Meet the 9-piece hip hop band Sixx and the million-dollar question is, “So what’s with the name?”

Well, here’s your answer: it actually refers to the concept of “6 degrees of separation” – probably never been truer than in today’s digital age. And with the nonet’s penchant for live gigs (highlights include ZOUKOUT’s 10th Anniversary, Roktober 2010, Mosaic Music Festival 2011, and the soon-to-come MIDEM 2012), the name definitely fits.


Making connections

So in such an interconnected world, is there’s anyone in particular they’d like to be linked up with?

Frontman and rapper Kevin Lester, who also has a solo career under the moniker the lion city boy, considers for a moment.

“It’s very hard to single out one person,” puts in Aarika, lead singer and the rose among the thorns – there are only 2 girls! – in Sixx’s “musical family of awesomeness”.

“There’s so much talent in Singapore,” Kevin explains. “People always think there’s not many artistes here, that they’re all in Taiwan, that they all zao [Singaporean expression for running off] already. But really, there’s a lot of talent here. You’ve got the Syndicates, the B-Quartets, even Cockpit.”

The latter is, by the way, described hesitatingly as a “fantasy… metal… band” – and that’s awesome, since the best way to know you’re truly unique is when people have no idea how to label you.

“They’re just fresh and entertaining. They don’t care what you think of them, they’re just gonna put themselves out there,” Kevin says.

And that’s the same attitude Sixx has about their own music – everything they write is a mash-up of their inspirations and influences, and whatever that sounds like, “it’s just Sixx”.

“The fun part would be to collaborate with someone whose music isn’t even like ours,” Aarika jokes. “So, you know, we could come up with some really crazy stuff.”


The songwriting process

“There’s no formula,” Aarika says emphatically.

Kevin illustrates this with the development of one of Sixx’s hits, ‘Hubert’.

“We wrote it vocally and there were all kinds of things going on. Our guitarist was just beatboxing – he doesn’t even beatbox! – and from there, we did 13 different renditions. It’s completely organic, it’s how we feel.”

And that feeling can hit at any time. Whether at a jam session or at home, there’s that moment when the lyrics just flow, and then they share their ideas and talk it over with the rest of the gang.

“Part of music-making is that it’s personal,” Aarika says. “You have to have your own space, but the point is that we all come together and throw it out.”

But of course, this doesn’t mean the entire group’s always on the same page. In Aarika’s words: “Sometimes, when you present to the group, no one gets it, and even after you explain, they’re like, “Sorry, that’s a stupid idea.” It sounded great last night, but now it sounds like crap!”

So it’s no surprise that this rough material undergoes lots of revisions before it’s polished into a proper little gem – which can even be transformed into completely different animal.

But as Kevin says, “That’s the idea – you shouldn’t stop.”


What’s next?

And on the subject of not stopping, it looks like 2012’s going to be a big year for Sixx as they’ll finally be putting records out. On the cards are the hotly anticipated ‘Supersonic’ single, available in late January. 3 other singles are currently in production, and their as-yet-unnamed full album will be out at the end of the year.

Unlike flash-in-the-pan bands who spring up and start churning out albums, Sixx has been taking its time finding their own sound – and it’s certainly been a long journey.

“We’re lucky that our fans have been very patient!” Kevin laughs. “But the thing is that we know who we are, and now we’re ready to put out everything.”

“It takes a while to build identity,” Aarika adds. “What’s more, with 9 people…! But I’m glad we didn’t put out the record 2 years ago or something. The songs we wanted to put out then – we love them so much more now!”

That’s great news for fans, and Sixx is one step closer to solidifying their status as one of Singapore’s rapidly-rising hip hop juggernauts.


Check out SIXX’s official site and their YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages.