The Wknd Sessions

#111 Reggae Remedy

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Reggae Remedy is a Singapore-based roots reggae, ska and rocksteady band. And on this episode, they’ve collaborating with The Pinholes‘ lead singer Famie to pay tribute to Singaporean legend Ismail Haron.

Read on to find out why they’re bringing this project about the Tom Jones of Singapore to the masses.

Note: The first Reggae Remedy video comes out on 5th April 2019. Second video will be released on Monday (8th of April). And the final video on Wednesday (10th of April). All at 3pm!

Reggae Remedy: the origins

We asked Reggae Remedy how they got their start in the music business.

“When we started out… we wanted to play those early Jamaican sounds.”

The band was formed in 2016. And Firman – the main man behind the band – says they initially set out to play rocksteady, early reggae and ska music. Over time, they found a niche acting as a backing band for other artists.

Over the years, they’ve backed musicians like Singapore’s Masia One, Ras Muhammad (Indonesia’s reggae ambassador) and Denny Frust.

And in late 2018, they hit another milestone by releasing a 4-track EP “Bersedia A Tribute to Ismail Haron” which features The Pinholes‘ frontman, Famie Suliman.

A tribute to a Singaporean legend.

We asked the band about the experience of discovering Ismail Haron‘s music.

“Ismail Haron… adalah seorang pemuzik yang amat berwibawa.”

Both Firman and Famie felt honored to be involved in this project, as it’s their own personal tribute to Singapore’s pop yeh-yeh legend. And they started out with the intention of reggae-fying the songs, instead of just playing them as-is.

The band grafted reggae-specific feels, rhythms and arrangements to the songs. Most noteworthy: they incorporated elements of early reggae and rocksteady, focusing on vocal harmonies and even slowing down the tempo a little.

Of being independent in Singapore.

We asked Reggae Remedy what it was like to operate as an independent act in the Lion City.

“You have to be hardworking. You have to do the work.”

Putting in the effort is definitely the big key to success, says Famie. “You have to work to find shows, and you have to go out and meet people.”

Both Famie and Firman admit that it’s tougher for independent musicians. The nation-states’ western-oriented music tastes becomes a formidable obstacle, especially when it comes to competition.

And as such, Singaporean bands are being compared not only to their peers, but to much bigger artistes that appear on mainstream media. Hence, this makes it even tougher to break through to the public.

Watch our exclusive interview with Reggae Remedy, and take a peek inside their reggae-inspired pop yeh-yeh tunes: