Thursday, September 30, 2010

首選錄音室 [choice studio]

george lam chose the ark studios for his latest audiophile album

there is no doubt that jacky cheung's "private corner" has spurred many retired cantopop superstars to contemplate making an audiophile album, after all there is more guarantee on sales than launching it as a pure cantopop album. they are getting smarter, aren't they?

so it is with little surprise that george lam chee cheong followed the bandwagon recently.

the mustached man came to kl two weeks ago and guess where he did his recording? the same studio that we use: the ark studios.

the ark studios is slowly establishing itself as the top studio in kl due to its high end setup and good acoustics. we love the airiness and lively acoustics of this place. you could appreciate all these when you listen to the bossa princess album in november!

we suppose besides these positive factors, the relatively low studio fees (compared to hk) is also the main reason that attracts jacky cheung and george lam.

we were told that george lam also brought along an audio consultant for this project, supposedly a very experienced audiophile, to guide in the audiophile aspects. george also roped in the top recording engineer in malaysia, mr. peter chong, to do the recording.

nick lee, the boss of the ark studios, should be proud that his studio is now being regarded highly by many quarters. one good thing about nick lee we like is that he constantly upgrades his hardware, not one who rests on his laurel. this is a sign of an owner who pursues excellence and we like this aspect very much.

the ark studios is also a very cozy environment to do recording. as the recording hours are long, sometimes a cozy place helps to relax tired minds.

another bonus is, it is extremely near to our house!

what's lacking is, perhaps, a wifi setup! but we suppose having wireless setup would disturb the airborne frequencies.

大馬最杰出 [malaysia's best]

looking at the stellar cast here makes my heart palpitate. can you tell who's who?

it is our dream one day to work with all these top-notch musicians.

remember we said before we want to surround our vocalists with the best there is in malaysia?

i guess out of the many in the cast, we would pick mac chew and jenny chin to be on top of our dream list.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

漂亮一點 [a little bit prettier]

bossa princess exposed.... 漂亮一點 [a little bit prettier] is actually one of the songs in album and it may just be right as the theme for today's photo-shooting.

in the hands of jason highway tan, the princess is captured in her most relaxed, minimalistic and lifestyle moment befitting the album's theme.

of course my novice photos don't do justice here :-(

you have to buy the album to appreciate jason's full artistry :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

cdr 世紀大戰 [cdr battle royale]

in our quest to hunt for the best cdr in the market, as a continuous r&d for our direct-from-master 1:1 project, the battle has heated up a fair bit with many cdr from other brands participating in the shootout....

let's announce the winner to-date. .... ta-da!

this brand of cdr has knocked out many major brands. for the sake of diplomacy, we won't announce the losers la :-)

its winning attributes are airy & beautiful highs, better imaging and transparency, and more refined presentation.

the winner is That's from japan, which is manufactured by taiho yuden of japan. a reputable cdr factory long known for its premium quality.

let us let you in a secret, japanese cdrs are always superior than taiwanese or chinese made! basically the two things that govern the production of the good cdr: (1) the dye (2) the polycarbonate material to make the cd.

next, we would invite other hign-end contenders such as mobile fidelity (wow!) and apogee acoustics (wow! wow!).....

the battle is surely heating up!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

星報競賽 [the star's audiofile cd giveaway contest]

2v1g cd for lucky readers of star's audiofile column

Pop Pop Music is happy to give away 5 free copies of 2v1g's 2nd album to the first 5 lucky readers of The Star's Audiofile who answer the following 4 questions correctly:

1) Who's the original singer of "Love Scale"?

2) Who is the distributor of 2V1G in Malaysia?

3) Name another audiophile album which is produced by Pop Pop Music.

4) Who is the Editor of The Star's Audiofile column? (to make sure you are a genuine reader!)

Please email your answers to not later than 8th october 2010 and write in less than 50 words why you think you deserve a free copy of 2v1g.

In your email, please provide mailing address and contact number.

You can sample 6 songs from the album on the right panel of this blog.

Keep the entries coming!

