THE STEVE MCQUEENS
The Steve McQueens is a NeoVintage SoulFunk band from Singapore. Their album SEAMONSTER is released by Splash Blue Records in the UK, P-Vine in Japan and Foundation Records in Asia. The band’s music is jazz infused neo-soul, a groove-based hybrid of tightly arranged and freely improvised sounds. The Steve McQueens’ sound draws influence from artistes like Theolonius Monk, James Brown, Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Brad Mehldau, Steely Dan and Robert Glasper; from soulful and sultry to eclectic and eccentric.
Debuting live at the Sultan Jazz Club (now the SingJazz Club) in early June 2013, the group has played regularly at the BluJaz Café, the Marina Bay Sands and many other venues. They were featured on Late Night at The Esplanade (Jan 2014 – album launch: Einstein Moments) and most notably at The Singapore Jazz Festival (Mar 2014) where 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 Steve McQueens plans for 2015 are to travel and play festivals: Jakarta (Java Jazz 2015), Japan (Summersonic Festival 2015), Malaysia (KL International Arts Fest), London (opening for Incognito at the O2) and home ground, Singapore (Singapore International Jazz Festival 2015) are a few of the confirmed bookings for this year.
“The music of The Steve McQueens punches the listener in the musical gut with a combustion of tight arrangements and loose neo-soul jazz coolness. On the band’s debut album Einstein Moments, some very volatile elements have been put together: vocals soaked in smokey soulfulness, sophisticated harmonies, undeniable grooves, improvisations that challenge the listener’s ear, and they react with and against each other to culminate in clouds of groovy neojazz magic. A unique collective sound that infiltrates then consumes your physical being.”
The Steve McQueens are: Eugenia Yip (vocals), Fabian Lim (saxophones), Joshua Wan (keyboards), Jase Sng (bass) and Aaron James Lee (drums).
Singer songwriter Eugenia Yip and keyboardist/producer Joshua Wan homogenized their visions of contemporary improvised groove music for The Steve McQueens’ unapologetic brand of Neo-Vintage SoulfunkJazz.
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. “There is so much more than just jazz going on in our music, even though we do love and respect the jazz tradition” -jw
The band has also been associated with the indie scene in Singapore as a result of going incredibly DIY in the entire production of their debut offering, Einstein Moments. “Some jazz guys denounce us ’cause of the heavy soul grooves and some alt-indie guys don’t dig the ‘hip’ chords… plus we have no guitars!” says Joshua. “.. but its 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 Eugenia.
“Every groove experienced is purely intentional.”
Check out some interviews with the McQueens here:
“Those who are fans of ’70s fusion and retro soul … will certainly enjoy the offerings on Einstein Moments….. Hopefully, The Steve McQueens’ progressive music making will find an audience both home and abroad.” -Kevin Mathews , Today
“…within the first few bars of Eugenia’s crooning voice you realise that The Steve McQueens has already achieved what bands in the local scene have struggled to do – sound uniquely different…. the result is truly a fresh divergence in the scene. “ Joshua Quah, Citynomads
Update: The McQueens are now back in Singapore aftera hectic weekend playing the Java Jazz Festival 2015 and the Singapore International Jazz Festival.
Update : Secret Sessions April 16th, Rdio Asia Launch 20th May, London O2 Auditorium Opening for INCOGNITO and SEA Games Closing Ceremony June 16th
the name: We get many questions about our name. Here’s the short answer: We all know that music has the amazing ability to free the soul: the ability to express emotions thru music is a means to liberate oneself; and (the actor) Steve McQueen’s portrayals of the cool anti-hero in iconic films like The Getaway, The Great Escape and Papillon make him the perfect symbol of the anti-establishment escapist.