HKClubbing had the chance to talk to Michelle Branch on her 10 hour visit to Hong Kong for the MTV Awards 2004 press conference and her 40 minute performance at the Hong Kong Harbour fest, before heading straight back to Japan to continue her tour there.

Alyson ( Hey Michelle! Thanks for coming down to Hong Kong!

Michelle: Thank you very much!

Alyson( What’s the one thing that makes you most excited when you’re on the stage?

Michelle: Umm… the one thing that makes me most excited… I guess for me, you know… it’s not too long ago, that I was just sitting in my room, dreaming of being a performer, traveling the world, being on stage, and ah… if you think about it, I would say that was years ago… but that was really only a few years ago, I mean five years ago the most, and to be on stage and to look out and see people singing along to my songs, is absolutely incredible… such a short amount of time to experience what I have experienced it’s been really incredible!

Others: Are you happy now?

Michelle: Am I happy now after that?! (Undressed fan at press conference who proposed) Sorry for the free show!! Anyone else has a question or wanna take your clothes off? I thought it was a surprise plan… but I was looking around… haha!

Others: Are you writing a lot of songs on the road as what you were last time?

Michelle: I actually have to admit that I haven’t written a song since March… haha… so I’m hoping that maybe during the holiday, after that I’ll be going for a short short break, and maybe it will make me creative again!

Interview and text by: Alyson

One of Hong Kong's most well known local bands, these guys give us a minute in their busy gig schedule to let us know a bit more about their world.

1.Please let me know your names and what group or name do you go by?
Whence He Came
-Joshua Wong :: vocals, guitars
-Ephraim Bano :: guitars, vocals
-Ken Mimasu :: bass, vocals
-Stephane Wong :: drums

2.When can we expect you to perform at the Rockit Festival?
We’re not really sure what time we’re on… I think we’re playing in the evening… early evening.

3.What have you recently been up to?
We’ve just finished recording our second album, which will be released early next year… very exciting. We brought dutch producer Martijn Groenenveld over from Holland, incredible process… best stuff we’ve ever recorded.

4.Have you heard anything about the Hong Kong music scene and do you have any personal opinion about it?
We’ve got quite a lot to say abaout the HK local music scene, far too much to put on paper.

5.How does your performance differ from large events to more small intimate venues?
With a larger stage comes a larger sound, and we love playing venues with enough room to go nuts.

6.What other artists are you looking forward to see over the 2 days?
We’re mostly excited to see this incredible Japanese band “Buddhistson” who are coming over out of their own pockets… we toured with them in Japan and they blow us away at every show. These guys are powerful AND all about the music.

7.If you are not from Hong Kong is their anything you hope to check out? If you are from Hong Kong what would you recommend that visitors have to do or see?
See buddhistson!!! And make sure you check out and support all the local bands too… let’s build the indie rock community.

The boys were back in Hong Kong and got to ask them a few questions during their press conference in Hong Kong, the day before their outstanding performance at the Harbour Fest.

Alyson : First of all, thank you very much guys, for sticking to your plans and coming to Hong Kong!

All : No problem… Sure…

Alyson : Now, you guys have been going through a lot of rumours of breaking up as a band, what do you think is the key element for Westlife to stick together? And what makes the fans so loyal to you guys?

Shane : I don’t know! (Laughs)

Nicky : I don’t think there’s one thing we can put our fingers on and say, ‘this is exactly why we stay together…’ and there’s numerous things… I think we all realize how lucky we are, they are millions of boys and girls who’d love to be in the position we’re in, and the life we live at the moment is so busy and hectic, but it’s so enjoyable, I think we’re all kind of scared of having not enough of this life… you know, we enjoy it so much we always want to band to be like this, so what’s the point in ending it? In respect to us, we’ve always looked out for one another, in bands like this in the past, there’s always been hidden agendas, there’s always people who… maybe deep down wanted to try out on their own, unfortunately, it is time for the band to split, but we’re honest with each other, we put everything on the table, what’s the best for all of us. And right now, the best for Westlife is to continue, for a long time! We’ve got a brand new album in November, followed by a world tour… Last night we’re talking about doing six more albums! So we’re gonna stay there for a long time!

On the arrangements of HK Harbour Fest:

Bryan : We’re all very impressed with what we heard they’ve been doing. Because Hong Kong is really beautiful place, as we’ve said it before, we really like it, obviously the whole SARS thing… it did upset a lot of people in Hong Kong… and we had to wait until everything is settled down, so… This is great way to celebrate, and we’re just grateful to be a part of it. We’re here to congratulate all the Hong Kong people, let’s hope this will never happen again! People around the world shouldn’t be afraid to come to Hong Kong coz it’s such a beautiful place… it’s honestly an amazing place!

