Singapore DJ Myrne talks about what keeps artists like him busy during coronavirus
At one point during his show at a Los Angeles club in February 2020, Singaporean DJ Myrne felt weariness set in. âI was like, ‘Wow, I’m so tired. I was jet-lagged and complained so much, âhe recalls.
But only a month later, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, forcing lockdowns around the world. Looking back, he said he probably shouldn’t have said such things or taken certain things for granted. âI would do anything to remake shows,â the electronic music artist told the Inquirer in a recent Zoom interview.
It’s been over a year since the live music scene stopped and he’s starting to run out of everything, both as an artist and as a fan. âI miss the effortâ¦ I miss enjoying it as a fan,â said Myrne, who in 2018 became the first Singaporean actor to court at the prestigious Ultra Miami and Tomorrowland dance music festivals.
âI really miss going to a show, maybe with artists that I really admire and hear them play something that I’ve never heard in my life. Times like these are really special. You can record them as much as you want, but they will never feel the same as experiencing them, âhe stressed.
To temper her desire, Myrne focused on studio work and reworked her hit EP “Wandering” (Ultra Music) and reimagined her tracks: The version of “Sleeping On My Own Again” is loaded with lines from delicate bass and euphoric soundscapes.
âBecause I miss the culture and the energy so much, I wanted to capture them in the reworked versions of these songs,â he said.
Myrne started out in classical music, playing the piano from the age of 10 until the age of 17. Although he liked it, his heart was not fully in it. He finally discovers electronic music and its first influences, Deadmau5, Avici and Skrillex. Soon after, he was tinkering with digital audio workstation software and creating his own beats.
The DJ-record producer, whose biggest songs include “Afterdark”, “Feels Right” and “Confessions”, is known for his “frenzied interweaving of emotions and energy” in his music. In addition to her solo work, Myrne has also done remixes for Lauv and Jai Wolf, and has gained support from Martin Garrix, Porter Robinson and The Chainsmokers.
Excerpts from our interview:
What about the electronic music that resonates with you?
Any kind of melody would exist in the electronic spaceâ¦ You get into this whole range of sounds and timbres and eventually you’re going to create something that someone has never heard before.
Tell me about the reimagined versions of “Sleeping on My Own Again” and “Superstructure”.
In fact, they started out as edits for the original EP. A year and a half ago, I was actually planning on doing shows, but COVID-19 hit. So I only have these live edits to work on.
Were you trying to make it sound nostalgic, something that brings out the feeling of being in a live show?
Kind of like that. But I think the point wasn’t, âOh, I have to turn them into something else. It started off as something really funâ¦ And now it’s ready-made edits that I play every time.
How do DJs and artists like you handle the situation, especially since the scene depends on gatherings, parties and the like?
Obviously it really hurts because a lot of livelihood depends on it. If you think about the whole structure of what’s behind a successful festival, there are people who work exclusively in these spaces, from people who set up huge structures to people who run the bars. And they had a huge loss of income.
Did you have more time to produce music?
Last year I really tried to work on production for other artists because the pop music industry isn’t that affected – people keep releasing videos and appearing on TV . I also worked on productions for myself and collaborated with many of my artist friends.
I also have an EP planned for this year, but I really want to take my time with itâ¦ since I have all the time in the world, I’m just really careful.
For which artists do you dream of producing music?
I would say Dua Lipa, because of his music. She and her team are incredibly strong. Their album âFuture Nostalgiaâ evokes old emotions and the disco beats are so groovy and tight.
How is the music scene in Singapore?
I produced records for my artist friends like Jasmine Sokko, Nathan Hartono and Gentle Bones. The Singaporean music industry is super small and cozy, and everyone pretty much knows each other. It’s like a beautiful ecosystem to continue.
Have you played in Manila?
Not yet, but it’s always been one of the places I really want to go. Heard that there is a pretty good place called Black Market (in Makati City).
Where do you get inspiration from and has it been difficult these days?
I am inspired by the simple feeling of travelingâ¦ I love being on the move, that feeling that you are going somewhere new and that it is going to be exciting. It inspired my music for a very long time.
So it got a little hard to stay inspired, so I started making very different music – a lot of down tempo and guitar stuff.
You once said that albums are snapshots of a particular time or place in an artist’s career.
Every time I make music now all I can feel is just gratitudeâ¦ the fact that I’m alive here to experience this. I try not to look too far into the future. For me, music should always be about understanding that the present is just as important.
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