醒覺吧![wake up, you dreamers!]

as we are getting a bit of fame and recognition (surely they don't know our struggle!) , there are people who come to us telling us that they want to become singers or producers and ask us for help and advice.

sure, human are great because of their dreams. you must believe in your dreams. without dreams, life would be meaningless and you would not be motivated. it is all fine and good if you realize what you are going into: the entertainment and showbiz industry. yes, it is glamorous and filled with excitement and glitz but let's us wake you up to these facts:

1) if you are neither pretty nor talented, please go to point (11)

2) if you can't sing well, nor play an instrument well, nor can compose good songs, please go to point (11)

3) if you are not willing to persevere and endure hardships, for 5 years at least, before you can see some results, go to point (11)

4) if you cannot live with inconsistent income, please go to point (11)

5) if you have a home loan, a car hire purchase, credit card bills, any other commitment which
requires a fixed income, please go to point (11)

6) if you are not willing to keep yourself pretty and handsome by grooming yourself constantly so that you will always look good, please go to point (11)

7) if you are not willing to be on the tabloid regularly for scandalous news such as you falling for your married producer or you are having the hots for somebody's boyfriend/girlfriend and all these incredulous rumors and make-belief news, please go to point (11)

8) if you have parents or siblings that requires your financial support, please go to point (11)

9) if you can't stand losing the freedom of eating mee goreng at the mamak stall with your thongs and torn t-shirt, smoking and swearing liberally, please go to point (11)

10) and lastly, if you can't stand having friends who have a stable jobs which pay them regular income while you have to struggle even to pay your maxis phone bill, please go to point (11)

11) pursue your dreams by all means, but furchrissake, keep your day job!!!

pop pop music and all its artistes have dreams but the dreams are realistic and not always money-driven or money-motivated. we dream of revolutionizing the overly-commercial music industry by going back to basics of making sincere and genuine music, like the good old days. we are passionate about music and our roles in helping the industry.

here's what we do and we don't:

1) we don't play by the industry's rules. we are not exactly a pop music label (eventho' we have pop music in our name!) so we don't belong there. we don't need to go shopping malls in various states to promote our albums or package our albums in funny irregular shaped boxes. for some cases, we don't even need to show our artistes' faces in large portrait pose in order to sell our music.

2) we don't succumb to rumors or scandals. our artistes are just plain normal people with normal lives. there is nothing special about their lives to make issues and news about.

3) we don't follow trends and fads. just because hokkien hip-hop is in vogue now, does not mean we should start making this kind of music to suit the market. we make timeless and classic music that can withstand the test of time. we are not governed by any rules but the rules of making good music.

4) we don't need to explain to people why we spent RM100K+ on cables for our recording studio, send our albums to overseas for expert mastering costing 5-figure sum, but we would be willing to educate the listeners if they ask earnestly

5) we hire fantastic musicians for our productions. we are particular about arrangement and musician's virtuosity. the musicians share the same limelight as our vocalists.

6) we use all real, acoustic instruments. we don't do computer programming, MIDI or synthesized music.

7) we are willing to groom and share with like-minded people on how to make good music that can help to revive the dwindling music market.

8) we are actually a nice bunch of music-loving people with realistic dreams and many bills to pay.

Friday, September 24, 2010

商演 [TDK product launching]

2v1g at imation's TDK headphone and earphone launch @ shout lounge @ empire hotel, subang last night.

the trio gave a good show that had the MD of imation giving them praises and compliments.

well done, guys!

美好歲月 [glory days]

long before cheer chen came along, she is the mother of taiwan's female singer-songwriter.

kay huang yun lin is back with an album which promises to bring back glory days of taiwan's best chinese pop music.

eagerly anticipating!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

roger wang 的里程碑 ["milestones" coming soon]

roger wang is flying down from kk today to do many things in kl.

first, he needs to pass us all the final mixes for the 6 albums he wants to compile for his greatest hits album. there will be close to 24 songs altogether in this 2-CD album. roger has spent months to write about each song that he selected for this special album that represents his career for the last 10 years!

to make it more special for his fans, there will be a limited edition of 300 copies that come with a special gift and his autograph! monitor this blog for this special announcement!

second, he is gonna do a recording for the bossa princess today, an acoustic track of faye wong's ballad much loved by the princess. this is the first time the princess is working with roger wang and she is excited to partner the guitar maestro!

