Interview: Pleasantry

Photo by Marilyn Goh

The Singaporean group Pleasantry have had a couple of busy years leading up to this point, releasing their first full album in August of last year and collaborating with San Francisco-based band Starry Eyed Cadet on a split EP. To top it all off, they just returned from their first tour in Canada and the United States. Arctic Drones was able to reach out to Daniaal  Adam for a chat about their adventures.

Hello Daniaal! How is band life going?

Hello! Life has been really good to us. We’ve been having a blessed year. We just got back from our tour in Canada and the United States. As a band, it was our first time playing outside of Singapore and it was just a fantastic experience. It’s so refreshing to play in a new setting to a whole new bunch of people.

Are there any differences between performing in North America and at home in Singapore?

We’re relatively unknown over there, while at home, we have a bigger entourage of friends and fans. However, in all venues we visited during the tour, people have been very accommodating. We felt genuinely welcome. Concerning the crowds, it might be just an impression, but I’d say people in North America love to dance more!

You guys got together in 2010. How did Pleasantry come to be? Did someone publish an ad in the local newspaper, or is it rather a story of friendship turning into band camaraderie?

We were all friends before Pleasantry even started. We played in different bands before and hung out in the same social circle. The music community in Singapore is rather small but there’s a great sense of closeness and unity in our scene. Everyone knows each other and we would always go and watch each other perform and hang out after. It was during one of those hang-outs that we decided to start a new project, and so Pleasantry was born.

There are some impressive feats on your track record. Opening for Belle & Sebastian and Caribou to a crowd of about 7,000 people, for example. Are there other past experiences you’re particularly proud of?

We really enjoyed that show. Belle & Sebastian and Caribou really killed it!. We had a few of our closest friends perform with us on stage that night with an additional three guitars, a horns ensemble, a string ensemble and extra vocals. It was the soundman’s worst nightmare come true, but for us it came out quite epic. Also, we released our debut album ‘Synapses’ last year. We’re really proud of that. It’s 3 years’ worth of work condensed into a 10-track record.

Even without the extras, you’ve got yourself quite a sizeable collective compared to other indiepop bands. What does this mean for the creative process of writing music?

We’re down to five members now. Adel, our former guitarist, left Singapore last year to study in Chicago. About our creative process, I think it’s quite straightforward. We head down to the studio with a few ideas to try and write collectively. It’s a team effort and everyone chips in. We’ve been playing with each other for quite a while so we’re all pretty much on the same page.

When you’re not writing or playing music, what’s keeping you busy?

Isa and Ariff are currently in university and finishing up their degrees. Samantha is working in a bank. Haziq is an engineer and a big football fan. I myself am a marketing executive with a music label.

A little blue bird tweeted just now that there’s some exciting stuff ahead. What are you looking forward to the most?

We’ve just released a split EP with San Franciscan band Starry Eyed Cadet, which features two new songs from each band. We’re also planning another tour in Europe sometime in the next few months. We’re really looking forward to that!

If you would have carte blanche, what would be the dream? What’s the ultimate goal for the band?

This answer is going to be pretty simple. For us, it would just be nice to travel the world and play music for a living. To be going on more tours and having the time, space and resources to write music freely. That’s the dream.


Pleasantry’s full album, titled ‘Synapses’, is available on their Bandcamp page, along with their split EP.
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