A collection of conversations with a diverse range of local and regional creatives

Library Conversations for SGABF2020
We examined the systems that support art book making and independent art book publishing in Singapore and the region.

Queer Reads Library and Queer Zine Fest Display Distribute THEBOOKSHOW Robert Zhao

A Closer Look for SGABF2019
We gathered perspectives on our zine and art book culture, and discuss the possibilities of self-publishing today.

wares infoshop library The Convergence of Digital and Print Publishing Basheer Graphic Books Currency Syaheedah Iskandar Supernormal Zulkhairi Zulkiflee Zines Then and Now nor Divaagar

21 Creatives for SGABF2018
We sat down with 21 creatives of various disciplines to learn about their practice and asked each of them to fill up a blank page in a notebook.

Hanson Ho Samantha Lo Liana Yang Charmaine Poh ASPIDISTRAFLY Teresa Lim Sobs Karen Tan Michael Ng Mary Bernadette Lee Deon Phua Janice Koh Ruben Pang Rebecca Toh Liao Jiekai Berny Tan Luca Lum Cyril Wong Atelier HOKO Lee Chang Ming Jacqueline Goh

A collection of conversations with a diverse range of local and regional creatives

Library Conversations for SGABF2020  ︎

A Closer Look for SGABF2019 ︎

21 Creatives for SGABF2018 ︎


Photo Credit: Clifford Loh

SGABF: In your opinion, do you think that the trend of following trends has watered down the art of music?

April Lee (AL): Every individual has their own personal perspective as to what is trendy. I personally enjoy music labels such as RVNG Intl., Mexican Summer and Music From Memory, who I think have given new meaning to the art of music, so I would define them as trendsetters.

SGABF: ASPIDISTRAFLY has performed in countries other than Singapore. In your opinion, do the cultures of different countries affect the receptiveness of your audience to your music?

AL: The Japanese audience, in general, have been the most receptive to our music since we first stepped into Japan 11 years ago, and that receptiveness has come from not just listeners but also artists, musicians, and even fashion designers who were first drawn to our music, then eventually becoming close friends and collaborators.
Several of them have contributed significantly to our past two albums as guest musicians, and are now currently working with us on our next album. Recently I've been working on our next music video with Japanese fashion label LAD MUSICIAN and director Daisuke Shimada. Last year, we were extremely surprised to find out that Goro Inagaki of popular Japanese group SMAP came to our show to watch us live, and later played our music at his radio show. This really brings the saying 'music transcends all boundaries’ to life.

Photo Credit: Christopher Sim

SGABF: As a musician with a niche audience, do you think there are enough venues and opportunities for you to play in Singapore? Is there an equivalent of SGABF for the music scene that ASPIDISTRAFLY would like to see being organised?

: Years ago in Japan, we were looking for a resonant space for our concert, which led us to discover a church in Tokyo that would be perfect for our of music. Any church organisation would've been apprehensive about hosting a secular event, but once they heard our music they immediately saw how it would fit into the space, and understood our need for a conducive setting where music could be appreciated quietly and attentively.
On the other side of the world today, a movement known as Ambient Church has been bringing together legends like Laraaji and Windy & Carl with current generation artists such as Weyes Blood and Visible Cloaks at a church in Brooklyn, for the same reason of allowing an audience to enjoy music in its most suited setting. This has always been our ethos, regardless of wherever we perform in the world. If there are not enough venues, we can create them at the most unlikely places.

Speaking of equivalents to SGABF, we performed at the Seoul Art Book Fair in 2013 where it was interesting to acquaint with other Korean musicians including Oh Hyuk, the lead singer of Hyukoh. Vice versa, I'd like to see the same cross-cultural synergy at SGABF someday.

SGABF: You have worked at fashion labels as a Senior Art Director. Has your personal taste for the arts influenced your work? Has working with companies that are not your own contributed or restricted your creative direction in any way?

: I co-founded KITCHEN. LABEL with Ricks Ang, a design practice and record label, working as an Art Director for 10 years for both the label and clients. In 2013 I left to pursue my interest in art direction for fashion, while still contributing on a project basis to KITCHEN. LABEL. This interest has eventually connected back to my personal work in the capacity of ASPIDISTRAFLY, for example, in art directing a brand collaboration shoot with NARS for their Sarah Moon collection.
At the moment, I'm working with local fashion label Love, Bonito (as the head of the creative department) which will unfold an exciting rebrand this year.

Photo Credit: Christopher Sim

SGABF: What do you think is the current climate of the arts and culture in Singapore? And how can events like the Singapore Art Book Fair help propel things forward?

: In an age of digital clutter I'm glad to see tactility and printed matter still being revered. At SGBAF 2014, I was booth neighbours with Nguan, a Singaporean photographer whose work I really enjoy, having been online friends for a long time. Seeing how far he's come shows that the international community has no problem recognising artists no matter where they're from, as long their work has substance.

ASPIDISTRAFLY was founded in Singapore in 2001. Taking their name from George Orwell’s novel “Keep the Aspidistra Flying”, the duo was formed by singer-songwriter April Lee and producer-guitarist Ricks Ang. The duo play a flickeringly filmic mixture of ambient folk with gossamer-like vocal harmonies and guitar-based drone wrapped in a delicate lo-fi haziness. Best known for her distinctively smoky low alto voice, April’s lyrical storytelling and artwork form the backbone of ASPIDISTRAFLY’s vision.

© Singapore Art Book Fair 2022. All rights reserved.
For further enquiries, please contact us at info@singaporeartbookfair.org.

Singapore Art Book Fair is organised by

Support the fair ︎
© Singapore Art Book Fair 2021. All rights reserved.
For further enquiries, please contact us at info@singaporeartbookfair.org.

Singapore Art Book Fair is organised by

Support the fair ︎