Mixing beatboxing with Gypsy-punk and Ska, Les Gromechkos have talent to spare.
Multi-instrumentalists are a rare breed, but Les Gromechkos, a Hong Kong-based ska rock gypsy-punk band, is full of them, making them a remarkably talented bunch. They met up almost a decade ago, when as young French expats they found themselves a little disappointed by the music on offer then. In true Hong Kong style, it was only after they ended up going to karaoke that they realised they had some good singers in the group, which led them to think about starting a band.
Mixing ska with rock, gypsy and punk isn’t the most obvious musical style, but it certainly sets them apart. “We wanted to find a niche where we’d have no competition!” jokes Nicolas. But in truth, from the start, certain members of the band were defiant about not playing covers, and so everything they play is an original composition. “The musical styles we incorporate come from the music that we listened to growing up in France,” they explain, “and then we blend in ideas from classical piano or flute, for instance. We also play hip-hop as well, though, since our accordionist used to be in a hip-hop band.” In fact, one of their definite crowd pleasers involves Nicolas beatboxing on his flute.
The story behind their name is as charming as the guys themselves. “The first time we met up, we didn’t know what to play, so we started playing the theme tune to this game show we used to watch as kids, Des Chiffres et Des Lettres, whose presenter is a guy called Laurent Romejko. So we decided to call ourselves Les Gromechkos, in tribute to the presenter!”
Despite holding down very important jobs in the financial sector, the guys recently released their first album, Hong Kong Tales, and have been busy performing, for instance playing at Clockenflap last year. They’re hot off their first Pearl River tour, taking in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, but you can catch them at Secret Island Party this October.