Obedient Wives Club: Spector Sounds

TEXT Hidzir Junaini

It’s hasn’t even been a year and Singaporean fuzz-pop quartet Obedient Wives Club has already become one of the most talked about bands in our local scene. Some of the buzz can be attributed towards the attention-grabbing catchiness of their moniker (referencing a polygamist Malaysian organisation), but a novel name can only get you so far. Their brand of girl-fronted ‘60s Spector-pop carved out a sunshiny niche for them and it was that melodious warmth that immediately caught on. We caught up with members Yin Qi, Keith, Sulaiman and Lennat to see how they’re taking it all in.

Why pick that name for a band? Was it just catchy or is there some deeper political statement?
Keith The name is bloody catchy. The moment I saw news reports on the real OWC, I just thought, it was a band name waiting to happen.

Do you think the moniker helped or hindered you in getting noticed?
Yin Qi Definitely helped! Even among my own friends it garnered many double takes. Like “Oh you’ve got a band, that’s nice dear… wait you’re called what?” Priceless!

How did the band come together at first?
I brought the idea up to one of the original members who is no longer with the band. I had Lennat in mind on drums, even for previous projects that never took off. I happened to meet Lennat and Yin Qi on the same day for different reasons and Lennat assumed that Yin Qi was the vocalist. We didn’t have a singer at the time, so I asked, and the magic happened. We had three jams without a bassist, one session with sessionist, and out of nowhere Sulaiman offered to play bass for us.
Sulaiman Nobody else wants to play bass; the guitarist gets all the girls.(Laughs)

You’ve been fondly compared to Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls. What is it about that Spector-esque sound that inspires you?
Lennat It’s warm, fuzzy and lulls you into the golden sounds of the ‘60s. Sort of like a reminder of how good everything used to be. But then again, when people say Phil Spector, I always imagine him pulling a gun on the bands he is producing. Which is great, I suppose. The imagery does push us to give our music an edge. Underneath all the seemingly sweet sugar candy coating, there lurks the darker side waiting to unfold.

The band’s still in its infancy but OWC has already been featured on LA radio. How did that happen and how did you react?
We were completely floored when KXLU first contacted us! See one of their DJs, Mukta, is a fan of girl-fronted twee pop bands. She read about us from our friend Georgiana’s blog (hamsterguppies.wordpress.com), liked what she heard and the rest as they say, is history.
You know that scene in That Thing You Do? Frankly, I don’t listen to any radio at all and I would think that being a digital junkie, I wouldn’t have extreme emotions at being featured on traditional media. But it turned out that I wasn’t that jaded. I’m still a good old fashion romantic at heart because when I heard the song being played, I really felt like screaming down the street and jumping wildly together with my bandmates like a bunch of gleeful kids on a sugar high.

You guys have a new EP out. Could you describe it for us?
It’s a self-titled four-track EP that is carried on the new homegrown indie label Happy Teardrop. We are actually Happy Teardrop’s first item in their catalogue so you can say it’s a shared journey for us! We did our own recording of the songs ‘cos the OWC sound is meant to be lo-fi and fuzzy. Some light mixing and we were good to go. Yes kids, no autotune tweaking done.

What’s next for Obedient Wives Club?
A gig called A Family Affair at the Pigeonhole on 11 February! I always wanted our first show to be an intimate one, but we never got a chance to do it, so this will be the one the band is looking forward too.
We also intend to write more songs and try out new ideas in the studio. More gigs and hopefully get an album out and put it out on iTunes!

Feed your inner optimist and check out the band’s upbeat sounds at obedientwivesclub.bandcamp.com or just click on the video below to have a listen!