HK alt-rock indie band Virt are tearing up live music competitions like Planetrox China; here's how they got their start

HK alt-rock indie band Virt are tearing up live music competitions like Planetrox China; here's how they got their start

The five artists were established at an acoustic music society called The PolyArts at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Virt members are both bandmates and long-time friends.
Photo: Virt

Local alternative prog-rock band Virt have been making waves recently, having won several competitions in Hong Kong and Macau over the past year. This weekend, they performed at the Planetrox China final, the regional edition of a global band competition, for a chance to play at Envol et Macadam, Canada’s first alternative music festival. Young Post called vocalist Harley Tam Shek-Hin, guitarist Danny Yau Chun-Wai, bassist Sunny Siu Cheuk-yin, keyboardist Hugo Wai Ming-ho and drummer Daniel Toh Jia Cheng to get to know them a little better.

How and when did the band form?

Yau: We are all from Polytechnic University. We have known each other for a while, as we all joined an acoustic music society called The PolyArts. When we saw the poster for the 2017 Hong Kong Asia Pacific Youth Band Sound Competition, we decided to work together to write a song and [enter the competition]. That’s how Virt was formed.

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Where did inspiration for the band name come from?

Yau: The band name is actually meaningless, we just picked a word that’s easy to remember and looked cool. But it happens to [be the first part of] “virtuoso”, which is our goal.

You’re playing the Planetrox final. How important are these kinds of competitions for local bands?

Toh: These competitions are really important for giving Hong Kong bands a stage and an audience, since it’s so hard to find venues and platforms that cater to indie and alternative music. It’s also an opportunity to gain exposure and interact with other local bands.

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You won lots of competitions in Hong Kong and Macau last year. can you tell us about those experiences?

Toh: [Winning has] given us many opportunities to broaden our network. One of the most important things for a band is having an event and venue to perform at; [through meeting other bands we can] strive towards this common goal.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never seen you play before?

Wai: We blend several genres to create unique tunes. For instance, you may hear a classic song in a metal style, or a fusion song in J-rock. We believe anything that sounds great is good music.

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You recently released a demo for your single Protocol 332. Do you have any more releases coming out soon?

Tam: Currently we’re more focused on polishing our existing creations. After our experience of releasing Protocol 332, and the constructive feedback we received, we’ve decided to increase our knowledge and recording techniques.

What are your long-term ambitions as a band?

Tam: To show our music to the world! And to achieve virtuosity.

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What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

Siu: The Hong Kong Asia Pacific Youth Band Sound Competition is a precious memory. Being named champion in this contest gives us strong motivation to strive for success on our musical journey.

And the lowest point?

Siu: It’s also related to competitions, because we weren’t not able to get past the audition in the very first competition that we entered. Still, we learned a lot and this made us realise we had to pay attention to our performance and presentation styles when we are on stage.

Virt play Green Picnic at Central Harbourfront on May 27 and the Underground Festival June 22-24

Edited by Karly Cox
This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
The band playing to win


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