Keeping live alive: Five HK bands share their sound and views on the local scene

Keeping live alive: Five HK bands share their sound and views on the local scene

How can HK's music scene survive when venues are closing? We ask five of the city's most dynamic live bands for their thoughts

Weeper

1. Introduce yourselves!
Mira on guitar, Griff on bass, drummer Joe and vocalist Danny. Our sound is a mix of hardcore, metal and punk.

2. How did you get together?
Joe, Mira and Simon used to be in another hardcore band and knew Danny through friends. He came along when we played a few tunes, but just sat there writing. We’re thinking, "is he into this?", "is he writing his shopping list or something?" Suddenly, he said “I think I have something." We cracked out a few tunes and that was it. Weeper had formed.
It’s a really cool band to be in. We play the style we want, wear what we want and don’t need to follow the hardcore rules. It’s great.

3. Band highlight so far?
Our tour in China last year gave us such a buzz. It was great playing in places where nobody had heard of us, meeting people who made the effort to check us out, and just hanging out with them.
The CD launch we did at Hidden Agenda was also a great night. (We’re actually recording another album right now.) We love that place – there and the Wanch are our preferred hangouts for music.
We always make an effort to mix and talk with people at our gigs. None of us speak Cantonese, so it means a lot when people at our gigs hang around to chat. They’re not even put off by the size of us and the hairiness of Danny.

4. What would improve HK's live scene?
It’s tough. There are lots of good bands that never get the respect and support they deserve. We say it’s improving, but inside we know it’s still struggling. Promoters need more support from venues and the public.
HK is supposed to be a city of art and culture, but there’s an appalling lack of venues and the government doesn’t seem to care.
People need to stop watching cat videos and check out their local music scene. You may be surprised about what’s on your doorstep.

5. One essential Weeper track?
Terror, from our Savage Age album. A good mix of energy and rebellion.

6. Where can we find you online?
weeper.bandcamp.com

'Terror' by Weeper:


EXLOUD


1. Introduce yourselves!
Ringo’s on bass, SmallPo is the vocalist, Paul’s the drummer and Hung and Marco play guitar. We say our music style is sort of happy metal.

2. How did you form?
Ringo, SmallPo and Paul are secondary schoolmates while Hung met Ringo in college, and Marco used to play in our great buddy band, Extreme. Together, we’re Exloud.

3. Highlight of your career so far
We’ve done some great live shows recently, and are currently planning a new EP.

4. One thing you think would improve HK’s live music scene?
Hong Kong is lucky to have The Underground to look for performance venues and host gig nights, so many groups get the chance to perform. Of course, we want to have more such venues. It’s also up to the bands to deliver quality performances. It’s the artists’ responsibility to communicate to audiences through music and performances. It is their job to keep the audience happy – so that people will return. 

5. Essential track?
好想去沙灘” (Wanna Go To The Beach), because many people know us through this song. It’s catchy and the lyrics are funny, which seems to be our style.

6. Where can we find you online?
facebook.com/EXLOUD.HK

'Loudspeaker' by Exloud:


Shumking Mansion


1. Introduce yourselves!
Zaid is the vocalist and guitarist, Shum plays the bass, Mike on the drums and Jem (aka Disko Doktor) plays keytar. We describe our sound as psychedelic dance rock – it’s like applying the “colours” of synthpop, disco and psychedelia on a hard rock canvas. 

2. How did you get together?
Mike and Zaid jammed together for a few months before meeting Shum. When you watch one of our shows, you’ll instantly know why the band is named after our dance-loving bassist.
We wanted to expand the band’s sound and along came Jem. We quickly came up with the tune to Travelling Soul Psychedelia. Hearing that keytar intro felt like being thrust straight into a storm of confused, melancholic sound. We immediately knew it was what we were aiming for. 

3. Band highlight so far?
Definitely Secret Island Party 2014. It really inspired us to explore how to offer crowds a more connected sonic and visual experience.

4. One thing you think would improve HK's live music scene?
Better integration of the expat and local communities would enrich the live indie music scene. Currently they’re quite separate, resulting in an indie scene based more on ethnicity than genre. Having more shows that bring together bands comprised of expats and locals is important. It’s something The Underground does well, but we need a lot more of those. 

5. Essential Shumking track?
A New Wave of Sense.

6. Where can we find you online?
soundcloud.com/shumkingmansion

'A New Wave of Sense' by Shumking Mansion:


Narcissus



1. Introduce the band!
Inspired by Greek mythology, we play grand and flamboyant rock music. We are vocalist Nanase, guitarist Kevin, drummer Justin, keyboardist Jasmine and bassist On.

2. How did the band form?
The band was found in 2008, but some ex-members left for personal reasons. Founding members Nanase and Kevin were friends before the band. Meanwhile, Justin and Jasmine were in another J-pop band. Then in 2012, a mutual friend of Nanase and Jasmine brought the groups together. On, another friend on the scene, was invited to join last year.

3. Highlight of your career so far?
Early on, we won some local band competitions, and entered the Asianbeat Final in 2013. Currently, we are working towards our first EP.

4. One think you think would improve HK's live music scene?
Obviously and again, the problem of land shortage needs to be solved for live venues to exist. Cheaper rents will allow venues to buy better equipment and sound technicians.

5. One essential Narcissus track?
Debris.

6. Where can we find you online?
facebook.com/Narcissus.HK

'頹垣敗瓦' by Narcissus:


Wan Chai Warriors

Wan Chai Warriors


1. Introduce yourselves!
Cain's the singer, with Chris on bass, guitarist Vincenzo and drummer Redd. We're a hard rock band, who like to have fun.

2. How did you get together?
In late-2014, we wrote some songs and played at a few jam nights before we entered the AIA Parsons x The Underground competition. We got into the final with our song Dog Eat Dog. Even though we didn’t win, we came extremely close.

3. Highlight of your career so far?
We were amazed to get through to the Parsons Battle of the Bands semi-finals. Again, we didn’t win, but we were happy to get that far after only being together for a few months. It showed we were a force to be reckoned with! 

4. One think you think would improve HK's live music scene?
More rock shows for young people. The future of music lies with young fans. YP readers: we want to hear from you, the HK music scene needs you!

5. One essential Warriors track?
Dog Eat Dog is about competition between friends, and the rocky road to success. 

6. Where can we find you online?
Either facebook.com/wanchaiwarriors or reverbnation.com/wanchaiwarriors

'Dog Eat Dog' by Wan Chai Warriors:

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
How to keep live alive

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