Emergency Exit open up about live shows and songwriting

Emergency Exit open up about live shows and songwriting

A student band have overcome their performance nerves to become one of the city's hottest acts

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Photo: Toby Chan

Even after three years of performing, Rahul Padmasola, lead singer of Hong Kong boy band Emergency Exit, still gets the jitters.

"I still feel nervous every time I sing," admits Rahul. "I'm not naturally a singer at all."

Not that you would guess it.

The band - which also includes drummer Chris Dann, and guitarists Cameron Smith and Patrick Campbell - first started jamming together in the practice room at Discovery College when they were 13 years old.

Now they've been named most popular act at the Lion Rock Music Festival, organised by King George V School students, while they also have a song featured on RTHK radio. The success is a far cry from their early gigs.

"Our first YRock [International Music Challenge] was so bad. It was in Year 10 and it was our first proper gig. We sang one original song, Sugar Rush, and covered one other song," says Rahul.

"We just stood there. A lot of people said that we were quite still. Nerves were a big part of it - that's something we definitely worked on."

Not wanting to repeat the disaster, the band resolved to overcome their nerves. Rahul and his band mates decided they would keep practising and performing until they felt more comfortable.

"Once we performed more, we'd get used to it," says Rahul.

By the time the band performed at the Lion Rock Music Festival in June, they were ready for the big time. They'd already had plenty of practice performing at school assemblies, Picnic in the Park and the YRock POP Awards. But despite it being a competition, the four weren't focused on any prize.

"We just wanted to play our original music in front of people," says Chris.

Patrick agrees that it felt easier and more natural to play their best without having to deal with the pressure to succeed. "We weren't doing it to win it, we were just doing it to have fun and play a good show," he says.

Cameron says the biggest improvement in the band's performance has been its stage presence. Performing in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Lion Rock also made things easier.

Now aged 16, they have performed countless gigs and written five hit songs. They dream of becoming as successful as some of their favourite bands, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day.

"We all share similar tastes in music, so we can appreciate whatever else everyone listens to," says Cameron.

With the live shows getting better and better, the band have now turned their attention to writing new material. Chris takes the lead when it comes to songwriting.

"He'll already have a finished song when he comes up to us," says Rahul. "And then it takes time for the lyrics, that's slower. With lyrics, you want to write it so it's not cheesy or ironic, because you want it to be original."

"Everyone will add their own flair into their part of the song. Chris will add his twist on the drums, Patrick or Cameron will change the guitar … it's a process."

Cameron says the band will work hard to write more hits, and hopes to play more festivals in the future.

"Sometimes it's easy to write a song when something interesting happens, but other times it's impossible," he says.

"We recorded five songs in a recording session recently, so we were thinking of putting them on Soundcloud or sending the songs to a couple of people to see if we can get in any music festivals.

"We're working on some new songs. It's just a matter of looking for opportunities and taking them as they come."

And Cameron's advice for fellow student bands?

"Don't get too serious about it. Just enjoy being in a band with your friends and playing music," he says.

"It's not all about competitions; it's more about performing and getting yourself out there."

Some Emergency Exit songs contain strong language

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
It's a rock emergency!

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