Beatbox Battle 2014 Hong Kong's first beatboxing contest
Vocalists are boxing clever
The city is to host its first beatboxing contest, the Hong Kong Beatbox Battle 2014, on Friday. The competition aims to find the best beatboxer in town, and introduce the vocal percussion technique to a wider audience.
Organised by Dominic "Fatking" Chow, the competition is expected to draw more than 30 hopefuls - 16 of whom will make it to the stage at the Youth Square in Chai Wan.
"I love beatboxing, I can't live without it," says 22-year-old Chow, who has made YouTube videos in Cantonese, English and Putonghua teaching people how to beatbox. "I'm not only hosting this for beatboxers, but also for people who don't know what beatboxing is."
Watch Dominic "Fatking" Chow beatboxing
Chow made it into the top 16 at the Shanghai International Beatbox Performance Competition in 2012.
Joining Chow on the three-member judging panel for the local contest is So Tsz-lun, better known on the beatboxing scene as HeartGrey.
The 25-year-old Hongkonger uses his mouth, tongue, lips, and voice to imitate the sound of drums and turntables, among other things. He breaks into beatboxing as soon as something inspires him.
"Occasionally I'll do it in the middle of a conversation," So says. "If my girlfriend likes it, I'll add it to my routine. At first my friends thought that was weird. But if I was preparing for a contest, I'd do it anyway. They're used to it now."
Watch So Tsz-lun "Heartgrey" beatboxing
So has won a number of beatboxing titles, and represented Hong Kong at the 2012 Beatbox Battle World Championship - the first time the contest has seen a Chinese contender. So and his peers want everyone to accept beatboxing as music.
The competition is not the first event to promote beatboxing here. Chow has previously organised some conventions.
The Way We Dance, a 2013 sleeper hit about local dance culture which starred So, also pushed beatboxing to the mainstream. In 2012, So teamed up with a local radio station and the Employees Retraining Board in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people beatboxing at once.
This involved teaching more than 2,000 participants to perform a four-minute routine: "These weren't beatboxers, they were kids, old men and teenagers. In a very short time, I had to teach and lead thousands of people to do something that they didn't really believe in."
They didn't break the record - more than 4,000 people in the Netherlands achieved the largest human ensemble in 2013 - but the experience is still one of So's fondest memories.
As a judge of Hong Kong Beatbox Battle 2014, So is looking forward to the performances. "I'm someone who understands the technical challenges faced by the competitors," he says.
"But even those who don't know about such things can still appreciate beatboxing."
Click here to the Hong Kong Beatbox Battle 2014 event page