The big breakthrough

The big breakthrough

Perseverance paid off for a local band whose song will be played at the Rugby Sevens, writes YP cadet Yasmin Subba

Sweet Caroline. Hey Baby. Gangnam Style. These are just a few of the global hits that have found their way onto the playlist at the annual Hong Kong Rugby Sevens. But what if a song you'd written was included on that list, and heard by tens of thousands of people? Next weekend, that dream will become reality for Hong-Kong-based band Breakthru.

As well as performing as part of the HK Fanzone concerts, the band's rousing rock anthem, Stand Up if You Love Rugby, is the only song from a local band to make it onto the Sevens playlist.

"We've been dreaming about it since we were teenagers and suddenly it all just happened," says Aaron Ma, the band's 24-year-old rhythm guitarist. "I didn't even know how to react at first."

The other band members are vocalist Raul Tham Martinez, 24; lead guitarist Victoria Bird, 14; drummer James Campion, 23; and bassist Rusty Wishart, 17 - all of whom were born or raised in Hong Kong.

For Martinez and Ma, it was a long journey to get their song to the Sevens.

The two were members of another band named Andola. In 2005, Martinez wrote and composed tune called Stand Up if You Love Chocolate. In 2006, with the help of youth music organisation YRock, Andola submitted the song to the Rugby Union. But because the track had nothing to do with the sport, it didn't make the cut.

The band broke up shortly after when members left Hong Kong for university.

When Martinez and Ma returned to Hong Kong after studying, they were busy with work; their music careers therefore took a back seat.

But YRock founder Belinda Howard still remembered their song. "It had so much potential, so I called up Raul at the start of February [this year] and said, 'Remember your song Chocolate? We're going to try to get it into the Sevens again.'"

Howard assembled the musicians that would team with Ma and Martinez to become Breakthru.

She found musicians who had previously participated in YRock events. At the top of her list were Victoria, Rusty and Campion. Victoria, a student at Discovery College, has been playing guitar for two and half years and describes music as making up "85 per cent of my life", while Rusty, a French International School student, performed at a YRock benefit concert. Campion has won multiple YRock POP Awards.

Ma describes the three weeks after the band was formed as a blur. "It was all so fast. [We] jammed twice, then we took recorded the song in four hours."

"It went pretty smoothly," agrees Campion. "Quite quickly we made a simple but catchy song."

Breakthru will perform Stand Up If You Love Rugby at HK Fanzone on Sunday. But more importantly, their track will be an earworm for rugby fans at the stadium, who hopefully will Stand Up every time they hear it!

Listen to the song at

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
The big breakthrough


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