Best in music 2017: Aldrin Quek and Adrian Wee

Best in music 2017: Aldrin Quek and Adrian Wee


Text: Adibah Isa

Image: Aldrin Quek,
Lenne Chai

What moved you in 2017? We check in with 1880's Aldrin Quek and EATMEPOPTART's Adrian Wee to suss out their music discoveries of the year

Music fads and venues in Singapore come and go, but what always remains is good taste. Which is why we've reached out to two stalwarts in Singapore's nightlife scene, Aldrin Quek and Adrian Wee. Quek's synonymous with Zouk, helming the decks for 17 years. Your go-to guy for tech and progressive house, he's now the director of music for private members' club 1880, where he curates sounds for each unique space as well as music programming. Wee's one-half of the 12-year-long night EATMEPOPTART, which brings together lovers of Britpop, indie pop, indie rock, synth pop, alternative rock and electro. Here's what they loved in 2017.

What's your top earworm for 2017?
Adrian Wee: Jasmine Sokko's 'Porcupine' was the track that did that damage to my head. It's such a catchy number that I just couldn't shake off.

Aldrin Quek: I have been listening to so much music, especially over the last six months, curating over 400 hours' worth for 1880. But if I really had to choose, Justin Jay is stuck inside my head.

What's a good song from an artist that really surprised you?
Adrian Wee: Sobs are a really new band that pretty much popped up from nowhere and it really surprised me how good they sound, despite the band being pretty young. I caught them live a few months back and they sounded even better! Their standout track from the Catflap EP is 'Girl'.

Aldrin Quek: I chanced upon HANZ while researching music for 1880's playlists. I'm definitely diggin' his experimental vibe with the chill, laidback end of the Trap spectrum, perfect for mornings at café-cum-bar The Double.

What's the best song in 2017 that you've used in your sets?
Adrian Wee: It's a tie between Paramore's 'Hard Times' and Lorde's 'Green Light'. Paramore's return is full of '80s aesthetics in the look and sound while 'Green Light' is reminiscent of '90s piano house — both which I really enjoying throwing in my sets to liven the dance floor.

Aldrin Quek: XINOBI's 'Searching For'. It's a great opener for my tech sets that makes people listen and ponder.

What's the best song from a new artist you discovered this year?
Adrian Wee: I discovered Alvvays. The track 'Dreams Tonite' taken from their solid LP Antisocialites is one of my absolute loves of 2017.

Aldrin Quek: Parcels, a new Australian band that just formed this year with a handful of hits. It is already on rotation in 1880's playlists.

What's a song that really resonated with you emotionally?
Adrian Wee: Wolf Alice's 'Don't Delete The Kisses'. Wolf Alice is one of my favourite current Brit bands. Their sophomore LP Visions of a Life is a level-up from their debut, but it's the track 'Don't Delete The Kisses' that stands out as. It's a slow and dramatic opus that checks all the emotional boxes for me.

Aldrin Quek: Depeche Mode's 'Going Backwards (Maya Jane Coles Remix)'. It was the opening track of my live set at LUSH OUT, where I played the final hour before the station closed for good. It was a bittersweet ending, and I chose the track partly because of the title, which represents the regressing state of local radio.

What's a song you'd close the year with?
Adrian Wee: That's a really tough one. The closing track has to be something touching, retrospective and full of feels... 'Despacito' (laughs). Jokes aside, I think that track would be Ffion's 'Rumours'. This song is about moving on from a bad relationship. So in a way, like the track, I'm saying 'F*ck you' to 2017 and looking forward to good music aplenty in 2018.

Aldrin Quek: Panama's 'Hope For Something' or Joe Goddard's 'Electric Lines'.

Do You Remember The First Time? 12 Years of Eatmepoptart takes place on 16 December at Esplanade Annexe Studio.
See Aldrin Quek at 1880 Singapore.