Kian : We’re very happy to be here obviously, you know, we’re very much looking forward to doing the concert on Saturday night, but we don’t feel like we’re under pressure of anything, I mean… we know we’re gonna get up on the stage and do a great concert for the people who come to see our show, so we’re just very happy to be here, and be a part of it all. As Bryan said, it’s a great event, a lot of people have done a great job, they’ve put the event on, so we’re just very proud of it, to be honest… with people like the Rolling Stones, Prince… people who are like worldwide  legends, so it’s really really good to be a part of the whole kinda thing!

On advice to youngsters:

Mark : It’s certainly not easy, I would never tell somebody not to do it, but what I would say is that, once it starts, it’s not just being a good singer, you know, a good performer… a lot of things are involved, so you have to basically sacrifice a lot of things you need to spend all day everyday out of it… you did a lot of dedication as well as us… and it can be some kinda long hard days if become successful, people would be ready to get you, so you’ll need to be able to take all that…

Shane : Take the good for the bad!

On ticket sale:

Shane : I think obviously you wanna sell as many tickets as you can, it’s a great event, but I think there are a lot of tickets that people buy… I mean there are a lot of shows, you don’t usually have this many shows happen, so obviously there’s gonna be people who would pick their favourite band, pick their favourite acts, so you might just wanna go to one show since there’re a lot to choose from. The more tickets are sold the better, the bigger event then! But we’re quite happy with our sale, so hopefully… it’s not on until Saturday, so, I still think there (would be more) tickets sold.

Mark : I think, you guys have the power as well to promote as much as you can, get more tickets sold, so hope that you can do a bit on that as well, of course we’re trying to do it too. If we all work together and we can try and sell more tickets!

On the show on Saturday night:

Kian : Unfortunately we’ll be doing three songs of the album, because the performance we’re gonna do on that night is actually our greatest hits world tour, but we have, especially for the show, we have put three new songs from the album into the show. We haven’t performed them live yet, but Saturday would be the first time to be performed live, so hopefully it’s all gonna go down well… but you know apart from, we’ll do 20 songs, all our hits from our first single to ‘Hey Whatever’, and then we’ve got a medley, an acoustic set… so it’s quite an entertaining show, we’re got good reviews around the world!

On the negativities…

Nicky : What’s the point of being negative? It doesn’t matter with the ticket sales, the show is still gonna go on, people are still gonna enjoy themselves. All you guys can help, and it’s not a negative show we’re here to give off, we’re here to give a great weekend to everyone in Hong Kong, so let’s stay together!

Bryan : I think it’s very important… that all the shows are gonna be on, it’s not about people making money, it’s about promoting Hong Kong as SARS-free, so we’re just gonna perform, you know it’s only 7,000 people, we’re gonna make sure the 7,000 people who bought tickets enjoy themselves, coz they’re the most important people. Thank you! See you again!

Words to Hong Kong:

Nicky : For me, to be in Hong Kong right now, it’s a huge pleasure to be here with Westlife performing at the Harbour Fest, to be honest with you, it’s a great cost, we’re here, and we’re gonna do the best we can ever do on Saturday night. Thank you!

Shane : Nicky’s kinda covered it there… I’m just like all the buildings here, all the architectures… so I wanna get a tour of this city before I go home.

Kian : I think Hong Kong is beautiful place, and actually myself and one of the members of our staff we went about the tram, and gone through the city, and got all these little things… you know, it’s a beautiful beautiful city, amazing architectures… and just, a huge thank you to everybody for welcoming us here to Hong Kong and make us feel so welcomed here again, to all our Westlife, for your love and support, all the media and press, let’s do our best show in Hong Kong on Saturday night!

Mark : I’m just very proud to be a part of this, it’s just true example to how everybody, the people of the world can stick together and help each other our in certain ways, and we’ve been looking forward to come here just because we like Hong Kong at the first place, it’s just an extra bonus to be able to lend the helping hand, and let the world know that it’s totally safe to come here to Hong Kong, I’m just very proud to be on the same list of artist who would come here… have a really good time! Thank you!

Bryan: I think he (Mark) just said what I was gonna say… so… thank you, and thanks everyone for coming down, and let’s make this a great weekend, so keep supporting! Thank you!

Questions and Text By: Alyson Hau

From the Drum n Bass collective White Label in Hong Kong, DJ Arkham talks to HKClubbing about what he has been up to in developing the small but developing community in Hong Kong.

1.Please let me know your names and what group or name do you go by?

DJ Arkham – White Label

2.When can we expect you to perform at the Rockit Festival?

Saturday 9:45 pm the dance tent

3.What have you recently been up to?

Involved in the opening of a new bar Yumla and been in the studio tearing up some rough bass

4.Have you heard anything about the Hong Kong music scene and do you have any personal opinion about it?

