You’re a teacher, a father, and still manage to play in local band, Riot !n Magenta. How do you manage it, and why do you continue to do it?
I squeeze in weird hours to work on my passion. (laughs) We were actually recording up till 2AM yesterday, and this morning I had to bring the kids for their swimming lesson. But I like the fact that there’re no creative limits when it comes to creating music. At the same time, there needs to be some form of control within the chaos. The sweet spot is where the addiction is.
What do you think about the Singapore music scene, then and now?
I’ve been a part of it since the 90’s, and I think it’s more promising than ever. There’s a lot of support, and the musicians themselves believe in their music. They also understand that marketing and the business aspect come into play, so it’s a whole package, not just creating music alone. You have to believe in it, you have to work at it, and then you have to promote it—pretty much the whole indie-punk spirit has to be there.
What’s a project that you really want to take on?
I’d like to work with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. I’ve always loved the idea of fusion, or in a sense, working across multiple platforms. I also used to be a film student, so I would eventually like to work on a soundtrack for a film with someone, locally, that I admire.
We’ve learnt that your older daughter, Kyra, has a rare genetic disorder called macrocephaly-capillary malformation which affects her muscles and motor skills. What has it been like to raise her?
I think the worst thing that any parent can ever feel is helplessness—to not be able to do anything about saving your kid or putting them in a better light. So that’s always been my struggle. But it has opened my eyes to a lot of things; I’m more sensitive towards others, and it’s not just about me anymore. When I got married, my wife and I were crazy planners, but when Kyra came along, that went out the window. She’s taught us to take one day at a time—it’s difficult, but it’s actually what life is. No point thinking about tomorrow or yesterday, just enjoy the moment now.
So what’s your favourite thing to do together as a family?
Oh, we love to eat! Kyra loves to eat, and my younger daughter, Bella, is just choosy but still loves to eat. I love bringing the kids out, lah. I think at this point of time, fatherhood has made me a better person than I was before.
Khairyl was previously seen here.