third, 2v1g is going be the guest artiste for TDK's earphone product launch at the subang empire hotel tomorrow. TDK picked 2v1g because they know 2v1g represents beautiful sound, just like their range earphones. to make it sweeter, the organizer has given me the task of picking the music for their listening music stations, to be displayed at the venue. i have picked close to 20 albums, some audiophile albums, which have both good recording and good music!

thank you TDK for having us!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

公主駕到 [the princess arrives]

bossa team: cher siang (L), xiong (front), stefano (R)

[my bossa: brasileiro] album is cruising at a very comfortable speed. we finished the tracking (instrumentation) for 7 songs last week, leaving 3 songs for roger wang and salvodor guerzo (ador), the other two music directors who are involved in this album.

the following day the princess kicked off her vocal recording. we could feel that she is pressured to deliver, because the instrumentation by tay cher siang is so great, she knows she needs to be equal, if not surpass the music.

she has been practicing hard and having stefano, our producer-cum-vocal-coach, helps to push her beyond her comfort zone. stefano is a tough man to please, he drilled the princess until he gets the tone and bossa feel that he wants in her.

surprisingly then, for the first vocal track, the nervous princess did it in just one take! not satisfied, she wanted to record more tracks, but the later tracks proved to be not as good as the first one. we gave her another nickname of "one-take princess"!

compared to the technical complexity of 5-part harmony of the solianos, returning to just one vocal proves to be a relief to us! it is so much easier to take care of just one voice.

this project has been smooth-sailing since the start and we hope to end that way.

because all the 7 songs we did so far are very "full", i.e. many instruments, we all feel the need for a pure acoustic track, but it won't be like 2v1g for sure.

roger wang will be coming this wednesday to record an acoustic track for the princess. he plans to add another nylon string guitar besides his own.. by the way, it is a faye wong ballad that the princess loves so much.

at the same time, photography session will commence soon. we engage the services of a very talented photographer, jason "highway" tan for the job. somehow looking at jason's portfolio on flickr gives me and the princess so much thrills and expectations. he should deliver, we are confident.

our strategy is to complete three singles first and send them to radio for commercial airplay.

taiwan (our distributor, some retailers) has listened to some demo tracks of the album and they like it! i relate to this to the princess and she is so happy. if taiwan can approve our music, we don't see why other countries won't.

the first single in the album (and likely to the first song in the album), is likely to be an original composition by the princess' good friend, a very talented guitarist who is fond of bossa nova music. the song is very fresh and carries a perfect bossa feel, we love it so much.

we have decided, from now on, we would include at least 1 or 2 original compositions in all our albums! so don't accuse us of doing just cover versions! ;-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

吉他神的演奏會 [tommy emmaneul concert is here!]

Concert Tickets On Sale NOW!!! * ticket prices below include RM3 ticketing fee
RM253 - VIP
RM203 - P.S.1
RM123 - P.S.2
RM83 - P.S.3
( NOTE: RM60 Workshop ticket will be available on Tuesday, 21st Sept 2010 at all TGS outlets )
For concert ticketing reservations, please visit: or call Hotline: 03-7880 7999 and all TGS outlets:

Cheras : 03-9133 2822
Desa Sri Hartamas : 03-2300 2822
Damansara Perdana : 03-7710 5822
Kepong : 03-6257 6611
Puchong : 03-8075 2822

Sunday, September 19, 2010

令我們掉淚的萬芳 [this one makes us cry]

"自己已接近不惑之年,在別人眼中的自己,對於很多事物應該都已經嘗試過了,也早該想清楚了,而且因為也沒有多少後退的空間,所以似乎也得理直氣壯、 不回頭地勇敢向前走去,但是在夜深人靜、獨自一個人的時候,還是會不由自主地擔心起來,煩惱著自己究竟是一個什麼樣的人,但也因為我們不是永遠都那麼勇 敢,不是每一次都可以強壯地獨自面對未來的不確定性,所以我們必須努力試著找出與這個世界聯繫的方式,在那一端的可以是朋友、愛人、家人,當然也可以是音 樂。


taken from 香蕉共和國

we have tonnes of album to review but this one gets top priority for reasons we will tell you now.

however, if you are below 30 and yet to experience life's full circle, better avoid it cos you won't appreciate it.

most chinese pop music is about love and nothing else. it can get shallow especially if the singer is someone young and pretty/handsome.

