Hi Paul! How’s the year worked out?
It’s been amazing. It seems like the culmination of five years since we began working together. The band has worked hard to bring these sounds to Hong Kong and we were fortunate enough to spread our vibes even further with the huge Kuala Lumpur Ska Festival in May. After touring at big ska events in Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore and Tokyo, it inspired us to work on Hong Kong’s reggae ska festival [Endless Summer]. We were really excited to work with one of the legends of 2 Tone Ska, Neville Staple, during the summer – he also featured on a track on our album with a really cool take on his stay in the city. To finish the year with the release of our debut album and playing the main stage at this year’s Clockenflap will be hard to top!
Growing up in the UK, ska and reggae were always a big part of the music scene and an important subculture. In Asia, especially Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia this scene is thriving and has some wonderful festivals and bands that attract tens of thousands of fans. The genre is fairly new to Hong Kong and it has been great to see people dress up more and learn how to skank as the band has played more and more shows across the city. What has been heartening is that people who don’t know the genre get in to the spirit and vibe of the big band sounds and then begin to follow the scene.
We were chatting to Cavo [Sean Dinsmore, formally of famed New York ska band The Toasters], who has a label and production company in Hong Kong. He has a long heritage with third wave Ska in New York from the 80s and asked us to record with him at Billboard. We began deciding which tracks to work on and started the process of laying each instrument individually over the year. Cavo mixed with Abe Lau and we sent it to the UK for mastering at the brilliant 360 Studios. I think having a producer work us through the whole process really took away the pressures of getting it done ourselves and we could focus on playing well and the quality of the musicianship. In terms of highlights, I am particularly fond of Julia Posh, a very quirky take on the class system in the UK and of course, Hong Kong Special, where Neville Staple tells his story of the problems getting a taxi in the city, something we can all relate to!
We will have copies at our release party at Grappa’s Cellar on Saturday December 9 and will also begin digital downloads through various online platforms and our website after that. The release party will be a great celebration of the record and our five years together. We’re also bringing over one of our favourite Asian ska bands, Skaraoke from Taiwan – two great sets of first and second wave ska. It’s also free entry, so everyone can come, grab a T-shirt, CD and skank the night away!