Singapore's 'sonic pirates' set sail for Australia, China

AHOY, MATEYS: (From left) The band comprise Daniel Sassoon, Nelson Tan, Sujin Thomas, Jordan Cheng and Amanda Ling.


    Aug 08, 2016

    Singapore's 'sonic pirates' set sail for Australia, China

    LOCAL progressive rock band In Each Hand A Cutlass will be making waves as one of three Singapore acts selected by the National Arts Council for the BIGSOUND festival in Brisbane, Australia.

    This is the first time Singapore acts are performing at the annual event which showcases "new music" from around the world. The other two acts are Inch Chua and .gif.

    In Each Hand A Cutlass - consisting of band leader and guitarist Daniel Sassoon, guitarist Sujin Thomas, drummer Jordan Cheng, keyboardist Amanda Ling and bassist Nelson Tan - will be making appearances on Sept 7 and 8 at a venue to be announced.

    The festival is held in locations within the Fortitude Valley Entertainment Precinct.

    After Australia, the self-styled "sonic pirates" will tour China. In Shenzhen, they will perform at live music venue B10 on Sept 13 and in Xiamen, at Real Live, on Sept 14.

    On Sept 17, they will rock the stage of the Concrete & Grass Festival, formerly called Echo Park festival, at the Shanghai Rugby Club.

    It is the first time the nautical-themed quintet are performing in Australia and China, under what they are calling The Kraken Tour. The band have played in Hong Kong and Malaysia in the past.

    Sassoon noted that in recent years Singapore bands have been playing at overseas shows, such as festivals or city tours in Europe and Australia.

    "I think we could do with more of our bands doing these routes so it becomes even more frequent," he said.

    "We are still far from making a dent in the international music markets so every opportunity and tour counts."

    Thomas said: "Our songs are completely instrumental so they should have legs to transcend into deeper territories since they aren't bound by a language barrier or fixed meaning.

    "Listeners from any country can decide for themselves what they make of them and whether it speaks to them."

    Fans can look forward to songs from their second full-length album The Kraken, released last year, along with "a sprinkling of crowd favourites from the first album, A Universe Made Of Strings (2011), as well as from our Forgetting EP", added Thomas.

    Sassoon said: "It's an interesting time to be playing heavy or rock music in Singapore these days.

    "It might seem even more challenging as an instrumental band that plays music that blends cinematic post-rock, progressive rock and metal but, surprisingly, there's a substantial community around the world that is really into instrumental music."

    An advantage to instrumental music is that it can overcome the language barrier in places like China, said Sassoon.

    While mainstream listeners are increasingly plugging into styles like electronica, the band are sticking to their rock roots.

    "It's easy to dismiss rock as being dead and electronica or R&B prevailing but... I don't think so," said Sassoon, adding that he believes that the genre is just "driven a little further in the underground" for now.

    "There's lots of great new music around that is creative and exciting, and we are happy to be able to contribute in our small way to the body of it."

    For more information on the BIGSOUND festival, visit