Maybe it’s the girl in me, or it’s just how Hong Kong is, there’s always something interesting to find, be it antiques on Hollywood Road, or a spot of fortune telling on Temple Street; whatever it is that you are looking for, Hong Kong is like a mini-excavation site.
Tonight, I’m heading to XXX Gallery’s newly revamped underground art space in Sai Wan that encourages new music, new art and new interactions. Check this, I’m loving this fabulous neon pink sign already.
Now Asia has their own style of “Pop”, be it Canto, Mando, Korean, Japan, but I’m intrigued to go hunting for the less mainstream sounds …… bit of indie, bit of grunge, mix it with a twist of Chinese vibes … and look what we find here – an underground band called ni.ne.mo (the boys tell me the name derives from “minimal” as they started off with very minimal skills and just grew with it).
So here’s my new find, an indie electro-pop/rock band made in Hong Kong, established in 2009, and apparently they are your girlfriend’s favourite band (again that is a random fact, they told me it’s because they couldn’t figure out what to write for the “band info” – so they came up with that….. sshhh, secret, ok? Let’s pretend they came up with it in some professional manner, but hey it caught my attention so let’s talk to the boys….
As I descended down to the basement, “Cosmic Girl” was just about starting and I’m liking this sound ….
The boys don’t notice me as they continue to rock the basement…
. . . bump into my good friend DJ Enso . . . then I make my way to the front . . .
. . . and see more of the band rocking out with a violin before I sit down with them for a quick interview . . .
A moment with the ni.ne.mo boys….
So tell me why are fans enjoying your sound?
N: Cantopop is the backbone to our music as Hong Kong is where we are from. So we want to bring out our heritage to the international listener.
L: (I’m loving their adorable laughs.)
N: Dare we say we also want to pull in the local mainstream crowd and get them listening to music that is outside of their local stuff, too.
L: So also a bit of educational influence then?
N: If we can do that, yeh, then we are halfway there. Our stuff is like a combination of indie rock mixed with a twang of Chinese vibes.
What type of music inspires your music and lyrics then?
N: We inject our interpretation from listening to tunes, especially European stuff, such as Radiohead, Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party, Delphic, M83 and Pink Floyd.
L: Wow that’s quite a mix (But actually readers, I’m thinking huh? Who? Some of these bands are new to me, although I’m not letting this show, of course. Afterwards, I did a post-interview search up on some of these bands, and now they’re all part of my music library…)
N: And ChoChukmo and TFVSJS.
L: (I’m thinking “Who?” But it appears that ChoChukmo is an indie band that’s influencing the local music scene and TFVSJS are Hong Kong instrumental rockers.)
Is an album on the way?
N: Our first album [will be] launched on November 15th at Hidden Agenda.
L: (Hidden Agenda is another popular Hong Kong underground music venue hidden amongst industrial warehouses in Kwun Tong.)
Do you have a particular band style?
N: What pulls the band together is the music but what is the band style? It’s the attitude based on “whatever goes” – whatever we’re listening to at the time, we’ll express it through what we wear. Like Fei Lung is wearing that floral cap!
L: (I guess that’s what makes these underground bands interesting – it’s true carefree attitude but their passion drives the determination to make something out of how ever little resource they have. I like these guys.)
So finally, give our readers ni.ne.no’s must listen tracks from your album and what’s at the top of your iTune list…
N: Must-listen tracks:
- Cosmic Girl
- Daydream Loveletter
- Kwan Guk (Chinese song)
On the top of our iTunes list:
- “Goodbye” by “Toe” (Japan)
- “No Surprises” by “Radiohead”
So that’s a wrap from me. It’s past midnight and the party has disintegrated. Is it time for Cinderella to head home? Well there’s no rest for the wicked, as I continue on to Soho with my partner-in-crime to join a birthday party at a pub with the great London Tube sign at its entrance. Til next time …
ni.ne.mo (left to right): Andy (bass), Fei Lung (“Fat Dragon,” drummer), Tedman (vocalist), and Josh (guitar).
Lindsay Cheng was born in southwest England to Chinese parents, and from the get-go explored the world around her with wide-eyed curiosity. Over the years, Lindsay has traveled the globe while living in Bath, London, Holland and Shanghai. She currently works in Hong Kong, where she is a marketing ace as well as NewsWhistle’s esteemed nightlife editor. You can reach Lindsay by clicking here.
Photos Courtesy of Andy Pong