedom, which means the definition of ‘leading edge’ or ‘alternative’ may differ depending each country. In emerging economies where the independent music scenes are still in the formation stages, artists and their fans may still be excited and challenged by the rules hip-hop, rock/punk/garage, and electro (the popular music genres of the ‘alternative’ music world) as defined by their pioneering artist from Europe and the US. For them, it is ‘leading edge’ enough that local bands follow and meet original music patterns of their Western counterparts, maybe adopting lyrics and language for localization. However, for more established markets like Tokyo and Sydney, including pockets of more sophisticated artists in developing economies, the challenge has evolved beyond simply following the rules of Western genres. The more mature independent music communities are already mastering those genres and moving on to create unique sounds and styles beyond the classical scope of these genres. Leading edge music is evolving beyond specific music genres and becoming a quest for local artists to carve out an identity that is truly original even against the global music scene.


“I am really happy that many of the bands out here are finally getting over the ‘imitation’ stage of song-writing and starting to inject their own culture and social issues into their music. Also, the fan base seems to be more appreciative of the home-grown scene.”
Tony Reno, Founder of Dragon Radio


Shanghai hip-hop influencers: The Lab (left) and Red Star (right)

SHANGHAI | Sean Underground Hip-Hop
Mumbai rock band: Pentagram

“Gary Wang, founder of The Lab (Shanghai’s most influential underground hip-hop organization), explains the current influences and style of Chinese hip-hop: “I would say we don’t have a Chinese style yet. If you really want me to say, what is Chinese style, I would say it’s young, local kids really enjoy Western things right now. Then maybe after 10 or 15 years, maybe they can have their own style.“ ... Tang King, the Shanghainese MC and member of Redstar recognizes the need to develop a local style, rather than just following Western influences: “Adding your local style and adapting it to your country is important to making your own hiphop,“ he says. “We should focus on how to combine Chinese and American hip-hop and create a hip-hop culture that really belongs to our own country.“

MUMBAI | Arjun Rock Music “Pentagram is perhaps the ‘biggest’ [rock] band in Mumbai, and even India... I interviewed the band a couple of years ago and frontman Dadlani made a very relevant statement about the rock scene in India. He said, “We’re well known and we do charge a lot of money, but the way things are structured in India now... Bollywood is omnipresent, there’s very little scope for anyone to hear any other kind of music. Technically speaking, if we were in the States and we’d spent the same amount of time and effort over there, we’d all be rich. But the fact of the matter is that, and we’ve always said this, the place, the people, and the fact that we come from here, means a lot to us. So, whatever we wanna do, we wanna do from here.”


SYDNEY | Michelle Aussie Hip-Hop “The make-up of Aussie Hip-Hop bands can range anywhere from and MC and a Turn Tablist to a full, live band, and everything in between. By definition, Hip-Hop is an artistic avenue for the expression of political views, particularly those of minority or under-represented groups in society. In the USA where it developed, these minority groups were specifically defined by race –ieBlack and Latino Americans. However, Australian Hip-Hop has developed with a broader commentary that tends to focus more on the issue of defining what is Australian, more specifically what is Australian Hip-Hop. Issues of race, socioeconomic status and political unrest are generally discussed under the umbrella of the broader topic of ‘What Is Australian’.“
Aussie hip-hop band BlueJuice

TOKYO | Aiko Ethereal Music “Even though she sang for the opening of the 2004 Olympics in Athens and walked the red carpet at the Cannes, Bjork, an artistically ingenious phenomenon from Iceland, still seems to me to be a byword for “underground” creativity. With her enormous gift for music and art, she has inspired many young artists in Japan, just as she has influenced a number of creators worldwide. [The Japanese artists influenced by Bjork] are not mere copies of Bjork (as you can also hear from the sound samples below). They take the essence of why she is so special as an artist and mold it into their own artistry..“
Himitomoi, Japanese artist influenced by Bjork


A huge badge of recognition for Asian indie bands is a performing slot at the great South by SouthWest (SXSW), a global music, film, and interactive event in Austin, Texas. According to Wikipedia, “South By Southwest (SxSW) is a set of interactive, film, and music festivals and conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas. SXSW is one of the largest music festivals in the US, with more than 1,400 performers playing dozens of venues around Austin over four days, in March.”
Uniquely Indonesian: White Shoes & The Couples Company

JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Retro Jakarta Part II: White Shoes & The Couples Company “Musically, White Shoes is a mish-mash of global influences old and new: 1960s bubblegum pop, ’70s Indonesian movie soundtracks, and ’90s Shibuya Pop. They formed in 2002, growing evermore popular over the years.... More than any band I can think of, White captures the nostalgic imagination of Jakarta...For us White Shoes fans, there’s something about this band that’s rooted deep within Indonesia – it’s quenched our nostalgia for a time which a lot of us imagine to be better than today. For the rest of the world, it’s a entirely different face of a country al-too often spoken for by news headlines about natural disasters and travel advisories.”

Hosting a total of 149,000 participants, 32% of music-related attendees coming from the ‘international’ segment, and an official representative in Japan handling SXSW-Asia (, SXSW is becoming the place to showcase Asian independent music talent to the world. Asian bands that performed previously at SXSW: JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling White Shoes and The Couples Company & The S.I.G.I.T “White Shoes are one of only two Asian bands not from Japan or South Korea on the roll call of over 300 acts performing SxSW 2008; the other is also Indonesian: The S.I.G.I.T, from Bandung. More of an ‘industry showcase’ for A&R and the music press than a music festival proper, SxSW has helped launch the careers of many fringe bands.” SINGAPORE | Ginette Electrico & The Great Spy Experiment “Electrico was invited to the South By Southwest (SXSW) 2007 music festival and performed several shows in California and Texas... Ever shiny and sleek is The Great Spy Experiment. Also having played SXSW together with Electrico, the band played in New York at the Singapore Day in Central Park...”