there are very few singers who sing and at the same time, tell a story. jonathan lee 【李宗盛】 is one. lowell lo 【盧冠庭】 is another. they don't have great voices but listening to them sing is a moving experience cos they tell a story close to their hearts, all sincere, stark and naked. you can't get any more honesty than jonathan li and lowell lo.

add wan fang to the list. a female singer in her late 30s, well past her prime, full of life's experiences and not eager to please anyone but herself. to be sure, wan fang does not belong to this era, so gen-x, gen-y and gen-z please stay away.

this is wan fang's first album in 8 years. in the intervening years, she went thru many phases of life, witnessing the death of her close friends, experienced separation and hardships.... shall we say, the colorful and yet unpredictable ups-and-downs journey of a mid-lifer.

now wan fang puts all these into her music. there is nary a flaw in this album, it is just so perfect. from the song selections, lyrics, arrangement, musicians and wan fang's emotive rendition. there is sadness, happiness, cheekiness, moodiness, uncertainty... this is an album about life, all its stories in various facets.

if you are not ready to let yourself exposed naked to some emotional examination, please don't listen to this album. for there is bound to be some similarity between wan fang's stories and yours. this album is not about wan fang, it is about you and me who have been thru life, in all its glories and celebrations.

we are so glad and grateful that in this age of digital downloads, rampant piracy and thrashy commercial music, wan fang still puts so much efforts in making an incredibly touching album like this. there were many moments we sit still and rendered silent and teary-eyed while sampling the music.

this is a gift to mature and discerning music lovers. buy a few copies and give them to your loved ones.

yeah, definitely one of pop pop music's best albums of the year.

check out one of the great songs in the album, composed by kay huang yun lin 【黃韻玲】.

寶貝好棒![yet another gem!]

after her incredible last album of cover versions, karen mok scores again with her latest album, boasting all original compositions by the most original and defiant singer in chinese music indistry.

review to come shortly...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

直刻母盤 [direct-from-master]

we are saving the best for last.

while the rest of the audiophile music market is competing on the various formats - HQCD, LPCD, A2HD, AQCD, SHMCD, BluRay CD, what-have-you - all in the quest for a closer sound to the master, we at pop pop music have other ideas. why not go direct to the master? we also don't want our supporters to think that we are mercenaries trying to milk more money from past releases, until we are very sure that the sound quality is way superior than the earlier pressing.

we are going to release the direct-from-master version of 2v1g's debut album, followed by jz8.

direct-from-master means we are going to take the master files (in eithe AIFF or WAV) format and burn it onto the best CDR we could find. as you know, the quality of the CDR is greatly determined by the polycarbonate it is made from.

at the moment, we are experimenting with various types of CDR in the market and we would post our findings soon but one thing for sure : on a good CDR, the sound quality from the direct-from-master is 30% better than the commercial copy. more transparency, more airiness, more sparkles, simply more music.

we don't want to be the boy who cries wolf but we are pretty sure we want to release this direct-from-master version once we find the best CDR from a foreign factory. commercial brands like imation, sony, tdk just don't cut it.

this version is strictly for hardcore audiophiles cos we are going to price it between RM80-RM99, not something the casual listener can afford for sure. we are going to have a premium packaging with the album cover remained the same.

it is going to be limited edition of 699 copies with a serial number embossed on the box/cover.

don't take our words for it until we find the best CDR in the market but we are confident this project will be realized by december 2010.

臺北的傳統唱片行 [day4: mom-n-pop record shops in taipei]

you he shop loves 2v1g

on the last day in taipei, jimmy brought me to 3 top traditional record shops in taipei where 2v1g sells the most.

incidentally, the bosses of these 3 shops are all women! does it mean that taiwanese women are musically-inclined?

the first one is you he 【友合】, tucked in an alley in the bustling IT (computer) area in taipei. you he is not a big shop but it has the kind of endearing neighborhood record shop fell about it. the moment we stepped in, we heard a familiar tune being played, yes, it is 2v1g! talking about the it being the top shop selling our products!

the lady boss said i look young and handsome, haha

the women boss (in the picture) said that now pop cds cannot sell, only audiophile cds like 2v1g and jz8 can sell. she said the reason why taiwanese like 2v1g is because it has the "min ge" feel (folk songs) feel and they said the voices are very fresh, unlike majority of the mainland chinese audiophile singers.

