Are musicians today doing enough to foster closer relationships with fans?
Terry Hall, lead vocalist for ska band The Specials, doesn't think so. "The whole music industry is on a slow decline, the Internet is taking over record companies, and the relationship between musicians and fans are affected. Communicating with fans face to face is still what we (as musicians) have to do. There shouldn't be too much of a focus on iTunes and selling records," the 52-year-old said.
"We're a band that formed out of the great depression in the 70s. We use our music to highlight problems and reach out to our fans," Hall pointed out in an interview with Yahoo! Singapore before The Specials' visit for the Timbre Rock & Roots Festival on Friday, 30 March.
The inspirational, chart-topping band had a massive fan base that worshipped them due to their ability to write songs that touched upon pertinent issues in society like racism and street violence, and made their mark in the music world in the late 70s to early 80s.
After splitting up in 1984, the band reunited in 2008 and subsequently embarked on a 30th anniversary tour the following year.
"We all did a lot of our own things during the 25 years apart, but we realised about five years ago that we missed each other and the close friendship we had," explained Hall of the band's reunion after more than 20 years apart.
With the Rock & Roots festival marking The Specials' first visit to Singapore, Hall confessed that the only time he's been to Southeast Asia was on a holiday to Malaysia.
However, he added that the band is looking forward to experiencing the different cultures at the festival while sharing the stage with two other regional bands from Indonesia and the Philippines.
Dismissing the notion that the socio-politically-driven messages in their songs from three decades ago would be obsolete now, Hall lamented, ironically, that "some of the problems from the 70s still exist today, so definitely, a lot of the younger audience who come and see us can identify with our music".