It is what it is and you’ve got to stick with it, people will appreciate good music eventually

5.How does your performance differ from large events to more small intimate venues?

You play for the crowd, so not really a difference at all

6.What other artists are you looking forward to see over the 2 days?

Everybody… it’s a great line up and worth every penny!

7.If you are not from Hong Kong is their anything you hope to check out? If you are from Hong Kong what would you recommend that visitors have to do or see?

HK based: Go see The Peak, Mong Kok Markets, Star Ferry and last but not least DJ Arkham at 9:45 in the dance tent on Saturday!

After a successful release of their album "From The Towers Of This City, I Can Still See All Your Promises", Uncle Joe talks to HKClubbing about their music and how the band came about.

Notable artist accomplishments:
Matthews =  Uncle Joe have played numerous festivals in HK such as the annual ‘Rock On Festival’ , the ‘Sound & Vision Festival’, supported US rockers Brandston and the upcoming ‘Rockit Festival’ this October in Hong Kong.  The band is set to grace the stages alongside fellow CMJ marathoner’s Electric Eel Shock and Supergrass.  Both the EP and LP as well as the compilation that the band have appeared on have garnered them praise from indi and national press around Asia.

Gardener =  The band have basically self-funded and self-produced two releases, and we are proud of what we have been able to accomplish given the circumstances within in which we find ourselves.  By that I mean Hong Kong, which has a really small underground indie music scene and no real support from local venues or enterprises. 

How would you describe your sound?

Matthews = The Uncle Joe sound is rock n’ roll but not in the traditional sense.  We play driving riffs and hard hitting drums but there is a constant sense of melody and depth to the sound.  No fast solos or distortion.  The live setting is where the band thrives.  You can hear all of us playing at the same time adding in our parts to make the overall sound powerful.

Gardener =   Most of the writing style has been heavily influenced by indie bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion and old Jimmy Eat World.  The emphasis is on clean but driving guitars that compliment each other, settled around punching bass lines and pounding drums. 

What do you really want people to know about your band?

Matthews =  We want people to know that lyrically this record comes from a Hong Kong setting and the dynamic of the sounds often echoes that of the city but also that the lyrics are there to be appreciated with an individual perspective.  Someone who is from the other side of the world could relate to these lyrics and kind of understand the general theme that runs throughout –hope.

Gardener =  The thing I really want people to know about our band is that great rock is not about how loud, how fast or how drunk you can play.  It’s about how passionate your music is and how dedicated you are to what you are doing.  Great rock has always been about the cause, and our cause as a band is help get Asia bands heard on the international stage, where they belong.

What are some of your major influences?

Matthews =  Musically I always feel people dig their own ditches by listing artists they admire.  In the case of Uncle Joe, we all have a similar middle ground with our tastes.  But we also have differing influences that are personal to each of us.  I think together we take all that eclecticism and make music that we feel passion for playing and hope others will also enjoy.  Some of our case logic folders have recently contained : Electric Eel Shock, Saetia, The Icarus Line, Death Cab For Cutie, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Pedro the Lion, Interpol and old Jimmy Eat World.

Gardener =  Hong Kong has definitely been an influence on us.  A lot of our music is representative of the city within which we live – sometimes hectic, sometimes beautiful, sometimes dirty, and sometimes clean.  Hong Kong is a complex international city and I think that our music reflects the struggles we have had in trying to get heard here.  Likewise, each of our own personal beliefs also play a large part on the influence of our music, and this come across especially in our lyrics.  Lyrically we sing about hope, being positive, gaining something out of life and being motivated to bring good into this world.  There is enough negativity in life and if our music helps someone feel positive about themselves, then we have achieved something special. 

Without the backing of a label, how do you go about the business of getting your music out there? What’s the most outlandish thing you’ve ever done for self-promotion?

Matthews = Two of our band members run a non-profit label by the name of Far East Records.  Tom and Andrew decided that Hong Kong was never going to start promoting young alternative rock bands or whatever they were called at the time.  They started the label and released a few EP’s and full-lengths over the last 5 years and have kind of got a nice healthy appreciation going.  We pretty much took the backseat with Uncle Joe until this year when it was time for our band to have its focus from the label.  They had been concentrating on making other peoples records and then when the songs were being written we felt it was time to unleash it.

Gardener =  the other thing we do is play a lot of shows.  Most shows in Hong Kong are in the Universities here or local bars and schools.  There are no real venues that are supporting the music scene here, so it is quite different to other countries.  What this means is that we need to get out there and just play to as many different audiences as possible in order to get heard.    The most outlandish thing we have done for self-promotion is walk around in a typhoon, in torrential rain, winds at hurricane speed, and try to hand out flyers for our CD release show!  Pathetic…

What has been your most memorable moment as a band (or, if you’re a solo artist, just in your musical career in general)?

