Read English translation of Interview
撰文：張嘉倫 (By: Cheung Ka Lun)
Fantastic Day 的主音阿Dee和The Underground 的Karen Cheung 分享了促成他們樂隊重組背後的故事、香港音樂界的轉變、以及成為一隊與眾不同的本地樂隊的心聲。
Q. 看見你們的biography當中提及到你們是在Primal Scream concert認識的，可否略略講述你們是如何認識的？
FD: 那時候應該是2000年，我自己一個人看Primal Scream，半場的時候，衝了上前拿song list，便遇到了現在我們的吉他手，然後大家便交換電話，因為大家都知道彼此是喜歡Primal Scream的。後來我們再透過其他朋友認識現在的隊員。
FD: 其實那時候解散，是因為樂隊有分歧。後來bass手的有交通意外撞車，然後前鼓手 Simon有cancer，好像很多意外好不幸地事發生在我們身上， 現在便學會珍惜。所以我們很想再一齊夾，把事情做好。
FD: 在音樂方面，在10年前的歌是清新的、較fresh和juicy的，而我們由始至終也沒有改變過，因為一直都做自己想做的事。我們也有一個共同的期望，是希望能夠代表這類型的音樂，做得更加出色，我們希望別人知道香港的music scene不只有rock n’ roll或者hard rock，還有其他類型的音樂。(你指的這類型的音樂,是jangle pop 和 C-86?) 對，C-86。(那十年後呢？) 都是carry on, 我覺得這些事越不去想，就便會發生，反正音樂是很長青的事。
FD: 影響蠻大的。Simon是來自新加坡的，那是一個比較傳統的地方，沒有什麼資訊，他在那邊讀書時，聽的都是英文歌為主。他是我上一個年代的，所以便教了我那年代的音樂，然後我也會再教再比我年輕的成員，例如Sherman，然後之後也會教我們的新成員。最後這就變了Fantastic Day 的音樂。
Q. 你覺得這次在IMAGINE IMAGINE IMAGINE RECORD裡會與其他樂隊擦出新火花嗎？就個人來說，最喜歡哪一隊樂隊的音樂？
FD: 我覺得IMAGINE IMAGINE IMAGINE RECORD LABEL 在香港是頗獨特的，感覺上有點像英國的Factory Records和Creation Records，感覺上比較國際化與其他人有不同，你不會覺得他們很local, 他們的野心也不限於此；他們喜歡做少許與本地音樂不同的東西，例如murmur或The Yours 都是一些很特別的樂隊。
Q. 除了90年代的indie pop外，還有受哪一些音樂的影響？近代點的bands，你有那一隊特別喜歡嗎？
FD: 其他成員我不知道，但我很喜歡Craftspell，他們有點像Orange Juice和Glasgow那種吉他，我覺得這個年代還能聽到這樣的聲，很正。（我也覺得現在有很多樂隊，其實我去找他們的bio，根本不知道他們是哪個年代的。）我反而覺得我好像聽多了舊的東西了，可能因為年紀大了吧，我聽多了70，80年代的音樂。但如果你說以新的樂隊來說，就是Craftspell。
FD: 我蠻欣賞香港的一對樂隊，叫做Benefactor，我覺得他們很會寫歌。我不算超級喜歡他們，但是我很尊重他們，他們不是用吉他或其他的樂器去製做一個sound，而是真的很會像songwriter般寫歌。因為我們Fantastic Day很重旋律，而他們也是很講究旋律的。有機會我都很想和他們合作。
FD: 香港國際化了－反而真的比殖民地時期還國際化，因為現在年輕的一輩，在資訊發達的年代，更容易能接觸更多的音樂， 認識的種類多了，樂隊也受外國因為影響多了。例如在香港，shoegaze, indie pop 等──就如上星期的Slowdive演出，這類型的音樂在香港復興，相信是因為[香港人]接觸的音樂多了，便已經不像以前般把這些樂隊視為太indie或獨立；資訊對香港的幫助真的很大。我的generation最多人聽的都是Oasis，Slowdive算是很indie了。我有很多新認識的朋友，他們聽的不止是出名的，也會去聽得很細，這是一個很好的趨勢。
FD: 剛對上一年的Clockenflap (2013)。對住海邊，上台被風吹著的感覺很好。還有我們在Hidden Agenda的Release Party，其實是有預計過人數的，但最後那天場地真的是爆滿了人了，所以很感動，尤其是那次是我們真真正正第一次的album release。
Q. 到了台灣和中國深圳等地方演出，你覺得這些地方的music scene與香港有什麼分別？
FD: Music scene不說了，因為真的不太熟悉，但indie都是蠻受歡迎的，他們的海報貼到到處都是。內地人的反應是預期不到的——深圳那場是我們最深刻的。 演出場地是一個酒吧，他們都盡情投入音樂，還會跟到我們一起唱起來，我們的歌他們都會。這是我們很意外的一件事。我們還說笑說深圳那邊怎麼進步了很多，這麼會聽音樂，就算有時在香港觀眾都不會這樣熱情。而台灣那邊，他們的歌迷和聽眾都很成熟，很尊重表演者，由臺北到高雄，每一場都是感動的。
FD: 有，我覺得自己好像很傻仔，可能因為太年輕了，當時只有23歲；每一次去玩都還會很害怕，在Underground那時也是 。但有記憶中是蠻好玩的。
Q. 你們有一些夏日成分很重的歌，例如California Girls, 我看見你們的MV有很多比堅尼女郎的；有沒有一個特別的原因選擇去寫一首關於California Girls 的歌?
FD: 寫這首歌的時候，沒有真的去刻意想為甚麼要去寫California Girls，只是覺得香港需要多點sunshine，因為香港太多負面的情緒了。香港應該有多點陽光或笑容了，現在太少了。
Q. Promises 的MV十分特別，背後的概念是什麼？
Fantastic Day 將為八月九日在Backstage Live Restaurant 舉行的Summer Serenade 作演出。
Interview and English translation by Karen Cheung.
Fantastic Day vocalist Ah Dee speaks to The Underground’s Karen Cheung about the events that drove the band to reform, Hong Kong’s changing music scene, and being more than just another local rock band.
