Shoegaze, often times conflated with dream pop, is a psychedule mashup alt rock genre that originated from seedy alleys of the British isles in the late ‘80's & 90's. Characterised by distorted synths & echoing reverbs, this is one genre that is best enjoyed live, cranked to maximum volume. Enter Coming Up Roses, the talented trio who’ve taken to this niche genre like a fish takes to “Waters”. No stranger to the indie scene, their list of accolades include supporting British indie pop quartet FUR during the Singapore stop of their first world tour, starring in the coveted Baybeats 2018 lineup, performing for Fred Perry Subculture, Music Matters Live 2019 and ASEAN Music Showcase Festival 2020. Best part, they’re just getting started.
Alt3rd caught up with the band for an insider lens into the upcoming 2nd EP, how they were inspired by their peers navigating the post-pandemic landscape, and their live aspirations for the band in (hopefully) the very near future. The interview below has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
First up, let’s say hi!
ALL: Hi! We’re Coming Up Roses, an alt-rock / shoegaze trio from Singapore. Emily is our bassist and vocalist, and Darius and Lorenzo are on guitars, synths and backing vocals. We’ve been playing together since 2018, and were originally a quartet until our drummer Bruce left last year. We’ve released an EP called Waters, and are currently in the process of releasing our 2nd EP called Everything Is, which will be out later this year.
Describe your musical style in 3 words
ALL: Dynamic, Introspective and Energetic
Share with us more about this 2nd EP Everything Is
E: This 2nd EP is actually a play on the phrase “everything's coming up roses”. The actual phrase suggests a positive outlook we hope for our future, but is juxtaposed by each song’s hard-hitting issues that people our age are concerned with. We’ve never confined ourselves to a specific band “sound” that people often advise us to define ourselves by. Rather, we know that our sound will evolve as we grow and this is reflected in the change of sound from our first EP. These songs present a statement: that everything that we make - no matter how similar or different - is a part of us, thus the title “Everything Is”.
What was the inspiration behind this release?
D: Most of the inspiration came from our current situation, as a band and also as young adults growing up in a pandemic world. We’ve personally been dealing with a lot of emotions, such as feeling lost and trying to figure out what should be the next step in our lives. On the other hand, we’re also figuring out this new dynamic as a band after Bruce’s departure. I think one of the most on-the-nose lyrics comes from our first single ‘All Our Time’ with the lyrics ‘we’ve lost all our time, is it on a dime?’
We think this is a feeling that many people our age are feeling now and we hope our songs can strike a chord with our listeners.
How has the pandemic impacted your music-making?
L: The making of this EP has been challenged with a number of delays and rescheduling due to the ever-changing situation. Back in 2020, we weren’t able to meet up for jam sessions as often as we’d like due to the 2-month lockdown and gathering restrictions, and that slowed down the songwriting process and delayed recording sessions. We had to make do with online meetings and sending recorded demos back and forth while stuck at home. Though the EP was recorded in these unfavourable circumstances, it taught us a great deal about personal time management, independence and having the foresight to plan our next move wisely.
With Bruce’s departure, how do you envision Coming Up Roses moving forward?
D: Yeah, it is a bit of an unsettled place we’re at now, as I don’t think we are at the stage where we would steer away from live drums, music-wise. As such, we’ve still been playing with Bruce live and he’s also recorded the drums on this EP. I think what has changed the most is that we’ve all assumed more responsibility, both in terms of the band’s day-to-day ops and also songwriting. Moving forward, we are looking forward to going on tour for the first time, hopefully sometime this year and starting work on an album.
Moving past adolescence and marching into adulthood, how do you see your music evolving as well?
E: For now, I’ve been writing and sharing with the band songs that lean towards a heavier sound or songs with some punk influences. I’m not sure if that’s the actual direction our music is evolving towards though, I guess only time would tell!
Let’s throw back to pre-pandemic days! Among all venues you’ve played at, which one’s your favorite?
L: Definitely the hallowed ground that is the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre. Our Baybeats set in 2018 was the first time we played to such a large crowd and that was also the moment we realised that we wanted to pursue music as a career. In January of 2021 we were warmly welcomed back to the stage to play 2 original sets at Rocking the Region and it filled us with the same ecstasy as playing there for the first time. We have the Esplanade and their crew to thank for their generous support.
Pre-pandemic, we also enjoyed the intimacy of small venues such as Lithe House and Decline. Those were the places where the scene was truly alive and breathing. Hopefully we'll be able to play to audiences at close proximity soon!
If Coming Up Roses could perform at any music festival in the world right now, which one would you say “yes” to in a heartbeat?
Any up-and-coming indie band you’re keen to collaborate with? The world’s your oyster!
D: While indie band collaborations are not all-too-common, there are tons of bands in Singapore and abroad that we look up to. From Singapore, we are big fans of motifs who are also friends of ours. In terms of international bands, we’re fans of Life on Venus (Russia), I Mean Us (Taiwan), Laveda and Palomino Blond (US). We would love to share a stage or play a festival with these bands someday!
Hopes & dreams for the alt-rock music scene in 2022?
L: We sure hope 2022 would bring more visibility and recognition to the alt-rock and indie music scene and its DIY aspects. The scene is still going strong, and we believe that when the time is right, it will get its due recognition.
Catch them on their IG @cominguprosessg for updates, and stay tuned for their new single Glass Stained Eyes, dropping 21 Jan 2022! Get your first listen here.
The first live performance of the year happens on 22 Jan 2022 at Esplanade, All Things New 2022, and the accompanying MV for Glass Stained Eyes is slated for release on 2 Feb 2022.
All image credits to Ashok Kumar (@zomgitashok) and Coming Up Roses.