WHO ARE WE?
- Organiser, Stage Manager, MC.(aka Rock Mum, Goddess of Rock and even “Godmother of Rock”)
The driving force behind The Underground. Described by Time Magazine as “Chris B—the tattooed fairy godmother of the Hong Kong scene. ” The ‘face’ of The Underground. Born & raised in Hong Kong, having a Chinese mother and English father. Involved in the HK live music scene since 1990, as a performer, songwriter, guitarist, singer and event organiser. Her Cantonese composition “Will You?” was nominated “Best Alternative Song” at the 2001 Golden Sail Awards, narrowly beaten out by Faye Wong. Past & present bands include: Sisters of Sharon, Smoking Monkeys, Flowers of Babylon, Thinking Out Loud, COCKfight and Guitars & Panties. Discovered a flair for organizing events whilst working on Earth Day Festivals and also discovered no one else wants to do it, her perseverance & passion has seen The Underground go from strength to strength. Chris B’s strongest belief is in creating a live music scene that is comparable to New York or London as is befitting for a “World City”. Chris B has also organised other events such as Music Matters Live (2010) festival (with 37 bands in 4 venues in 2 days.) She’s also the China National Director for the Global Battle of the Bands. Chris B has been featured in documentaries that have won awards at the HK Independent Film Festival plus been the subject of many interviews.Presently managing the ‘real’ twins of Hong Kong - Chloe & Ashley who are 4 years old and have already starred with Chris B in a Sony Cybershot ad in early 2008.
- “The A&R Guy”
Calvin has a wide range of interests from automobiles to scuba diving but is passionate about music. With a classical grounding Calvin had tried his luck with several instruments but his biggest claim to fame is picking up two singing trophies at the Devon & Exeter Music Festival back in the mist of time in his one and only attempt at the competition game. These days, however, Calvin almost exclusively plays the bass guitar. Having been introduced to rock music by a wayward uncle as a youngster Calvin now listens to pretty much everything under the sun: coupled with his high tolerance for loud noise, he serves as “the A & R guy” for The Underground and generally contents himself with creating work for Chris B..
Angus Leung is a social worker with a dream to becoming a professional photographer. Few years ago he got his first DSLR but he hates taking pictures of birds, flowers and Victoria Harbour. As the double bass playing band member of Born To Hula (a well established and popular band in HK), Angus loves attending gigs and taking pictures of the bands, and now he is working closely with The Underground.
Vivek Mahbubani is an award-winning new media designer and developer who specializes in web solutions. He is also the drummer of a metal band called Eve of Sin and is also a bi-lingual stand-up comedian at TakeOut Comedy. Being a freelancer, Vivek’s schedule is both in and out of control much like his love for music and comedy and this allows him to devote his time and effort to The Underground website as well as find himself bouncing around at shows to all sorts of tunes.
- Head of Security
A never-say-die punk rocker, Cliff began his musical journeys in his teens, both singing classically in school choirs as well as fronting various cover bands. Well known for his on-stage antics - which included swigging from a bottle of champagne at an alcohol-free disco; to smashing a pub’s drum kit during a rendition of My Way; to stopping mid-performance to openly sexually covort with a member of the audience - Cliff embraced the stereotypical rock and roll lifestyle of “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” by his early twenties.It was during his early twenties that Cliff turned his attention to writing poetry/lyrics, very much influenced by the likes of Morrissey, Jim Morrison and Joe Strummer, ranging from his views of personal anquish to misguided attacks on authority. His downward spiral continued into his late 20s when Cliff wrote and sang a love song written for his then girlfriend, with musical help from his sister, the famous Chris B. The subsequent breakup led to Cliff entering his “extended creative sabbatical”. Now sober and clean, Cliff has taken his military training, as well as security training, and joined The Underground movement of Hong Kong. Still a lover of music, he also DJs in his spare time at various functions, as well as regularly over the internet. Having been to, both as an audience member and as a member of staff, an enormous number of gigs, he often gives his point of view and impressions of various gigs - however, his colourful choice of language for the poorer performances forever bars him from being a critic! Known for his great disgust of commercial music, ie. boybands, girlbands, Simon Cowell, Britney and the other “creatures of hypocrisy”, Cliff has always and will always continue to support local bands, as well as his love for indie music and labels. If you’re a musician who can actually sing and/or play an instrument, you’re 50% there of getting his attention!
- Reviewer, Interviewer, Squire
Straight out of the middle-class pallor of Mumbai, Shash approached the Chris B at an Underground show with a desire to do “something” to help out. “Something” turned out to be writing ultra-gonzo reviews and interviews and just generally making a nuisance of herself to keep bands on their feet. Which was great, after suffering through years of having to repress interests in rock music ’cause no one else knew who the hell she was talking about. She fancies herself as a career-endingly harsh critic, so try not to shatter that illusion. Mentioning obscure grunge or punk bands/Alice in Chains/Red Hot Chili Peppers is a great way to get into her good books (such as they are). Oh,and she also studies cell biology and philosophy on the side.
A youth spent in Lan Kwai Fong listening to the same Black Eyed Peas and 50 Cent songs night after night will drive a person to do some crazy things, like study business. Flitting back and forth between the peace and quiet of Hong Kong and the hectic pace of Australia, Keenan would whinge at inordinate length about the music of today. Until . . .
