January 7, 2012

Hong Kong: Tigerbombers

Hong Kong’s Tigerbombers is a trio commonly described as 'Surfer-billy' with a vicious kick of riot grrrl and comprised of Arthur Urquiola on guitar, Natalie Belbin on bass, and Jasmine Robertson on drums, with all three sharing vocal duties. The band is heavily involved in the burgeoning indie scene in Hong Kong, especially the lone lucky male, Art, who previously used to be in at least 6 bands, including Six Pack of Wolves. I had only watched (and loved) the band’s two youtube videos below, before I reached out to them to see if they would be interested in helping me get to know their city and was stoked to find out more about their sound, the music community they are helping to build, and what a typical day in Hong Kong is like for them.
Natalie and Art met me at Central pier no.4 after their Clockenflap set and we made our 25-minute journey via a very bumpy but scenic ferry ride (make sure to pack whatever anti-motion sickness methods work for you or you will definitely not notice even a hint of the beauty) to Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island, where Natalie lives. Lamma Island (population 5000) is home to numerous bands like David Bowie Knives, Transnoodle, and Dark Himaya, and DJ's Songs For Children (a couple who's promoted international acts in Hong Kong such as Asobi Seksu, The Drums, and Deerhoof).
Natalie tells me that Lamma is known in HK as the 'island with all the hippies,' which she doesn’t entirely agree with and as soon as we touch ground at Yung Shue Wan, I know exactly what she means. There’s a chill vibe that instantly washes over you here, which is such a drastic contrast to the hard hustle of Hong Kong. On Lamma Island, you’ll find loads of little organic 'green' cafes, leash-free dogs running about, graffiti, lush jungle, and a beach with a massive power station.
We take a walk through the jungle with Natalie’s dog to Hung Sing Yeh beach to check-out the power station that was built in 1972 and supplies energy to Hong Kong Island. Here, they have BBQs and jam with their instruments into the morning light. Natalie’s friend Makha, an incredible Senegalese djembe drummer, can be found here playing on the beach on any given day.
As we walked to Natalie’s house, I noticed that there weren’t any cars… because there are no cars or even streets for cars. Bicycling is the mode of transportation here, which I can only imagine results in a very interesting scenario when moving house. 
By the time I finished my Lamma Island experience, the sun was gone and I full-on entered delirium. I had no idea what I ended up saying at Natalie’s house (was I even speaking in sentences… in comprehendible English?) and everything I was seeing was actually physically blurring in front of my eyes. Jet-lag was proving to be a mega-bitch for me here in Hong Kong but it was only day 2 and I hadn’t vomited yet on any of the boat-rides (it’s the small victories that count), so I was determined to kick the time difference’s ass… tomorrow.
Thank you so much to Natalie and Art for being my Lamma Island guides for the day! xx