Interview with Cynical Sounds

Cynical Sounds are perhaps the sole concert organiser bringing to Singapore metal heads bands such as Misery Index and Dismember. Clarence from Heavy Metal Tribune recently got to speak to Yazed from Cynical Sounds and got to find out more.

Hi guys, thank you for granting us this interview with you. First off, how was the Misery Index gig?

Yazed: Misery Index’s gig is so far is the best performance that we saw since Dismember came here in July 2008 but unfortunately it was a loss for us. There are too many gigs this month and it really affects our show as well as other promoter’s shows. We hope all the extreme listeners besides metalheads out there will support us in our future shows.

Give us a brief introduction of Cynical Sounds. How did the idea of being an extreme metal gig organizer come about?

It was in March 2008 when I first heard that Dismember were to do an Australian tour in July 2008. I was approached by a friend of mine from Australia that offered me to do the show in Singapore. So I asked Zul, to help me out on this as well as another friend of mine – Bob to join us. Zul and I used to organise a gig in 1999 called Supreme Fest so basically we already have some experiences. All of us are fans of the music and we want to see international metal bands (be it death metal, thrash metal or black metal) coming over to our country to perform and that’s basically the main reason for us to do this. We are doing it for the passion of and not just to make money, in fact we are losing money all the time. Hopefully things will be better in the future.

There are bigger and more established promoters and concert organizers such as L.A.M.C. Productions in Singapore as well, bringing in acts like Heaven & Hell and Megadeth. Has Cynical Sounds ever felt competition with them, or do you have different goals in mind?

We don’t really have any problem with them, in fact we do come down to their shows. I do not know about them on the other hand though.

We believe organizing gigs such as the recent Misery Index gig and other previous gigs are no mean feat. Do you guys have any day jobs, and if so, how do you juggle your day jobs and Cynical Sounds?

We do have our own day jobs. We concentrate on Cynical Sounds during our free time as well in the weekends when everybody is not working. The rest of the 2 guys are handling the logistic and promotions while I’m the one who correspond/negotiate with all these booking agents/band managers and the band, arranging the flights, setting up the tour etc.

What was the first band that Cynical Sounds brought in, and what was the experience and process like, seeing that Singapore hasn’t really been open to extreme metal bands performing? What were the main difficulties experienced in the beginning?

Dismember was the first band that we brought into our shores. The difficulties that we had was finding suitable venues for our niche market here. Most venue owners do not want show organisers to do extreme music shows in their venue. Some even want to have a percentage of the ticket sales besides the rental charges that we have to pay.

From the beginning to now, Cynical Sounds has already brought in a number of bands such as death metal legends Dismember, Malevolent Creation and Misery Index. How has the experience changed compared to the beginning when Cynical Sounds just started out?

Since Dismember until Malevolent Creation, we had those familiar faces who came but when we had Misery Index recently, it was a diverse crowd who came to that show. We just hope that our upcoming show with Warbringer would attract more diverse fans.

Are the bands generally difficult to work with, considering that the bands already have more or less an international fan-base?

Most of them are down to earth and easy to work with. The most easiest to work with is Grave. Ola Lindgren is a quiet guy but give him a few shots of Tequila and then you will know who he is.

Who chooses and decides which bands to bring in to Singapore?

All of us decide that.

We realise that there is a focus more on death metal bands. Why death metal bands and less on other sub-genres of metal?

We’ve brought in Misery Index, a death/grind band from Baltimore, Washington D.C. and next month L.A’s thrashers Warbringer will be in town. So who says we are focusing more on death metal? We wanted to bring Rotting Christ and Brutal Truth late last year but the plan was cancelled due to the rumours that we heard of Sepultura and OPETH are coming over and we do not want to have a clash of dates. But both bands’ show did not happen and it disappointed us as we nearly got Brutal Truth to come over during that time. And we are trying to bring in Marduk this year and that also looks like it’s not going to happen either due to unforeseen circumstances. It also depends on whether the band that we want to bring in will pull a decent crowd to our show so that we can break even and not losing any money.

Itnos opening for Misery Index

From what we know, some of the people in Cynical Sounds are considered the veterans of the Singapore metal scene. How has the scene changed since last time?

Yes the scene has changed a lot. There used to be a lot of metalheads in the 80’s and mid 90’s but those were the days. When Metallica came here in 1993, more than 5000 people attended the show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Album sales were good and some local bands were doing well in foreign countries. Back then, there isn’t much of sub-genres of metal unlike today where it kind of divides the fan base even wider and people tends to be selective on what cds/lps to buy and which concert to attend to.

Any parting words for aspiring bands and musicians out there?

Thank you for this interview. I just want to make it clear to everyone that Cynical Sounds do support local extreme metal bands be it death metal, black metal, thrash metal, grind core etc. The reason why we do not have any support bands on our shows is that some headliners do not want to share the backline that we provide them with our supporting acts. Only a few bands can compromise on that. And one more thing that I like to add is that every time we have a local band opening for our show, most of the crowd do not want to come in and support the band. They will wait outside the venue until they are sure that the headliner is already up on stage for the show. Sometimes we just do not know what to say to the headliners when they asked us why the locals do not want to support their local bands. They told us in some countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, the locals are very supportive of their local bands and they said a first world Asia country like Singapore should be more positive to support the local scene. If metalheads here still wants to see more underground extreme bands coming to our country, they need to show their support by coming to our shows. We cannot afford to lose money every time when we do our shows.

Thank you once again for this email interview.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence


  1. salute! bring in Meshuggah please 🙂

  2. i want meshuggah too!

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