“The four of us do think that we are Kiss”: Alvin Tan

:phunk is a visual band. In our quartet, everyone collaborates in a style akin to playing a musical instrument, and adds a certain layer to the projects we are working on at that moment.
Our history pretty much revolves around music, be it working with local musicians to create cover art for their sleeves, or designing band tees for Depeche Mode and Rolling Stones. Even our work studio is surrounded by music-inspired paraphernalia like our Kraftwerk-inspired statues.
The four of us do think that we are Kiss. I am certain much of it stems from being a failed band; we were such bad musicians and decided that it would be better if we expressed ourselves through the visual medium.
The Mafia, that’s how we work. Our bonds are much thicker than simply a working relationship; we have been hanging out since our LaSalle days and have grown into a family. We usually avoid tiffs because we have an intuitive, psychic-like understanding of each other’s personality, we pre-empt before the implosion and that’s how we manage ourselves. We have been together for 16 years and I have to say that we have different personalities; but our aesthetic consciousness and visualization is frighteningly similar.
This sounds like an old boring cliché but travel inspires us. We travel a lot and enjoy meeting people in places like Berlin and Japan. From them, we learn more about the creative process and find out what really makes them tick.
We’re not sure where that is going to lead us to.
Dreams are important to us. We’d rather burn out than fade out. I guess we will still be energetic as we get older; great role models for us are graphic designer Milton Glaser (famed for his I ♥ NY logo) and Japanese fashion guru Yohji Yamamoto. They might be dinosaurs in terms of age but they still bowl us over with awe inspiring work.
As much as I admire and respect Norman Foster, I don’t think that the Parliament House is well-designed for its location, I mean the edgy dome would fit a mountainous region in Peru, but it’s just so out in our city.
The other gripe I have is the design of the gigantic cruise ship perched on Marina Bay Sands. For f**k’s sake, it should at least be even.
Conceited folks get on my nerves. No one is too good, even famous people are humble.
Telling chicks that you were a graphic designer in the ‘90s at Zouk’s Mambo Jambo on Wednesday nights would have gotten you laid. I am assuming it just sounded cooler than working in the engineering or IT industry.
Those were our wild heydays but we are all about maturity now and are in stable, long-term relationships. I guess none of us are going to be like Ronnie Wood snagging hot young chicks.
Dream On. I wouldn’t have passed my 2.4km run during National Service, if I didn’t sing that Aerosmith song while running— something that I really f**king suck in.