Can you introduce yourself, your band, and some of the highlights of your time as a musician in your band?
I’m Wilfred (or Wolf Red if it’s easier to remember!) and I’m the lead vocalist for the band Bamboo Star. We’re a four-piece hard rock band based in Hong Kong; and, we’ve been performing for around three years. Though I consider being able to write and perform the music that I love already a huge privilege, specific highlights so far would be performing at the Fanzone Festival 2014, taking our music to Chengdu and Singapore last year. But with our first album coming out next month, an upcoming tour to South East Asia in July as well as winning the opportunity to play at the Envol et Macadam Music Festival in Quebec this September, I think our proudest moments are yet to come!
How would you describe the music scene in Hong Kong? And what about the metal scene?
The music scene in Hong Kong, particularly the metal scene, unfortunately doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves. It’s a very commercial city here and mass media simply dominates a lot of the culture here. I think it is improving though and in the last decade we’ve seen more bands and alternative acts get more popular and better exposure so there’s definitely hope for Hong Kong music.
How would you describe the music of Bamboo Star? Who is going to like the band?
Bamboo Star has been called J-Rock, Metal, Heavy Metal, Hair Metal, Classic Metal, Blues Metal, Blues rock, Pop-Rock, Modern Rock, Alt Rock… I personally think there’s a bit of all of those in there, but I like to just call it Hard Rock and have people judge for themselves. It’s heavy groove, blues-riff driven songs with high-pitched clean vocals layered with harmonies. At the shows, we usually get young metalheads who want a bit more of a classic vibe or old rockers who feel the metal scene is a little too ‘core’. That, and Terence tends to attract cougars to the show hahaha…
What were some of the influences of the band?
That could take forever to answer! We each have a never-ending list of influences but if we had to each had to state two,
- Wilfred: Motley Crue, Skid Row
- Terence: Dream Theatre, Paul Gilbert/Mr Big
- Nam: X Japan, Aerosmith
- Nate (who is not nearby to answer): Wilfred and Terence
5. How do you feel about music streaming? Has the digital ages made it better or worse for musicians?
Double edged sword really, it’s made everything from production to distribution a lot more accessible; but, then there’s a lot more competition out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s better or worse anymore, it’s happening so better embrace it and try to make the most of it!
Each song varies really… Sometimes it starts with a lyric, melody and progression in my head late at night and I bring that into the band room as a base structure. Sometimes it grows from a spontaneous jam that we begin during rehearsal.
What venues can music fans see and hear live original music in Hong Kong? Is it expensive to go to these shows?
We play more often on the Island and so you can generally find us at Central or Wan Chai venues like Orange Peel, Backstage Live or The Wanch. There are some great live houses out Kowloon too, like Hidden Agenda, Musician’s Area, Rock Angel Band House… I really wish there were more venues around town because without them all the music just stays in the rehearsal room, but property prices and zoning laws here really don’t make it easy.
What are some notable Hong Kong metal bands one can see in Hong Kong?
Ha, they so don’t need our plug but if you’re looking for something a bit rougher, check out Qiu Hong and Deep Inside. I personally also really like what Fear Index and Seasons for Change have going on.
Is this your first time doing a show in Bangkok? Was it hard putting together a tour of SE Asia? Where else are you going for tour dates?
Yes! And hopefully just the first of many more! Organizing an SEA tour was a pleasure and we’re super thankful to all the people who helped us out and gave us a chance. We are amazed that we get to take our music to our neighbouring countries and would gladly do it again. In addition to our Bangkok gig (at Fatty’s on the 29th July!) we’re also playing a show in Kuala Lumpur and three shows in Singapore, including the Ventbox Metal Festival, before heading back to Hong Kong for the Lan Kwai Fong Beer Festival. Immediately after that, we’ll be throwing an album launch party show back in HK to celebrate.
Describe Bamboo Star in 3 adjectives.
Intense, Sweaty, Addictive
Bamboo star is performing at Nowhere End #12 at Fatty's Bar and Diner on July 26th with support from classic metal band Sin Tonic and the stoner rocking groove of Superunknow. Click here for more information.