Jo Ann Choo & Jeannie Lee


Electrifying beats

Article from the Sun daily by Michelle Lim (posted on 16 June 2016)

IF there's ever a time when music can be produced without creative limitations, that time is now. One of the many self-producing artistes of the current generation is the two-women band, +2dB.

Despite hailing from the same home state of Penang, Jo Ann Choo, 27, and Jeannie Lee, 26, only met each other in Kuala Lumpur through a mutual friend.

"We formed our band in 2011, and made a few tracks together which we shared on SoundCloud. Soon after we released a few of our tracks, we scored our first gig for Shock Circuit, held at
Black Box, Publika," recalled Choo.

The duo epitomises music makers of the new era – artistes who do not rely on a record label or studio to create music. Indeed, most of +2dB's music is recorded and produced in Lee's living room.

Choo laughed, adding, "At times, we get some external noises like rain, traffic and construction. That's okay though; we think they give a unique touch to our music."

Splitting their time between work and music-making is part and parcel of being an independent artiste. Although Lee works part-time as a barista, and Choo works in advertising, both have learnt to work around each other'sschedules to make time for music.

"We tend to take it easy. It's only when we have an upcoming gig that we'd rehearse more often, just so we don't make a fool of ourselves onstage," Lee confessed.

So, why the name +2dB?

We started off without a name and needed one urgently after we scored our first gig. We wrote down a few names and told our friends to pick one, and they picked +2dB for us.

We think it's because this name has the most electronic feel to it since 'dB' technically stands for decibel.

What would you say your genre is?

Experimental. We have all kinds of sounds in the mix – electronic, down tempo, pop ambient, house and so on. We try to play with as many different sounds as possible.

Tell us about your creation process.

We start by creating the beats first. Once we have that, we'll add in the melody, before finally fitting in the lyrics. Our workflow is sort of backwards, but we prefer to craft the sound first and then wrap the experience around it.

Who does what?

Jo Ann taught herself to use the musicediting software, and she has also done a course in sound engineering. Jeannie was classically trained on the piano so she's able to work with the melody.

We each have our own specific talents, but we take our turns in doing everything.

What's your take on online music downloads and streaming?

Most artistes hate it because they don't make money out of it, but our strategy is to make money out of our shows rather than our songs.

Providing free downloads and streams to our fans helps create a buzz, and honestly, it's a give and take situation.

Last year you went on your first international tour to South Korea. Tell us about that.

It was so unexpected; we got an invitation from Merit & Wave, the organiser. We played in three major cities: Daegu, Busan and Seoul – it was a great experience. Everything was amazing; the vibe, culture, setting and the people.

That sounds super fun. What about the least fun moments in your career?

Oh man, that was in 2014 when the Future Music Festival (FMFA) was cancelled. We were backstage and ready to go, but found out that it was cancelled at the last minute. It was a lot of wasted time and effort for us and all the other artistes who were performing that night. That same
year, the Good Vibes Festival didn't happen either, which was a bummer.

What's +2db's dress code?

All black! We try to play with different pieces – flowy skirts, long maxi dresses, kickass black boots – but everything's black.

What is the next big thing for +2db?

There is a music video in the works for our song Cheap Perfume featuring Ali Aiman. Also, we hope to do more international tours this year.

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