“Britain’s got Glastonbury, Japan’s got Fuji Rock, Taiwan has their own festivals, but we don’t have one that’s truly Hong Kong,” says Hong Ka-chun, founder of indie music label 89268. “I’ve been thinking about this for years. Finally, last year I got a call from an investor saying they wanted to organise a two-hour band show, and I said, ‘I have a better idea!’”
And so Weekend was born, the first project of Wow and Flutter, a project that promotes local indie artists. It’s a two-day indie music festival, with more than 47 local bands performing over three stages on August 13 and 14.
Curated by Hong, the Hong Kong stage features well-known local bands, like Rubber Band, Supper Moment, LMF and Killersoap. The Kowloon stage showcases bands across a range of genres, from experimental rock to reggae – all chosen by music writer Yuen Chi-chung.
The New Territories stage, curated by Oliver of Street Voice HK, features promising acts that have formed after 2012.
Before digital, music was played through cassettes on a mechanical player, which produced inevitable noises termed wow and flutter. “It’s a flaw that cannot be eliminated whatever you do. It’s like indie music. The world thinks we’re a huge blemish, but they just can’t push us away,” says Hong.
Selling tickets at roughly a third the price of Clockenflap, he hopes Weekend will also be an opportunity for indie lovers to bond. “I know it sounds clichéd, but what Pink Floyd said in Hey You is true. Together we stand, divided we fall. Don’t just go for the band you like, check out new ones too.”
Here are some acts Young Post recommends:
Sounds like: A spirited collision of dreamy soul and emo rock echoing out from a cramped apartment. Happy-sad in full force.
For fans of: Sonic Youth, Florence + The Machine, Leah Dou
The seven-piece band is all about “copy rock”, writing music in the style and spirit of bands they love, like Fan Hung A and Pavement. I Will Be Whatever You Want Me To Be, was inspired by Shanghai is the Capital of Poland, a song by Guangzhou band Your Boyfriend Sucks. “My friend showed me the song and I had a dream where she told me to copy it,” says vocalist Porpor Channel. “The theme about having to keep a distance from the person you love stuck out to me. So female vocalist Freakiyo and I wrote the lyrics for the chorus first, and I added the melody and chords for that. The verses came after.”
Listen to: Trash From Your Heart, Driving in a Nice Car
Sounds like: Hazy minimalistic folk rock to get you through a sleepless night.
For fans of: Per Se, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men
Influenced by young artists like Laura Marling and Ben Howard, the quintet hope their songs will bring diversity to the local music scene. They’re currently collaborating with Taiwanese chamber group Cicada on a nine-minute song called Grey. “Our music is somewhat abstract so listeners could use their imagination and interpret our songs in their own way. Folk music is not an old-fashioned genre. Rather, it is all about the emotion of living in this very special city,” says Jabin Law, band vocalist/guitarist.
Listen to: Killer Whale, Tangerines, Scars
Sounds like: Your angry girlfriend screaming at you over insane psychedelic beats
For fans of: Japandroids, Bully, My Little Airport
Taking elements from post-punk, noise and no-wave, their noisy songs address the darker sides of the human psyche and corrupt modernity. “Our music is not meant to be entertaining in the traditional sense. We want to challenge the common perception of what’s beautiful and uplifting and engage the audience in something really uncomfortable but somehow enjoyable,” says vocalist Laujan. “We dedicate our music to celebrate emotions such as anger, fear, pain and stress. It takes months of jamming for us to come up with a structure we are happy with. We always jam to a particular theme, vocal comes last with something halfway between a politically-charged rant and an art house bedtime story, which usually summarizes our creative intents.”
Listen to: Machine#1, Susie Exciting, I Can’t
Sounds like: Sean Paul singing in Canto with lots of reverb on his mic. Perfect laid-back reggae for chilling on the grass with a cool drink.
For fans of: Magic!, Dre Island, Etana
This Canto reggae band love their bass, so much so that you can literally feel their music in a live show. “Once in a dream I had a conversation with Lion Rock, which is just behind where I live. I wrote the whole Lion Rock Steady the moment I woke up. Dreams have to be lived,” says frontman MouseFX. “Hong Kong has a lot of talented musicians who have jobs and use their rest time to make music. Going to their live shows is the best support you can give us.”
Listen to: Jah Know Star, Sensi Sensi, Lion Rock Steady
Sounds like: A sleepy Jason Mraz improvising on his guitar as he wanders about Hong Kong
For fans of: Ed Sheeran, James Blunt, One-Take
His songs, best appreciated with the music videos or in the place they are about, are an ode to everything that makes Hong Kong what it is. “A friend ditched my on my birthday, after I’ve traveled all the way from Tai Po to LKF. I ended up walking around LKF about four times, wondering if I belonged to the place. I hummed the melody into my phone, and thus LKF was born. And that led to the other songs about specific locations,” says Tsui. “I sing about Hong Kong in English. It’s like getting a taste of home in Chinatown while your traveling abroad.”
Listen to: LKF, Sham Shui Po, Tai Po
Also check out:
Sounds like: Solid atmospheric rock with unbeatable energy churned up by three basses
For fans of: Chochukmo, Noughts and Exes, Velvette Vendetta
Life Was All Silence
Sounds like: Gushing, enigmatic post-rock: the soundtrack to a Hong Konger sleepwalking through life.
For fans of: Mogwai, God Is An Astronaut, Fragile
Tickets to Weekend is available at Seven Eleven stores and online at putyourself.in/weekend