PREMIERE/INTERVIEW: Asian emo/indie rock compilation released by Sweaty & Cramped

sweaty and cramped

Well…if this isn’t the reason behind this website…then I don’t know what is…

Today it is our huge honor to bring to your attention a very special compilation featuring emo/indie rock bands from all across Asia. The compilation is a special cassette release compiled by Hong Kong label Sweaty & Cramped and Guangzhou’s Qiii Snacks Records covering bands from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mainland China, Singapore, and Japan. That certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of places you can find this genre of music in any way, but it certainly is a GREAT place to start.

In their own words:

“Emotion, No” is a collection of 8 songs from 8 cities in Asia – A true reflection of how far Midwest-emo has travelled, all the way from Chicago to the youth in these Asian cities.

The idea to print this compilation first came when we heard Beeswax’s “Wellspring”, a song so bitter-sweet and authentically emo, we were genuinely surprised to find they’re based in Malang, Malaysia.

As the quest went on, we only found more bands and songs to fill just one compilation.

I guess ultimately, this is also a homage to Deep Elm Records’ “Emo Diaries” series – an exciting platform for note worthy bands.”

As soon as we heard about this compilation we quickly shot out some questions and luckily had Rocky Sum behind Sweaty & Cramped sent back answers immediately.

Check out a little preview of the cassette below and get on their bandcamp to place your orders today!

More info: |

sweaty and cramped

Hey Rocky! For the uninitiated, please give us a background to Sweaty & Cramped Records and its transition from a series of shows in Hong Kong to a label.
Hey there! Sweaty & Cramped began as a series of affordable, no-stage gigs. We were fascinated by the basement-gig culture overseas and wanted to recreate that intimate experience here in Hong Kong.

sweaty and cramped

On the other hand, having self-released an EP and toured with Emptybottles., I realised how difficult such things can be and decided to make better use of the connections we’ve cultivated – thereby extending our efforts to releasing and distributing music for other bands we dig. Since our January launch, almost 20 records have passed through our system and I must say it’s been really fun running this label.



It would be ridiculous for us as a site named “Unite Asia” to not back this cassette project 100% since you’re providing the world a glimpse into the Asian take of the end/indie rock sound. How did this idea come about?

I’ll actually have to thank Unite Asia for posting about Beeswax‘s “Wellspring”! When I first came across the track I was awestruck to find something so authentically emo from Malang!

Howie (operator of Qiii Snacks Records) and I were convinced that there must be enough good stuff for a release and we began treasure hunting – Plotting a weird map of Asian cities that holds hidden gems of emo music.

How did you approach/select the bands you picked for this first edition?
To make things easier, we approached mostly bands unsigned or under a DIY label – People we think will share a similar DIY ethos. Aside from a particularly good track, we also wanted to source from bands that developed their own sound – In short, we wanted no carbon-copies. Some of them I’ve already known – like Forests; some were approached by Howie – like Chinese Football and Sage of Time



Chinese Football

Chinese Football

The Japanese bands took the most time – They were kind enough to have communicated in English in the first place, but it wasn’t effective. In the end we sourced a translator and it worked like magic!

The outcome is 8 unique tracks that showcases a healthy spectrum of what emo is and can be.

Why did you choose to release this on cassette?
Part of it is curiosity – I’ve never printed cassettes before and it seemed fun to design for a new format. I also like the robust nature of cassettes – Somewhat more approachable and concrete than CDs.

Part of it is cost – We located this printer in Taichung who will print cassettes at very reasonable prices, something that is suitable for small scales releases like this compilation.



What is your general feel of how widely accepted and supported this sound is in Hong Kong and in Asia? Why is it this type of music connects with all sorts of people?
To me, old-school emo is less a genre but more like a power of understanding – It is to recognise and appreciate the vast variety of emotions and beliefs held by different individuals. As a community, I’d say it is very welcoming and diverse – That’s why people of various sorts can feel connected and understood.

But of course, old-school emo isn’t big in Asia, yet this lack of recognition can also pull together like-minded groups and give rise to interesting projects.

Awesome – any last words to why you think this compilation you’re putting out is crucial enough that everyone should put money down?
Well…All I’ll say is – do not ever, ever, google “Asian Emo Compilation”. That and it’s twenty-eight minutes of solid indie music. is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!