CARPE BLOOM: I understand that you guys changed name, from TAKE TWO to M1LDL1FE, and we’re wondering: Does the meaning of a name restrict you to playing certain genres of music or producing a certain sound/channeling a specific vibe?
Do you think that labels help define a musician’s experience in their musical journey, or limit them?
Peng Sing of M1LDL1FE: I don’t think it restricts us per se, but a band’s name (and stylization) serves as a very early primer for the listener about what to expect. When we started out some years back, we didn’t think this would be a “serious band”. The running
joke was that our frontman had a headache trying to come up with a name and had
two pop two tablets panadol, hence “Take Two”. We didn’t think too much into it,
but the name stuck because it’s easy to pronounce and remember. I think it’s a
coincidence that the music was also quite friendly and catchy (stuff like In Your
Arms), and it coincided with our nice “well-groomed Asian boi” look.
Over the years, I think everyone, especially our frontman Paddy, yearned for a
stronger identity and more depth to the music. It wasn’t that our old stuff was
shallow. Maybe visually it was getting a bit too predictable (cue the “CNY visiting
look”)! But musically we wanted to have a more reflexive or critical/ironic take on
who we are and what we are doing. Singapore’s known for being a clean and
organized city but beneath that facade, there are feelings of restlessness and
pockets of intense yet subdued feelings caused by the strain of urban life. And I
think that’s how M1LDL1FE came about – a domesticated kind of wildlife; spelt in a
strange way almost as if to warn the onlooker that something weird is about to
happen. We all look really bored and sleepy in our photos but the music can be
quite the opposite.
Contemporary life is full of contradictions and our music is
symptomatic of the tensions and dualities we go through trying to make sense of
things – as a student, employee, spouse, partner, or parent.
MORE OF M1LDL1FE IN ISSUE 3.5: THE CONTEMPORARY CONDITION