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Zpecial

Page Creation Date
2019.03.15

Page Update Date
2021.04.23

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A life dedicated to music, not in vain

We are all of different styles. At that time, we often seriously argued with one another for the different opinions on our creative works.

The indie bands scenes have always been ‘a general’s success built upon ten thousands rotting bones’*. If you have no one to pull a few strings for you, or you lack some funds, your road to success may probably be a thorny one. As the founding member of Zpecial, Hong Chung has experienced the most and he can always relate.

‘The biggest blow to a band is the withdrawal of members, because all projects in progress or in preparation have to pause immediately.’ Hong Chung says that in the past nine years, members have changed several times. Most of the time it was because they have different future plans. However, the most important element of a band is the people. There are only four people in the band and each person has his duties; nothing can be done if any one of them leaves.

* Translator’s note: C.K. Ho, Tang Poems in Original Rhyme, 2015, p235

Fighting over creative works

In 2017, because of the withdrawal of drummer, the plan to release a record was forced to be shelved indefinitely. Wai Yin joined the band in half a year later. However, people are the key elements of a band. It takes time to get people together and make things work. ‘Initially, We kept arguing because of the different perspectives we have on music,’ says Hong Chung, and the four members burst into laughter.

‘We have different styles and perspectives indeed. At that time, we often fought genuinely with one another because of our creative ideas’, the bassist Tatming says. After countless fights that did not end on good terms, they finally found a solution. ‘Later, when we encounter a situation like this, we try all the different proposals and then vote for a decision.’

Most people equate rock music with idlers and players. However, considering the conversation between these young men in front of me, I found that the four were more mature than most people have presumed. It is indisputable that the income of the band is limited. None of the four young men was born with a silver spoon. When I ask how they balance their interests and livelihood, they all answer earnestly, ‘only spend money when it is necessary.’

The band is our main job, and works other than music are the side hustles. The band is our primary concern.

Working on their own side hustles

The income of making music is limited. For the sake of livelihood, all of them have side hustles. Hong Chung works as a marketing specialist in a fashion company, Wai Yin works as a fitness coach, Tatming works as a concert sound system specialist, and Mike works on research projects at a university. ‘The band is our main job, and works other than music are the side hustles. The band is our primary concern.’ Hong Chung says that the flexibility of taking time off and working hours are the prerequisites of deciding what side hustle to do. He says jokingly that he asked the company for a half-day off because of this interview, and he might get fired when he was back to office!

I ask the four, ‘how far can you go’ for music? The drummer Wai Yin, who joined only at the end of last year, says. ‘I came from the music department of the same school as Hong Chung. After graduation, I found it difficult to find a job in the music industry. For the sake of my family and for livelihood, I have done almost everything in the past two years, even manual works.’ When Hong Chung invited him to join, Wai Yin struggled over and over whether he should give up his stable job with an ideal income and pursue his favourite, music.

Family’s support

Fortunately, the four Zpecial members who are passionate about music have the incommensurable understandings and support from their family. After careful consideration, Wai Yin made up his mind and quit his job, devoting himself to music.

Hong Chung says, ‘After Wai Yin came and joined us, there was once we finished a performance in the Mainland, he told me that no matter we (Zpecial) succeeded or failed, as long as we could go through such a colourful journey, life was worthwhile.’

As long as we work hard, we believe people will notice.

Zpecial started as an amateur band. They released their first album ‘The Impulse To Travel’ in November. The song ‘Journey to the Unknown’ in this album won the ‘VIP Hit Song Award’. VIP Music Charts Awards Ceremony is a grand event of Chinese music in which talents from Hong Kong, the Mainland, Macau, Malaysia, the United States and Canada gather and celebrate. This group of young men, with their enthusiasm and a will to never give up, work hard on the difficult music journey. Their story is certainly one of the best portrayals of the new generation of Hongkongers.

For the road ahead, they are full of confidence. Regarding their early promise of ‘going global’, they chose the Mainland as the first stop. They also plan to participate in music festivals in Taiwan and Japan. ‘As long as we work hard, we believe people will notice.’ Hong Chung says in a firm tone. The results of sweat and hard work always make one remember. In the foreseeable future, the four young men will surely embrace a fruitful harvest.

 

 

 

 

Written by: Kim Shi Fung
Original story in Chinese, English translation by: Daniel Leung & Sharon Huang

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