Producer and composer Duck Lau knows that quality music sometimes comes at a slower tempo In the face of adversity it is important to think long-term, according to music producer and composer Duck Lau, who is planning to inject new blood into an ailing music scene that has been hard-hit by piracy. 'It is a vicious cycle,' says Lau, who has been working in the music industry for more than a decade and has penned melodies for the likes of Eason Chan and Andy Lau. 'If you keep plugging low-quality songs on the radio, people won't respect you. A friend of mine once told me he would only buy albums by western artists.' This is part of the reason why Lau, a prolific composer, refuses to churn out as many songs as he did before 2005. 'From 2000 to 2005, I came across so many singers [of such poor quality] that I couldn't comprehend why their recording companies were willing to release albums by them. Some of my compositions ended up in their hands ... and the result was disappointing,' he adds. So Lau set up his own music company and is now concentrating on producing the debut album of Desmond Pang, a new singer with a quality voice. 'We are psychologically prepared,' says Lau, adding that releasing an album today is a risky business given the heavy slump in record sales. 'We don't have high hopes for his first album [regarding record sales]. We see it [releasing an album] as part of the process [of grooming an artist], which could take two to three years.' In addition to helping new singers to develop their careers, Lau is now preparing to put out a solo album for his own personal satisfaction. Two years ago he released Duck Lau with His Own Voice, on which he recorded 10 of his own compositions that had been penned over the years for other singers to perform. 'Interpreting a melody, with a new voice and new musical arrangements, is like giving it a new life,' he says, adding that while the album did not sell like hotcakes, it fared better than the records of many new Canto-pop idols. 'I like singing, although I have never thought of myself as a singer-songwriter,' says Lau. 'Even if a song ends up unpublished, I would still enjoy singing it and recording it on a demo for my own pleasure, just like I used to do during my secondary school days. It's like me doing a painting. I don't necessarily have to sell it.' Lau says his philosophy of music as a means of self-expression was hugely influenced in the 1980s by Madonna. At a retreat camp, one of his Form One classmates loaned him the cassettes of Material Girl and Like a Virgin. 'She made me realise that there are limitless ways to express oneself in music,' he says. 'Ultimately I want to release a solo album ... of songs that are uniquely Duck Lau. There would be no Canto-pop ballads but songs in the style of British and European electronic music.'