i can tell that the shop has seen better days and it is now struggling with dwindling sales. it is so heartening to see that our albums become a source of best-sellers to them. i left the shop feeling we have done something great to these mom-n-pop retailers.

the 2nd traditional record shop we visited has a funny name, it is called "boss's wife shop" 【老板娘的店】. the lady boss is a pretty women in her 40s, obviously a very pretty lady when she was young. she wasn't as warm as the other women but she said very bluntly to me: "please don't include too many cantonese in your albums! we taiwanese don't like cantonese songs!"

she then went on to say what kind of music will appeal to the taiwanese audiophiles". "the songs you chose must have quality and feel, not just any song that sounds good".

the 3rd shop we visited is called 38 celcious, a dedicated audiophile cd shop located not to far away from jimmy's shop (joy audio). this time, the lady boss is warm and articulate. she told me immediately that she likes lydia chew's voice in jz8! "she is so sexy!", she asserted.

all our albums are in the top 20 chart (as shown in the pix above). the lady boss is also close to many DJs in several radio stations. she said she constantly promotes our music to those DJs and she even appears in their shows! i can tell that this lady boss is very passionate in music and her business seems to be the best among the 3 shops, maybe because she is 100% selling audiophile cds.

this trip has given me a good feel about retail music business in taiwan. eventhough the business is greatly affected by online downloads, the mom-n-pop retail business is still surviving simply because the population of music lovers is large! but almost every retailer is fearing the worst in the next few years.

38 celcious looks like the most upbeat of them all because they don't sell pop cds. looks like audiophiles are the only buying customers left.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

高潮 [orgasmic]

it is timely to introduce to you tommy emmanuel, the legendary australian fingerstyle guitarist who has influenced the guitar world, including our own roger wang.

unless you are not a guitar player or guitar music aficionado, you should have heard that tommy emmanuel will be coming to malaysia for many appearances soon, one of which is penang jazz festival. there is even a guitar contest organized in his name. if you want to find out more, call guitar store.

well, here's two different versions of john lennon's "imagine" played by two maestros. truth be told, roger's arrangement is based on tommy's but he improvised it a bit.

the first time i watched roger wang played "imagine", i ooh-ed and ah-ed all the way till the last bit, yeah, the last bit is when he plays all those astonishing harmonics then i continued ooh-ing and ah-ing!

to my shallow knowledge in guitar playing, there are only two modern fingerstyle guitar players (not counting chet atkins, of course) who play harmonics way better than roger wang, they are tuck andress (of tuck and patti fame) and tommy emmanuel. yeah, you really should check out tuck andress too.

look out for the killer harmonics towards the end. it gives us orgasm everytime!

also, if you have a keen eye, you would have noticed that tommy is using the same microphone as the one we used for 2v1g and jz8 recording: the legendary AKG C12VR!

Monday, September 13, 2010

愛上 [day 3: fallen]

i tell you this: i fell in love with taipei the moment in stepped into xin yi 【信義】 eslite flagship store. it practically encapsulates what taipei is all about, culturally and intellectually.

i almost screamed when i see such gorgeous building dedicated entirely to books, cds, dvds, fashion, computers, memorabilia, cafe and more. i seldom hang out in bookstores in malaysia (because they are nothing more than bookstores) yet xin yi's eslite makes me feel like i want to spend my entire day there. which i did.

let's start with the music department. it is bloody huge, housing almost every genre of music imaginable to music lovers, including hard-to-find stuff like classical and indie music. all pop pop music's album are there and funnily, 2v1g's 2nd album is found on the shelf named "taiwanese indie music", i almost wanted to laugh out loud!

check the category in which 2v1g is housed! so funny!

it also sell LPs under the audiophile section. the jazz section is big as well, a testament to show that taiwanese music lovers love jazz. i bought the "john coltrane and johnny hartman singing ballads" which i have been wanting to collect for NTD350 only! (RM35)

rolling stones top 500 cds of all time, wonderfully displayed

if you are fascinated by the music department then you would scream your heart out when you come to the books department which occupies two floors, 2nd and 3rd. each floor is wide extended, occupying both wings of the building. i love the way they display the books (something that popular bookstore has to learn!); it makes you want to browse them eagerly. the amount of books is simply mind-blogging: every imaginable category and genre is housed under one roof. i spent a couple of hours in the music and movies book section alone!

