Earlier this month, the Audio-Technica team had the privilege of visiting Jack Ho’s studio where we caught a glimpse of the work he does when he’s not on stage rocking out with Rai and the rest of the EIC. Stepping inside, we were greeted with an array of equipment from old-school guitars to limited edition microphones and state-of-the-art mixers. Even his chair, a Fender barstool, had music and rock written all over it! Yet, what made the session so memorable was neither the equipment nor the cozy ambience of the room, but the man himself. Throughout the session, Jack was oozing with enthusiasm for his work, his equipment and his music and we could just feel the immense passion he has for what he does. His cheerful and enigmatic personality also made the interview so much more lively and interesting as he shared with us his journey as a local musician in Singapore.
1. So Jack, tell us a bit about your background. How did your interest in music start?
I am a singer-songwriter and one half of the local duo “Jack & Rai”. I would say that my interest in music started when my dad brought me to church at a really young age. I was always mesmerized by the guitar and the drums… and being a really small church I was lucky enough to get the chance to fiddle on different instruments. I guess music was always a big part of my life, but one of the biggest move would probably be the decision to do music full-time. That was probably around 2004. Music was just too big a part of my life, so I thought I’d take it all the way.
2. How did you and Rai meet each other?
Contrary to what a lot of people think, we met on the music scene! We were both solo musicians back in 1998 and Emerald No.5 was still hosting live music on the 2nd floor. That’s where we first said ‘hi’ to each other.
Jack and Rai
3. Tell us something we don’t know about you and Rai.
Whenever we play a wedding gig, we always secretly hope that dessert is yam paste. Or in hokkien, it’s called ‘or-ni’. We super love it.
4. What is one song that you never get tired of playing?
For me it’s probably “Beetle Girl”. Cuz I have loads of fun doing the swells and spacey stuff.
5. What is your most memorable performance so far?
That’s got to be our ticketed show at the Esplanade Recital Studio. That was the one time where we did an all-original set. We were really really nervous.
6. What do you think differentiates you from other bands/musicians?
I’m not sure about the differentiating point but I can definitely say that we always make an effort to be as personal as we can with our audience- as if we were hanging out in our living room.
7. What is your favourite Audio-Technica microphone and how do you incorporate it in your work?
The ribbon one! I think it’s the AT4081 cuz I love love love using it on guitar cabs. For the moment, I’m trying to stereo-mic the AT4081 and the AT4050. One ribbon mic, one condenser.
Jack and his favorite Audio-Technica products
8. How would you describe the music scene now compared to when you first started out?
The first big difference would definitely the advent of social media. Back in the early 2000, there was no facebook or youtube. I think it was just Friendster or something. Nowadays it’s great that you can share your music with the world with just the click of a mouse. But on a performance level, it’s great to see so many platforms for musicians to shine and with the government being really supportive of music & the arts as well.
9. What are your plans for the future?
I definitely wanna push the production side of things more- write/record/produce.
10. Any parting tips for aspiring musicians?
Practice practice practice. And listen to a variety of genres- don’t limit yourself to just one genre just cuz you like. Listen with an open mind; you never know when inspiration will hit you next.
Catch Jack as he performs LIVE with Rai and the rest of the EIC at Timbre Substation every Wednesday at 9pm.