Often compared to Stereolab, The Hong Kong have come onto the scene with a unique brand of synth rock. They are like Stereolab, if Stereolab exploded, sped up and cross-pollinated with a member of the Go-Go's. Live, they pull the audience in immediately, which is often a tough feat for the hard to impress hipsters that crowd their shows.
We should mention here that this band can also kick your bands ass when it comes to style. They know how to dress, they know how to get you to dance (or at the very least sway rhythmically) and they are playing tomorrow night at Rothko (details below), so get there and check them out.
The Hong Kong are Blondie for today's indie set, and they are Catherine Culpepper (Vocals), Harold Griffin (Guitar), Ted Casterline (Bass), Aaron Carroll (Drums), Sonya Balchandani (Keyboards/Samplers).
Ted Casterline took some time out to answer Gothamists questions last week...
Let's get this out of the way, where did the band name originate?
The name The Hong Kong was conjured up by an ex-member. I think it was the cleverest, stupidest thing he could think of. He was in another band called "R2D2 and C3PO are Friends".
What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
Passing out at the Blood Drive.
What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Favorite - Being high and drunk at DonHills when the DJ decided to put on "Our Lips are Sealed", by The Go-Gos. It was revelatory.
Least Favorite - Planes flying into buildings.
[INTERVIEW CONTINUES INSIDE]
What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? What's the best night of the week to go out in the city?
I really like drinking at the place called "My Apartment". The beer is cheap, and there's internet access but there's usually not that many girls there. Well, unless my girlfriend comes over.
Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
I won't comment about the music, but I think we are a little more image concious being here. The whole "casual" thing doesn't seem to work on New York audiences that well. Wearing flip-flops and cargo shorts, taking forever to go on, being out of tune- these things might be charming elsewhere, but we try to avoid them.
Finish the following statements:
"You know you've made it when ."
you get FIVE drink tickets.
"It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when ."
I go deaf in my other ear.
"I'll never forget the first time ."
Ill never forget the first time [insert another band members name
Aaron took acid.
Now for some quick word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following:
a sports team?
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is great.
Britney says whatever Pepsi wants her to say.
Bridge & Tunnel
people driving the new "coal-powered" Hummer.
The Darkness seems to be clearing.
Times Square has lots of signs and Germans.
Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws
I love the smoking ban, it has made going to bars a much more pleasant experience. The cabaret laws suck, though. We played at a bar on New Years Eve, and they got fined $1,000 because people were dancing.
Questions inspired by movies...
If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern
man's existential dilemma (in 10 words or less). (Reality Bites)
We are trying to get off the planet, but cannot.
What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
I think "The Music" formed in '98, and "The Misery" got together in '01, so I guess it was "The Music".
And a few last questions on the music tip:
What were the first & last albums you bought on the day they were released?
first - KISS "Dressed to Kill"
last - Shudder to Think "Funeral at the Movies"
Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
I can't answer that, but here's my cast for the next Batman movie:
Phillip Seymour Hoffman-The Penguin
John Waters-The Riddler
William H. Macy-The Joker
Anne Magnusson-Cat Woman
Harvey and Crispin would drive around in a really crappy primer grey El Camino with a bat symbol spray painted on the door.
If you released a 7 what would you put on the cover?
my beer, 7"'s make great coasters.
The Hong Kong play Tuesday August 9th @ Rothko