Jonathan Kiat, co-founder of audio visual collective Syndicate, is also a longtime friend and supporter of Little Man. If you’ve been to one of our Little Block Parties, you’ve probably seen this guy behind the DJ turntables, dressed in style. He’s also the creative guy behind our logo & collateral designs. Kiat’s spearheaded so many cool projects that we’ve lost count. Taking some time out from his music and design work, Kiat talks to us about the best coffee in town, the cool stuff he’s doing these days and how he wears his Publish Jogger Pants.
What do you do for a living? And what do you do for fun?
Together with my partner-in-crime Cherry Chan, we run a multi-disciplinary studio called System Sovereign, that focuses on projects of love, both for clients and ourselves. On the side, we are involved with Syndicate, an audio-visual collective that we co-founded, aiming to push experimental music and visuals.
In addition, we are also the ambassadors for the Red Bull Music Academy, where our roles are to promote the academy locally through curated events. I try my best to make my work enjoyable and I work hard on the fun stuff, so the lines are very blurred…
Album Artwork and photo credits by Kiat.
What’s the latest project you’re working on?
It’s a project called ‘The Dreamcatcher’, for the National University Hospital’s Medical Social Work Department. They have a peer group set up for chronically ill youths called Dreamcatchers, to give them support in various forms, be it financial, social, school matters etc.
The aim is to give them the real life experience of creating a publication from scratch. It was really important that they had something positive to work towards as our society isn’t very kind to people who have chronic illnesses. What started off as a design job became a rather inspiring journey as I met and interacted with the patients.
What took me by surprise is that as the project went along and I got to know the group better through chatting with them and their honestly written contributions to the publication, I found myself getting more inspired each day to try to do as much as possible for this group of youths who can do so much more if given the right support from society. Hopefully, this project goes on to sustain itself which is our goal for this platform.
Where’s the best cup of coffee in town?
There are 3 spots I frequent depending on the time of day and my moods. If I feel like something quiet, the spot for me right now is at the new CAD cafe at Haji Lane that was opened by Chad and Dave from the Pushin’ On crew. It’s a great cosy spot that’s unpretentious with a great location to boot!
On days where I have to arrange for a meeting outside my office with clients, it’s usually down to Shots cafe at Club St. It’s a nice little joint with a quaint view of the back streets of Chinatown. And then, there’s the regular neighbourhood Kopi Tiam where I have my usual fix of local black coffee on Saturday mornings when I get up. As much as I love my lattes, nothing beats a nice cup of Kopi-o as it always takes me back to my childhood memories of having breakfast with my late grandfather at the market.
What are you currently listening to on your iPod?
I don’t use an iPod as I drive and I think that listening to too much music on your headphones isn’t too healthy in the long run. If I do listen to any music at all in my free time, it’s usually in the car to and from work. It usually consists of a mix of demos and promos that get sent over or reviewing some work-in-progress music that I’m working on.
More of Kiat’s works can be found here.