While the independent music scenes in developing markets like Tokyo, Sydney, and Singapore are supported by a relatively strong, passionate fan base and the availability of proper venues, the same cannot be said of those in the region’s remaining markets. In developing economies, unless that scene already enjoys a level of mainstream popularity or attracted the interest of corporate sponsorship, initiatives to grow the scene are virtually (and at times singlehandedly) driven by one or a few non-profit artist collectives fueled by pure passion and the hope of creating a healthier, diverse music and arts scene in the long term. Under more authoritative governments, this responsibility is sometimes directed to official state-run institutions. It is also quite common for these scenemakers and their projects to have international links: many of the events are either sponsored by foreign consulates, embassies, or institutions, or the scenemakers themselves are expats, have foreign backgrounds, or have international networks.



SHANGHAI | Sean Underground Hip-Hop “In Shanghai, almost everything related to underground hip-hop originates from or is related with The Lab, “a non-profit studio that supports a community of musicians in Shanghai, with an emphasis on DJ culture, local MC’s and live music.” The Lab organizes weekly DJ, MC workshops and events and is open for DJ parctice, lessons and jamming with live musicians.”


Ozone, founder of Shanghai underground party Antidote

Ruang Rupa’s Studio

JAKARTA | Stirling Scenemakers Part III: Ruang Rupa “The group roundly acknowledged as being the single biggest catalyst for Jakarta’s independent arts scene, the Ruang Rupa non-profit artists-run collective is approaching its ninth year of existence.... Ruang Rupa grew out of the Jakarta Art Institute and is synonymous with a number of independent bands whose members were part of the collective. Among these are Goodnight Electric, White Shoes & The Couple Company, That’s Rockefeller, and The Adams.... “ “Everyone comes with a diverse network when they join RuRu. So that’s why we have such a good network, domestically and internationally.“ - Interview with Indra Ameng, one of the driving forces behind RuRu and manager of White Shoes & The Couples Co.
The Lab, a non-profit studio that supports hip-hop in Shanghai Shanghai eArts festival sponsored by the city government.

SHANGHAI | Sean Underground Electronic Among the most prominent and active electronic musicians and collectives in the Shanghai scene: “Ozone (Michael Ohlsson) is American-born DJ, independent party promoter, founder of Antidote (a group of DJs and music producers who have put on monthly underground parties in Shanghai since 2005. “R3 – Australian born DJ and founding member of STD, whose music incorporates trip hop, indus-

trial, electro, electro-punk, nu-rave and dance rock. Shanghai Ultra - Scottish-born DJ who plays electro, minimal and experimental electronic music.” “Along with the weekly events put on by electronic music organizers Antidote, Void ( ), Phreaktion, etc., Shanghai’s more electronic music fans can come together each year for the Shanghai eArts festival. The event is a sponsored by the Shanghai city government and takes place at multiple official venues throughout the city. The eArts festival is focused on bringing together art and technology with performances and exhibitions from both foreign and local artists.


Non-profit art collective SABAW event flyer

MANILA | Dang Experimental Sound-Art “Tengal is an Manila-based interdisciplinary media artist, composer, and filmmaker. He founded and organized the SABAW Media Art Kitchen – a not-for-profit, artist-run initiative and network platform for all kinds of information and communication carried via modern electronic media focused specially in the region of South East Asia.“
Fete De La Musique Flyer by French Embassy in Manila

MANILA | Dang Pinoy Soul “Pinoy Soul bands also participate in festivals such as the Fete de la Musique organized by Alliance Francaise de Manille (cultural arm of the French Embassy in Manila) and the Manila Jazz Festival. Music lovers are especially drawn to the Fete de la Musique because it offers different types of musical performances from local talents ranging from jazz, hiphop to rock.”.
Flyer for electro club night at Cage in HCMC

HCMC | Van Electro Invades Ho Chi Minh Dance Floors “Electro has been so popular in Europe and now, as a logical necessity, it’s the main theme of Ho Chi Minh’s nightlife. At Bounce club, its The DJ-Brothers Andi and Hannes Teichmann, originally from Regensburg / Germany tonight. Other nightlife venues in Ho Chi Minh like Cage, Lust, you hardly find Hiphop music anymore. Those electro nights are designed to bring the best of uplifting Electro and dirty House beats to a wider range of clubbers. Has a new trend in clubbing been born? But, as my experience, the local DJ plays crappy electro. They are still far from perfect. So mostly, the clubs will invite those DJs from Europe ‘cause they know how to rock a party from beginning to end.”


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SO::ON Dry Flower 2003-2008 on YouTube Flyer for Bhavishyavani Future Sounds, one of Mumbai’s oldest electronic acts

BANGKOK | Tintin SO::ON Dry Flower-Experimental Music “SO::ON Dry Flower has come a long way since its first live music event in 2003 which was organised by Koichi Shimizu and attended by a few friends, mostly artists and musicians. Today it easily boasts a regular crowd of 500+ and can truly call itself the sole underground movement in experimental music and one of the most exciting things to happen to music in Thailand. In the past artists have included the indie and experimental, yet nevertheless underground in the Bangkok scene. These include Japanese musician and organiser Koichi Shimizu (Japan), Cliquetpar, DJ Mianoi, Napat Snidvongs, Space Bucha, Atit Sornsongkram, Goose, Desktop Error, Assajan Jakgawan, Little Fox, Talkless, Zai Kuning (Singapore)”

MUMBAI | Arjun Electronica in Mumbai “Bhavishyavani Future Soundz (BFS) is one of Mumbai’s oldest electronic acts. Though they broke through only in the mid-‘00s they have been around since the ‘90s spinning beats at venues both large and small. They have grown from being just a couple of DJs, to a collective that now includes French DJs as well. The band is known for their energetic kitschy artwork. The artwork is a take on that has its own unique style and sets the collective has successfully performed in country as well, and are Mumbai’s answer popular electronic act Jalebee Cartel.”

Music has always been closely interlinked to the arts and design scene, most commonly through the artist’s fashion, album artwork, and music videos. Asia’s leading edge scenes today, however, are taking this concept even further, turning musical expressions into holistic experiences that blends sounds with visual art. Today’s leading edge music is not only expressed in sounds, but the spirit and philosophies of the music are also being captured onto various forms of visual art such as paintings, illustrations, installations, manga, movies, anime, lighting design, and stage plays. These visual elements are very much part and parcel of the new experience of music consumption, integrated rather than supplemental to music, and may be produced by the artist individually or in collaboration with others. The drive toward this holistic music experience may have risen to counter the everyday music experience that have been commoditized due the instant accessibility of mp3 files.


