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Clockenflap Music Festival

Clockenflap first timers Denise Ho and Riz from King Ly Chee talk politics, culture and the music industry

He's a hardcore punk with a huge following in mainland China; she's a Cantopop star banned from the mainland after participating in the Occupy protests. What could they have in common? It's not just their passion for music that brings them together...

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 November, 2015, 2:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2016, 2:53pm

Watch: Hong Kong record labels suck soul out of music? King Ly Chee frontman and Denise Ho weigh in

Two musicians who will be making their debut at Clockenflap this year are Denise Ho Wan-see and Riz Farooqi of King Ly Chee.

The straight-edge hardcore punk and the LGBT Canto-pop star:  at first they seem like two completely disparate people, but there are similarities.

They both started their careers in the 1990s: Ho’s began in 1996 when she won the 15th New Talent Singing Awards, and was mentored by the late Cantopop Queen Anita Mui Yuen-fong, while Fahrooqi started his heavy metal band three years later. He came to Hong Kong when he was two months old from Pakistan, and was raised here, completely fluent in Cantonese and Putonghua, but has also experienced the racism displayed towards South Asian people in the city.

Ho has moved in various worlds, first in the mainstream Cantopop arena, now blurring the lines between this musical genre and indie, while Farooqi and King Ly Chee have persevered for 15 years in Hong Kong with their own brand of punk/metal/hardcore music that draws hugely passionate audiences in the mainland and Southeast Asia.

Because of Ho’s active participation in the Occupy protests last year, her record company dropped her, and she was banned from performing on the mainland. Despite the challenges, Ho has persevered, starting her own record label and finding her own voice.

SCMP.TV sat down with these two Hong Kong artists to talk about the state of music in Hong Kong and how politics and social issues have influenced their music and personal lives.

Denise and Riz are both making their Clockenflap debut on Sunday this weekend, representing for Hong Kong on a bill including the likes of New Order, Blackalicious, Kid Koala and Chic - find out more of the highlights with our critic's guide to the best of Clockenflap here.