Albert burst on to the Hong Kong music scene late last year, instantly making their mark at Young Post by winning the Live @ YP Clockenflap competition. The three piece band consists of Joel Azwar on guitar, singer Gabriel Lopez on bass and drummer Max Havekost. They initially came together as friends, and soon realised that they had similar tastes in music.
“We were having dinner in a Yoshinoya branch thinking of band names,” Joel told Young Post. “I looked on a wall and saw a picture of a chef and his name was on the side – ‘Albert’. I thought it’d be vague, unique and quite funny if our band’s name was just Albert and everyone agreed.”
The band’s sound is a blend of garage and indie rock, and is inspired by the early records of Arctic Monkeys, The Vaccines and most notably The Strokes – Joel’s idols.
“Foals were definitely a highlight – as they put on such an amazing show,” Gabriel said when asked about their experience at Clockenflap, and how the Live @ YP Competition affected them. “The competition made us take the band more seriously, like looking for gigs and writing more.” Writing songs seems to come naturally to the band, and ideas tend to stem from guitar, bass or lyrics, before being worked on collectively. And what of their upcoming show at The Underground Sub Terra #5 and what can be expected from their set?
“A bunch of new originals,” Max said. “Heavier ones that lean towards the garage rock genre. And we have another guitarist helping us out to add depth and make it sound more solid … look forward to hearing the full Albert experience.”
The band were also keen to speak about Hong Kong music in general.
“We’re really new to the scene,” Joel said, “but we know experienced people like Ryan from The Folk Ups, and he shares we us a lot about his experience playing in underground events. We’d love to contribute and spread [what we know] with friends and family because it’s a small but talented scene that has many great musicians and bands.”
Going forward, the band are motivated by the opportunities around them. When asked about any future releases, Gabriel said; “We’re joining a Battle of the Bands, where the prize is recording time. If we win we get to record, which will speed up the process of releasing material to the public. Otherwise it’ll be a slower but more rewarding process if we have to work on the EP ourselves.” Though the band have their sights set on bigger shows and building their fan base, Gabriel is far more reflective about his own future.
“We never stop writing. I’d love to improve as a lyricist and a songwriter. I want to express myself better when making catchy songs, hoping that people like it.”
Albert play Sub Terra #5 at 9pm on February 25 at The Hub, Wan Chai. Advance tickets (HK$100) are available from The Underground website, Zuk Studios or HK$130 on the door.