Hong Kong’s biggest music and arts festival is drawing closer and it’s time to start getting excited. With less than a month to go until New York indie rock legends Interpol, and US R&B sensation Khalid, make their Hong Kong debut at Clockenflap, the festival is shaping out to be one of the most exciting events of the year. Spanning different genres, from dream pop and post-punk to R&B, the lineup for this year’s Clockenflap offers something for everyone to enjoy. Check below to get to know all the announced acts (so far) who will be performing at the festival!
Fresh from the release of their new album Marauder, the post-punk revival band Interpol will be performing in Hong Kong for the first time at Clockenflap this year. Fans can expect swaying, sultry, and edgy hits from Interpol’s latest album, as well as older fan-favourite moody rock classics. Punk fans can also look forward to hearing from South London post-punk provocateurs Shame,as well as the quintessentially Brooklyn breakout act BODEGA, who are known for fusing raucous post-punk and infectious pop with razor-sharp lyrics.
Combining the talents of front-woman of art rock band Braids, Raphaelle Standell-Preston, and DJ Agor, Canadian experimental indie-pop duo Blue Hawaii will be bringing Clockenflap their unique blend of dream pop, spacey electronica, and mellifluous vocals. Another indie-pop artist scheduled for Friday is acclaimed Taiwanese singer-songwriter Anpu. Previously known as Deserts Chang, Anpu had her first recording contract and over 100 songs by the age of 19. Her most downloaded song, Bao Bei, was written when she was only 13. The cerebral artist’s stripped down, folk-pop, acoustic guitar style and enthralling, light voice makes her a favourite among live music aficionados.
On the dancier end of proceedings, American DJ-producer Mija, who previously played in Coachella, Burning Man and Road to Ultra as well as back-to-back deep house sets with Skrillex, will have you dancing to her quirky, genre-bending, DIY punk-rock beats. Similarly, Australian electro-house DJ duo Peking Duk, whose fans include the likes of Tiësto and Steve Aoki, will definitely get the crowd moving with their cheeky, pop-rock influenced tunes.
On Saturday, Clockenflap will be welcoming David Byrne – the ex-frontman of influential new wave band Talking Heads. Known for his artsy, bedroom-dancing, performances, and quirky, feel-good, style-melding songs, Byrne is currently on the road for his first solo album in 14 years, American Utopia, and will be bringing his live show along to Clockenflap. Joining Byrne’s eclectic, slightly off-kilter style, is Canadian electronic innovator Caribou, who’s known for twiddling with multi-layered electronic sounds combined with live instrumentation. Drawing comparisons with Caribou is the up and coming Tokyo alt-dance trio D.A.N., who draws influences from underground house and techno to psychedelic and African music. Another rising electronic musician performing on Saturday is the in-demand French electronic musician, who is a pioneer in virtual reality video production and known for his genre-bending, cinematic, techno melodies.
Nailing hooks and infectious riffs, the multi-talented musician and one-man-band Youngr from U.K. will be bringing the more upbeat, rhythmical tempos of electro-pop to Clockenflap. Saturday festival-goers will also get to enjoy Danish electronic songstress Lydmor’s intense, heartfelt performance. Staying true to her nom de guerre, Lydmor (Danish for “Mother of Sound”) is a wonder at combining brutally honest confessional lyrics with distinctive, breathtaking vocal stylings over sensual electronic soundscapes. In a similar fashion, Korean electronic vocalist and producer combines her majestic voice and seductive falsettos over her moody soundscape that seamlessly blends genres such as R&B and lo-fi.
Similarly blending genres is the young Hong Kong beatmaker Cocoonics. Journalism student by day and DJ by night, the up-and-coming artist went from making beats in her bedroom to performing at Sónar and now Clockenflap, in just a year’s time. Her unique sound touches on funk, disco, jazz-hip-hop, boombap, lo-fi hip-hop, traditional Chinese music and more. Comparatively, UK’s industrial techno trailblazer Blawan‘s post-dubstep sounds are gritty, raw and heavily techno-influenced. His cold, percussive productions and no-frills musical aesthetic contributed to the revival of raw, dark techno sounds.