“As tastes widen, the collection of tracks grows, and the manipulation of digital music becomes easier, the sense of the extraordinary is eroded, and the depth of the relationship with the artist is weakened.... Against, the backdrop of impersonal, slightly abstract qualities brought about by the digital age, it seems that live music is enjoying something of a renaissance.”
– ‘Brands & Bands’ study by Brand Amp (UK)


Artist Ben Frost collaborates with Art Rockers

Sinemusikalye, an event that got musicians together with visual artists

MANILA | Dang Experimental - Sound Art “Some of the experimental artists are part of S.A.B.A.W. arts project, a sound art collective and record label that represents a cross-section of sound artists, performance artists, contemporary musician-composers. It has released a CD compilation of music from members of the collective. Experimental artists get together through events such as Fete dela Wasaque, a two-night event that presented “handmade music that blur the lines between electro-acoustic, free improvisation, industrial, free jazz, performance art and freeform-noise, and will be paired with the intensity of live video performances (vjing), exquisite homemade machines, real guitars, absurd costumes, and even more live action on stage...Oftentimes, these experimental music artists practice other forms of expression such as sculpture and installation like Lirio Salvador of Elemento. He creates his own instruments and exhibits them as works of art.”

Art Rock band “The Art”

“The Art” event flyer

SYDNEY | Michelle Art Rock “[Art Rock] is used to describe a new wave of post indie grunge that incorporates the analytical sensibilities of it’s 90s predecessors (led, of course, by Nirvana and the Seattle Sound movement) with a new found romanticism and perspective on beauty in the world as expressed through art. Life doesn’t suck so much in the Art Rock dimension. People suck. Money sucks. Power Sucks. People with money and power suck more than anything at all... Live performances can sometimes include props and performances by other artists such as painters, who share the stage and create paintings inspired by the music of the Art Rock show. By name as by nature, Art Rock finds most of its inspiration from the world of ‘art’ as a whole, particularly post modern forms. Local artists such as Ben Frost, Buttons, Kitty Horton and Azaria (also the lead singer of The Art) have had a lot of influence on the scene, creating much of the cover art for album releases for these bands, and at times performing with Art Rock bands.”


TOKYO | Aiko Visual Music “Manga artists were also inspired to create fictions stories based on [visual rockers]. The famous one was “kiss xxxx,” initially released in 1988, by Maki Kusumoto. It was a love story between an eccentric girl Kamome and a rather mysterious “Visual Music” bands boy Kanon. The Manga functioned as an intersection of music, fashion, and people... [NANA] was originally a girls’ Manga comic by Ai Yazawa. The story this time is not a romantic one, but it’s about the friendship of 2 girls who happen to have the same name, Nana. Both the fashion and the music are also important elements of the story...It was made into a live movie, and the songs sung in the movie were, of course, sold at music stores. Some musicians even made a tribute CD... Visual Music bandsmen are often fashion icons as well as spiritual ones for their fans, since the genre has already involved the fashion as a part of its artistic and philosophical expression. These visual rockers are also often portrayed in Doujinshi (self-published Japanese works, usually novels or manga, by amateurs)”
“Kiss xxxx” movie based on visual rockers Visual Rock band “The Gazette”

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anime featuring visual rockers ‘Nana’ on YouTube



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Modern Dog Concert’s Lighting by Designer Wit Pimkanchanapong on Vimeo

Quirk It! at Prost

BANGKOK | Tintin The Fine Line Between Design and Indie Music “The Indie Music scene is the only scene to regularly collaborate with the leading designers of Thailand. Designers like Error, Duckunit, P7, B.O.R.E.D, Lost in Space do some of their most creative stage sets and visuals for bands such as GrooveRider, Sqweez Animal, So::on Dry Flower, Modern Dog and so forth, while the bands receive even more attention and get to play in a wacky setting such as above. Music becomes much more interesting with a visual element present, look at some of the infamous Pink Floyd sets for example. For me, the indie and design worlds have become one of the most interesting and innovative in Thailand, but only when they’re together.”

JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Melting Pot Part III: Quirk It! “The recent Quirk It! 2nd anniversary party was just out of this world. It was in a big motorbiker bar called Prost that has become very popular with indie gigs. The combination of good music and the pub set was mind blowing. Black walls were adorned by fantastical images of Conan-like barbarian battling dinosaurs, cave men-aliens and lots of big bikes…all glow in the dark. One friend noted it’s like “Clash of the Titans-meets- Electric Light Orchestra-meets-White Trash Stoner Driving A Souped Up Camaro.”

The fusion of music genres is not something new in the global music arena, and the concept today is now manifesting itself at a fast and furious pace around the Asia-Pacific region. New music scenes, acts, and artists are emerging out of the fusion of sounds and styles from at least two music genres. From rock and electro, rock and hip-hop, new wave and jazz, the list goes on where the lines of music genres are blurred. It highlights the desire for new, original sounds that goes beyond the alternative rock genre that was once the domain of independent music, reflecting an acceptance of a wider set of music styles united under the ‘indie’ term.


“If music defines a generation, then this current wave of youth are best defined by their “no rules mash-ups” philosophy to sounds. Forget music genres, the boom in “indie” makes total sense. Globally, “indie” goes from strength to strength, and it’s thriving in Asia where kids have all the tools they need to create and co-create, and the online and offline platforms to publish and showcase. What I find interesting is where while a few years back there was a clear divide between electronic and guitar music, today it’s all merged and mashed together. No rules. It will only get more exciting.”
– Ian Stewart, Formerly SVP of MTV Asia


Tokyo hybrid jazz band: uni-birth on You Tube

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Zombie Ghost Train from MySpace

