Noughts and Exes
After eight years playing in the SAR and around the world, Hong Kong folk-pop band Noughts and Exes is disbanding. Ahead of their farewell gig Wong, Farquhar and Robertshaw tell Adrienne Chum about fond memories, good wishes, and the future of the band.
HK Magazine: Why have you guys decided to disband?
Adam Robertshaw: We wanted to close the book rather than let it fizzle out. There are so many bands that just kind of disappear and no one really knows where they went.
Joshua Wong: It just came to a point where we decided that six people was a hard number to bring together regularly. With something as special as Noughts and Exes, with everything in life, I wanna be all-in or none. It was never really about conquering the world, but about making the best music we could. For me personally, it was about bringing something beautiful to Hong Kong, and showing that Hong Kong could create great music.
HK: How did you come up with your band name, anyway?
JW: I really love Elliott Smith: He recorded an album called “XO,” which was mind-blowing. It changed my life. I also liked the idea that you always signed off a letter with “OX.” The last thing in a letter is usually the thing you remember, so I liked that sentiment. I liked the idea that you’d walk away remembering the music. It’s a bit cheesy, but I like it.
HK: After eight years in the business you must have some pretty keen fans.
JW: A guy came up to me in Singapore. He said “I saw you guys last year at a festival and was going through a massive breakup. It was the hardest time of my life, but your song ‘Surrounded’ touched me so deeply that it gave me strength through the heartache.” I wrote that during my hard times. To be able to pass that hope to other people is why I make music.
HK: If you could do one more thing as a band, what would it be?
Alix Farquhar: I’ve always wanted to do Glastonbury!
JW: We almost did! We were offered it. If you’re not one of the major names, most festivals require you to pay for your own flights. Because we knew that we might not keep going, it wasn’t worth the investment.
HK: What can people expect at your final show?
AF: A lot of special guests. We’re choosing songs that we’ve always wanted to do that we haven’t performed before, which will be spectacular. It’s kind of stupid that we haven’t played them. It will be really fun.
JW: Lots and lots of fun surprises. I love doing things that are memorable for independent music in Hong Kong.
HK: Are you still going to keep playing music together?
JW: We’ll all keep playing music. I’ll end up doing something with Alix, with Adam and with Al [Alex Bedwell], because they’re all local. I’ll do something online with Gideon, because he’ll be away. I’m already thinking about something I want to do that doesn’t involve getting five other people there. This was supposed to be a two-man band!
AR: A two-man band with eight loop stations?
JW: That would be great!
Noughts and Exes play The Final Show on June 6, 8pm at the Vine Centre 2, 29 Burrows St., Wan Chai, 2573-0793. $180 from www.ticketflap.com; $220 at the door.