It says on your biography that you met at the Primal Scream concert – can you tell us a little more about how that actually happened?
FD: It was the year 2000, and I was at the Primal Scream concert on my own. During the intermission, I ran up front to get the set list, and that was where I met our guitarist. We exchanged phone numbers because we both like Primal Scream, and afterwards we got to know the other bandmates through friends.
You’ve split up and then reformed again, and apparently it’s due to incidents of all sorts. What happened?
FD: Back then, we split up because we had some disagreements. Then a few years later our bassist had a car accident, and our ex-drummer Simon got cancer – it just felt like a lot of unfortunate things were happening to us, and we learned to cherish things more. Now we just really want to play together again and make things right.
The band has been around for 14 years – do you remember what you were doing 10 years ago, and what do you think will happen to the band 10 years from now?
FD: Musically, 10 years ago our songs are rather on the fresh and juicy side – and actually even now, we haven’t changed one bit. We’ve stayed true to ourselves and have always been doing what we want to do; we all have the same vision, which is to represent this type of music and do well. We want to let everyone know that there’s more to the Hong Kong music scene than just rock n’ roll or hard rock; there’s also other types of music. (By other types, you mean jangle pop and C-86?) Yes, C-86. (What about 10 years later?) I think we’ll carry on doing what we’re doing; there’s no need to brood over it too much, if it’s meant to happen it will – music is eternal anyways.
Your band has quite a diverse mix of backgrounds in terms of its member composition, on your Facebook page you come from Singapore, Indonesia, Edinburgh, Yuen Long [laughs] – what impact do you think this has on your music?
FD: Well Simon’s from Singapore, and it’s a more conservative country – the information flow there isn’t all that great, and they all mostly listen to English songs. But he’s from the generation before me, so he teaches me about music from back then, and then in turn I mentor the younger members in the band, like Sherman, and then also our new members. This all comes together in the end to become Fantastic Day’s music.
I see that after reforming you’ve switched record labels to Imagine Imagine Imagine, which manages some very interesting bands. You also perform at each other’s shows and so on – has there been any exciting collaborations? Are you a fan of any of the bands yourself?
