In the bustling music scene of Singapore, a tale unfolded as two musicians, Zan on bass and Shak on drums, embarked on a journey that would lead them to the creation of Bowden, a 2-man band specializing in progressive and experimental rock. The duo’s musical story began when they crossed paths through mutual friends, joining forces in a cover band for corporate gigs.
The spark of Bowden ignited when Zan shared a dream of crafting songs based on a medieval fantasy story. United by their love for games like World of Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed, they dove into the studio with a dream. Despite limited instruments and knowledge in instrumental and progressive music, they dared to explore complex timings and syncopations, setting the foundation for their unique sound.
Their featured track on the “Progstravaganza: Harmony in Complexity” compilation, “Into Dhunwick Pass,” emerged from the early stages of their collaboration. As they pieced together disjointed riffs and experimented with mixing time signatures, the song became a pivotal point in their prog creative process. The track unfolds in the medieval fantasy world they envisioned, marking the beginning of the protagonist Agnar’s journey.
Bowden‘s creative process involves Zan generating riff and melody ideas, with Shak adapting and adding his own flair. The duo’s writing process took an unexpected turn when they decided to develop a short medieval fantasy story, assigning each song a place within the narrative. The interplay between plotlines and songwriting became a unique hallmark of their approach.
Influenced by bands like Dream Theater, Toska, Iron Maiden, and Lamb of God, Bowden draws inspiration from a diverse palette. Shak, influenced by math rock, indie, and emo, adapts Zan’s intricate ideas into his playing style, creating a balance between complexity and familiarity.
Navigating the Singapore music scene posed its challenges, especially in a niche like instrumental progressive rock. Bowden faced the rarity of gigs featuring only instrumental bands, but they embraced the DIY spirit, organizing shows and collaborating with friends from different genres. Their eclectic sound, not fitting traditional prog rock molds, adds an extra layer of uniqueness to their musical journey.
Memorable moments in their career include a nerdy and cool experience during the song “Strife of Cleethorpes,” where the crowd engaged in clapping to an intricate rhythm. Personal favorites like “Adamantine” and “Spires of Sazh’eth” showcase the variety of time signatures and heavy-hitting elements that define Bowden‘s style.
Looking ahead, Bowden is working on recording stripped-down versions of songs from their album and planning live playthroughs. Additionally, Zan is brewing new ideas for a single or EP, keeping the creative journey alive.
Being part of the compilation marks a significant milestone for Bowden, introducing their music to a broader audience. They express gratitude for the opportunity and hope their music connects with listeners in unique ways.
In a quickfire round, they reveal dream collaborations with Singaporean experimental artist Microchip Terror and envision playing with an orchestra. If they had to master another instrument, they both agree that it would be the keyboard, offering new possibilities for their sound.
Reflecting on their journey, Bowden invites listeners to immerse themselves in the full experience of “Agnar of Helmfirth” and shares their passion for discussing not only music but also the stories behind their compositions, Lord of the Rings, Final Fantasy, and gaming-related topics.
As the story of Bowden unfolds, Zan and Shak extend an invitation to connect with them on Instagram, Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Their journey continues, and they’re excited to share the ride with those who appreciate their unique blend of progressive and experimental rock.