i can write another few posts about xin yin's eslite but i don't think you will get the picture unless you visit there yourself. every corner i go, i see young and old crowded together, either sitting on the floor or squatting down, with a book on his/her hand. really a wonderful picture to show the literary standards of the taiwanese.

on the same night i returned to the hostel, i tell myself that i have totally fallen for taipei, unlike the first trip last year which i had only discovered the "older" side of taipei. the modern taipei is sexy and very upbeat, bursting with life and activities.

there is something indescribably cool about taipei and its people. unlike in other countries you get to hear how the taxi drivers or average joe on the street bitch incessantly about their government and certain regulations, you hardly hear tawainese say negative things about their country. in fact, when i told leo yeh (小葉, the editor of that i love this city, he smiled and concurred: "yeah, taipei is really cool".

i feel belonged here because i am such a sucker for culture and good tastes. taipei offers everything that i could ever ask. and what's more, it is the biggest market for our kind of music. i used to like hong kong for its vibrancy but this time taipei has won me over.

i started making plans to return here as regularly as possible. i may also want to set up an office here. i don't know. dang, i will find any reasons to return here.

this city is intoxicating.

my-hiend.com專訪 [pop pop music in]

leo yeh 【小葉】, founder and audiophile extraordinaire of writes about moi.....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

誠品 [day 2: eslite book chain]

mr. wu and eden chien, key people in eslite music department

2v1g and love's tapestry on eslite's shelf

no trip to taiwan is complete without visiting eslite bookstores. in fact, eslite is more than a chain bookstore; it is a bloody impressive lifestyle chain store, offering anything from books, cds, LPs, dvds, furniture, memorabilia, clothes... you name it.

i have only been to the tun-nan branch, its 2nd largest store last year. obviously not in the right mood, i didn't spend much time there. but it did open my eyes to what is possible with a predominantly book-themed store. eslite is really impressive.

this trip is more for business, not shopping. we got to meet two important persons: eden chien, the product specialist and mr wu, the chief buyer for the entire music department of eslite.

the impressive thing about eslite's music section is the diversity of genres its offer. it is especially strong on chinese pop and chinese indie music.

frankly, we don't have high hopes that our albums will get attention in eslite, because they are thousands, if not millions, of cds in the store, just how do you stand out? the only way is getting the front counter staff to play it! (much like what popular/cdrama does to 2v1g and jz8) and how to get airplay if you don't pay them? so, we have modest aims with eslite.

my main intention is to introduce pop pop music to them and hopefully they remember our albums. of course, they know that they do sell 2v1g and jz8 in the shelf but asking them to do anything more is not easy unless you pay. from what i can see, olivia ong is really hot in taiwan cos HIM (her label) really splurges money to promote her. as an audiophile music label, we don't believe in spending too much on A&P, instead we hope that the front counter staff like our music and spin it willingly for us.

nothing is promised from eslite except that they could look into highlighting our albums in the books section, instead of the cd section which can be submerged beneath thousands of titles on the shelf. they also suggested that we could send them samples which they could spin in the in-store piped-in music channel. really this is the best they could do, short of having to spend any money on A&P.

we are looking also to particpate in eslite's live events, if we can pull some live gigs in taipei. i told jimmy that it is possible that we can come to taipei to perform but we have to cover several stops/venues instead of just one of two to make it worthwhile.

in the later post, i will tell you why our albums sell better in mom-n-pop record shop rather than eslite.

Friday, September 10, 2010

書世豪,音響論壇 [day 2: exec editor of audio art]

tim shu and me outside the head office of audio art magazine

there is very little doubt that taiwan's audio art 【音響論壇】 is the best chinese hifi magazine in the world. this is not only because it has the best photography ( or some would call it audio pornography!) but also the highest literary value among all the chinese magazines. its writing is refined and classy, never bordering on hype or sensationalism like many other chinese hifi magazines.

and what's more important, audio art has been a big supporter of pop pop music's albums over the past 2 years. the success of 2v1g and jz8 in taiwan is in no small part due to audio art's strong recommendations.

so it is with much excitement that i get to meet tim shu, the executive. the office was a hive of activities when we arrived and naturally tim is an extremely busy person. (how can a publishing office not be busy?).

we only got one hour for the interview and tim took the task swiftly. he is another key person for us in taiwan if ever we want to set foot in taiwan and expand our music business there.

the 2v1g album review would appear in september issue of audio art and the interview on me would probably appear in october or november issue.

i am glad i stepped into audio art's HQ despite the time constraint~!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

小葉,臺灣音響達人 [day 1: meeting leo yeh]

leo yeh (L) and jimmy yin (R)

Jimmy, our distributor, is a damn serious person. He hardly cracks jokes or shares a light moment. but he is an earnest and honest person and that's important quality that i value in my distributor.

