Embracing the limelight
In 2007, singer and guitarist Sammy So Ho-choy, drummer Michael Chu Wai-chor, bassist Kao Yiu-fung and guitarist Robin Law Ho-pan came together to form local Canto-rock band Kolor. They first served as the back-up band for their mentor Steve Wong Ka-keung, the former bassist of rock band Beyond, while producing their own material.
Young Post caught up with So recently to find out just what it's like to be in a Hong Kong band.
Real name: Sammy So Ho-choy
Star sign: Leo
Chinese zodiac: Horse
Kolor albums: Color (2007), Surrealism (2009), Independence (2010), As Simple As (2010), Change (2011), Major And Minor Issues (2011)
Our former band, Lam Kee, didn't work out ... because of the musical style. It was pretty much restricted to one style. Kolor was an exit for us, to not really categorise ourselves as rock or any one thing.
On our first album ... we really couldn't make up our minds on what we wanted to do, so we kind of jammed a bit of everybody's ideas into the songs. You could find 10 songs inside with 10 different styles, and we were happy about that.
We had to come up with a band name ... so we figured that [since] we're using different colours in our songs, why don't we just call ourselves Kolor? It's like an artist using different colours to paint.
Every time we learn something new ... we try to make our music more diverse. We wrote a lot of different kinds of songs so we can play at weddings, school graduations ... We're very versatile in playing gigs. If it was a dinner for an insurance company, we would have something for that.
The lyrics are ... very important in Cantonese. Cantonese is something special. We don't have any Mandarin songs even after all this time because it's not something we're used to. A lot of Cantonese bands in Hong Kong failed because they used to sing in English. The only excuse for them is that Cantonese lyrics are really difficult to write.
The first challenge for me in Kolor was ... being the lead singer. In my first band and up until Lam Kee, I was a guitarist. I sang back-up [vocals], but I wasn't the lead. When we were looking for a vocalist [for Kolor], Michael suggested me after hearing me sing in some of the demos I had made before. I was confident in playing the guitar, but not in singing. It took me a year to really trust myself and what I was doing. So the first few gigs were really hard for me.
Steve Jobs ... inspired us with the way he saw the world and what he did. He didn't graduate from university, but the creativity that he displayed in his products is what we want to do with our music.
The best advice we've received ... came from Steve Wong. He told us to always have a message in our songs. Songs last forever because they have something to say.
Being independent ... has been better for us. It wouldn't be any different if we were signed to a major label. Maybe we would get more promotion, more exposure - but is that what we want? Not really. Music is the focus. We like the freedom we have now and we're actually making a living out of it. It might not be a really good living, but we get by.
My favourite colour is ... red. It reminds me of flames and gives me that excitement on stage.