For the three members of local band Black Box, positive support from the local media has become the driving force for them to continue their struggle in the local music industry. 'In the past, the local music market was not very open to band-sound music, but the situation has changed now, probably because the local media gives a lot more support to us than before,' said bassist Alex Chan Wai-kong. 'I think both the media and the general public are quite fed up with the present Canto-pop scene and they are looking for some new genres to stimulate the market, and this gives us a golden opportunity to promote our music.' Chan and keyboard player Joannes Lam Kin-wah have known each other for more than seven years and had played together in other bands. Lam met guitarist Clayton Cheung Kai-tim in a song-writing contest in 1994 and invited him to help form Black Box. 'After the competition, we found out that the three of us shared the same music style and interest, and when Alex and Joannes invited me to form a band, I said, 'yes, why not',' said Cheung. Black Box started their career displaying their talent at various underground performances for indie bands. A local independent label spotted them and offered them a recording contract, which they jumped at. 'When the label approached us, we were really flattered because we did not expect someone would spot us. We thought it was a very good opportunity for us to spread our music,' added Cheung. After the band's first album It's A Beautiful World was released, the media was very supportive and, in 1995, the band was repeatedly voted one of the best new acts of the year. According to the three members, they did not think their music style was either US hardcore rock or British rock; they would rather describe it as a 'mixture'. 'The three of us are influenced by different music,' said Lam. 'The most important thing is that all the music comes from our hearts and from our personal experiences, whether personal or political,' he continued. In addition, Chan stressed that harmony played a very important part in their music. Even though the three members agreed that the format of the 'band' was not complete, they said they would not worry too much about finding a drummer. 'We are not too worried because some of the bands in the US or UK face the same situations. For example, the earlier Tears For Fears had only two members. But whenever they played live they would invite other musicians to play with them; I did not see that there were any problems at all,' explained Lam. 'It is true that this may cause some inconvenience, but we do not want to rush things and if we cannot find a drummer who shares our interests, we would rather wait and keep the band in the present format,' said Lam. Some music insiders believe that there will be a strong influence from mainland musicians on the Hong Kong music scene after 1997, and the members of Black Box agree. But they also believe that the market will still be dominated by the mainstream Canto-pop music. 'I think in the future the local music scene will be influenced by others because the audience is getting bored with the industry. In some ways this influence could bring some stimulation to the market, but on the other hand, I do not believe that they [mainland musicians] could replace us absolutely because we still retain a certain spirit of Canto-pop music which they do not possess,' said Chan. 'For example, when I listened to mainland singer Ai Jing sing 1997, I did not really think that she could bring out the issue in her song because she was not born in and did not grow up in Hong Kong; she could only touch the skin of the issue.' Apart from continuing to compose music of their own, the three musicians agreed that they will look for collaborations with other artists and musicians, hoping that these experiences will bring new inspiration to their music. Compared with other artists, Black Box know they will have to put in extra effort to achieve success. 'Other artists may just need to go into the studio and finish recording and that's it, but we are very different. 'Apart from composing the songs on our own, we have to take part in the production of the albums as well, which occupies much of our time. So if we are not devoted enough, then we might as well give up,' said Chan. 'I think band music is very different because you can really enjoy your collaboration with other people, and the feeling is great when you share your music with others.'