Written by: Lee Keng Yan (19-U1)
Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4)
The N Band, one of EJC’s few interest groups, is quite the rising phenomenon. This nine-man strong group of musicians recently broke new ground, performing at Catholic High School (CHS) for their annual Homecoming, then for the Singapore Youth Festival event Evolution the very next day, hosted at Our Tampines Hub, where they clinched the Audience’s Choice award. In light of these achievements, we have accosted these busy people, namely George from the Symphony Band, a subsidised bass, and a Jazzmaster 3000, to find out more about their origins, as well as their dreams going forward.
For those unfamiliar, the N Band is officially EJC’s Rock Band, known as Panic! At the Ghim Moh. Having performed at the College Day pre-concert at UCC, in school during Investiture, as well as the recent Fiesta, it’s extremely likely that you’ve heard their music before. Their original arrangement of the EJC school song, as well as their rendition of crowd-favourite Shut Up and Dance, definitely showcase their potential as a young group. Yet they are not an official CCA, but an Interest Group, one that has found their footing and struck out.
The N Band started out as a pipe dream. Its humble beginnings, however, belie the intensity of their passion for music and performance. From just three members who dreamt about a common place to share their music, the then-unofficial Rock Band grew to their current size and began jamming together in the short span of a month. The current name, according to George from the Symphonic Band, was selected after the 2019 Road Run event, where the school issued both a special rubber wristband and a name that everybody would remember. “It’s both referring to the N Band and the N Band, something only our batch’s Eunoians will truly understand and appreciate,” said vocalist and drummer Maya Raisha (19-U1).
Their recent performance at CHS’ Homecoming certainly deserves mention and praise. The band took the stage with the songs ‘Final Countdown’ and ‘It’s My Life’, perennial favourites of CHS students, but also other tunes, such as ‘Yellow’, ‘Still Into You’, and even ‘All Star’. Each song that they played that day was hand-picked, taking into consideration their length, arrangement style, and energy, resulting in two well-balanced sets of performances. Particularly impressive was the band’s rendition of ‘Peace Sign’ in the first set, their vocalists Maya and Wan Xin (19-I1) cruising through the Japanese lyrics while drummer Jia Wen (19-A5), bassist Leslie (19-I4), and guitarists Jin Yenn (19-O4) and Matthew (19-O1) set and spun the song’s tempo. Their performance drew a sizeable crowd, their energy and spirit infecting their audience, and their standing ovation; it is highly probable that they will return next year if they are available.
The very next day, the band competed in SYF’s Evolution! , performing their pièce de résistance Shut Up and Dance in front of distinguished judges and a completely unfamiliar audience. Yet despite the stiff competition, their passionate performance earned them the Audience’s Choice award, as well as the audience’s thunderous applause. The “Noah Ang Experience”, or keyboardist Noah Ang’s (19-U4) solo, was perhaps the highlight of the song, and was certainly an outstanding point of their performance. The band would like to give a quick shout out to the many students who cast their vote for the N Band during the Audience Participation section.
The band’s various feats are more impressive when their schedule is taken into account. CHS Homecoming was but three days after the J1’s MYEs, meaning that their rehearsal time for the gig was mainly during the holidays, where other students were furiously studying, as well as the one marking day immediately after examinations, which saw a frantic full-day rehearsal. Evolution!’s timeline, while more forgiving, unfortunately coincided with the CHS Homecoming gig, and stole precious afternoons in Semester 1 for rehearsal and mentorship sessions. Aside from these, the band members also wrestle with their external commitments, some holding positions in their official CCAs, while others in their civics groups’ committees. The band’s achievements, and even efforts, certainly did not come easy.
Undaunted, the comets streak towards the horizon. The N Band’s future targets are competitions such as Voice of My Generation and YouthX, as well as gigs at internal events like Teachers’ Day and Euphoria. By branching out beyond internal school opportunities and gaining outside exposure, they intend to create a legacy of dedicated musicians, passionate enough to pursue their dreams. Hopefully, this would be enough to attract young, non-A-Levels-laden blood to take the torch, as well as leave their mark on the EJC identity. But the most important thing, to them, is simply to have fun as a band.
This band of rising rock stars is one to watch. If you’re ever looking to listen in, the N Band has jamming sessions on Tuesdays, 5 to 7 pm, in the Jamming Studio at the Atria; see you there!