Pop rockers Esimorp were crowned champions of the Volkswagen x Underground Battle of the Bands last month, winning studio recording time, as well as a tour van to use for upcoming gigs. Riding high on their achievement, the four-piece told Young Post about their beginnings, ambitions, and how it felt to win the competition.
“It was awesome!” said lead singer Promise Armstrong, who came up with the band name by spelling his name backwards. “It’s such a blessing to have your hard work publicly validated. We believe in the songs we play, so it was great to see that belief shared by those at the show and by the judges,” the 26-year-old frontman added.
When asked how they celebrated, drummer Julian Chan, 26, quipped, “Paul [Roth, bassist] finally got his well-deserved Red Bull.”
Roth, 29, who also contributes backing vocals, revealed the band spent plenty of time rehearsing for the final. “We usually practise on our own at first. Then we spend a few hours in a studio rehearsing together and ironing everything out, followed by more personal practice. Luckily, we had another extended rehearsal, and we went in just wanting to have fun playing music together.”
The band will head to Kolor Studios with producer Sammy So at the end of the month in what will be their first time in a fully-equipped studio. “We hope to finish everything on our side by the end of June and release some songs in July,” revealed lead guitarist Ric Newsom, 26. “Sound-wise, it’ll definitely be our newer full band sound. We’re sticking to the songs we’d pick as singles, which will put a bit of our pop side on display.”
Newsom has been playing with Armstrong for more than a decade, stretching back to their US days. After moving to Hong Kong in 2013, Newsom met Chan and started jamming. “I immediately knew we had pretty good chemistry,” he said. Armstrong joined a year later, and Esimorp soon reconvened as a trio.
Newsom explained, “We met Paul through a mutual friend as he was visiting Hong Kong and playing shows on his own. Not long after he moved here, he offered to join on bass and backing vocals. The rest of us were pretty stoked to have him.”
The group cites bands such as Coldplay, Kings of Leon and Mumford & Sons as influences. Armstrong likes Marcus Mumford’s thought-provoking lyrics, and Newsom admires Coldplay guitarist Johnny Buckland, but Chan says Esimorp’s sound is much broader.
“Each of us have a pretty wide range of artists that influence us individually. My personal influences can be quite different at times, but our differences add new layers of variety to our sound,” he says.
When pressed on their future ambitions, Armstrong said, “Our long term goal is to still love music. We would love to be heard by many people, but we don’t ever want lose our genuine love for creating music.”
Esimorp will be playing an acoustic set at Rustic #3 at Morrison Cafe, Sheung Wan on August 5