Our monthly Support Local edition began only the previous month (October) and featured local Mandarin band, ah5ive. Continuing on with our theme of showcasing the diversity of our local music scene, this month, we are incredibly excited to feature Fungkimunkees, a 11 piece band that not only has performed in some of Singapore’s biggest stage but is comrised of genuinely one of the most diverse group of people (includes musicians from the US, Europe, South America & South East Asia). As part of ‘Soul Power,’ they will be performing on November 27 (Fri) at Barber Shop. Before that, we are going to give you an in-depth look at this band as we speak to band leader, Fraser Mackinlay Porteous!
Fungkimunkees has one of the most crazy unique names though it’s definitely a name that sticks. According to Fraser, it was “supposed to be a temporary placeholder until we decided on something else, but after a few gigs it just stuck.” How 11 people of such different personalities and background came together though is a story that is slightly more complex than the origin of its name. “My co-founders Arvin & Sultan, and myself had been playing together in another band for just over a year, one fine day we just wanted to experiment with a genre that the 3 of us were very much into. Started jamming, writing some music, trying out different styles etc. Realizing that if we wanted to play the music we really loved, we were going to have to bring on some more players. We pulled in a close musician friend, Jacqueline Chia who was our first trombone player and who would eventually be the one to establish our horn section that you currently see today!” What started out as a simple ‘experiment’ and desire to play a certain kind of music could translate into such beautiful music is really quite incredible.
Fungkimunkees released their first ever EP in 2013 and their repertoire has included a mix of originals and covers of classics from the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire and Kool & the Gang. Their sound has evolved hugely since their initial beginnings and after much experimentation, they are much closer to developing their own FKMK sound. More excitingly, this means that “we’ve reached a point now where we are planning (we’ve actually started already) on writing and pushing out more of our original music, and it would be safe to say that y’all can expect a full LP from us in the near future!” What’s even more amazing is that all of this is being done while each member continue on with their full day jobs. What’s even more impressive is the dedication that Fraser shows. While serving his duties as guitarist and vocals in the band as well as his full time job, he is also in charge of “administrative roles, marketing and promotion, liaising with all the clients, venues, organisers, production crew.” If this isn’t passion, I have no idea what is.
Fungkimunkees, despite being composed of a group of different people are influenced by a few similar artists. “Those bands would be; Tower of Power, Earth Wind & Fire, Incognito and Jamiroquai.” Another favourite includes “Only So Much Oil in the Ground by Tower of Power. At one point, we would played this song everywhere, even during rehearsal & sound checks, because we loved the energy and richness of the horns in the track!” Fans of these classic artists should definitely head down to check out their take and interpretation.
As mentioned before, Fungkimunkees have played in some of Singapore’s biggest stage that all local musicians would be jealous of. For them, “Without a doubt, our most favorite gig was in September 2014, where we played 2 days consecutively at the Singapore Grand Prix. Very tiring 2 days, but very enjoyable and fulfilling. Also, that was probably the best artist treatment we’d ever received at any event. Talk about rock star living!” Talk about living the dream!! If Fungkimunkees are good enough for the Singapore Grand Prix, they’re most definitely good enough for you.
Fungkimunkees used to be a 9 piece band but they’ve since expanded into 11 members! The difference lies in that “FKMKS now features a 3 piece vocals. We’ve also added a couple of new songs to our repertoire and brought back a few.” Soul Power nights are definitely something worth checking out and we are more than happy to help publicize another exciting aspect of local music!
All Photos Courtesy of Fungkimunkees!