Brigiittehandley and The Dark Shadows on You Tube

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TOKYO | Aiko Jazz Hybrids “I think now in Japan, long after the bursting of its economic bubble, people are experiencing more complex identity crises; also with greater numbers of both younger and older people taking up some form of performing or creative arts education in pursuit of their identities, jazz offers them an appropriate mix of complexity and comfort that they need in their pursuit… more and more young people are pursuing their musical career seriously, so as to become a professional, in order to create their own identities and in the hope of making the world a little better place. In their lyrics, they talk more about life and embracing oneself, rather than about love and romance… An interesting thing with all those jazz-inspired young musicians is that they incorporate jazz with other music such as bossa-nova, rock, and pop. They take the music into higher, more sophisticated level.” SYDNEY | Michelle Rockabilly / Psychobilly/ Punk “The Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk scene is Sydney is one of the most distinct music scenes to have surfaced in years.Rockabilly, as many would be aware, is a genre of music which emerged in the USA in the 1950s, combining elements of Rock N Roll and Hillbilly music, and as such has prominent country and swing elements to it.Bill Haley is one of the better known rockabilly artist from that era… Punk music emerged in the 1970s in the UK, the USA and Australia.It is characterisedby short, hard songs that profess non-conformist ideals and behaviours, both musically and lyrically.The Sex Pistols (UK), The Ramones (US) and Radio Birdman (AUS) are three of the most infamous Punk bands of the time… Psychobillycombines the fundamentals of Rockabilly and Punk, adding elements horror and violence which are expressed lyrically as well as through heavy, theatrical make-up and costume. Although each of these genres of music have existed for sometime, it is the combination of the culture of Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk music that is now enjoying a very healthy resurgence in Sydney.These genres share similar musical elements, fashion sensibilities, anti-societal tendencies and, indeed, fans.”


PinoyProgressive Rock Bands via heeroic

MANILA | Dang Progressive Rock “Unheard of in the airwaves, a group of young local artists are pushing the boundaries of the rock formula of verse-chorus-bridge and experimenting with unusual musical compositions and sound. Calling themselves Progressive rock bands, or prog for short, they are slowly educating the local music scene, drawing inspiration from jazz, classical, world music and rock with non-traditional rock musical instruments such as the violin and adding electronic sounds and synthesizers.”
Bloco Singapura

SINGAPORE | Ginette Percussion Groups “A new percussions group that’s playing the Esplanade Presents Celebrate December! series and Zoukout’08 is Bloco Singapura - helmed by my old pal Syed Ahmad who also plays with very popular band Tiramisu. Much of this group’s musical influence does not pull from the Asian sphere, it fuses Samba, Batucada, Jazz, Funk, Soul, Hip Hop and dancers. This collective is a burst of energy on stage.”


Blackout Apocalypse, 2008

Mumbai’s indie band ‘Shaa’ir+ Func” combines electro and rock

JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling The Melting Pot: Blackout & UberDamage “Blackout started about a year ago, as an effort to revive Jakarta’s dormant post-PARC (R.I.P.) scene. The movers and shakers of Blackout were a big part of PARC, one Jakarta’s most seminal and sorely missed venues back in early 2000. But this time, they decided to move on, progressing from the rock and indie scenes to a universal state embracing all genres and scenes… From Drum’n’Bassto House, Rock’n’Rollto New Wave, SynthPop to Nu Rave and Disco Shuffle Dance Punk, everything goes at Blackout –oh, except Trance… The Blackout crew affiliates with many other party organizers like Javabass, Quirk It, Crime Scene, MischMasch, Microchip and more… “The spirit of ‘indie unite’ is the core,” explains Donna (founder of Blackout)”

MUMBAI | Arjun Indie Rock “With a kitschy look and a riveting live act, Shaa’ir+ Funchave become one of the top acts in the Mumbai rock scene. While their music blends electronica and rock, their sound is fresh and has an ‘international’ vibe about it. They recently released their second album Light Tribe which was well received by critics. The band has played several shows outside the country in places like London, New York and Amsterdam and is fast becoming the international face of Indian indie.”

Leading edge music in Asia-Pacific are digging into the past to give a sense of originality and identity to their present-day creations. The past in this context can be separated into 2 broad themes: 1) Retro - references elements drawn from 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s pop culture with keywords such as ‘old school’, ‘analog’, and ‘classic’ 2) Traditional - references elements from each country’s nationalistic symbols, with keywords such as ‘classical’, ‘folk’, and ‘country’ Both concepts of the past are being incorporated into music through sounds, graphics, fashion, collaborations, concerts, and lifestyle, becoming the main source of originality and differentiation for the particular artist or music community. The extent of these influences range from entire music scenes with numerous bands following a distinct music and fashion style, to single tracks where traditional or retro elements are weaved into the music.



JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Retro Jakarta

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Sweet Nuj “Love in the hi-Tech age” on YouTube

“In Jakarta’s music scene, yesterday’s trendsare here to stay. From White Shoes & the Couples Company to Sore, Naif to The Upstairs, Goodnight Electric to Club ’80s, Jakarta’s most influential bands have forged their style from raiding their parents’ (or their older siblings’) wardrobes and record collections... Call it by its many names: Retro, Vintage, Mod, or Revival. This nostalgia appeals to young people today in a way it didn’t a decade ago when it would have been derided as jadul (out-of date, the kind of thing, well… your parents would be into it.)”

w Jero’s enka number on YouTube

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BANGKOK | Tintin Sweet Grandma Stealing The Spotlight “Sweet Nuj might look like your lovely gran back home, but she’s captured the hearts of young people in a typically eccentric and humourous thai way. Instead of adapting to the new trends …. she refuses to take heed, and instead takes well known rock music, for example Body Slam’s ‘Pleng Ok Hak’ (the ‘Broken Heart Song’), and sings them back in traditional Thai country style, completely changing the meaning of the lyrics just by doing this. She is literally giving an old twist to a new song. Sucha, a freelance designer who has worked with Tiger Translate, Sanamluang records and DuckUnit was inspired to create the offbeat cover for her new album: “I was inspired by Sweetnuj’s contradiction and wanted to show the ambivalence of the old vs. the new, but in a visual manner. Hence the inside cover which pictures a sweet old granny dressed in traditional Thai grannywear, except that she also happens to be sporting a trendy Ipod. In another image she sits gleefully in front of some antique furniture, on top of which is a Macintosh laptop with a sticker that says ‘Koo Chart‘ (Save the Country.)“

TOKYO | Aiko J-Hip Hop Fuses with Japanese blues (enka) “On the last note, an unexpected fusion of hip hop and “enka (Japanese blues)” occurred this year. It is more “enka” with some essence of hip hop, but surely, in the society in which almost all the possibilities of music seems to be laid out, and in which people are not easily impressed, any of us didn’t expect this was coming! Jero is an American who was musically influenced by his Japanese grandmother… It was so sensational that he was hired to appear in a coffee commercial.”