In contrast to the slew of electronic artists, Mali husband and wife duo Amadou & Mariam combines traditional Malian music with rock guitars and an array of African instruments to create a unique take on Afro-blues. Amadou’s stuttered bluesy guitar and Mariam’s velvet voice offers lyrical melodies, soulful sounds as well as cultural commentary. (blind from a young age) In a likewise manner, local math-folk heroes GDJYB, named in honour of a Cantonese comfort food dish, brings something different to Hong Kong’s music scene. Their music is a fusion of folk and math-rock, with lyrics in Hong Kong style English that explores themes surrounding life in Hong Kong.
Following a collaboration with rapper Leo Wang on “Weekends with You”, Taiwanese singer-songwriter 9m88 is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after artists from Taiwan. With a sultry voice that sounds more fitting for the days of vinyl than this Spotify age and a musical style that draws influences from Jazz, R&B, and Soul, the genre-bending chanteuse has garnered the attention from an array of big names, all seeking collaborations with her. Indie R&B outfit Rhye serves a slower yet still spellbindingly soulful take on the R&B genre. The lead vocalist’s smooth, pristine voice is waged in sultry, slow, and vulnerable melodies, enveloping listeners in a mysterious, relaxing soundscape. While also in the indie genre, darlings of Canadian indie scene Alvvay offers a comparatively upbeat tempo. Their gauzy blend of Scot-pop, jangle-pop and dream-pop influences has led them to perform at big stages such as Glastonbury, Coachella and now, Clockenflap.
A household name in the world of mainstream music, Khalid needs little introduction. The impressive teen star’s earnest, conversational vocals that’s charged with emotion lends him a maturity beyond his years. Coupled with his gentle, dulcet tone, the young singer-songwriter is paving way for a new kind of laid back R&B that speaks to his generation. Another defining musical voice of a generation, British indie-rock band The Vaccines is one of the most successful British band of this decade. Even eight years on from their rip-roaring debut, their exuberant spirit and catchy guitar-led tunes make them one of the best live acts around and a festival favourite. The four-piece band will no doubt slay the crowds with their infectious energy and a huge catalogue of singalong hits.
Wolf Alice will also be joining the Clockenflap stage in a similar off-kilter, British indie-rock style as The Vaccines. With folk, pop, grunge and rock-influenced songs, delivered in lead singer’s mesmerising, versatile vocals, it’s no wonder when they sang, “You can join us if you think you’re wild, You can join us if you’re a feral child.” Many answered the call. America’s answer to The Vaccines and Wolf Alice, Brooklyn indie rockers Sunflower Bean will be delivering sweet melodies that are dreamily psychedelic, a mix of shoegaze, indie rock and grunge.
On the electro front for Sunday, expect a blistering set from British DJ-producer Roni Size. Size is hugely respected around the world for pioneering a fresh sound that merges jungle beats with hip-hop, funk, soul and house, and epic live performances. The rave continues with heavyweight British DJ-producer Eats Everything, known for his infectious brand of house music that incorporates garage, techno, jungle and bass. His legendary performances have earned him coveted slots at some of the world’s biggest clubs and festivals. Also from the UK, South London beatmaker DJ Swindle is known for his upbeat vibes that blend grime with heavy doses of jazz, funk, reggae and soul. The rave continues with Argentinian DJ-producer Chancha Via Circuito, who injects doses of Latin flair into electronica, blending Colombian cumbia, reggaeton, and folk instrumentals.
With a foot in both American and Chinese culture, NY-based Chinese rapper Bohan Phoenix’s music is both a cultural lesson and a representation for what the future of music is our globalising world. Rapping in both Mandarin and English, Bohan Phoenix is tapping into underground culture in an unprecedented way and is gaining the attention of many who relate to both Eastern and Western cultures. Asian music fans can also look forward to hearing from lead vocalist of Taiwanese indie band Sodagreen, Wu Tsing-Fong. Coming to Hong Kong as a solo artist for the first time, Wu Tsing-Fong will be bringing his charming brand of romantic energy, with new songs such as Everybody Woohoo, that are heavily influenced by disco.