From organising high-profile gigs, to performing in multiple bands, Tim De Cotta has been making waves in the local music scene. Here's a look into his life as a full-time musician, check it out!
1. You've organised Getai Electronica, and have been doing Lepark Sessions, on top of hosting 43 East Coast Series. How have these experiences added value to yourself as a musician?
T: As musicians, we only get better if we are in touch with music in the community. Beyond just honing our craft as individual musicians with our own influences and inspirations, getting out there and sharing in how other artistes and peers get influenced or think about music can really help you see what you can improve on or find different perspectives to think about things you have been struggling with or worrying about. Organinsing Getai Electronica and organising the very first Lepark Sessions helped me put the music before myself as I acted as curator and event organiser with my partners from Lepark. It gives you a whole new sense of responsibility for providing a good experience to those who come for these events.
But even more so, it was my opportunity to try things on a bigger scale, while making sure people realised how awesome local music is. At some points we are a lot better than acts that organisers fly in for 4 times the pay to do the same for a listening audience. So my biggest goal was and always is to get Singapore to look inward and push our acts up high and even out across the borders, because WE are proud of them and not because they have no other place to go than out of this city.
Hosting 43 East Coast also let me step back from the music and share my feelings about watching live acts. I think hosting (which I also did at Getai Electronica and Lepark Sessions Vol. 1) allows you to prime the audience to be more receptive and give them an intimate view of the acts they are watching. It also allows me to change mindsets. For example, that local IS NOT inferior, in fact most times SUPERIOR. It also allows for a deeper connection between the artist and audience even before that act begins to share their artistry with the public; which I think really helps on both sides, and creates a relationship that’s stronger than something just transaction-based. A lot of audiences in Singapore have a pretty unfavourable listening culture when it comes to live music here in Singapore. They see it as entertainment, like a radio that can be switched on and off and a channel that can be switched and changed to their fancy. But they don’t realise there are REAL people with REAL experiences and emotions on stage being vulnerable in the name of their belief in music and art. And sadly, there is a lack of respect for that. When I host I MAKE SURE people know this is exactly what is going on, and then you can see all their walls and bad habits erode as they get ready to embrace the performers. The result of course is an intimate and highly personal appreciation for the music!!!
2. Being a full-time musician, what's your schedule like every week?
Tim: My schedule is based around, rehearsals and practice time, teaching at Thunder Rock School and in Hwa Chong Junior College, and playing 1 night at CHIJMES on Sundays from 7-9pm. My bands and I are constantly working on the music and new ideas to push it out into the world, so we think big and just go for it most of the time. I personally don’t like to hesitate in seeing if an idea can work or not and am constantly thinking of ways to get our music to an audience. Albeit locally or overseas, I think that’s the most important thing as a full-time musician. Finding your audiences and building them up can only help you to keep creating and improving your work in music so that everything grows. In my free-time I’m on social media and more also take care of a lot of administrative matters for any upcoming projects or current ones that we are dealing with. Any “free-er” time I’m with my loved ones and family, or just snacking and watching TV, playing video games haha!
3. Tell us more about the acts your perform with, and what you bring to the table as a bassist in these acts.
Tim: First of all I have my solo material under my name, Tim De Cotta, of which I’ve amassed a body of music over the last 2 years since leaving SIXX. I’ve released a single called Rio which you can hear on Lush, which has evolved tremendously since that version of it was recorded! I’ve played many live shows since the first one a Mosaic in 2013 with my band, Tim De Cotta x The Warriors and the music has been evolving ever since. We are a 5 piece band with bass, keys synths, guitar, percussion and drums. But I also have a stripped down version of this where I play the bass on loops and sing.
My instrumental soul-fusion jazz trio TAJ (Audrey Tengkey (Keys), J.R. Teo (drums), myself on bass) has also been super busy off late with our debut EP release “The Astral Journey” and have been organising Getai Electronica and Lepark with them to bring more live music into people’s vision as well as to promote our EP and all the Eps/Albums of these acts we’ve worked with so far. We have been getting more gig offers as a result too and we are focusing on growing this demand for our music especially with the new record finished after a whole year and a half of waiting.
I also play bass, rap and sing with L.A.B who are a 4-piece jazz-hop-hop group fronted by Michaela Therese, with Aya Sekine on keys, and once again J.R. Teo on drums! We have just finished recording our debut EP too and are preparing for a release before we head to play in Japan in May! Listen and Believe!!!
I am also a part of neoDominatrix who are a 5-piece instrumental fusion-rock band who also have a self-titled release under our name as of the end of 2014 (which you can PM me to purchase) and that band is made up of the incredible genius of a guitarist, Andy Chong, fellow Thunder Rock instructor, NaztyKeys, Intriguant on decks and Anson Koh on drums. We have been a little quiet of late but we do have plans for 2015 as well!
Last but not least, I am part of a duo called Kilo Habit, which is a bass and beats cauldron which sees my partner-in-crime Lutfi Othman aka Ghostbird aka Rasul. He is now in London so we’re on a bit of a hiatus. But I dive into a lot of my source of writing with this duo, it’s very spiritual and scary at the same time.
I also do session work and play with Inch Chua and Charles Jedidiah and The Quartermasters, on top of songwriting and recording for some artists as well. I’ve also co-produced Michaela Therese’s most recent LP and am wanting to go more into that side of things too!
4. What are your plans for your solo material?
T: Looking to release the second single this year and to finish up recording my debut EP, of which I’ll probably release sometime early 2016! In the meantime the new songs keep coming so that’s always something I’m grateful for. They come from a lot of different places and spaces and it’s going to be a challenge to curate a selection for the first EP, of which will be called “Warrior”. So stay tuned for the second single “Art Pure” that will probably creep up on you sometime this year without you knowing it.
5. Any exciting things happening soon?
Tim: TAJ has our EP launch on 25th March 2015 at The Substation so we are planning a big show for all of you then. We are gonna be featuring a couple other artists with us while we do our set, but will also be having the Cold Cut Quartet opening the night for us. They are relatively newbies in the scene but are so freaking amazing they will melt your faces off. Will be a tough act to follow at our own launch but that’s what it’s all about!
In the meantime, both TAJ and L.A.B are playing the Singapore International Jazz Festival so we are busy preparing for those shows, on top of the many smaller shows that will be coming up.
Tim De Cotta x The Warriors are planning Warrior’s Hall 2.0. This is a the second event of a similar one that happened in 2013 featuring The Good Life Project, Kill Teddy and Intriguant over 3 venues back then. This time around Warrior’s Hall 2.0 will be on 1 night only on 23rd April at BluJaz Cafe and will feature the HubbaBubbas, Intriguant (with his Live Band this time), sub:shaman and yours truly with my Warriors backing me up. So that should be a night to look forward to.
L.A.B have also been insanely hard at work preparing for our “Elevate” Japan Tour that’s happening from 2nd to 17th May this year! So we have been finishing the EP, preparing things on the Japanese side and also rehearsing and writing like crazy to get good for Japan. We hit Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and other Japanese cities in May, so watch out for that if you happen to be in Japan then!
Tim De Cotta
Thunder Rock School
227A Upper Thomson Road, S574359
T: 6456 8722
43 East Coast Road, 2nd Floor, S428764
T: 6348 7203