C White Shoes & The Couples Company waT ‘Senandung Maaf’ MV on YouTube



Left: Black Cherry event flyer featuring Punk, Rock, Rockabilly, and Retro Right: A Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk female fashion style

Wicked Aura Batacuda incorporates Asian percussion instruments

SYDNEY | Michelle Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punk “There is one night in particular that encourages local Rockabilly/Psychobilly/Punks to gather together in the name of mayhem, and that’s Black Cherry. Currently held at Bar Broadway, this is a night of Punk / Rock / Rockabilly music, cherry topped off with some very lovely (retro) Burlesque performances. … art traditionally associate with the scene (ie Old School form, which features imagery such as pin-up girls).”

SINGAPORE | Ginette Percussion Groups - Wicked Aura Batacuda “For many years now, the local music scene has been dominated by guitar-driven bands and electronic musicians. We’ve got rising from the feedback percussion bands exciting audiences with their raw energy, and new ethnic/fusion sounds. Leading the pack is popular Wicked Aura Batucada… Often using Asian ethnic drums such as the kompang and rebana, Wicked Aura Batucada have been playing for close to 7 years now. Unlike local bands of the past which try to incorporate Asian instruments for tokenism, I think WAB’s incorporation of Asian percussion fits in really well with the sound. And besides, many of the members are Malay and Dikir Barat which is a form of singing accompanied by percussions is pervasive in the Malay community.”


HCMC | Van Contemporary Folk “Vietnam showbiz is showing a big interest in Contemporary Folk genre. Nowaday in Vietnam ( specially in Hanoi), it’s easy to find a youngster (+18 years old) listen to it on the radio, in a café shop or even in the office. Some famous song composers and producers like Nguyễn Vĩnh Tiến, Lê Minh Sơn insists that “Contemporary Folk” will be popular until the next decade. [The costume is a] mix of modern and traditional fashion. It has affected on the youths’ daily styles too, such as jean with traditional long dress… “Contemporary Folk” is absolutely not catchy and flashy like HipHop with Nas, Justin Timberlake…. But it’s a good mix of Asian traditional instruments with modern, reflecting a trend in World Music to combine portions of traditional rhythm and instruments with modern song structures to produce an easy-to –listen-to hybrid… A lot of oldies have always complained that my generation turns the back to traditional music. C’mon, we are craving for it but it’d be more interesting, easier for the endosmosis if Traditional genre has a new cover. And now, we temporarily satisfy with “Contemporary Folk”.


Vietnam Idol theme on Contemporary Folk

Loh Tsui Kweh Commune (LTK) - No. One Punk Band in Taiwan labeled as “Tai-Ke” (photo by Kingkiang)

TAIPEI | Lokavid Music Meets Human Rights Issues “The mother tongues of Taiwanese and Hakka used to be considered as vulgar languages by the mainlander sovereignty to claim their political legitimacy. And people from south Taiwan who mainly speak Taiwanese were called with scornful title of “Tai-Ke.” … However, the interpretation of “Tai-ke” has been undergone a positive transition with more and more people singing or rapping with their mother tongue to fight and express their love for Taiwan culture. The so-called “Tai-Ke” culture has now been the trendy symbolic phenomenon for the love of local culture… Now we have new music genres of Taiwanese, Hakka and traditional folks to combine with western influences such as punk, folk, and hip hop. After the seemly endless suppressing era, the voices of Taiwan local culture have won the hearts and approval by Taiwan people.”

Countering the retro movement, young Asians are also pushing forward the boundaries of music into the future by challenging the concepts that traditionally define the notion of music. Experimental music is emerging to cater to the leading edge’s insatiable thirst for novelty and the unpredictable, going beyond the typical instruments, technologies, rhythms, and melodies that comprise the major part of music today (even the indie type). The scope of experimental music varies widely but commonly involves modified or improvised instruments, unconventional playing techniques, and recordings from other sounds sources from the environment (ambient sounds). Experimental also commonly crosses over into indie rock and electronic genres, and visual or performing arts. Some experimental music styles enjoying a growing fan base around Asia are 8-bit music (also referred to as chiptune), described as electronic music inspired by the sounds of 8-bit era video games (ie. Game Boy or Atari), and noise rock, basically fast and noisy post-punk sounds combined with experimental electronica. Experimental music is not new and has always commanded a small, underground group of followers, but its underlying philosophy - “an act not to be judged in terms of success or failure, but simply an act of which the outcome is unknown” - is gradually becoming more widely embraced as a challenge to the status quo, enjoying the sense of novelty that was once associated to the term ‘indie’ or ‘alternative’ music when it first emerged in the 90’s.


Ugong or Erick Calilan (right) using a self-made circuit-bent device at a performance. A flyer for “Ragged Glory“ event by label SO::ON Dry Flower merging experimental and indie music.


MANILA | Dang Experimental – Sound Art “Performers in experimental music use modified instruments to explore other sound-producing capacities, use nontraditional musical instruments and unconventional playing techniques, and record from other sound sources from the environment (ambient sounds)…. This scene is undoubtedly a vibrant one. Experimental music artists are not just confined to their works, but crossover to work with other equally talented people in film, contemporary dance, graphic design, etc… Those who attend these events are usually students and practitioners of multimedia and fine arts…. visual artists, sculptors, critics, filmmakers, and cultural workers… These events have gained a wider audience in recent years because of the support from art spaces for experimental music or sound artists, such as collaborations with visual artists and exhibits, or they get to perform in between sets of bands.”