FD: Imagine Imagine Imagine is rather unique in Hong Kong; it’s a little like the UK’s Factory Records and Creation Records. It’s really quite international, and not like those you’ll usually find in Hong Kong; you almost don’t feel like they’re a local label, they have ambitions beyond that. Examples of those bands would be Murmur and The Yours.
Apart from 90s indie pop, which you regularly site as your influences, what other music has you been influenced by? Any more recent bands?
FD: I can’t speak for the other members on the team, but I really like Craftspell, they’re a bit similar to Orange Juice and the guitar style of Glasgow bands; it’s amazing that you can still hear this sort of sound in this era. (Yeah, sometimes I feel like these days there are a lot of bands that if you don’t look up their bios, you have no idea which era they’re from.) I think I’m actually listening to more older bands, though, maybe because I’m getting old; I’m listening to more stuff from 70s and 80s. But if we’re talking about more recent bands, then Craftspell.
Which band from Hong Kong would you most want to work with?
FD: There’s a band I quite admire, they’re called Benefactor; I think they’re great at songwriting. It’s not that I’m a huge fan or anything – but I really respect their talent; they don’t just mash instruments together to create a sound – they really put a lot of effort into songwriting. Fantastic Day’s all about the melody, and they are too, so I’d like to have the opportunity to work with them.
What do you think has changed in terms of the music scene in Hong Kong for the past ten years?
FD: Hong Kong has really become more international – more so than colonial times, even. I think it’s because the younger generation has much better access to music in the digital age, and they’ve really branched out to listen to a lot more stuff; even local bands have more and more of a foreign touch to them. For example, genres like shoegaze and indie pop – look at the Slowdive performance last week. This type of music is re-emerging in Hong Kong, and I believe it’s because HongKongers are a lot more musically educated; they don’t see this sort of music as indie or weird anymore. Technology really has helped Hong Kong’s music scene in a lot of ways. In my generation most people just listen to stuff like Oasis, Slowdive is already considered very indie. Most of the new friends I’ve made recently, they’ve all gone beyond the mainstream to listen to things off the charts, they don’t just listen to the big bands. It’s a fantastic trend.
Most unforgettable performance?
FD: Clockenflap 2013 – there was a fantastic sea view, and it felt great to feel the wind on your skin as you’re playing onstage. Also our CD Release Party at Hidden Agenda, we did sort of roughly estimate the number of people who’d show up, but that day the venue was exploding with people – we were very moved, especially since that was out first ever album release.
You’ve played at the Underground a couple of times in the past…do you remember anything about the shows?
FD: I felt like I was kind of an idiot back then – I was probably too young, only 23. I still get stage fright every time we play, and it as the same with the Underground shows, but I do remember it being a blast.
You’ve been on tour in Taiwan and China – what do you think is the major difference in the music scene between these places and Hong Kong?
FD: I won’t say too much about the music scene because I’m not too familiar with it, but indie seems to be quite popular in those places; they have posters all over the place. I have to say I was very taken aback by the mainlanders’ response – our most unforgettable show was the one in ShenZhen. The venue was a bar and everyone was jumping up and down and bobbing their heads to the music; they knew our songs well and even sang along with us. We were really impressed by how much they’ve progressed, musically; even in Hong Kong the crowd isn’t always as enthusiastic. As for Taiwan, the audience there has always been a mature bunch, and they have a lot of respect towards performers. From Taipei to Kaohsiung – we were very touched in every one of the shows.
The theme of the upcoming show is summer…three things you can’t live without in summer?
FD: CDs, coffee and oranges. Because orange is such a pretty colour.
Your California Girls song is dripping with summer vibes as well – and the MV sports a lot of girls in bikinis and so on. Any particular reason why you chose to write a song on this subject matter?
I didn’t really choose it deliberately or anything – I just felt like Hong Kong needs a bit more sunshine, there’s so much negativity around. Hong Kong definitely needs more sun and smiles, there’s too few of these things going around.
The Promises MV is certainly… different. What’s the concept behind it?
FD: I think it’s a little unfair if you’re only asking me, because a lot of it has to do with the director’s vision and so on. But personally I think there’s no need to be too serious with music – I do think you can bring your own story into the song and interpret it your own way; you don’t necessarily have to figure out what it ‘means’.
Fantastic Day will be performing at Summer Serenade on 9th August 2014 at Backstage.