ASIA was hit by feline frenzy this month as Australian pop-grunge sensation Ratcat made their second tour of the region, introducing a wild new sound: grunge-rap.
Before the band, which calls itself The Cat, left Hong Kong on their way to the Philippines International Music Festival, members Simon Day, Andrew Polin and Marc Scully told how grunge-rap developed in Australia.
''No one in Australia has ever done it before,'' said lead guitarist and vocalist Day, as he explained the marriage of the two ''opposite'' forms of music.
''It all started because we like to make friends with musicians,'' Day said.
When Ratcat was playing a few bar gigs in the WhitSundays Islands of Australia, they met Rosanno Martinez of the Australian band Sound Unlimited.
''He joined us and started rapping with us,'' Day said.
When Ratcat manager, Joe Segreto, heard the grunge-rap sounds, he instinctively knew the band had to make a recording.
''I was impressed, because I hadn't seen it ever before. It was just something different,'' Segreto said.
Already established as Australia's number one pop-grunge outfit, with two platinum and three gold awards, the group is looking to Asia as the next horizon.
Yet Ratcat has already penetrated the Hong Kong market, evidence being the highly successful showing at last October's Wan Chai Music Festival and the recent In Your Face Grunge Party at the Neptune II during their visit here.
Learning the ropes of music marketing in Asia can be a bit frustrating at first, Segreto said.
It took him six months of phone calls and faxes to prepare for the band's recent Asian tour.
The music industry in Asia was based largely on reputation, so marketers tended to favour established musicians from the region rather than Western newcomers, Segreto said.
But he is confident the group will one day succeed.
''Music marketing is a new concept here, and it's all a learning process,'' Segreto said, admitting the group was unfamiliar with Asian practices.
But despite everything, the band declared they loved the Hong Kong people and were eager to learn the ropes.