BANGKOK | Tintin Dying Turtle On Stage (Experimental Music) ‘Ragged Glory’ was another merge of experimental and edgy indie music night organised by So:on Dry Flower Label, the only label to focus on this genre of music in Thailand. The lineup included knobfiddlers Desktop Error and Assajan Jagawan, Project Pry with May-T (from ModernDog), Patomporn Patomporn and Modern Dog as a headliner to bring in the guests and help expose the lesser-known bands to young people in Thailand. There was some great music, but I must say the Japanese band “Eastern Youth” was agonising to watch... On the other hand, everyone else seemed to like it, probably because it was experimental, and no one really knows when to say that experimental music is good, especially when it sounds like a bunch of cows being slaughtered. But it just goes to show that the younger generation is becoming much more open-minded to ideas of noise being music, and music being noise and all that, despite the Japanese always end up stealing the show from the Thais, including artists like Maywa Denki, Koichi Shimizu.“

Ghaust from MySpace

JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Melting Pot Part II: Ghaust “The immensity of Ghaust’s sound is made all the more mindboggling by the fact it’s only two people: guitarist Uri A Putra and drummer M Edward. No vocals, no samples, no overdubs, just a sweltering array of effects pedals and a measured – almost studious – intensity...Ghaust fans tend to be the kind of people attracted to structure and texture, music that make them feel something more than what the template of mainstream (and most Indonesian indie) music offers. Their performances are stripped-down, raw, and minimal. Unlike any other band playing Metal, they don’t have any pretensions to be hard or sinister. Nor do they attract the usual black T-shirted throngs of crowd surfers and moshpits. Their music and live show just is what it is.”


The noise music scene in Japan has been cited as one of the most experimental and avant-garde of modern music today. Its psychedelic sounds are not easy to listen to, but the “Japanoise” scene maintains a steady growth of followers domestically and is growing as an musical export (and inspiration for other musicians) around the region. Examples of bands riding on this wave are Maywa Denki and Melt Banana:
Event flyer for Japanese noise rock band Melt Banana by Taipei indie party organizer Back 2 The Future


BANGKOK | Tintin Maywa Denki Literally Makes Electronic Music (Experimental Music) “Maywa Denki (which literally translates as “Electrical Comh TC wa pany”) Japan ’s idiosyncratic Maywa Denki Live at Thailand’s Fat Fest on YouTube sweethearts, so famous for creat ing their own “electrical products” after taking over their father’s original (and very traditional) electrics company, have finally set foot in Bangkok to play at this year’s Fat Festival in Muang Thong Thani. Despite being a foreign band, Maywa Denki is extremely pivotal to Bangkok’s experimental and indie music scene, and now their wide exposure through Fat Festival is guaranteed to spark inspiration with young music makers here, who have never seen such a thing in the past. Everyone who has come in contact with Maywa Denki loves their wacky yet near-genius innovations which merge musical instruments and electronics into a completely new expression. In Japan they are celebrated on TV and have been sponsored for years by Panasonic, while they keep their “workshop” churning out gadgets and unimaginable instruments, such as electronic boomboxes, percussive wooden sunflowers that strum in time to music, a scary voicebox that squeezes out groans accompanying the band and even a castenettes machine, which turns any ordinary Japanese workman into a new-age flamenco dancer.“

TAIPEI | Lokavid Melt Banana Live by Back 2 The Future “For the whole new 2009, Back 2 The Future (an indie party/events organizer) has already packed up their schedules with various projects. .. the main upcoming event is that they are going to invite the famous Japanese Newwave grindcore band – Melt Banana” (Melt-Banana is a Japanese noise rock band that is known for playing extremely fast and noisy music mixed with experimental electronica that might be described as new-wave grindcore – Wikipedia)

While digitization has made music more accessible and more varied, the fragmented music landscape that has resulted from it has created a new challenge for bands and fans to find each other. The music discovery process is far from linear and for music enthusiasts, undoubtedly involves online means, but it is noteworthy that offline channels still play a crucial role in the progression of a particular music scene or artist. In many cases, movie soundtracks have emerged as a powerful ‘carrier’ capable of propelling alternative music from unknown depths onto mainstream popularity, likely due to the emotionally engaging, cinematic visuals that accompany the listening experience. Among music enthusiasts, street publications and live shows at key venues are still cited as important channels in introducing new artists, as is collaborations with other musicians, artists, publications, and collectives.


“A new form of marketing and promotion has grown up that seeks to find a “carrier” for your message or product that will get dispersed over a wide area, so that as many people as possible catch the scent.”
– ‘Net, Blogs, and Rock’N Roll’ by David Jennings


Janji Joni (2005)

JAKARTA | Niza & Stirling Scenemakers Part II: Aksara Records
Exit No.6 (2006)

TAIPEI | Lokavid From Indie To Mainstream “Soda Green is this lucky band that ever since the very beginning, the vocalist, Quin-Feng, quickly grasps the attention of many… Their second album was released in 2006. “Little Love Song” from that album was adopted as the film theme song for the movie “Exit No.6” and it has become so popular that you could hear the song everywhere in Taipei.”

“In 2005, a charming indie film called Janji Joni (dir. Joko Anwar) opened to raves from Jakarta art-house film buffs and made waves on the international film festival circuit…. The soundtrack was released by Aksara Records, a compilation that includes White Shoes & The Couples Company, Zeke and the Popo, The Adams, Goodnight Electric, and many more. … Hanin (head of Aksara Records music shop) refers to the Janji Joni OST as the “biggest break we got,” and it’s still one of my all-time favorite Aksara Records releases – if not all-time favorite Indonesian records…“


TOKYO | Aiko Jazz Hybrids “The heat for Jazz even intensified after the release of a movie, Swing Girls, in 2003. It suddenly became a social phenomenon; those who normally wouldn’t listen to jazz started listening to the music… After this movie, many junior and high school brass bands transformed into jazz big bands. Also many local communities, besides the ones that have already been known for their jazz culture like Asakusa and Kobe, started organizing jazz festivals and competitions so as to revitalize their societies again. All of a sudden, I started to hear standard jazz numbers being played as BGM (the Japanese abbreviation for “background music”) almost everywhere I go including places like Izakaya, the Japanese-style dining bar.” TOKYO | Aiko Ethereal Music “I found out about Fonogenico when I got invited by MySpace to an event that the above mentioned Hitomitoi was also in. They actually had a head start when they debuted; their song, REASON, was chosen as an ending theme song for a popular Anime, “XXXHORiC”. Therefore, they were quickly recognized by Anime fans.“

Swing Girls (2004)


Rock On!! (2008)


Despite the fragmented and localized state of social networking sites around AsiaPacific, MySpace still remains a common online platform for leading edge artists all around the region, if not globally. Although the extent of its role in the music discovery process for music fans may vary according to different countries, given alternative music-related’ online platforms such as LastFM, Imeem, Vimeo, YouTube, and the countless other local SNS, blogs, and portals, MySpace will still remain a requisite platform for artists and creators to profile themselves. One of the reasons is likely the fact that MySpace has become the default platform for prominent artists in the international stage. As a result, local artists from Asia will always feel the need to connect to them and the international music scene, as well as the key influencers of their local music industries, through MySpace.


