Friday, February 09, 2007

ka kui's rock and roll

another old article post from me. please excuse the 'i stuck it through a translator' grammar. i still remember being in my parents' study churning this out. haha.

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Ka Kui's Rock and Roll
Beyond's Words Before Returning from Japan

Time: 10th May 1993
Place: Beyond's Band Room
People: Beyond's Members: Wong Ka Kui, Wong Ka Keung, Yip Sai Wing, Wong Koon Chung

Q: Why did the four of you play together in a band?

Ka Kui: Till today we don't know the answer, we believe it is fate. Character is the most important, everyone needs to unconditionally respect each other, be willing to sacrifice, wholeheartedly for the band play for the band, cannot calculate that the band can bring about what benefits for yourself. Actually before playing together each of us had our own band, at that time each was playing in several bands. Ka Keung and I joined with Tai Chi's Joey, Gary and Ricky to form Laser Band, usually practiced little, there was somebody who gave us money and said we were talented. At that time at Mark I Studio, we practiced till perfect, but recieved little money. Playing 30 songs we only got a thousand dollars, and that wasn't enough for the rent. Paul's band Stone was even more pitiful, at the municipal council party played on the truck, initially it was to be four hundred dollars, afterwards somebody pushed down the price, recieved three hundred and fifty dollars.

Beyond formed in 83, in 84 Wing joined, Paul was the latest, joining in 85. At that time they did not know Paul could play guitar, only knew he had long hair, and liked to listen to music. He designed the concert poster for us. Before the concert one member decided to go overseas to study. At that time, we found out Paul was a guitarist, and after playing with us, asked him to join.

Q: Outsiders say you are an underground band, do you agree or disagree?

Ka Kui: I've never considered that Beyond is an "underground band". We like to play the music we like to listen to, never considered playing the music that other people like. I think my music is very popular, don't know why nobody listens to it, makes me very not be resigned to it.

What is an "underground band"? One that doesn't release records? Hasn't held a performance? Doesn't stoop to give publicity to themselves? THese are all others misunderstanding of "underground". "Underground" 's true meaning is that people cannot tolerate, like on the mainland singing revolutionary songs is "underground work". Hong Kong doesn't have much political protest. Expression of resent towards society, in the west this is a sort of very popular music, it's a pity too many Hong Kong music fans only can accept the popular music they like to listen to, not accepting calling Beyond an "underground band".

Q: Has Beyond intentionally been strange?

Ka Kui: We don't like songs having too much repetition. For the most part, pop music has two verses, one bridge, one chorus, which is very formulaic. We like change, even so much that our own music compositions we have difficulty remembering, because I don't know how to notate compositions, everytime I write a song I have to use the machine to record it. There are those who think Beyond's music isn't coordinated, like three songs in one. I think this is very dramatic, like a story. I think other people's music is very limited, without change.

Q: Some say Beyond's music is becoming more and more commercial, is this submitting to reality?

Ka Kui: People have said Beyond's music is old and strange kind of music, playing pleasing to the ear music just won't work. So I try to compose other people's kind of music, prove that since others can achieve it, I can also do it. This is a challenge to yourself, not to submit to reality. But I admit Beyond did try to become commercial, this is to accept fans way of thinking. If I persisted in playing the music that I thought was good, fans wouldn't understand, or accept it, but would resist, would be annoyed, not want to listen to Beyond's music anymore, this would lead to distancing the fans. I won't be resigned to it, so temporarily, after the fans accept us, again create the music that we like. I believe that Beyond did not intentionally become commercial, unless if now we only played The Earth, Really Love You, I Like You, only then are we a one hundred percent pop band, but Beyond hasn't stayed at The Earth, I Like You, stage.

Q: It appears at this stage that your works have or have not been restricted?

Ka Kui: Before we liked simple thoughts. Today we know Hong Kong people like simple things. Personally for a musician, all day you want to make a breakthrough, but you need to control yourself, don't want to go by convention. Sometimes for the song to be popular, to supress yourself no to empty out what you like as the fans may not accept it, makes me bored. I ask myself, what music am I playing? Why need to make it so hard?

