It’s always great to watch a band progress from humble beginnings into something breathtaking with song ideas that are unbelievably well thought out, packed with twists and turns that get uncovered with each repeated listening. Such is the case with Hong Kong band Hungry Ghosts who started off as a pretty amazing indie-rock band but on their brand new album Hold Dear Forever display expertise in crafting beautiful songs – regardless of genre label they might get filed under. Of course, the indie rock vibe of the tracks are clear as day and when we were able to pick the song that we’d like to exclusively premiere on the site, we jumped on the song E is for Emo playing above.
The song begins, and carries, the humility of some early day The Get Up Kids but if that isn’t enough to piqued your interest, the juxtaposition of the differing vocal styles (there are three singers on this record!) really hint at something special and uniquely their own. If they were to keep this band going, I can almost promise that they would’ve managed to create sound that would’ve been 100% their own. In a world over saturated with millions and millions of bands – it’s pretty hard to find those bands that are able to do just that.
Unfortunately for all of us, this band’s soon to be classic Hong Kong indie-rock release is also their final release…as they state in the interview below – their upcoming record release show will be their final show.
Might as well as go out in a blaze of glory I guess…damn you Bon Jovi.
Enjoy the interview below and try to make it to their album release show – details are found at the end of the interview…
So lets cut to the chase – why is the band breaking up?
So Luke (vocals, guitar) and Tiffany (vocals, bass) are moving to Australia in the New Year. As a band we haven’t been very active lately as our other guitarist (Paul) moved to London so we’ve actually been on a hiatus of sorts. In the meantime Luke and Tiff started a awesome Indie-pop band called Kestrels and Kites and have been doing well with that. A few months ago Paul moved back but with band members coming and going, being an active band isn’t really possible – so we’ve decided to call it a day. It’s sad but it’s been rad being able to make music with some of your best friends for almost 8 years!
What is your general outlook about Hong Kongs indie-rock/post-rock climate? In general, I would say that post-rock is one of the areas of Hong Kongs indie world that gets general support and so bands as diverse as Chochukmo to bands like Toe can do really well here.
Agreed, I think local acts like ChoChukmo and tfvsjs have had a really good reception in Hong Kong. Indie and post-rock has become more accessible to the masses thanks to bands like Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed you! Black Emperor etc. But the great thing about Indie label releases is that it allows you to access other genres of music easily and you might end up listening and appreciating something completely unexpected down the line. Shops like White Noise Records in HK stock so much diverse stuff from all over the place and the owner, Gary can always recommend something awesome to listen to.
As for indie/post-rock in Hong Kong, it wil continue to evolve if more bands start playing. There are lots of talented, young musicians around – they just need to start jamming and playing!
How did this current line-up come together? If the record leaves any mark, besides the quality songs, its that the ingredients in this band really compliment each other to which is what makes the songs stand out.
All the members in the current line-up have known and played music together since our teenage years. When we were first starting out, we had another drummer called Nicky who also played in local emo-core band Ignite the Hope, who really helped us as there were basically no drummers around at the time. When I (Mike – current drummer) moved back to HK a few months later, I started playing with these guys and it’s been the same line up since.
What has really been the glue to our band is our friendship – even if we didn’t play music together we would all be hanging out regardless. Knowing each other really made writing and then recording all the songs on this album a very natural process. We’ve come a very long way in our song writing from when we first started and you can definitely tell when you listen to the record. Luke did an amazing job of organising everything, from getting the pre-production done and then producing and engineering the record. We definitely would not have been able to create something we are all really happy with without him at the wheel.
Where was the record produced and recorded and tell us a little about your recording studio?
The record was recorded and produced at our studio called “Little Bay Music” which at the time was in a industrial building in Chai Wan. We leased the place from a friend who was leaving in HK – it was an empty shell – so we had to build everything from the sound proofing out of wood and insulation panels, buy all the hardware and gear to record and then wiring everything up – all whilst sticking to a very strict budget. It was a team effort getting it all together but again, we owe a lot to Luke for keeping everything under control during the process.
We recorded the album over about 5 months. It was a definitely a learning process – figuring out mic placements, tuning drums, learning the software. It took while but the beauty about a total DIY effort is that you’re not paying $1000 an hour to record at a professional studio in the way someone else wants you to. You have the flexibility to get things exactly how you want them and track how you want to. In the end I think this process definitely payed off – we have a record we are all really proud of.
What is next for you guys as you go off to do different things?
Luke and Tiff are off to Perth in Australia where Luke is going to study some more for his career as Dentist. I am sure they will continue to make music together, maybe they’ll form a new band down there.
Me and Paul plan to stay in HK for the time being, maybe we’ll make a new band – but we don’t have any plans for now.
What are the big plans for your farewell show?
We really want to celebrate being a band and the friendships along the way. During our time together we’ve been through lots of personal highs and lows but music and our relationship as a band has always been there – to confide in, inspire or express. So there is no better way to celebrate than to play one last show and share the experience with our friends and leave everyone a souvenir in our new album “Hold Dear Forever”. We are also really stoked to have Ponyboy opening the show for us, we love these guys and they are amazing live so it should be a really great night. We’ll also have a bunch of merch to sell on the night.
Any parting words of hope or despair for bands out there in Hong Kong still at it?
From our experience, always play music for the right reasons. This band started because we needed to play and create music – it wasn’t for anyone else, to get famous or any of that stuff. So it’s rad that we’ve had the opportunity to play some cool shows and people turned up to watch us along the way. Stay positive and make music with your friends, keep the DIY ethic alive and ignore commercial music that is polluting the air waves. A massive thank you to everyone who ever helped us out and supported us, we are truly grateful and we do hope you enjoy our album.
Album Launch | Final Show Info: