My Little Airport's music, while short, has long lasting and relateable impact

My Little Airport's music, while short, has long lasting and relateable impact

My Little Airport has been writing songs about love, life, and society for more than 10 years - and they're still going strong

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(From left) Lam Ah-P and Nicole OuJian communicate through music, but they rarely discuss it.
(From left) Lam Ah-P and Nicole OuJian communicate through music, but they rarely discuss it.
Photo: Dickson Lee/SCMP

My Little Airport's To Kwa Wan studio is a cosy little place, with Leonard Cohen playing from computer speakers and the smell of pie lingering in the air. "Want some chicken pie? Our friend brought some over, but we couldn't finish it," says Lam Ah-P, before settling down on the couch next to his partner, Nicole OuJian.

The indie band's songs are distinctive because their lyrics carry a strong local flavour. Some are specific, such as Kowloon Park Swimming Pool and To the People Inside the MTR at Admiralty Station, while others have a political vibe, such as Donald Tsang, Please Die and I Love the Country but Not the Party.

The songs may be simple, but OuJian's serene voice sings about the problems and troubles faced by Hongkongers.

OuJian introduces herself, saying: "I need to be invited to do something, but maybe it takes 10 years for the right invitation to come along. I waited 20 years for Ah-P's invitation."

"What? It's only been 10 years," interrupts Lam, who does most of the composing and production.

"I mean from the time I was born until you invited me," OuJian says.

The duo met while studying journalism at Shue Yan University, where they'd hang out with a guitar at a friend's shop.

"I composed some songs to sing together, but I realised Nicole sang really well. So I composed more songs, and we recorded an album," says Lam. They burned 50 CDs and made their friends buy them for HK$18 each.

Now both 33, they've released exactly 100 songs and seven albums. The newest release is called The Right Age for Marriage. Its songs are mostly about people who've reached the marrying age, but still haven't tied the knot.

"The 'right age for marriage' is a violent phrase that forces people to do stuff that is expected of them at that age," says Lam.

The awkwardness of not following the mainstream way of life is clear in A Relative Saw Me Eating Yoshinoya Alone.

My Little Airport's songs are usually short, with some lasting only 45 seconds. And the time it takes to write them is always as short: Lam says he took only two minutes to write one song. He emailed it to OuJian, and soon after, she replied with another song.

"When we compose a song and send it to each other, it's not to discuss the song itself, but to say, oh, this happened to me. I don't want to talk about it, so I just write a song about it," says Lam.

The pair communicate through music, but they rarely discuss it. "There's nothing to talk about," says OuJian simply.

Lam and OuJian took part in the pro-democracy protest, but they still haven't written any songs about it. "I want to write less about a specific incident, so the song will still have an influence after the incident has passed," Lam says.

Perhaps he'll change his mind. After all, the caption on one of their Facebook photos says: "I don't like sports but the government makes me walk every night." It sounds like material for a potential new hit.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Local artists cleared for takeoff

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