During the time of The Earth and I Like You, we played simple songs and the feetback was the strongest. Using our hearts to play some more technically difficult songs, the response was very cold. Musicians want to shift the boundaries in their msuic, instead nobody cares, nobody appreciates. I felt in Hong Kong music there isn't any interest. Right now circumstances are a litle better, the number of music fans has stabilized, the record company also has confidence in us. So as long as in an album there are two, three songs which will be popular, we are given free rein. Beyond has been established for 10 years, I hope to compose the msuic that I like, fear that some fans won't accept the path I take, but Beyond will still take its own path.

Q: Spending 10 years in the music circle, what have you reaped?

Ka Kui: The biggest reward is that some fans understand guitar based music, know what drums are and know what guitars are. When we made mistakes, they would write a letter notting our mistakes that needed correction. These kind of fans aren't weak and appreciate our songs, also appreciate my hard work. They experience good guitar playing, then they wil definitely spend a lot of time practicising. I feel very happy, because our previous efforts weren't in vain. It's possible these types of fans wil grow up and become another band, like Beyond, like us criticising people, criticising society. They will also give us pressure, to do even better.

Q: After becoming famous, Beyond also shot movies, appeared on television, do television programs, is it that you do not accept only being musicians, have to be entertainers?

Ka Kui: We are one hundred percent musicians, wholeheartedly pursue music. When the album comes out we publicise it, ordinarily avoid it and pursue music. If we haven't released an album and also appear on television, television programs, only then that is an "entertainer". Beyond doing publicity means that music must be relevant. There are some singers who appear on television, step all over people, "drink milk" (meaning to suck up to), what meaning has this. Helping music equates to zero, only to raise their fame, that's all. Before I also tried to appear on a singing show, in the first place because of income problems, secondly to prove we could be like other entertainers. Appearing on singing shows you earn money, but everyday return home completely tired, then how will you have time left for music? Everyone worries about themselves, so why compete so greatly? Scared that others are "hotter" than you, scared of others vieing for your own fans!

Q: Since you wish to popularize music, why don't you write for other people?

Ka Kui: We wanted to write songs for other people, but the record company was opposed to it. They said, why don't you keep the good songs for yourself? If it isn't a good song, it will affect Beyond's name. That is to only be responsible for writing songs sin't okay. In short that any person's album has Beyond's name inside isn't alright, if you want to listen to Beyond's songs you should buy Beyond's albums. If each member did their own work, everybody would lose focus. Like TaiChi for example, they played for a lot of stars, obviously they played rock, but wrote other people's jazz songs. If done too much would result in not having your own individual character. You say, if we just use up the remaining songs, what will the band be like?

Q: Why do you resent the Hong Kong entertainment industry?

Ka Kui: Hong Kong doesn't have a music circle, only has an entertainment circle. You watch every year at music awards who gets elected best singer? It's the "hot" entertainer. What song is chosen? All cover version songs. In the circle you can say that in essence people don't respect music, only use music to shape popularity, give publicity to singers, not using music to move people's hearts, the content is empty without feeling. The entertainer will be absorbed into the music world, singers filming movies, on television, being an actor and also becoming a singer. Many singers regularly attend charitable activitiesm helping the poor, go to orphanages, visit old people's homes, yet their songs always don't express loving care for society type messages. For what? Want to be "hot", becoming popular, and want to become even more popular!

Q: Why can Beyond stay together?

Ka Kui: To be a person the most important is to be true. Very strange, some entertainers can pretend to have a smiling face, obviously not having very happy thoughts, seeing them face to face, all disguise themselves as affectionate. Why? Perhaps they can't help it. I'm not willing to be an idol, towards people be strong with a smiling face. Musicians only need to write good music. We are not from college, in ten years my family have opposed it yet we have persisted in playing in a band. Towards my passion for music I have been influenced all my life, not a small number of fans have begun to understand music, we play wrongly, they will write a letter to criticise us, also fans write a letter sending their recorded music. Does Beyond still need to exist, because we have sowed the seeds and they have begun to sprout.