He is too concerned with his business and the dwindling music market. We shared a lot of strategies to boost our sales and we have gotten a few plans underway.

Taiwan's weather is hot, even hotter than kl. Jimmy treated me to taiwan's version of ice kacang, which comes in such a big bowl! But it did manage to cool me down.

I met my favorite person at night,the chap who is supposed to interview me. He is Leo yeh, the founder of portal, a very popular hifi portal that's well known even in the international arena. To my surprise, Leo is such a young and handsome chap who is humorous, cheeky and very knowledgeable. We shared a lot about audiophiles music, the music industry and the hifi industry.

knowing leo is as good as knowing taiwan's hifi industry. he has the whole industry at his finger tips. he is a valuable person to me because taiwan is our biggest market outside malaysia.

After the interview, we had dinner at a roadside "tai chow" stall, which served absolutely delicious food that will please most malaysians!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

臺北,不再心碎 [no more heartbreak in taipei]

last year this time, we had our hearts broken in taipei.... it was a painful memory that has left me scarred...

the wound has healed but the scar remains. i still don't have the courage to listen back to those songs you composed and recorded during that period of time. those memories have been locked away somewhere, until such time i am courageous enough to find the key to the lock.

how time flies. 12 months have passed and a new life has begun for both of us respectively.

you with your career relaunched and me with my new music label, whose name is thought of by you after you know how much i like the rickie lee jones' album. music is a tough business, we both know very well but at least we are happiest doing what we like.

i am flying again to taipei tomorrow to attend several interviews with the hifi magazines and media. it is jimmy's (our distributor) idea to introduce the fella behind pop pop music to taiwan's audiophiles and music lovers. i love this chance to tell the taiwanese press how a small label in malaysia is making progress and moving one small step at a time towards achieving our musical ambition.

at the same time, i will be meeting 【誠品】, eslite book chain, to discuss about marketing pop pop's products to the mainstream market.

i really have nothing else planned. i will see where my mood takes me this time.

but for sure, there won't be another heartbreak in taipei this time.

潮流興吉他! [everyone is going acoustic!]

click to watch it in youtube to read fiona's personal comments on this song

is it a trend? a fad? or a sign that chinese pop music is ready to go back to basics, just like our music?

after reigning cantopop diva kay tse's (cheh ngon kei) latest acoustic album, fiona sit (sit hoi kei) follows suit with another acoustic album.

this video is personally posted by fiona with her sentimental remarks about someone special in her life (click to see it in youtube). we wonder if the subject is khalil fong of jaycee chan (jacky chan's son) ;-)

the composer is hanjin 【陳奐仁】, who has just released a jazz album under warner. go check it out. it is selling for only RM29 in victoria music.

whatever, we welcome the change in style in the tired cantopop scene. it is good for a change!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

網絡謀殺了音樂工業? [has the internet destroyed the music business?]

our friend and talented saxophonist, julian chan, in responding to our previous post 【retail gloom in singapore】, shared with us an article from cdbaby, the independent music web store.

there are many many interesting points raised, for and against. make sure you read all the 90+ comments offering various counterpoints.

yes, we have been lamenting over and over again the death of the physical format of cd in this blog. mind you, we are not stubborn uncles. yes, we have to move with times and embrace internet music. hey, that's why we bought iPad and subsribed to iTunes!

but there are something wrong with the current climate. we are still hoping for a better solution hopefully in the near future.

we could write pages and pages of counterpoints against what the cdbaby article is saying but we won't. many of you won't understand unless you lived the era of cassettes, LP and appreciate the hobby of collecting. and we would not criticize on how the new generation consumes music cos our younger supporters and even our kids also belong to this generation.

we are hoping for something better in the near future.

perhaps the most positive remark we have ever read about internet music is this:

the greatest thing internet has done to parents is, maybe now, your kids won't quit their study and dream of becoming a rock and roll star.

below are the two most illuminating comments we picked up from the article.

