The music part never happened for ATG (the “art” in the name emerged from the early association with music), but a lot of other things did. Drawing on contacts from the Media Lab, Singh and Chung got a job designing an interactive exhibit for a museum in New Jersey. Then came a request from Apple to build a Japanese promotion for QuickTime (then a brand-new multimedia add-on for the Mac). Next up: an 18-month job creating an imaging exhibit for Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. They hired a team. And before they knew it, Singh and Chung had built an interactive-media consultancy. “We thought we would be a product company, but we didn’t have a product,” says Singh. By 1995, though, they had a roster of heavyweight clients including MCI, Harvard Business School, and Sony. Then the Web hit, and those clients started asking for various Web services. To meet their needs, the company created the Web server Dynamo. From there, it began building electronic storefronts and moved into the then-nascent field of personalization, delivering Web pages tailored to individuals’ characteristics or preferences. “Then things really started taking off,” says Singh. By the time he and Chung took the company public in 1999, it employed more than two hundred people.
Most of this time, music remained secondary for Singh–a whisper in his ear rather than a roar. These were heady, busy days, and ATG was all-consuming. But in 1996, a friend took him to the House of Blues to see guitarist Peter Parcek play. Singh was blown away. “I realized I hadn’t picked up an instrument in years,” he recalls. “When I saw him I said, ‘I’ve been missing something.’” Self-taught until then, he began taking lessons from Parcek, and slowly music reëntered his life. In 2000, he purchased property in St. Barts, which he envisioned as a once-a-month getaway from Boston’s long winters. “I was planning on buying a little place–a shack,” says Singh. “But St. Barts is not much of a little-shack place.” When he discovered that the island held an annual music festival, he and Parcek decided to put together a band. And while they were down there, why not make a record? The group they assembled–which also included bassist Marc Hickox and drummer Steve Scully–was the heart of the band that’s still playing today. Soon they added a fifth member, Boston DJ and keyboardist Brother Cleve.
By that time the business world was beginning to wear on Singh. “It had been a long haul,” he says. Including the Boston Technology time, he had been in startup mode for about 16 years, through both boom and bust. ATG’s value had plummeted and the battered company, like so many others, was forced to rethink its business. “I was tired and stressed out,” Singh says. “I probably looked 10 years older eight years ago than I do right now.” With a new CEO at the helm of ATG and Gouverneur Bay waiting, he left the company in 2002 and began spending nearly all his time in the Caribbean. In 2003, the band–called Dragonfly until he learned how many others shared that name–released its first album. The Boston Globe called it “pretty darn special. … Rootsy, sad, elegiac, bitter, and rockin’.”