Guangzhou-based rockers The Swamp are a product of their surroundings, chronicling the alienation that's accompanied the economic transformation of their booming home town.
The band wowed Hong Kong audiences recently, and their albums have now been released locally. This month, they're off on a 16-date tour of the mainland.
Liang Hailiang - known as 'HZ' - met Roy Li Chunlai at college. In 2000, they teamed up with Sean Liang Haixun, Jim Si Tu Jinghui and manager Lam Zhang Yelin.
'We're a true independent band,' says HZ. 'We're involved in everything from the music to the design, financial control and everything else. It's the strong feeling of brotherhood that makes us keep going together. We all think music is an important and magical journey in our life, and we enjoy it.'
The band took their name from one of their songs. 'When I was writing The Swamp, I was revelling in its inspiration, which is so conflicting and, at the same time, so integral,' says HZ. 'The swamp is so full of life and vitality, but it's also rotten, mysterious and dreadful. It's similar to our society, our living conditions and even our souls. That feeling is what we'd like to express in our music.'
On the mainland, the band have released one full album, three mini-albums and numerous singles and EPs. Their latest LP, City, will be released in Hong Kong through 89268 records and comes as a double album that includes the band's debut.
'Our latest album talks about the city we live in,' says HZ. 'It's not a concrete one, but an abstract concept. This is a great era. We all feel puzzled, and hope to make sense of it all. For us, this is our way of finding comfort among the confusion.
'We 've high expectations for our music. Above all, we hope our music can move more and more people. In turn, we hope it will make the world more beautiful, since we all believe in love.'
With a sell-out show in Hong Kong in August under their belts, The Swamp are looking forward to returning to the city.
'There's no big difference performing in Hong Kong or on the mainland,' HZ says. 'Young people are similar all over the world - full of curiosity and vitality.'
The Swamp's Swamp: City double album was released yesterday on 89268 records.