Prior to releasing his brand new single Puppy Love, we caught an interview with Singapore songwriter and producer UUhile, to find out more about his deeply personal creative process, what the new single means, what his plans are for 2024, and plenty more. Here’s how it went.
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UUhile – what a pleasure! Huge congrats for the new single. To introduce things, who or what first inspired you to make original music? Do you come from a musical family?
What inspired me to make original music? I wouldn’t say I am completely original. I believe that everything has already been done by somebody. My music is bits and pieces of all my favorite things. I can never really pinpoint what it is exactly as everything that has happened so far has made me want to do it like this.
One thing I can never forget, however, is listening to all the CDs my dad played in his car, specifically in the car. It was bands and artists like INXS, U2, Alphaville, and Billy Idol. Listening to these bands now never fails to evoke a certain feeling I can’t describe – it’s more than nostalgia and it always brings a smile to my face. Cliche I know, but these feelings and sounds really live deep in my heart.
“I guess it reminds me of the simple times like the drive to the beach and the shopping malls but to me, it was so enjoyable especially when you are a kid, too small to look over the window so all you could see is the sky, imagining random objects using clouds and creating ridiculous scenarios in your head! That is something I would love to achieve with my song – timeless memories.”
The new song Puppy Love acts as a perfect ode to Valentine’s season, but also cleverly reflects your own journey of discovering a unique sound and outlook on life. Tell me about that process and how the song came to be?
Puppy Love is not really a love song. It is disguised as a love song. When I was writing the verse and chorus, it was not an imagination, it was more of piecing together different events like my past relationships, random infatuations, or somebody attractive that I saw. It was to find emotions to latch on to get the ball of the songwriting process rolling.
The significant part of the track to me is the bridge where I say “It’s a new day, got new eyes…” When I finished the track, it really felt like I was at a different phase of my life – moving forward. Therefore, the song revolves around a yellow raincoat. It represents how nothing can stop me now – with a raincoat and rain boots under the rain, you will always be dry. It feels like every other day.
Sonically, I experienced a breakthrough when producing this track. Previously, the way I made music was by feeling. Whatever flows, goes. The outcome was something not deliberate. When I was writing Puppy Love, every step was a conscious decision. Took my time to understand the genre and why I love what I love. And when I got my answers, I went back to put it all together. That set the trajectory of Puppy Love and the result was exactly what I envisioned.
Instrumentally we get the jazz-like rhythm and piano, lo-fi vocals – a unique style. Are you musically trained, do you write unplugged, and do you produce the music yourself or collaborate?
Yes, I went to a music school but the best lessons I had were outside of school, trying to discover my own sound. I try to write unplugged as I feel that the digital working space is only when things are final. You hear things differently when writing unplugged and it sets you on a path you will never think of. However, I find it hard to imagine the other elements of the track and that is why I prefer to program them first. It’s a back-and-forth process but ultimately I try not to get too attached to my ideas.
Right now, I am producing everything by myself but I do get my friends to help me out! It’s also
taking too much time to do it all alone and I would also want to experience writing songs as a band so as to have more collaborations in the future!
The song oozes laid-back optimism and calm, a feeling intertwined with its themes of overcoming struggle and letting the past be the past. What do you think it is about music that lets even strangers connect through these universal emotions?
“When you’re happy, you enjoy the music but when you’re sad, you understand the lyrics.” Music amplifies and/or soothes your feelings. We are all going through some sort of a silent battle and there is always that one song that takes your mind off things. It’s a source of temporary help but it works.
Is the song typical sonically of what fans can expect from your upcoming releases?
You can say so! Things will only get bigger and better from here!
What’s the live scene like where you’re from in Singapore, and do you have plans to perform much this year – if so, what can we expect from that?
It’s growing! It was small but there is a lot more support and platforms provided to share our work now. A lot of exciting bands that I would recommend you to check out like Carpet Golf and Krunkle!
Right now I’m focusing on being a digital artist where I’ll be doing prerecorded live versions of my music and uploading it online. I think there is a lot more excitement there as you can still capture the live essence of it and you can perform at really weird places. The Internet is forever!
Will there be a visual counterpart for the release, and how important is visual imagery to your process as an artist?
Music and visuals go hand in hand. Music by itself won’t be heard by many. However, including visuals will get attention and it’s the very factor that sets you apart from the other artists. It completes the artist.
What are the main values you want to bring to modern music?
Music production is accessible to anyone. You can create something with just a laptop and that changes the style of music now. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing but at the end of the day, we are making something for somebody. It’s never for yourself. A friend of mine once told me it is like serving food so present your art with love and care.
If you were offered the chance to perform at a packed arena this weekend, would you accept, and how would you rise to the challenge?
My goodness, just thinking about it makes me overwhelmed. But of course I would say yes! I’ll get the best bandmates ever and we will make it work, we will put on a show!
What’s something about you that might surprise listeners?
If I’m not a musician, I would probably pursue racing
Is there anything else we should know?
3 more songs are set in stone. You can expect each song in each quarter of this year!
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Single Puppy Love out February 14th.