Matthews =  I think we would all agree that just over a week ago when our record was released would have been the most memorable experience for the band.  We played a packed club (300 plus people) billed as a ‘Release Party’ in Hong Kong to friends and family and a whole lot of new faces we had never seen before.  It was very rewarding, seeing new people as well as the mainstays at shows tells us we must be doing something right!  We had this whole audio-visual element incorporated into the set for the first time and we did some older acoustic tunes.  We used some samples and people got to see and hear the album in its entirety performed live and it was pretty wild.

Gardener =  I agree with Ben.  Definitely getting our album out after spending almost the whole year in production was a great moment.  Now we just hope the record will help us to sign a record deal that will get the music wider distribution than we can provide. 

What is it that makes you different from other artists in your local scene? (Note: just saying you’re “better” won’t help much.)

Matthews =  Firstly we are in a minority in Hong Kong.  At most shows we play we are the only non-Chinese faces there.  We see ourselves as locals having grown up here and spent most of our lives here, but the local scene still sees us as foreigners.  Our band sound is also seen as quite unique.  Most bands rely on heavy distortion and solos and all that stuff.  We tend to bring the feeling of rock to our music via our performances while keeping the guitars clean, driving and the rocking but at times we lend ourselves to more subtle textures and sounds.  Another notable difference is that we are the first independent band in Hong Kong to fly over a producer to make the record in Hong Kong.  Dan Burton (Early Day Miners/Secretly Canadian) was called in to record, mix and master the album.  The mixing was all done via correspondence using FedEX and took place in Indiana at Dan’s own studio.  The final result is awesome.

Gardener =  To echo Ben’s words, we are the only band in Hong Kong that is made of foreign members but that plays within the core of the local Chinese scene.  It is very rewarding cause we are respected and accepted in this scene, even though we sing in English.  That makes us different and automatically helps us to stand out – people don’t expect to see people like us playing at their shows!   But on top of that, I think we stand out cause we don’t really play with distortion on our guitars.  The local scene in Hong Kong is full of heavy rock bands that play hard and fast, and we are almost the opposite – we play upbeat, mellow, driving indie-rock.  That makes us stand out completely, and people generally find the change refreshing.

Have you, or any members of your band, been in other groups that people would be familiar with?

Ben M played in HK indie-rockers Kid ZERO and the others played in Micah 68 another old Hong Kong alt-rockish band.

How did your band come together?

Matthews =  Uncle Joe started with Tom and Andrew jamming in Tom’s bedroom making demos with acoustic guitars.  The first EP came together fairly haphazardly due to the lack of a solid line-up.  Ben Tse joined on bass in mid of 2002 and I joined in July after I bumped into Tom in a mall and he gave me his number.  It’s so ridiculous cause Tom and myself were in the same year at high-school, we both loved and played music, but never got together in a band until now.  Our school was all about it’s cliques, and so years later we are now laughing, telling each other what we used to feel like back in those school days.  We were kind of outcasts but have always been kind of similar.  The love of music definitely runs deep in this band and has ultimately brought our paths together at last.  Having been the last addition to this band I am told we are a ‘real’ band now.  Now the rock can start!

What question are you just dying to give the answer to that we haven’t asked? (Please supply both the question and the answer.)

Q: What are the immediate aims of the band ?

A:  Matthews =  We are currently seeking distribution in the US and Europe for our new record.  We have had some interest from one European-based label but are ultimately looking to take this music across to North America, Japan and Europe.  The response to the record thus far has been good and we hope that other countries will also show interest as a result of generous praise from Asian media.

Please use the space below to say anything else you’d like us to consider for inclusion in your profile.

Gardener =  We believe strongly that there are some awesome bands in Asia that make great rock’n’roll.   I think for too long the rock scene has been focused on bands coming out of the US or the UK, but there are so many awesome bands in the Far East (Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong) that bring a different mix to the global rock scene.   Our hope is that the international scene will begin to sit up and take notice of what is going on in the Far East.  It is about time we had a rock band from South East Asia make it big on the global stage, and we really feel that US labels need to start taking notice of what is going on out here. 

HKClubbing talks to Robot a local live performance group from Hong Kong spinning and producing electronic tunes fueled by stunning visuals.

1.Please let me know your names and what group or name do you go by?
Robot ‘live’, as in: not DJ-ing this time, all our own tracks. People involved are many and their talents varied. Primarily; Mike the Unstoppable and Jay Pelmet on the music front, with Andy One Sock Full Power on the visuals. Bobby Parsley, Rave Swan, Kumiko, the mechanical cat, and Dazzling Darren in charge of performance (won’t be entirely sure what they have in mind until the day itself!)

