The stage is set for the Planetrox China final. Five very different bands have been chosen to go head-to-head at The Dog House, Tsim Sha Tsui this July. With the top prize of a trip to Canada to play the legendary Envol et Macadam – Quebec’s premier alt-music festival – there is everything to play for.
We chatted to the five finalists (Turing Apples/NastyDudes/Something Blue/Carrier帶菌者/Wanchai Road) to find out what the competition means to them.
First off, congratulations on getting this far! Are you excited to play the upcoming Planetrox final show?
Carrier: We are so excite to play the upcoming final show, thank you so much for the opportunity!
Wanchai Road: We’re as excited as kids with ice cream in the summer! It is very stereotypical in these cases, but we love playing live and meeting new bands, so we are really looking forward to July 7th. It’s as simple as that!
NastyDudes: Yeah we are very excited and looking forward to the upcoming Planetrox Final show.
Turing Apples: We’re as excited as an overweight dude in a discount pie shop
Something Blue: Yes! We are so excited, we will play our best at the final!
Previous winners Bamboo Star used the opportunity to extend their tour in Canada and went on to get a record label deal. How would you use the win?
Carrier: If we win, we wants to play at the local bar of Canada. This is such a great opportunity to communicate with other countries’s band.
Wanchai Road: We’ve actually already discussed extending our stay in Canada if we were fortunate enough to earn the trip! Getting a record deal would fulfill our biggest dream right now. Having to resign from our current day-jobs may be the consequence!
NastyDudes: I guess we will explore some bars for another show if possible and let more foreign audiences know more about our HK band.
Turing Apples: We’d like to continue to work towards our dream of creating a monument to Alan Turing made entirely of small green buttons.
Something Blue: We will start recording our album and planning a tour.
What about your band sets you apart from the rest?
Carrier: All the members of Carrier are from Hong Kong and the vocalist, Lung Siu Kwan, is a well known artist in Hong Kong. We sing in Cantonese.
Wanchai Road: We come from four different countries (Argentina, UK, US, Spain). While we do have similar tastes in music, the scope of our musical influences is quite vast and we believe that is reflected in our music.
NastyDudes: Hard Rock. Image. Style.
Turing Apples: We’re 80% Eurasian, 60% bespectacled and 20% female (except on Wednesdays when this can shoot up to anywhere between 40-100%).
Something Blue: We all have different lives, Daryl is a ice hockey team member for Hong Kong, also he is an ice hockey coach, Simon is a swim lover! Lenny practices Muay Thai boxing 3 times a week, Yip spends a lot of time with friends and family when she has finished work.
How long have you been playing together? Any stories behind the band’s formation?
Carrier: We started Carrier in 2014. After the charity show “生命的樂園”, we got to know each other and found we have the same purpose.
Wanchai Road: The band started really slowly over two years ago, with just a singer and drummer putting together some ideas for songs. The idea came about while having beers on a Sunday night at a farewell party for some friends. The lead guitarist and keyboardist joined in late 2016 for a gig we did in December after they saw us play some small gigs around Hong Kong. Last but not least, the bassist joined the band in early 2017, so we are still a pretty young band. We’ve only been playing together for a few months, but we’re really excited about everything we’ve accomplished so far and the awesome vibes we get from the people who have seen our shows!
NastyDudes: I guess we have been playing together for almost three years, In the very beginning Terry & Kim formed a duo called “Nasty Brothers” in LA then they got in touch with Poon & Chiu in HK and then formed NastyDudes.
Turing Apples: We’ve been annoying each other for generations and through many past lives.
Something Blue: Actually we have just been playing together for three months as a group! I (Lenny) met Daryl one year ago through a French guitarist I met in The Wanch and then we grouped together for around 6 months and I(Lenny) have known Simon for a long time, Simon played with a band call (G.O.D)and actually he’s a guitarist. Yip we met via Facebook and that moment me and Daryl played as a 2 piece band at first for around 6-7 months We had some gigs in The Wanch and Orange Peel and kept trying many different drummers but still could not find someone who matched. In the end, I asked Simon to play bass and after some more gigs, we met Yip and became Something Blue.
Which song are you most excited about playing and why?
Carrier: “你快樂嗎” will be the most excited song we want to play. Asking yourself if you are satisfy in what you are doing. We are all happy and want to share with the audience.
Wanchai Road: We are currently working on some new songs and we are still not sure about the definitive set list for the competition, but we all love New Beginning (the song featured in the video submitted for Planetrox). It is probably our oldest song and it has evolved a lot since its initial inception. The main theme of the song is about the infinite opportunities life gives you to start over; to try again.
NastyDudes: TGIF!!!!!! cause it’s Friday on that day hahaha
Turing Apples: ‘Girls just wanna have fun’ but we’ve been told it’s originals only so l guess we’ll just have to rename one of our songs.
Something Blue: A Wrong Turn (usually our last song). This one is a bit of an outlier, but we always get a great responses. We hope the audience and judges will like it!
