Interviews, Music

【Tokens of a Brand】Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat Asia (FOB), has been bringing world class acts to Hong Kong since 2012,they have brought over 200 acts within the 5 years that they made Hong Kong their home base including some of the hit tastemakers in the industry such as: Pharell, Rich Chigga and Gilles Peterson. The only motivation that kept them going is to spread more music to the fans in Hong Kong, and to broaden the city’s own repertoire. “The most enjoyable part of the job is showing artist what an amazing place Hong Kong is.” claims founder Zaran Vachha, his love for Hong Kong shines through the whole interview, to have to say goodbye to Fresh Off the Boat, one could only reminisce all the good times that they have brought to the live music scene in Hong Kong and applaud them one last time.

“ I just wanted to bring good music to my hometown. Music that you would see in London or New York on a regular basis. That was my sole ambition with this project.”

Vachha recalls all the amazing moments that makes FOB a precious gem. Especially “Meeting all the people in Hong Kong trying to make a difference in the music scene – against all odds. Doing it for the love.” To hear that the music industry in Hong Kong is coming together for a shared goal is something that every independent or even commercial artist, and of course the audience dream! One event that really stood out for him was the Do-Over in 2013, Vachha saw a whole other side to the crowds in Hong Kong, it was as if the suit and tie crowd ditched their usual uniform and transformed into a bunch of party animals, he claims that “It was raw, sweaty and exciting. People lost their minds.” Some of the greatest shows Vachaa mentioned has one thing in common – the location. The warehouse environment releases a sense of what Hong Kong used to be before all the high rises emerged, and is when you’re being surrounded with like minded people, that’s where the party starts. Being in a warehouse in the packed city of Hong Kong, really does offer a different side to the city, the wide spaces and the freedom of creating a space that fully represents FOB’s ideals “a release from the mundane.”

The Do-Over in 2014

However, it is not to say that passion can overrule every obstacle. Venues became the sole problem that pulled the trigger for FOB to go out on a high, yet leaving a void in the years of creating FOB, not owning a place that they could call home. The lack of space results in “less room for us to create. I felt more we were doing shows in places that they don’t fit. We started to miss opportunities for great acts because we didn’t have the right venue to do it.” Vachha explains, but that doesn’t mean he has fully given up on bringing International music acts to Asia. His new project Collective Minds, “aims to build a network of like-minded promoters, venues and individuals.” By doing so, Vachha explains the lessen risk of “create a bidding war between promoters that eventually drives up the price.” In the hopes of “bringing an alternative music source to the mainstream.”

When asked where he would like to introduce FOB, Vachha did not hesitate and went straight to Tokyo, Japan, saying that “this is a boring/ cliche answer I know. But I know there is a music loving audience there. But I haven’t seen the kids go wild.” The thread that links the whole conversation together was solely down to one thing — passion for music, many would argue that promoters are just out to seek money, but after talking to Zaran Vachha founder of Fresh Off the Boat, it’s safe to say that not all promoters are out for your money, some really do want to bring good music to everyone, but is that really enough?

Fresh Off the Boat Official Closing Party will be hosted at FLY this Friday (22nd December) with DJ sets from Breakbot and Broadback, join them for one last hoorah!

 

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