2.When can we expect you to perform at the Rockit Festival?
About 9.00pm on Saturday 25th, if we can get everything hooked up in time!

3.What have you recently been up to?
Making music relentlessly, enjoying Hong Kong’s fantastic fabric district, monitoring bits of ourselves fall out or off as we continue to grow older.

4.Have you heard anything about the Hong Kong music scene and do you have any personal opinion about it?
We have heard just about every possible opion (HK is a very opinionated place), mostly negative, but having said that a few people have said that this is the year for music in Hong Kong. We are still suffering the fall out from ‘Rave Parties’ in terms of the dodgy promoters, the dodgy press and the dodgy police, none of whom had a clue what was going on and noticed only the obvious effects of dance music, e.g. drugs and money.

5.How does your performance differ from large events to more small intimate venues?
If we have a large stage area to work with we will make use of decoration, installations, visuals and performance. Often though we are crammed into small DJ booths. We make do. Smaller venues are obviously more intimate and there’s a better chance that the people are there because they genuinely like your music.

6.What other artists are you looking forward to see over the 2 days?
Waxed Apple, Finley Quaye, Audio Traffic, Electric Eel Shock, dunno really, there’s a lot of bands that we haven’t heard of so it will be nice to chill out with a few beers and see where we end up.

7.If you are not from Hong Kong is their anything you hope to check out? If you are from Hong Kong what would you recommend that visitors have to do or see?
We would recommend that all visitors get their arses to Kennedy town for some preserved mushroom and salted fish action. Kennedy town is about as local as one can find this side of the abyss and there’s loads of quirky mad Chinese stuff to check out.

The breakbeat group of Hong Kong has a quick chat before they performed at the Rockit Festival in Victoria Park.

1.Please let me know your names and what group or name do you go by?
ERRATICA- DJs Bodhi [China Stylus] and DAN F  Disuye Records]& Simon Pang [Stattus]

2.When can we expect you to perform at the Rockit Festival?

3.What have you recently been up to?
Collectively: Spinning Live for MTV Wakebording Festival in Stanley Individual Projects-;

Bodhi- BeachSuite beach party at Shek O, SUB (HKs only dub night) at Yumla

Simon-Hong Kong Eclectic, flying out Nicolette  to HK/Shanghai, Rude Movements

Dan- Producing misic for Disuye, Bedrock Beats and Kilowatt; setting up Yumla

4.Have you heard anything about the Hong Kong music scene and do you have any personal opinion about it?

Its getting better all the time. An if people are positive and supportive of ALL events/styles, regardless of size/venue, the scene will be as good as it is anywhere in the world.

Local independent artists deserve more coverage in the local media.

5.How does your performance differ from large events to more small intimate venues?
The amount we drink.

6. What other artists are you looking forward to see over the 2 days?
SUV, Marky ,XRS& Stamina, Boombox, Electric Eel Shock, White Label, Robot Live

7.If you are not from Hong Kong is their anything you hope to check out? If you are from Hong Kong what would you recommend that visitors have to do or see?
One for the road from Phil @ Yumla, HK Movies, Lunch on the Peak, Sneaker shopping, Seafood on Lamma, Harbour at night, by ferry or Motorbike from Chai Wan  to Central , Wakeboarding, walking in the mountains, Char Siu Fan at Yung Kee

So you have aspirations to start your own label?  You want to experience the highs and lows of the music industry?  It all sounds pretty straight forward to accomplish on paper, but believe it, next to every other label that exists in the world, you’re going to have to know exactly what you’re doing, why and how you’re going to achieve it.

It’s also going to take guts and determination, and of course, a lot of financial risk taking.  One such label that’s experiencing great success due to a string of releases that have been raved about throughout the techno industry, are New York based Gotham Grooves.  Born out of a frustration towards the lack of quality techno being produced in the US, they have achieved near cult status within their field and have renowned artists such as Bryan Zentz, Valentino Kanzyani, Cristian Varela, Adam Jay, and Tim Xavier on side, both remixing and releasing tracks through Gotham Grooves.  This is not to forget that their in-house artists Alek Biotic and Agent Orange are currently as respected within the techno community as any other artist!  And they definitely deserve to be.  I caught up with D. Greg, label manager extraordinaire during his hectic schedule to get the lowdown on all things Gotham.

A: D Greg, Gotham Grooves, the label, the sound. Just how did New York's primary dance label become to be and how long has Gotham Grooves been in business?

D. Greg:
We started the label back in January of 2001.  Back then, my brother Ara (a.k.a. Agent Orange) and I had become real frustrated with the lack of quality Techno in the States. 

Techno had made such an impact in both of our lives.  Long nights at Twilo listening to greats such as Carl Cox, Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, etc. were really unforgettable times for us and our friends.  Yet the music was so undiscovered and so underappreciated. We wanted to give something back and wanted to spread the word, especially here in the US, about what we felt was the greatest musical genre of all.

