SIT down for a chat with Australian bush band The Sundowners and the conversation is as likely to be sprinkled with references to new beer brands, promotional tie-ins and marketing strategies as it is with chord progressions and re-mixes. Back in Hong Kong for a stint of pub and club gigs, the band which celebrates colonial Australia through music and dance, finds itself between rock and a hard business climate. One day it's a food promotion, the next a bona fide gig, leading punters and music writers to wonder whether the band should be filed under ''cabaret'' or ''serious music''. ''Look, there's no point in building a Ferrari if you don't have a highway to drive on,'' argued affable band leader Mick Slocum, of The Sundowner's willingness to promote anything from Bundaberg rum to Outback cooking. ''It's unwise to sell yourself to a market that doesn't want to buy you, and that's why we have developed a marketing strategy. ''It's all very well to be a colonial bush band singing about the Outback, but there has to be a twist to it. We always need to keep a surprise up our sleeves.'' And the most surprising thing about the 1993 Sundowners is their music. Since their first visit in 1989, the band has switched from four to five-piece. The most important addition to mainstays Slocum and guitarist Damian Dickson has been that of former Men at Work bassist Paul ''Spike'' Gazsby. ''In 1989 we were four guys who just happened to be working on the same stage,'' said Slocum. ''Now it's a band. Damian has written a lot of new material and we probably have enough now for two albums.'' The band will begin work on the first of those by nipping into the studio in Hong Kong. The new Sundowners' sound basically combines contemporary sounds and thoughts with the traditional basis of Irish and Scottish folk. The band's next concert will be on All Saints' Day and is scheduled for Pomeroy's in Central. Today's line-up in the Wan Chai International Music festival is as follows: Hooray Howard and the Henries, AWOL, The Bastards, 852 Endeavour, Acid Jazz, Infradig, Dawn, Tai Chi, Ai Jing-Chen Jing, Andy Ingkavet, Technotronic, Apache Indian. From 1-10 pm, Southorn Playground.