Spotify Spotlight: Introducing Groovy "Spooky Swamp" Duo Little Spiderhunter
In Singapore, little spiderhunter is the name of a small bird with dark plumage and a lighter shade on its belly. It lives on nectar but, as its name suggests, will munch on spiders, too.
Little Spiderhunter is also the name of one of the latest duos to pop onto the Lion City’s music-scape and is slowly gaining traction online, with songs like Watcher of Flowers and We Must Go Outside. On the surface, their songs are sweet nectar to the ears, but that belies the sometimes darker subject matter.
Comprising singer Insyi and producer/arranger Alex, Little Spiderhunter had its genesis over last year’s Circuit Breaker, when Alex, who is Australian, came over to Singapore and was looking for someone to write music with. He met Insyi’s cousin, who connected the two of them.
“I always had an interest in music,” recalled Insyi, who co-writes the songs. “I sang as a kid, did some competitions and all that. I actually went to a lot of concerts with my dad when I was a little girl, like My Chemical Romance and all that. But I never explored the idea to form a band or record music.”
For Alex, making music was something he did on the side back in Oz, and by the time the Circuit Breaker was over, they’d already had “an explosion of ideas”, said Insyi. The pair would trade musical ideas via WhatsApp and turn them into musical reality at Alex’s home studio.
The Little Spiderhunter moniker came about because the duo wanted something a little quirky but also “kept us rooted to Singapore”, Insyi said. They got Alex’s friend to draw the band logo of sorts: a dancing girl with a head of a little spiderhunter.
“(The name) Little Spiderhunter does kind of fit our music. If you asked us to describe the type of music we play, we’d say it’s ‘spooky swamp’. We want to take you on a musical experience to a spooky swamp,” said Insyi.
Insyi said they drew their main musical inspiration from the likes of Tame Impala, but other artists also influenced them. “There are so many different types of music that we enjoy listening to,” she said. “Growing up, I had very different musical inspirations, like rock. I was also inspired by artists like Hozier. He writes about everything… That’s something that I’d like to work towards.”
The spooky swamp vibes are evident in the three singles the pair has put out on Spotify since April: “Spiritually Old”, “Watching the Flowers” and “We Must Go Outside”. They have a fourth track waiting in the wings, called “The Waiting Song”.
“Spiritually Old” features percolating rhythms with a punchy funk-inspired chorus, even as Insyi laments about being “technically young but spiritually old” even though “we're the very same age”.
“There’s a lyric in the song – ‘on the outside looking in’,” said Insyi. “It feels like sometimes we’re on the outside looking into other people’s lives and they’re so full of energy compared to us … like they’ve got everything figured out.”
“We Must Go Outside”, with its syncopated downtempo groove, was a response to “feeling a little sian because of the Circuit Breaker and going back out and just living life”; while “Watcher of Flowers”, a slow burn of a tune that begins with a quiet brooding before percussive breaks punctuate its middle eight, ponders how “everybody goes through the motions and you want to explore another way of life: can this cycle be overcome, you know?” Insyi said.
“Actually, our songs are … well, I won’t call them rebellious, but they do look at things like exploring alternatives and new ways to doing things,” she added.
While the current precautions against the pandemic have scuppered plans for doing videos and having a live show, Insyi said she is open to explore other avenues such as streaming shows on Facebook or YouTube. Oh, and work on new songs too: she says listeners actually don’t have to wait too long for their new song, “The Waiting Song”, which will be out soon – watch this space!
“Hopefully, we can spend more time coming up with more ideas, solidifying our sound and how we want our music to be,” Insyi said, adding that while the band is still a fledgling unit, she would like to take this as far as it will go.
“I’ve never dabbled into anything like this before, so it’s quite an interesting experience,” she said. “For now, there are no solid plans, but let’s see where it takes us. I think Alex and I have very good chemistry, so if Little Spiderhunter does grow, then definitely, we’d both be willing to explore doing it more.”