A: What exactly is your role you maintain within the label?

D Greg: I’m the label manager, so I deal with all of the not-so-glamorous “dirty work.” (ha!)  I handle all of the aspects of running the label, from release planning, marketing, promotions, managing the staff, licensing, handling bookings for our artists, etc.

Of course, I don’t do all of this alone.  I have a really great team that supports our efforts and is truly dedicated to our vision. 

When I’m not busy running the label, I DJ under the moniker DEEKRON (which is my first name – hence the “D” in D. Greg).  I haven’t started producing yet, but perhaps in the future, if I ever find the time (ha!). 

A: Just how long have you guys been on the circuit now? Are you quite a large family as a label now?

D Greg:
Like I was saying, we are very fortunate to have a great team driving Gotham Grooves forward.  Our core team is made up of six people:

1) Agent Orange – he’s my partner in crime; co-founder of the label, our main artist, and someone who has exposed so many people to Techno with some of the most brilliant DJ sets you can imagine.

2) Alek Biotic – he’s our other In-House artist; Alek is also a fabulous musician who has scored some nice releases with labels such as Bush, Kazumi, and Bazooka 10.  Alek is a top-notch web guru working in New York, so he also helps us with web and graphic design.

3) Ash – this is our main man for promotions and party support; if someone gets a package from us, it’s probably because Ash sent it to them.  Plus, Ash is a networking machine, which helps with the contacts.

4) Gene – our wordsmith and online marketing hero.  Gene has done a great job in taking over the responsibility for our leading Techno newsletter, Future Frequencies. 

5) Eskay – our sound engineer; a great ear and a true audio technology fanatic; he knows about new studio gear six months before the rest of the world; he recently dropped a minimal Techno EP on Clicktracks which got rave reviews from Richie Hawtin.

6) Me

A: Between everybody involved in Gotham Grooves, you have over 20 years
of exclusive business and musical experience, this must have really
helped the success of your label.

D Greg: Well, Alixir, it did and it didn’t.  I think it definitely got us off to a fast start and we did a lot of things right.  But for all our work and our knowledge, we were unfortunately plagued by persistent distribution problems.  You know how it goes, in music, distribution is everything.  Unfortunately, as a small label, we have had little to no control over that part of the equation.

We’re on our third distributor now, and these guys (Rhythmic) are working really hard to make it happen, despite the hardships the industry is facing.  It hasn’t been easy, but things are finally starting to straighten out, so I think most of our distribution problems are behind us.

A: Where do you see the future for Gotham Grooves? Are you distributing worldwide now?

D Greg:
Yeah, Rhythmic has a tight relationship with Intergroove Germany, who is just fantastic.  Especially for Techno.  Between these two distributors, our releases are really starting to get some good exposure world wide.

A: What's in the essence of a good Gotham Grooves release? Who exactly is spinning your tracks and what feedback do you get on them?

D Greg: Great question!  Our philosophy has always been to provide as much quality music as possible for the Techno fan.  We’ve lined up 6 releases and all of them have had no less than 4 tracks, covering a wide range of styles.  Our overall sound is a groovier, dance floor flavor of Techno.  But we try to incorporate various styles on every record.  You’ll almost always find a harder, peak-hour track, a funkier track, a darker track, etc.

Our music has been played by artists such as Carl Cox, Christian Smith, Danilo Vigorito, Stanny Fransenn, Misstress Barbara, Cristian Varela, Bryan Zentz, Valentino Kanzyani, etc.

A: Any specific DJs that make you feel proud to be playing out Gotham Grooves Tracks?

D Greg: Anytime one of our main influencers (Techno heroes) gives us props, it’s a great feeling.  The person who sits highest on that list would have to be Carl Cox.  He’s really the one that ispired us to start the label and get more great Techno out in the world.

We got a real rush this year, when he played in New York and threw on the white label of our 5th release (Funk Matter EP by Alek Biotic), less that five minutes after I handed to him!  He also licensed a track of ours for an upcoming mixed CD he is doing for FACT: Australia, which was a great accolade.

A: What tracks do you tend to release and why? Do they have to specifically fit the mould of what Gotham Grooves sees as viable for the dance floor? Do you produce or have you been involved in any productions yourself?

D Greg:Yeah, we are pretty selective as to the tracks we release.  The kind of Techno we like most is the kind that gets both your mind and your feet going.  Some would say our sound has a Housier influence.  This might be the product of “growing up” musically in the New York club scene.

We also push to add creativity within the track.  Enough changes and breaks to keep it interesting and be able to play the record for several minutes without putting the dance floor to sleep.  If it’s one loop from start to finish, it’s out.

