Bellus Magazine (BM): How did you all meet each other and how did the band form?
Pleasantry: Samantha, Ariff and myself have been playing music and going to shows together since we were teenagers in high school. We met Daniaal and Haziq through various gigs around Singapore from playing alongside them, and became acquainted since we shared similar tastes in music. I don’t think Pleasantry would have been formed if each of us didn’t concurrently play for other bands. Members of Pleasantry have played for now defunct bands, Amateur Takes Control, Lunar Node and Postbox and are still active in other bands such as sub:shaman, Paris in the Making and ANECHOIS. We’ve all been friends for years even before Pleasantry formed and decided to get together because of our mutual appreciation for the kind of music we play today. It was a really great way to start the band.
BM: What’s the music scene like in Singapore?
Pleasantry: We’re not really well-versed in how the pop scene is like, as we’ve always been closer to the independent side of music in Singapore. This “indie” scene comprises a wide range of genres and styles, from indie pop, rock and stretching even to more progressive genres like post rock and experimental music. The best part about Singapore’s indie scene is its closeness and the bonds that exist between these very different styles. Adding to this, Pleasantry itself is a product of members who concurrently play in post rock, experimental and screamo Singaporean acts. We like to think that this helps in tracing how close the indie music scene in Singapore is. Because of the little space that we have, most small to medium show venues house gigs that span across these different genres. This allowed a sort of coalescence of artists, musicians and gig-goers and a strong network to be built from just sheer contact.
BM: Who or what inspires you?
Pleasantry: As a band, we’ve always been inspired by our surroundings – the landscape, friendships, relationships and even the tiniest moments in our own little lives. Many of the songs in our album such as “Spent” and “Swan Song” were inspired by our own intimate and personal experiences as young adults learning to cope with change and love. Other tracks such as “Take It In” and “Habit” were inspired by close friends and their own predicaments. In these cases, music was a way for us to respond to what defined our immediate social environment, by taking different angles to storytelling.
BM: What are your greatest musical influences?
Pleasantry: As Pleasantry, our biggest influences include bands such as Broken Social Scene, Stars, Mew, Givers, Death Cab For Cutie and Reverie Sound Revue. These bands have always had a special place in our hearts and it was through them that we first conceived our own imaginations of what Pleasantry should play.
BM: How did you develop your sound?
Pleasantry: Our approach to songwriting and finding Pleasantry’s “sound” has always been closely connected to our desire to convey certain emotions to listeners. As such, our process as composers has always focused on channeling a certain feeling, vibe or idea through our music. Each song begins with an emotion that acts as the foundation and essence to which the more tangible components like basslines, guitar licks, vocal melodies and so on are layered over.
BM: What are your goals for your group in the future?
Pleasantry: Having released a few EPs and a full-length album, we hope to bring our music to a wider range of listeners at an international scale. A huge milestone for the band was our first tour (ever) in North America and that’s something that we really want to keep doing more of. The contact that we had with new listeners in these cities was something really special and most importantly, it seemed to resonate with each of our most fundamental reasons for even playing music.
BM: Here at Bellus Magazine we find the beauty in all types of art forms, what defines beauty to you?
Pleasantry: There is definitely beauty in all types of art forms, but also in the most mundane everyday activities. We believe that beauty is an entity and a quality that unveils itself in moments. The sound of laughter from our closest loved ones, the smell of the air before rain falls, the feeling of smooth sand between toes – senses are merely vessels to which we can experience beauty, and beauty, being a subjective, momentary and fleeting substance, can be found in everything only if one decides to find beauty in that scene, that object, that person or that idea.