MUMBAI | Arjun Hindi Rock “While the Hindi rock genre doesn’t have any ‘big’ names in Mumbai, a few acts are beginning to emerge as popular with a growing section of audiences who want to listen to Hindi rock music… The Hindi rock scene was given a major boost in 2008 by the release of the Bollywood film Rock On!! which featured a soundtrack of songs in Hindi sung with a base of guitars and drums… Along with the growth of music channels and, since recently, awareness of the genre courtesy Bollywood film (Rock On!!), rock music is slowly but surely making its way into the minds and ears of listeners looking for a change, and corporates looking for opportunities to connect with young people.”

The standard format for corporate brand involvement in the alternative music sphere, if any, usually revolves around the direct sponsorship of events such as concerts, festivals, parties, and competitions. However, many brands are breaking the typical event sponsorship mold and seeking alternative ways to support the independent scene by taking on innovative concepts in curating, creating, and distributing music content. From services that offer free music downloads to creative ways of selecting the artist line-up for concerts to the production of new music tracks, these campaigns are paving the way for a new age of brand sponsorship that takes the lead in actively contributing to the growth of music culture, instead of simply exploiting it.


“What this state of affairs demand from brands is a different kind of attitude to the usual commercial sponsorship. In some ways the new kinds of deal between artists and advertisers represent activity that is closer to a CSR initiative than a traditional campaign.”
– ‘Brands & Bands’ study by Brand Amp (UK)


Tiger Beer’s events called, “Tiger Translate” features collaborations between cutting edge indie musicians and visual artists. Tiger Translate events have generally received acknowledgement as being ahead of its time and relatively more authentic than other sponsorship campaigns. SINGAPORE | Ginette Nokia Collaborates with Designers “I think Tiger Beer was away ahead of its time, having done Tiger Translate involving cutting edge designers and musicians about 2 years ago.” BANGKOK | Tintin The Strange World of Sponsorship “…sponsorship is a strange thing-perhaps the most successful so far is TigerTranslate, mainly because it uses a different name than “Tiger Beer”, and has been strong on the live music side, but weaker on the arts side.” Also on Nerds Are TRUE “[Tiger Translate] is one of the few brands that have managed to find that subtle, delicate balance between sponsoring cool young people/ artists and not looking too desperate or exploitative…”



Heineken i-GreenSpace Project

BANGKOK | Tintin The Strange World of Sponsorship “Alcohol brands are still using blatant advertising tactics and direct sponsorhsip, but the smarter ones are catching on. Heineken’s “GreenSpace” project follows Montonn Jira (or Jay Montonn from the Indie Band Katsue) around Europe, America and Japan, telling the story while he recruits unknown bands such as Osaka Monaurail, Some Velvet Morning and Aluminum Babe [to perform locally].”

Tiger Translate Event


Nokia Independent Artists Club website

Fast-rising band Taken By Cars (indie rock) with DJ Funky Avy (electronica) for Motorola and Smart Communications

MANILA | Dang My Space and the Independent Music Scene “A recent addition is the Nokia Independent Artists Club that allows listeners to download 5 songs a month for free. The site also picks independent artists who will be part of the club. Members who download music are requested to vote for their favorite song. The tops bands in the charts will be invited to play at a Nokia event. The concept is pretty interesting because the downloading is free and independent bands are in the line-up - a great way to check out new talent. Although for music lovers, 5 songs a month is a petty number. It is yet to be seen if Nokia will start charging if people want to increase their download limit. “

MANILA | Dang Electronica - Sounds and TVCs MOTO MASHUP brings together 2 artists of different genres to create new tracks that mixes together their sounds. The campaign produces new videos (TV spots) ‘mashing up’ the two artists and tracks for downloading on their website.


Converse enlisted three artists (Julian Casablancas (of The Strokes), Santogold, and Pharrell Williams to collaborate for the song ‘My Drive Thru”

SYDNEY | Michelle Five Stars for Converse “In a nutshell, Converse has enlisted the talents of young, ‘cool’ music stars in their summer advertising campaign, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the brand. The campaign kicked off with a musical collaboration between Pharrell Williams, N.E.R.D, Santagold and Juliana Casablanca (of The Strokes) which resulted in the song ‘My Drive Thru’. Now, Converse has expanded the concept across print, television, outdoor, digital and cinema. For the print arm of the campaign, Converse have featured emerging music artists such as MGMT, Kid Sister, YACHT, Bradford Cox and members of Gallows, Fiery Furnaces, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and Care Bears on Fire. I first heard of the campaign about two months ago, and what grabbed me the most was the artists that Converse had chosen to promote their product. Whoever is working behind the scenes at Converse has clearly done their homework. As any 18-25 year old with an interest in music and fashion would know, these are the musical stars of today and tomorrow, not too cool that they’re unrecognisable, and not too pop as to be un-cool. Converse have proven they know their customers think are the who’s who, and have thus fortified the credibility of their brand within that market.“


In Australia and beyond Asia, youth brands are taking on radical concepts of music sponsorship, moving away from traditional endorsement deals and taking on the role of nurturing music talent and releasing music tracks. Levi’s has signed up Australian bands and releasing songs under its own record label called ‘Levity’. The initiative also promotes the artists’ work and invites them to star in Levi’s marketing upon their voluntary consent. There is news that Red Bull Records is quietly extending its global initiative to nurture emerging talent from its Red Bull Music Academy program into a Red Bull Records, which will be the launching point of well-known acts and complete unknowns that may have developed through the Academy program. P&G’s TAG Body Spray deodorant (US) has formed a joint venture with the leading urban record label Def Jam in which it is not just associating itself with artists for promotional purposes, but putting in place business models that give it the potential to share in any success of the artists, and the record label they appear on. (Source: Brand Republic) These campaigns may represent the future relationships between bands and brands in the age of music digitization and media fragmentation. Brands seeking to enter the music arena may have to go beyond the one-off endorsement deal sidelined in a campaign, and shift towards building a long-term, mutually-beneficial relationship with bands and their fans in order to establish credibility and authenticity among music enthusiasts.



