Labelling themselves as Mexicans in Hong Kong, DEER an electronic duo searches for their personal ground in the Hong Kong music scene/ industry. Working as musicians was never an easy path, being foreign and having no initial connections, braving into the unknown world of electro/ techno music scene in Hong Kong has to be one of the biggest hurdles that the duo has to face whilst considering building a path for their music to transcend in the local music scene. If speciality is what it takes to stand out in the vast pool of musicians and bands around the city DEER certainly has an extra edge compared to their fellow musicians, but does that promise a smooth path towards success in their career? And what even is success as an independent music duo in the local Hong Kong music scene? BOOM sat down with DEER to talk about their current views on Hong Kong’s music scene and where has their paths lead them to in the 5 years of making.
Initially Adriana — the lead singer of the duo came to Hong Kong to further her PhD studies, during her time here she and Miguel started experimenting with their music and creations. Both grew up on classical music influences and academia, the duo seeks for a collision of classical music and electronics impact. The pair never knew that this was going to be the start of something phenomenal, what started off as improv sessions, slowly became the beam of their musical career. The duo explains that music culture in Mexico is rich and diverse, “ we have a special bond with Mexican music. Mexico has a big influence of American rock and pop music, we like some bands such as Cafe Tacuba, and Santa Sabina, we grew up with their music, and for some moment we might have glimpses of their sound.” Miguel explains. That’s what inspired the duo’s music, their historic roots and musical plays a huge part in their lives.
Touching upon the subject of new creations, DEER has released their debut EP “Portraits” back in March, and is expecting to release a remix version of the EP in September inviting artists all around the world to add their input within their music. Artists include 10XX (AT), Rob Ascough (UK), THOT (BE), Headbirds (ES), HEO (KR), Madzine (TW) and more. The pair shares with us that by inviting other musicians to share their two cents to the mix, Miguel states that “made us understand how colleagues appreciate music, how we can approach to songs from different angles. We learned a lot from each track we received. We listened to amazing ideas that had been amazing to capture in our album version.” We love the original “Portraits” EP and am very excited for the remix version to come out in September, for more information on the release dates and further information stick with us or go visit DEER’s social media platforms.
The duo brought their Mexican roots to Hong Kong, and to be independent artists, just adds in one more factor of difficulty. In DEER’s point of view “the industry is in a comfort zone, they left few for the risks and prefer reproducing formulas that guarantee money. This principle was obvious only for pop bands, but today, even the underground scene is impregnated and the people prefer to listen to one band that imitates Morrissey, rather than take the risk and listen to something completely different. The irony is that these “alternative idols” exist because of open minded geeks who refused to follow formulas.” This is something that DEER would like to bring into the picture for the Hong Kong audiences and tastemakers, the local scene might have space left for bands and new musicians, but the audiences are too comfortable with their choice of music, there is not much activity in opening up new ideas and acceptance of new creations.
There might be a lack of acceptance and opportunities for niche music markets in Hong Kong, yet with the example that DEER has displayed, it shows that there is still an opening for diversity and change in the scene. There has been so many debates around whether or not Hong Kong’s music scene is too saturated and dense with popular music, but if you look closer and peer through the layers of independent music and other musical genres, you’ll discover more than meets the eye.