Local duo Swing disappeared seven years ago after only two years together, but they have recently swung back on the scene. Formed in 2000, Swing, formerly Snowman, consist of two Western-educated songwriters and arrangers, Eric Kwok and Jerald Chan. They freshened up the local pop music scene with their jazzy bossa nova musical style and won several awards the year after their debut. But they split up soon afterwards. Chan (above right with Kwok) became a producer, working with singers such as Juno Mak Chun-lung, while Kwok has been writing popular Canto songs for artists such as Joey Yung Cho-yee. His career reached its pinnacle when his Wedding Card Street became a hit single for Kay Tse On-kay. What was the cause of the split? Chan: It was me, I was very unhappy. I had a dilemma. I loved performing and I had a blast within the three-minute duration of a song, but that was the only time I relished. The time before and after the shows, doing interviews and photo shoots, I didn't like at all. Plus there was the politics, the phoniness and posturing. It also bothered me that Eric's career went a little ahead of mine. I wanted my music to be heard and people to like my stuff too, but people were focusing on Eric's stuff. All of this got to me. I just didn't want to live that kind of life any more. I wanted to start over. Eric was very understanding. He was like my counsellor then. Kwok: I'm so glad this guy got married. His wife can take over the job of counsellor. She is like a saint. She is the only person who could have tolerated him for this long. I only had to work with the guy - she has to live with him. What was your first reaction when Jerald told you he wanted to quit? Kwok: I wasn't angry because I had been expecting it. Jerald had been saying he was going back to Toronto ever since we started Snowman. I would try to calm him down, but it was a tough time for me too. By the time we split, we had worked so hard to get people to notice us, and it seemed like things would be easier for us. I was disappointed because Swing was our dream. I thought it was a waste, but at the same time, it was necessary: we couldn't continue when one of us was so unhappy. But I hoped he would change his mind. What brought the band together seven years later? Kwok: Sometimes I have felt bad that the songs I've written for other singers could have been for Swing. I listen to music when I drive and three out of six albums in my car at one point were Swing records. I was surprised by how good they still sounded. But then I got sick of playing the same old albums, and wanted a new Swing album to listen to. I always knew we could have recorded more than three albums. And then Jerald called me one night and said he wanted to reunite. He had made similar calls before, but his eagerness always diminished afterward. This time he seemed ready. Honestly, even now I am waiting for him to tell me he can't stand it any more and quit again. I know something will trigger him. Chan: The reason I'm ready now is because I have finally decided to leave Hong Kong. I came back here from Toronto in 1997 for a holiday to witness the handover and ended up forming a band and staying for 12 years. I've done what I wanted in terms of creating music and now I want to start a new life in Canada. But before I leave I want to do the Swing thing again. I began my career here with Eric and I want to end it here with him. It's a full circle. So the comeback is only temporary? Chan: Nothing is forever, right? Especially in Hong Kong. One minute you are in, the next you are out. The 'lang mo' (pseudo models) thing is hot now, but in a few months it will be forgotten. Some bands last for 10 or 15 years. Swing's life span has been shorter, but everything has to end at some point. How did you share the workload for your new album Wu Dang? Chan: I had to put my ego in check, which was a big change for me. I have nothing to prove, just to make good music. Unlike our signature singles such as 1984 and For Sale, which were mostly Eric's, people won't be able to tell who did what for this album. It's a mix. We didn't want to set any rules for that. Once you start calculating who did what line like an accountant, it leads to the same tension we had before. So we tried to forget about how many lines each of us wrote and I just enjoyed the process of making this project happen with this talented guy again. We wanted to make music that people would want to listen to again and again. We have a song on the album called We've Stock, which is a sequel to For Sale, our last single. In For Sale, we talked about a company going out of business as a metaphor for our band splitting up. We've Stock talks about a company that shut down seven years ago, but is now open again with fresh supplies. How would you describe the musical style of this album? Kwok: We created 10 songs that are cohesive together, though each is different. It's difficult but if you really need to specify styles, it's a mix of jazz, pop and punk. But we have a unique way of making music. I can only say this album is in Swing's style. Swing will perform a free 60-minute gig at 2pm at Stanley Plaza, Carmel Road, Stanley tomorrow. Wu Dang is out now.