ONLY A FEW bands in Hong Kong will get a chance to go international. Maybe Whence He Came were the first, but they didn't grab it. Although they were approached by a big record company, the group say they have given the distribution rights of their latest album, The Shorter Story, to a local indie label simply because 'this is not the right time'. 'There's no rush. We are happy to just play and make good music,' says 26-year-old frontman Joshua Wong Sun-kwok. Jokingly, he says that the youngest band member, bassist Ken Mimasu, who is just 17 and still a student, has to stay close to home. 'We're always looking for a right label to take us where we want to go with music. I mean talking to big labels and all that doesn't mean anything. You have to decide what you want to do.' Even though the band may not be ready yet to step into the international arena, they already have a worldly look about them. The band were formed by Australia-born Malaysian-Chinese guitarist-cum-vocalist Wong and Filipino guitarist Ephraim Bano, 23, in 1999. They were joined by American-Japanese Mimasu and Hong Kong-born drummer Stephane Wong, 22, last year. Nicholas Tse, who introduced Dutch producer Martijn Groeneveld to the band, will link up with his old friend Joshua Wong this month. 'We wanna be taken seriously for our music, not because of our colour, religion, race or whatever,' says Wong. Under Groeneveld's supervision, the band completed the recording of The Shorter Story at Touch Studio in Kwun Tong within three weeks in September last year. It was the band's first full-length album since their well-received debut CD, Still Amid the Traffic, was released three years ago. The rockers think their music has changed a lot since those days. 'Music is personal. As you grow, music grows. When we were writing our first album, the kind of music we were listening to and wanted to make was very different. We were a lot younger. I think your music matures as you mature,' says Wong. Besides writing songs, the quartet have also spent lot of time on the road. Over the past few years, they have toured Asia, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and the mainland. They may have rocked the United States, too, if not for the Sars outbreak last year. 'It's surprising that we actually have full-time jobs as well. It takes a lot of hard work,' says Wong. The young rockers enjoy going on tour. 'Every tour is different and memorable. The best thing is that we make [a lot of] good friends,' says Wong. 'It's not really about being rock stars and going everywhere, having screaming fans or anything like that. It's about meeting some awesome bands and playing with great people like Buddhistson and Return To Fall.' The local band will work together with the Japanese indie rock outfit Buddhistson on their latest CD, This Is Where We Rise, which will be released in August. 'We have a lot of plans. As for the music, we'll just see where it takes us,' says Wong. Bano adds humorously: 'And sell some CDs.' A CD release party will be held this Saturday at the YMCA in Tsim Sha Tsui. Uncle Joe and Pixel Toy will be the guest performers. Tickets ($90) are available at Panic, Monitor and the YMCA. A $40 discount coupon comes with the band's album.