In the footsteps of Beyond
In an industry dominated by syrupy love tunes and ditsy teen bands, the inspirational, lively songs of up-and-coming band Ever provide a refreshing break.
Founded in 2000, the obscure rock band got a huge boost when former Beyond member Yip Sai-wing took them under his wing in 2003.
'We performed at a music festival in Singapore in 2003 and Sai-wing happened to be one of the guests there. He was impressed by our energy on stage. We were really lucky,' says Ka-ho, the band's lead singer, guitarist and drummer.
Released last month, the promotional tracks from their first album Ever One sum up the band's spirit and beliefs.
The theme of pursuing dreams runs through Tomorrow and The Child of Wind, evoking the brand of inspirational rock made immortal by Beyond.
The band has even invented a new genre to encapsulate their youthful ebullience and optimism about the future.
'We call it 'happy rock'. There are a lot of messages we want to convey through our songs like friendship and love,' says To, guitarist and backing vocalist.
'We worship Beyond. Their songs inspire young people to strive towards their goals, and they deliver poignant messages, drawing people's attention to social problems like war and famine,' says Ka-ho.
Poignant lyrics and social messages might be a hard-sell when the local music market is inundated with Canto-pop pap, but the three young rockers say making money or garnering fame was never a priority.
'We never expected to earn a living with the band. We all have outside jobs... We just want to make music that can move people,' says To, who works as a guitar instructor at schools.
Their aversion to the commercial side of the industry is so great that they turned down previous offers by Yip to bankroll their promotional activities.
'Sai-wing offered to put out advertisements for us, but we turned him down and asked him to use the money to improve the sound of our next CD instead,' said Ka-ho.
'In the local music industry, the budget for promotion eclipses that for music production. It's depressing,' said Ka-kit, the band's bassist, who does backing vocals with To.
In spite of their optimism, the cruelty of reality still strikes them sometimes.
'The formation of our band has undergone many changes over the years, with some members leaving because of livelihood issues and parental objections. Unlike Ka-ho and Ka-kit, I only joined the band in 2003,' said To.
While the lack of promotion has kept the band under the Canto-pop radar, increasing support from their fans has been a big boost.
'I got a letter from a fan who thanked us for cheering her up,' says Ka-ho. 'She said one of our songs had helped lift her gloom.'
Ever One is now available