Words from:

Tony Reno, Founder of Dragon Radio Ian STewaRT, Formerly SVP of MTV Asia


FouNDeR oF DRAgoN RADio (, a Bi-MONThLY pODCaST OuT OF hONg kONg ThaT COLLeCTS aND pLaYS The BeST OF aLTerNaTive aSiaN MuSiC, BOrN OuT OF a DeSire TO Share aSiaN MuSiC wiTh FrieNDS arOuND The wOrLD.

HONG KONG | Tony Reno


Who are the people that submit their music to Dragon raDio anD Who are your listeners? TONY: tony: The bands and listeners that participate in my shows are just like me; proactive fans of music. They don’t wait for music to come to them, they go out and search for it. Maybe a minority among music fans, but a very dedicated bunch. Bands from Asia find me on MySpace or are referred from other bands that I have played on the show. Some more proactive labels (indie) send me their latest releases; I love working with them in that way. I play one song from a CD they sell and allow fans to download that one song (within my half hour show) and then they get direct sales from that exposure. Don’t know why the big labels can’t accept that this model works. Some music comes in from regular listeners too. They have something that they think I might enjoy and they send it to me; I really enjoy that community aspect of my show. What changes have you observeD in the Way music is createD, consumeD, anD DiscovereD Within the region in the past 2-3 years? TONY: tony: I am surprised that most bands still seem to deliver music on CD. With all the MP3 and file sharing going on, I would think they would be selling USB drives or selling more online. There are some good internet labels out here like,, white rabbit records, panda records, etc...I think the local business folks in the industry out here have got it right. Educating the bands and the fans will always take a bit longer. One thing that is encouraging is the use of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, AlivenotDead, ChannelV’s Amp; all that

social networking and iLike introduction to music. I have found more than a few bands that way. I am already considering moving my show over to Twitter and just sending out the music as Tweets. Then at the end of each month, I will recap all the songs in a podcast. What are your thoughts on the indie or alternative music scene in asia? hoW has it evolved or progressed? TONY: tony: I am really happy that many of the bands out here are finally getting over the ‘imitation’ stage of song-writing and starting to inject their own culture and social issues into their music. Also, the fan base seems to be more appreciative of the home-grown scene. Its nice to see fans in Asia not only appreciate the western alternative acts, but also acknowledge that there are bands in their own country that sound just as good and sing in their native language. What are some exciting sounds or artists coming out the region? TONY: tony: This is an impossible question for me to answer. I am so close to the bands that I play, I would feel bad if I left anyone out! Needless to say (I only play music with Asian language lyrics), the thing you can count on in the future is more local language alternative rock. Japan and Taiwan have always been strong producers of rock music, but the scenes in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have been growing rapidly in the last 3 years. I expect to hear more from India and Vietnam in the coming years.




FoRMeRLy SVP oF MTV ASiA, iaN haS BeeN iNvOLveD wiTh YOuTh MarkeTiNg aLL hiS LiFe; FirST aS a CONSuMer, TheN a STuDeNT, aND TheN wOrkiNg FOr The LikeS OF COCa-COLa, OgiLvY, MTv, aND hiS OwN YOuTh ageNCY FiLTer, whiCh waS aCquireD BY aegiS. iaN reTurNeD FOr a SeCOND STiNT aT MTv aSia iN 2006, where he raN The regiONaL BuSiNeSS FOr The MTv BraND.

You’ve been involved with campaigns that specificallY target the asian Youth market for more than 10 Years, previouslY as svp of mtv asia and co-founder of the urban Youth trends agencY the filter group what’s so interesting about this tar. get market? iaN: ian: The sheer numbers as a start, Asia and particularly SE Asia has a very high proportion of under 24’s in the population. What stands out is that they are very forward looking, super optimistic and highly tech savvy. In markets like Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and especially Vietnam music passion is very high. Local music industries are very developed (as is piracy, sadly) but there is also strong demand for quality regional and global artists. So many opportunities. You’ve identified the trend for “asians loving asia” can You . explain a bit about that and its effects on music culture? iaN: ian: “Asia Loving Asia” has been on the rise for the past 5+ years: as the quality of Asia creative output has improved (fashion, music, design, even sports) so too have the export of these talents to the region and the world, which in turn creates local pride for their offshore superstars. Everyone from Jay Chou to Thaitanium, Asian talent is kicking it on the international stage, and it’s leading to more artists that aspire to follow in these footsteps. It’s like a snowball. what changes have You observed in the waY music is created, consumed, and discovered within the region in the past 2-3 Years? iaN: ian: Because of piracy most kids can get their hands on all the music they need for inspiration, and the boom in white-label hard and software means they have all

t the tools they need to make their own music. Couple that with the rise of social networks for publishing your work, and the huge demand for live music, and it’s never been easier to be a rock star. Now, how to make money from it all. What are your thoughts on the indie or alternative music scene in asia? hoW has it evolved or progressed? iaN: ian: If music defines a generation, then this current wave of youth are best defined by their “no rules mash-ups” philosophy to sounds. Forget music genres, the boom in “indie” makes total sense. Globally, “indie” goes from strength to strength, and it’s thriving in Asia where kids have all the tools they need to create and co-create, and the online and offline platforms to publish and showcase. What I find interesting is where while a few years back there was a clear divide between electronic and guitar music, today it’s all merged and mashed together. No rules. It will only get more exciting. What are some exciting sounds or artists coming out the region? iaN: ian: Too many to mention, but it’s interesting that (Thai indie pioneers) Futon have re-banded as Goo, simply because they wanted to reinvent: a perfect reflection of the times. The harder sounds coming out of North Asia are also an interesting evolution. Check out Big Bang’s new video, an amazing example of the new Korean Indie Wave.


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© Mindshare asia-pacific. 2009. all rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the publisher. For private circulation only. For more information: Achara Masoodi,

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