A: What artists do you currently have signed or releasing through your label? Just how did you come about them and what kind of personal relationship with you maintain with your artists?

D Greg: Our two In-House artists are Agent Orange and Alek Biotic.  We may add a third, but have not quite found the person with the right fit yet.

Outside artists we have worked with include Bryan Zentz, Valentino Kanzyani, Cristian Varela, Adam Jay, and Tim Xavier.  We pretty much have met all these guys just by building relationships throughout the scene and throughout the years.

A: You've obviously put a lot of time, endless effort and money into your business, what future ventures do you have in mind for Gotham Grooves or are you currently happy with the way things are running at the present?

D Greg: Barry, you’re not kidding, bro!  It has been a tremendous amount of time, work and money.  It has been very fulfilling in some aspects, but let me tell you, you still have your bad days.  Primarily, I want the distribution to be in line with our other efforts (marketing, music production, etc).  Once we get on a steady flow of a new release every 6 – 8 weeks I would be happy.  I would also like to increase our licensing activity and to get some more high profile booking for Agent and for Alek.  These guys are very talented and it would be such a crime for Techno fans not to experience a kick-ass Gotham set by them.  But all this will come in time, I am sure.  We just need to hang tough and survive the challenges the industry is facing right now with reduced sales and downloading, etc.  Before it’s all over, Gotham Grooves will leave an influential mark on Techno, that I assure you. 

A: Here's your chance to plug any past, current or future releases. What kind of DJs are you aiming at and please explain what a little Gotham Grooviness will do for their record box!

D Greg:
We have our 5th release due out in stores any minute.  It’s by Alek Biotic and features a slamming remix by Valentino Kanzyani.  Number 6 is due out later this year.  It’s an EP by Adam Jay with a killer remix by Agent Orange (this remix was recently was licensed by Japan’s DJ Mayuri for an upcoming hard Techno compilation!). 

Gotham Grooviness means a dope Techno groove, that makes ‘em jack and makes ‘em move!

A: Thanks for taking the time to talk to HKCLUBBING.COM!

D Greg: It was my pleasure Alixir.  Hope to see you when we make it out to Asia.  I leave your readers with the Gotham Grooves motto that we live by: “ Stay Young. Love Techno.”

Review By: Barry Hinselwood has a quick question and answer session with Quan from Regurgitator who is already in Hong Kong ready for this weekends Rockit Festival.

Q.Please let me know your names and what group or name do you go by?
A.Quan, Ben and Peter. We are called Regurgitator. (Don’t ask me why)

Q.When can we expect you to perform at the Rockit Festival?
A.think we’re playing at 5pm on Sunday???

Q.What have you recently been up to?
A.have been running away from my old life in a blind stupor. Last year I bought a car in Switzerland and drove around Western Europe for 6 months with a giant Japanese stuffed toy as company. I then lived in Sweden for 6 months after meeting the craziest person I have ever met whilst casually wandering along a beach front on a Greek island. The last 6 months were spent in London where I have been demo-ing an R&B album and a new Regurgitator record and periodically cleaning up Harold the cat’s disemboweled pigeon victims.   

Q.Have you heard anything about the Hong Kong music scene and do you have any personal opinion about it?
A.I’ve heard nothing.

Q.How does your performance differ from large events to more small intimate venues?
A.It doesn’t. We’re always less than professional. Probably the smaller the crowd the better we entertain. Ironic isn’t it.

Q.What other artists are you looking forward to see over the 2 days?
A.Um… it all looks cool. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Q.If you are not from Hong Kong is their anything you hope to check out? If you are from Hong Kong what would you recommend that visitors have to do or see?

A.I’m moving here man. It f**king rox!

Check out Regurgitator at this weekends Rockit Festival in Victoria Park.

Interview By: Nick W

Blue were in Hong Kong last month on a short promotional visit. was able to get to talk to the guys and chat about driving, women and a whole lot more!

Alyson – A: Lee Ryan – L: Simon Webb – S:

A: Welcome to Hong Kong once again! Especially Lee, first time here!
L: Is it my first time here?
S: Is it?
L: But I was in this picture with ya!
A: Nooo! This is not Hong Kong!
S: Oh right, yeah yeah yeah~
L: Why is it my first time here??
(Others): Last time you had a go-cart accident…
(All): Oh yeah… yeah yeah! Haha...
L: Yeah, I remember that… It was a bad accident… I wanted to come away, but I wasn’t allowed, coz if I got that wound infected, then I would have got… not saying this country is dirty, but I’m saying being on a plane and stuff like that, germs and…
S: We just wanted him to be at home instead of getting infected!
A: Sure…
L: So… I’m back though!
A: How d’ya like it so far?
L: I’m loving it, man! I keep on saying I’d love to go up to the mountains, I really wanna go up to the mountains, I’d love to do that!
S: Are there poison snakes and stuff like that?
L: There’s monkeys and stuff! Cats and everything!
S: Can you just walk up there freely?
L: If you see a black gorilla? Run!
S: Really? You can just go up there and walk?
A: Yeah!
L: Free-land, ain’t it? Yeah! I’m just saying, if you see a silver back gorilla…
S: Man, I’m just saying, I’m asking! I’m never gonna go up there!
L: Why not?
S: Not if I’m a guy!
L: Yeah, but what’s a guy gonna do?
S: Make sure that I don’t bump into no… grey back gorilla!
L: Silver back man!
S: Silver one! That’s what I’ve said!
L: Silver back! But then what you have to do, it’s silver than it’s gold, then it’s platinum!
S: You know what I’m saying? That we went PLATINUM!
(All: Laugh!)

