Having lived such an anonymous lifestyle during my time in Hong Kong, it is odd to reflecting again on another radio appearance. Last month I was on RTHK and this time I was on Radio Dada, Hong Kong’s cool independent online radio station, at the invitation of the guys from the Red Bull Music Academy. […]
Having lived such an anonymous lifestyle during my time in Hong Kong, it is odd to reflecting again on another radio appearance. Last month I was on RTHK and this time I was on Radio Dada, Hong Kong’s cool independent online radio station, at the invitation of the guys from the Red Bull Music Academy.
So, late on Saturday afternoon I made a quick dash from the Semi-Permanent conference at the Hong Kong Convention Centre, where I’d just heard the wonderful Kayt Jones speak on photographing supermodels, to the bowels of Langham Place in Mong Kok to talk about the struggles of being a musician in Hong Kong. There are few cities in the world where you could reliably make a trip like that in under half an hour on public transport. There are fewer still that have a public radio station open to the public in a major shopping mall. Sometimes this town rocks!
I was one of four on a panel and, to be honest, a lot of the conversation covered familiar territory – the lack of venues, the temptation to book safe music, the struggle to find potential collaborators, the narrow musical tastes of the public, the language barrier. Much of that I’ve addressed in previous posts like Who Can Start The Music? and How To Develop A Jazz Scene In Hong Kong.
Still, it was good to hear notes of optimism amongst the panel. There was agreement that the music scene in Hong Kong has improved in recent years and that some established people are becoming more open to new ideas.
I didn’t go in with a lot of taking points, but did manage to pick up on two themes I’m pretty passionate about. The first was the importance of using the new online and social media tools. In fact, something I haven’t stressed before is that some tools, like SoundCloud actually break through the language barrier, because the first thing that hits you is the music, not the language used to package the music.
Second, I talked about the need to move away from seeing music as commodity, or product that we sell, to music as an experience, a social object, a means of self-expression. Too often we think that it is only the musicians who express themselves with music. But, every CD collection, playlist on an iPod, or poster on a wall is an act of identification and self-expression.
I walked away from the studio a little frustrated. I could have said some things more clearly and maybe gotten a little deeper into the issue of becoming a better musician on a day to day basis. But, it was a great opportunity to hopefully inspire a deeper conversation about music in Hong Kong.