No more Mister Canto guy

No more Mister Canto guy

After a break from Hong Kong, local rock band Mr. return with a Taiwanese flavour.

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The Mr. men: (from left) Tom To, Dash Tam, Alan Po, Ronny Lay and Quincy Tam.
The Mr. men: (from left) Tom To, Dash Tam, Alan Po, Ronny Lay and Quincy Tam.
Universal Music

Local rock band Mr. had long hinted at their desire to up-sticks to Taiwan, before moving there last June.

There was even a clue in the name of their Cantonese album - New Beginning - which was released in January last year.

The original plan was for the five-piece band - frontman Alan Po Chi-lun, bassist Dash Tam Kin-men, guitarists Quincy Tam Kit-ming and Ronny Lay Chak-yan, and drummer Tom To Chi-huen - to record their new Putonghua album, Fly, on the island. Meanwhile, the band would also work on their documentary, Mr. On The Road.

After nine months abroad, the five misters have now come home. They achieved more than they expected in Taiwan, and enjoyed having time for reflection.

"We've had ups and downs throughout our career - but there has been as much joy as there has been struggle," Dash told Young Post, before their gig at New Central Harbourfront as part of the week-long HK Fan Zone festival leading up to the Hong Kong Sevens this weekend.

Dash explains that the band's documentary is a way to tell their story to the fans.

"On the Road is a chance for us to express ourselves," he adds.

Initially called White Nose, the band rebranded themselves as Mr. in 2008, before breaking into the local music scene.

Since then, they have won a solid fan base, and had many pop-rock hits. The most notable was If I Were Eason Chan, which paid tribute to the veteran Canto-pop singer.

They can even count Canto-pop legend Alan Tam, former frontman of The Wynners, as a fan, after he sung their praises.

But in 2009, critics lashed out at the band for their song Mr Tam, saying that it was a straight-up copy from Bon Jovi's It's My Life. It put immense pressure on the band, which worsened when they signed up for the Hong Kong Dome Festival last year. They didn't know the festival coincided with the annual July 1 march, with the gig being seen by many as a pro-Beijing effort to draw people away from the rally.

Giving me a sneak peek into the documentary, Dash says: "We were bombed out, really on the verge of disbanding."

But, with time, the five have recovered and learned that the key to being in a band is all about "love and how you treasure others".

As for the latest eight-track album, he says: "We finished writing all the tracks before heading to Taiwan. The concept of these songs was based on the experience of leaving your home, for a place you're not familiar with."

The band is delighted to have on board top-notch Taiwanese music producer Jim Lee, who has worked with Taiwanese-American mega star Wang Leehom and the aforementioned singer Eason Chan.

Meeting talented people, the band agrees, was one of the biggest highlights of their Taiwanese experience, along with the laid-back lifestyle. Dash says the band also enjoyed the many opportunities to practise their Putonghua with the locals. "We really enjoyed our time in Taiwan," he says.

Although the recording is over and the album is out, there is still promotional work to be done in Taiwan. And it's likely the Taiwanese influence will live on.

Dash says with a knowing smile: "We are working on the new Cantonese project now. We need time to digest the trip, and then [we'll] put those Taiwanese experiences into our new songs."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
No more Mister Canto guy

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