Keenan stumbled upon The Underground one day while surfing the internet for something completely unrelated, and immediately realised how much he hated his job and wanted to get in on the Underground action. After a few months of spamming Chris B’s email, she eventually caved in and found him a few things to do to shut him up. Keenan now does marketing-related stuff, as well as anything else that needs doing. His aim in life is to one day see Hong Kong original music elevated to its rightful place atop the world stage, nothing too ambitious.
As an indie musician herself, and having spent some years in Canada and seen other thriving live music scenes, Yan saw the chance to help out her talented musician friends by getting involved in The Underground because in the past, she hasn’t been able to find such a strong community support for live music in Hong Kong. Yan helps to do a bit of everything from stage managing to doorperson to translator. Yan is currently in two bands: Logo and Guitars & Panties and will involve herself in more as she not only plays the bass and the guitar, she also sings and is an accomplished songwriter.
- translator & assistant
Michelle was first introduced to Hong Kong’s indie music scene several years ago by The Underground itself. She found her way back to them at a guest lecturer session at her university where she met Chris B (who happened to be lecturing in an English major class). She walked straight up to Chris and if she could help out at The Underground. Chris told her to send in her CV and that was when the random spam emails started. Michelle has been helping out since, dealing with stuff which involved any form of Chinese. She has also been hanging around at gigs, always ready to help (and have fun).
- Video Director
Wain is our director of the Underground Channel (HK). As a passionate filmmaker and documentarian and an indie singer, he is dedicated to creating the largest indie music channel in Hong Kong.”Wain has been filming and editing for more than 7 years already. His works ranging from documentaries, music videos, short films, as well as event and show programmings. His latest feature documentary “Disconnected” captures an mission-impossible of 3 college students living without computers and internet for a month. It was premiered at the 2007 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and was very well received; it’s currently available on www.http://disconnecteddocumentary.com/Growing up in the only-karaoke-oriented Canto-pop music in Hong Kong, Wain did not give up listening to and singing this type of music of his mother tongue. And during the times when he was studying abroad in United States and Japan, he learned to combine the band-vocal sound and pop to create his personal style of singing. He has been singing and performing in school events and festivals overseas and is now working closely with The Underground to prepare his debut in Hong Kong.
Elvis Lau got fair results on his exams of languages during his student era, so is pleasantly surprised and glad that he can be the translator for The Underground. His childhood was immersed with classic Cantopop and 80s pop. In his early teens, Elvis discovered rock n’ roll and became a loyal follower. Becoming a guitarist and constantly playing in bands, Elvis is always looking for people who share his same interests to write songs and play music with.
Nowadays, Elvis is interested in any kind of music, he is a fan of classic rock, indie-pop, punk, folk, old school hip-hop, shoegazing, oldies, post-punk, hard rock, classical, cantopop, particularly those with guitar noise and beautiful melody.
Citing The Beatles as the gods, he always wishes that he could have seen them playing live…..
- Video Chief
Toson has been filming the videos at The Underground (and Global Battle of the Bands) for a few years now and his passion for attending band shows has not waned in fact, has increased as the live music scene in Hong Kong has become more interesting and diverse. Toson harbours a secret wish to work full time filming bands, although in fact Toson is also the go-to man if you require footage for short films & documentaries.
- General Helper Outer
Heather hopes to be the best helper outer hanger arounder in Hong Kong has ever seen. Roles include asking Chris if everything is okay, tastechecking the stock of Asahi at every event, and doing anything else that needs to be done to help promote and present live music in Hong Kong. As a DIY musician herself, she loves to encourage people to take the live music performance plunge, and will happily recommend anyone who can carry a note or strum, bang, blow (into) or tap an instrument! You will findHeather playing as you guessed it “Heather” or roaming The Underground venues in a meaningful yet nonsensical fashion.
- Poster Girl (until August 2009!)
Whilst waiting for a piano lesson young Sheli discovered the joy of music when she put on her newest record and the teacher came screaming into the room yelling ‘MAD MUSIC, DEVIL’S MUSIC!’, which greatly added to its appeal. That was ‘78 and the record was ‘Never Mind the Bollocks here’s the Sex Pistols’.Growing up near San Francisco there was frequent opportunities to go to see live local and international bands. At one gig she was advised not to bother with the opening group, fortunately the advice wasn’t taken and U2 turned out to be pretty good after all. A few clashes with the Clash and she was well hooked.Sheli went to design college in LA and again there was a vibrant club scene, and she frequently attended gigs with Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chili Peppers and a plethora of other local bands. From there she started her career as an Art Director in Tokyo and drifted away from live music towards dance clubs with the boom of house music and the availability of various enjoyment enhancing substances.A couple decades on after Paris and Washington DC, Sheli cleaned up her act, is passionate about technical diving, and has enjoyed a successful international career as a glorified designer, focusing on strategic marketing. After noticing the decline of the design standard of her friend’s Underground posters she stepped in and reformatted them and except for a lapse from U69-74, has been doing the posters since U23. She is now working as a Branding & Marketing Consultant and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.