Do you see Hong Kong’s alternative music scene growing in the coming years?
Carrier: Hong Kong’s alternative music scene is growing so fast these years, Its so great to see so many shows in Hong Kong which invite local bands to play, such as Wow and Flutter, Clockenflap etc…
Wanchai Road: We really expect so, and we are trying to do our part to help in supporting and growing the scene as much as we can. We as a band are always open to playing music at any time at any event we’re invited to. We believe there’s a true wealth of great musicians living in Hong Kong who just need to be given a chance to show people what they have to offer. And with such an eclectic mix of people from all over the world living in Hong Kong (as was the case with the formation of our band), it provides a hugely unique opportunity to bring people together from various musical backgrounds to create fresh and innovative sounds.
NastyDudes: 50/50 cause there are different channels to present and share music, so there are many different kinds of music appearing in HK’s alternative music scene. But on the other hand, there are less venues and the political issues are causing a lack of space and opportunities for gigs.
Turing Apples: Yes, we hope so! Having played such shows as ‘the lift gig’ and ‘the bakery gig’ (true story) we’re hoping to branch out and eventually be playing venues that can seat up to 4 people.
Something Blue: Yes, it is getting better. Many different styles are growing up!
Name your biggest inspirations as a band and also any local bands worth checking out.
Carrier: Tokyo Jihan are the biggest inspirations of us, such a great band in Japan. Check out (Hong Kong band) Last Digits, which have a great vocal and they play emotionally.
Wanchai Road: Collectively, some of the bands we all appreciate (aside from the stereotypical Beatles shout-out) include the Foo fighters, Muse, Radiohead, RHCP, St. Vincent, Metallica, Oasis, Nirvana, GnR, Aerosmith; really, if you list a rock band from the 80’s or 90’s, it’s likely that they float our boat! Some of the local bands we are big fans of include our friends of Esimorp, as well as Dusty Bottle, Narcissus, LPM, Shumking Masions, Cow Head, Simple Minds and Café 852.
NastyDudes: Must be Black Stone Cherry. and actually there are many HK bands worth checking out such as: RubberBand, Tonick, Kolor, Supper moment etc.
Turing Apples: You’ll notice from our sound that we’re massively inspired by (and huge fans of) Justin Beiber, James blunt, take that and Beyonce. We hear those guys Turing Apples are pretty good too. We love the David Bowie Knives (of course we do, we have one of their members), Tango and Snatch, Shatalene, The Side Burns, Shotgun Politics, DP…
Something Blue: Muse. We think there are many local bands who are great! We think The David Bowie knives & DP are pretty good!
Envol et Macadam offers the chance to play alongside some big names, including Propagandhi, Streetlight Manifesto, in front of a huge crowd (10,000+). What would be your ideal top-3 lineup to play alongside?
Carrier: This Town Need Guns, Morcheeba and Drgonash will be the top 3 lineup to play alongside, those are great and will be fun playing with them.
Wanchai Road: If we stick with the bands that are currently active, our dream top-3 to play alongside would be RHCP, Metallica and Radiohead.
NastyDudes: Hate It Too, Behind The Revolver & Kung Fu Romeo
Turing Apples: Gotta be the Beibs for one. And it’s Canada so he’ll almost definitely be there. We hear it’s quite a small country and people are just bumping into the Beibs constantly. Perhaps also Pavarotti and Mickey mouse.
Something Blue: Mastodon!, MUSE & PLACEBO
What advice can you offer to someone wanting to start their own band?
Carrier: The only thing we care about is friendship, we play our music because all of us are stick together, so don’t let your friend slip away. This is what we want to share with someone wanting to start their own band.
Wanchai Road: Above all else, love the people in your band! Good chemistry makes all the difference during long hours of rehearsals and when creating original content. We also find the advice from the legendary Rihanna to be crucial: work,work, work, work, work! It also helps to always be open to new ideas, even with songs that you think have been completed. We’ve been amazed at how some of our songs have evolved over time. There’s a few that sound absolutely nothing like their original rendition! Lastly, simply love what you do and show that love on stage!
NastyDudes: Choose the right person, keep practise and passion!
Turing Apples: Never practice, always argue, and shout and play your instrument over the top of your band mates when they’re trying to say something. We always do. And look where it’s got us!
Something Blue: Never give up!
Tickets for Planetrox China Final 2017 are now on sale. It will be a jubilant feast with five high quality bands and a lot of heart-pumping moments. Seize the opportunity and vote for your favourite band at The Doghouse on 7th July 2017.
A worldwide music competition, whose mission is to discover the best new bands and expose them to a wider international audience. In 2017, Envol et Macadam is expanding its ties to the rest of the world and hitting it with a big bang: alternative bands from 15 different countries will win the chance to play at the Envol et Macadam Festival in Quebec City, Canada in September 2017. Planetrox China is organised by The Underground in Hong Kong, a musician run organisation supporting original music.
For more information please visit http://planetrox.ca or call (852) 9486 4648