Lee and Si speaking on rumours:

L: That’s all lies! I’ve got more respect for myself, and I’ve got respect for women and ladies, than to turn around to a woman and tell her to “F” off… I’m more of a gentleman than that. I open doors for women when they walk in, I stand up when a woman enters the table, you know? I don’t let woman pay for anything… so… I wouldn’t disrespect myself like that… They said that to make me look bad…
S: You know, it’s “pick-on-Lee” time!
L: Yeah!
S: I was there, we was all there!
(Others: How about the “making-out-in-the-loo”?)
S: I was there too!
L: Uh?
(All: Laugh)
L: Did I have sex with a woman in the loo? I never had sex with a woman in a toilet! You know what? For me? I’ll tell you this right now, Simon can speak up for me, Johnny (Manager of Blue) can speak up for me, if I get caught in doing something, I’m the first to go (Hand-raising), alright! If I do something wrong, I’m not gonna turn around and let someone else take the blame for it. If I do something right, I’m not the sort of person to brag about it… I’ll ask for someone’s opinion, ‘guess what I did’! Or ‘I did this thing or whatever like that’… At the same time, I wouldn’t shag anyone in a toilet either!
S: Where there’s a lot of people… that I’m gonna say something! That’s a bit silly! Haha!
L: If I wanna go and have sex with a girl, I’ll take her up to my room, but if I do have sex with a girl, that’s big news as well! But… what am I suppose to do? I enjoy women… I enjoy… haha… I’m a young bloke! At the same time, I DIDN’T have sex in a toilet with a young girl.

A: So do you guys have more responsibilities on the writing process for this new album?
S: Yeah, we’ve co-written all of it.
A: Really?
S: Yeah, we co-wrote the first one… half of it, 6/12… second one, 12/15… this one, we’ve co-written all of it. So it’s not like, we’re progressing outta this, it just happened this way… We’re proud of ourselves as well!
L: Someone said to me the other day, “Oh it’s CO-WRITTEN’…you’ve written all the album, but it’s all CO-WRITTEN…” and I went, “Well… none of are producers…” But we actually do sit there and write our own songs. We all sit there and write a whole song and then take it to someone else, but the way… sort of… the writing process goes… even if sometimes someone don’t write something on it, you still give them a credit, as respect. A lot of the time, you might have written the whole song, but the producer might say, “Look, I need…” everyone’s gonna get paid. Which is fair! It’s nothing bad, it’s just the way this business goes, and the song-writing process goes. You can’t be tight and “that’s-all-mine”… and that’s gonna be…
S: There’s no love! There’s no “One-Love”!
L: “One-Love” man!
S: Yeah! “One-Love”! Quote me, quote me!

Speaking on what kinda girl do they like…

S: Half oriental! My weakness is women… when I go to Japan, I’m like “Uh!” when I come to Hong Kong, I’m like “Uh!” I change my mind everyday! “Uh!”
L: I think a mix… someone who’s not from my own race… I never wanna be with someone who’s English… I wanna be with someone who’s… maybe oriental… or…
S: Or not!
L: Yeah! I wanna meet the girl in my dreams, but I gotta fall asleep every night to meet her, man!

A: I’ve wanting get a tattoo as well… but I’m just too scared of the pain…
L: They hurt man!
S: They really hurt man!
L: But I like them… coz they stay with ya!
S: Don’t do this to yourself… Coz once you start ,you can’t stop, just like you can’t pop! And I never flop! And now I’m gonna shut up!! Next question please!

Good singer, bad driver?

L: Actually I was quite a good driver, wasn’t I?
S: He was a good driver… it’s just the route and stuff… he’s been punished… that he’s sorry about…
L: I was a good driver though!
S: He was alright… he’s alright… yeah…
L: I WAS a driver man!
S: Yeah! I was about to say that man!
(Manager of Blue):Don’t go back to go-cart…
L: Haha… I would never go back to go-cart again! But I’ll get a real car!!

Interview by Alyson

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