There were times when Guangzhou's post-rock band Swamp survived on 10 yuan (HK$9) a day - just enough for food and maybe a soft drink. They lived in their tiny home-office together with their close friend and manager Zhang Yelin (aka Lam) and another mainland band, A. It was tough but the Swamp's four members led a cheerful life and focused on creating good music. 'We were happy and were really productive,' says vocalist-cum-guitarist Liang Hailiang, aka Hoy, recalling the band's early days back in 2000. Swamp staged their first Hong Kong gig at M1 Bar in Tsim Sha Tsui last week. The quartet will release their two-CD album Swamp: City in Hong Kong next month. The album, distributed by local indie music label 89268, comprises 27 tracks. The songs are a fusion of rock and electronic. Frontman Hoy and bassist-cum-keyboard player Roy Li Chunlai formed the band when they were in secondary school. They were soon joined by Hoy's younger brother, percussionist Haixun, aka Sean. Guitarist Jim Situ Jihui - one of Hoy's students - decided to follow in his mentor's footsteps after completing secondary school and they were finally ready to rock. Swamp, who will embark on their first mainland tour later this year, hope their Tsim Sha Tsui show would open the door to Hong Kong. 'Although we have listened to Hong Kong music since we were kids, we never really had the chance to communicate with Hong Kong musicians. 'We hope there will be more opportunities for us to do so and learn from them,' says Hoy. Swamp have become familiar with the SAR entertainment scene through watching local television, reading music magazines and listening to local music. But taking care of production, distribution and promotion is not easy. 'In Beijing, underground music is more active. But there isn't really an underground scene in the south,' says Hoy, adding that pirated CDs add to their hardship. When the band released their debut EP, 2dimensions, in 1996, they found two pirated versions in the market a month later. The versions contained some 'new' songs produced by outsiders. To fight the pirates, Swamp had to sell their album at about 20 yuan, which barely covered the cost. Manager Lam says they are ready to face more obstacles in the future. While the band will continue to blend jazz, folk, electronic and rock music, their ultimate goal is to transform their company into an independent music label. 'It's a shame that we haven't got the ability to help other talented mainland bands,' Lam says. 'We hope we can eventually develop into a record label on the mainland and help more Chinese bands some day.'