The Steve McQueens is a neo-vintage soul-funk band, with a penchant for groove, and making music that just feels good.
Since their debut just two years ago in 2013, this quintet from Singapore have been defining their own style of jazz infused neo-soul, a groove-based hybrid of tightly arranged and freely improvised sounds.
The band have played at the major venues and festivals in Singapore and the region, including the Singjazz Festival and Indonesia’s Java Jazz Festival. Their concerts are at once soulful and sultry, eclectic and eccentric. It was this riveting mix and originality that caught the attention of veteran producer Bluey, leader of seminal acid jazz band Incognito, who invited them to London to record with him. The result is their 2015 album, Sea Monster.
The Steve McQueens (SMQ) are now signed to international labels P-Vine (Japan), Splash Blue (UK) and Foundation Records (Asia) and their talents have helped them reach international audiences, including opening for Incognito at The O2 in London, and more international dates are being lined up as they continue to build their reputation and rapport with audiences.
SMQ is Ginny Bloop (vocals), Joshua Wan (keyboards), Jase Sng (bass), Aaron James Lee (drums) and Fabian Lim (saxophones).
The SMQ Story
Debuting live at the Sultan Jazz Club (now the SingJazz Club) in early June 2013, the group has played regularly at the main jazz and live music venues in Singapore, including BluJaz Cafe and the Marina Bay Sands. They were featured on Late Nite at Singapore’s national performing arts centre Esplanade in Jan 2014 for the launch of their album Einstein Moments.
Playing at the inaugural Singapore International Jazz Festival (Singjazz) in March 2014, they were spotted by veteran jazz funk producer, Bluey, founder and leader of seminal acid jazz band Incognito from the UK. Bluey invited them to his London studio (Livingston Studios) to record with him and the result is their latest album, SeaMonster.
The band also had the honour of recording an official song for Singapore’s hosting of the 2015 SEA Games, performing this at the closing ceremony in the National Stadium.
Singer songwriter Eugenia Yip aka Ginny Bloop and keyboardist/producer Joshua Wan homogenized their visions of contemporary improvised groove music for The Steve McQueens’ unapologetic brand of neo-vintage soul-funk.
At first glance, SmQ would be conveniently categorized as a jazz outfit, though this has left the band slightly uncomfortable with the idea of being pigeon-holed.
Joshua describes their approach: There is so much more than just jazz going on in our music, even though we do love and respect the jazz tradition.
Some jazz guys denounce us because of the heavy soul grooves and some alt-indie guys don’t dig the hip chords… plus we have no guitars!” says Joshua. .. but it’s definitely our own unique blend.
The McQueens’ style certainly is hard to pinpoint, with influences as varied as Theolonius Monk, J Dilla, James Brown, Erykah Badu, Billie Holiday and Robert Glasper. But to the band members, the core of the music is creating a soundscape that is inspired by the moment, and is true to the moment.
“We’re a band made up of entirely different and distinct personalities, which is very exciting each time we step into a gig or rehearsal space. It’s like jumbling extremely dangerous and reactive chemicals together, not knowing what you’ve got each time… but you know that even if something explodes, it’s only gonna give you a very beautiful display of fireworks,” says Ginny Bloop.
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