There is one glaring problem with the current DIY/internet thing and that is this: the best musicians and writers are not business minded people. They are artistic, introverted, and usually socially clumsy. They do not have the skills required to build a career and attempting to do so results in bitterness and breakdown. Without consistent help from a business minded person they’re sunk. So we’re losing our best music right off the bat.

The people that are successful tend to be the best networkers – the most organized, not the most talented. So second rate music is more plentiful than ever.

Look at it the other way. Would you ask a talented desk-jockey to go write and record an album for you?? It’d be a pretty crappy album, so no. Why ask a musician to go build a career? Musicians need business men and businessmen need musicians. It a partnership – that’s what we’ve lost.

As for the “wide open opportunities” of the internet, that’s all too true. The most talented folks are now buried under heaps of amateur crap. There’s no filter. The record companies used to provide that – scouting talent like major league sports managers. That’s what we need. Good scouts and business guys willing to take risks and believe in something other than $$$$$$.

I’m an indie artist/songwriter/producer. I self produce my own records & I put make them available on the Internet in the hopes that music lovers will buy them. I promote at shows and on facebook, myspace, email, YouTube, websites, etc. I think since I started releasing my work on the internet 4 years ago I’ve made a little over $400. That’s $100 bucks a year for you accountants out there.
I’m no novice either. I’ve studied, written, & performed my original work for over 17 years.

I got a degree in music business, I managed an indie label, worked for an entertainment attorney, and I signed my first major music publishing deal a year ago. In fact, I was given a nice advance of $25,000 dollars to sign my deal. I’ve had my songs placed on major TV shows, and I currently have a song playing on a major national ad campaign. By all accounts, I’ve enjoyed some success in “the music industry” (however you want to define that term). Bless my publisher (The Industry) for giving me an advance but it’s not enough to live on. The placements aren’t paying the bills either because I have to recoup that $25,000 getting exposure for my songs on TV/ads isn’t exactly pulling me out of obscurity either. I’ve gotten a few nice emails from people who heard my song on their favorite show or but it has not increased my digital sales.

I had to move into my parents basement recently because I can’t afford to live on my own. I turn 29 years old in a week so it’s a real drag to have to live at home at this age.

My story is to show you that I have BOTH the “Internet” and “the music industry” working for me at the same time, and I still can’t afford an apartment in Los Angeles, health insurance, student loans, car payments, etc. without the help of my parents. I’m lucky to have their support & the support of my publisher! But I am not making a sustainable living in the music industry & I believe that is because of a completely over-saturated market. Too many amateur “artists” who know how to click a mouse better than they know how to pluck a string are flooding the market, making it harder for professional artists (who spend most of their time honing their craft, not on the Internet) to make a living.

I still have my publisher and will continue to write music, but I’m currently looking for a job to save money & go to grad school. All my best to artists out there trying to make a living on the Internet! I hope it works out for everyone… But the reality is that the model isn’t working. Sorry Brad, I’m gonna have to side with Stevie & John on this one! ;) Great discussion though, this one caught my attention!

Friday, September 3, 2010

低迷 [retail gloom in singapore]

we went to tiny dot to get the all-conquering, all-hyped-up iPad, steve job's latest creation that has rocked the IT world. of course, the tiny iPad lives up the its hype and make us all crazy and go gaga over it.....

along the way, invevitably, we checked out the record stores....

in the last 12 months since we visited tiny dot, we observed the fast-declining downfall of the music retail business in singapore. so fast that you could just miss it if you blink you eyes.

even gramophone, the biggest retail chain, is shrinking in operations. this is exactly the same depressing scene we witnessed when we visited taipei last year.

do you know the reasons why?

those countries with highly-efficient high-speed broadband band like taiwan, hk and now singapore are the first ones to tastes the downfall of the music retail business. as more and more youngsters can use the internet to download illegally, less and less of them would buy physical cds. malaysia is still far away (another 3 years at least) in achieving this status of efficient high-speed broadband but it will happen one day.

this is really really depressing news to those like us who are making music.

singapore market is gone, sayonara.