[EXCLUSIVE] HubbaBubbas’s Mervyn Ye shares story behind ‘Rumble Under My Toes’ featuring Kwak Pureunhaneul

Mervin Ye, Stephanie Lim, Ryan Chan

Mervin Ye, Stephanie Lim, Ryan Chan

Via Umami Records Singapore, “Rumble Under My Toes” and “Sunset In My Pocket” are now out on Spotify and other streaming platforms worldwide. These are collaboration songs of Singapore-based indie pop artist HubbaBubbas and Korean indie sensation Kwak Pureunhaneul.

“Rumble Under My Toes” and “Sunset In My Pocket” showcase more nuanced, stripped-down approach to songwriting and a spare but delicate arrangement that takes the material to delightful places. Both songs have brought the best of HubbaBubbas and Kwak, whose cultural differences and personalities add up to the charm.

The three members of HubbaBubbas are lead vocalist Stephanie Lim, guitarist/backing vocalist Ryan Chan and beatboxer/backing vocalist Mervyn Ye. They all met as students at Temasek Secondary School in Singapore.


We recently caught up with Ye to share the story behind the new tracks, particularly “Rumble Under My Toes.” He talked bout his creative process in terms of collaborating with other artists.

CONAN DAILY: What was the inspiration behind “Rumble Under My Toes”?

MERVYN YE: This song was inspired by the shared humanity and vulnerability that was in both Kwak Pureunhaneul and us. We both faced moments that we didn’t feel like we were able to carry on doing what we loved doing because of personal reasons,” Lim continued. “As a band, making music was what we have known how to do for so long, and suddenly at some point, we had to recheck our purpose. Hence, this song pushes us to seek direction as a band again, so that though hobbling, we might still walk on the right path. More importantly, we learnt that our love for music will always guide us,” Lim added. For her, “Rumble Under My Toes” is a reminder that “the hope that we have is greater than the fear of failure.”

CD: What was the most memorable moment creating this song?

MY: Collaborating with Kwak Pureunhaneul and recording it in CTR sounds Studio! The producer in Korea was really tough, and Stephanie had to record a line over and over again over 30 times just to get the pronunciation of one word just right.

CD: Talk us through the story “Rumble Under My Toes” tells?

MY: The song is our musical representation of the process one goes through when making a personal difficult decision and trying to convince a part of ourselves to pursue the choice that our heart truly desires. It starts off with a lonely thought of wanting to depart from our old self, then hearing the other voice in our head trying to reason it out, which inspires our first uncertain choice. Then as we remember the hope that lies ahead, we are more confident in walking towards it and the voices in our heads unify.

CD: What do you feel makes this song special?

MY: When we were facing uncertainty, we weren’t able to find much music to relate to because a lot of the music that we were listening to always had a clear feeling of the artist’s emotions – joy, sorrow… and for good reason. But we felt this was a part of ourselves that was not so clear, and we wanted to encapsulate it in a song. We also thought that perhaps there were people out there who felt the same way, and we found Kwak Pureunhaneul. She shared with us her personal reasons for being on a hiatus from music, and you can feel her emotions from her performance in the studio.

CD: What was the message you wanted your fans to take away?

MY: That the path ahead may not always be crystal clear (as opposed to what our naive, younger selves thought), that being uncertain is humbling and sometimes, beneficial. That you are not alone. That the hope that we have is greater than the fear of failure.

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