July 16, 2018

Seismic Activity: Bokeh Fields, Singapore

Having appeared out of nowhere to finish third in a recent Dom Kane remix competition, Bokeh Fields is an artist to watch. SierraOskar caught up with him in Singapore to find out more...

By: SierraOskar

In early-2018 (as some readers will know), Dom Kane ran a competition with Sonic Academy to remix his moody techno track Structures: the winning remix would be featured on the next volume of mau5trap’s We Are Friends series. Nearly 70 remixes were submitted and competition was stiff but after careful consideration, Dom chose Sysdemes as the winner, with 80M in second place: both known to us here at LV… In third place was a Singapore-based producer called Bokeh Fields, with a relaxed effort that dripped warm, real-world ambiences. On my travels, I recently passed through Singapore and couldn’t miss the chance to find out more …

Singapore is an island-nation, situated off the tip of the Malay peninsula in South-East Asia. It’s a young country (just about to celebrate its 53rd birthday) but one that has developed at an incredible rate: a melting pot of culture and architecture, forging its own unique identity. I met Bokeh Fields over coffee on a standard hot/ humid Sunday afternoon, in the trendy and historic neighbourhood of Tanjong Pagar. We chatted for a couple of hours, allowing me to scratch the surface of what makes him tick as a producer, as well as the evolution of the electronic scene in Singapore.

Lazy Reader’s Guide to Bokeh Fields:

  • 20 years old, based out of Singapore.
  • Started full production-mode in August 2017, having dabbled since 2011. Zedd, Wolfgang Gartner and deadmau5 were early inspirations.
  • Played the organ when he was young, providing a musical foundation that helped jump-start his production.
  • Current status: refining his sound. His Structures remix was 4x4 to fit with Dom’s techno but Jon Hopkins is a major influence and he wants to explore more complex rhythmic patterns.
  • He wants to release new music soon but only when he thinks it represents him as an artist.

Bokeh Fields (real name Shawn Ng) is a 20-year old Singaporean national, whose interests cover music, graphic design and motion graphics. Being a 20-year Singaporean male also means he is currently undertaking compulsory military service and for those wondering, this is part of the reason he has yet to follow-up his stellar Dom Kane remix! Lucky for us (and him :P) he is due to complete his service in November, allowing a nice chunk of time before he starts university to focus in on music… I was also interested to see that, while he began dabbling in production in 2011, Bokeh Fields only had time to enter full-production mode in August 2017!

Much music you will hear in Singapore is “western” pop (Ariana Grande, etc.) and K-pop, meaning electronic music is not particularly well exposed. Even so, around 2011 Bokeh Fields began to discover early-Zedd, Wolfgang Gartner and deadmau5 (amongst other artists), encouraging him to dig further. This exploration (along with a cousin who introduced him to deadmau5’s Strobe) all helped guide his initial steps into production. It can also help to approach production with a musical background and Bokeh Fields played organ when he was younger (foot-pedals and all), which he feels enabled him to make quick progress. A Logic Pro user, Bokeh Fields has begun to investigate Ableton as an alternative DAW, inspired by the work (and YouTube videos) of talented producers like Andrew Huang, Mr Bill and Underbelly. In fact, the day before we met he had attended a workshop with Mr Bill in Singapore, where he got to see a genius-level artist stretching Ableton to breaking point.

One other reason for attending the Mr Bill workshop was to connect with fellow, local producers. Singapore is a vibrant, modern city and there is plenty of music, art and theatre for citizens and visitors alike to enjoy. However, one challenge artists like Bokeh Fields face is that the grass-roots scene is yet to emerge: there are events, groups and places you can uncover but it is not straightforward. The existing musical tastes in Singapore also mean that, even among his friends, interest in production is limited. May his success in the Dom Kane competition expose him to a broader community online, that will inspire him and help him grow his craft!

Photo: SierraOskar

With Bokeh Fields: finding the correct wall was crucial

Photo: SierraOskar

Looking to the future, Bokeh Fields is working on new material: he could have rushed something out to capitalise on his success but he wants to take his time until he feels he has a body of work that is a true representation of him. We spoke about his love for Jon Hopkins and that, while for Dom Kane he dropped a 4x4-based groove, he is keen to explore different time signatures and patterns and feels drawn to the more progressive side of the genre.

Part of his work is also exploring new music. I mentioned how I had grown up in a house where Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and Kraftwerk were a constant feature and he explained that he is working backwards to these artists from the electro-house producers that first grabbed his attention. To help him push further, Bokeh Fields has acquired his first hardware synthesiser (one of the popular Korg Minilogues) and from our conversation it’s clear he is as much at-risk of entering the downward spiral into gear acquisition as any of us!

We look forward to hearing more from Bokeh Fields, whenever he is ready. For now, what I can say is that he is a very gracious, passionate and dedicated producer and the little we’ve heard so far is reason to be excited… You can keep up-to-date with Bokeh Fields on his social links below and of course we will bring you more on this artist as it happens.

Social Links: