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Hong Kong rockers blazing trails with Siem Reap’s 60 Road Studios

Indie-rock band The Sleeves say they’re looking forward to Siem Reap – Hong Kong doesn’t have enough live venues. Photo supplied
Indie-rock band The Sleeves say they’re looking forward to Siem Reap – Hong Kong doesn’t have enough live venues. Photo supplied

Hong Kong rockers blazing trails with Siem Reap’s 60 Road Studios

Hong Kong indie-rock band The Sleeves are winging their way to Siem Reap tomorrow to record their second album at 60 Road Studios, a week-long session bookended by a couple of gigs in town.

The band, which has supported the likes of Gary Numan, UNKLE and Peaches, came across the studio during a mini-tour of Cambodia last year, and decided to get in touch. The move ties in with the internationalist approach that 60 Road Studios is now working to promote, both in terms of drawing musicians here and promoting Cambodian musicians abroad. 

For Keith Goodman, The Sleeves frontman, the deal became a no-brainer as soon as they got in touch with 60 Road. “The guys have been excellent,” he said. “You can tell from the dialogue, they know what they’re doing. The vibe is good.”

60 Road Studios co-founder Ian Croft is looking forward to welcoming the band. “We want to create a great Cambodian experience for them,” he said, and has assigned a local cinematographer, Heng Heang – a Green Gecko graduate, and part of the winning team at the Chaktomouk Short Film Festival last year – to spend the week filming for the music videos to go with the album. 

The fully equipped recording studio opened in March last year, and quickly put itself among the few in Cambodia boasting international-standard equipment and resources. “The last year has been about learning, getting better equipment, and putting policies in place. We feel very confident that we’ll do a good job for The Sleeves,” said Croft. 

The studio has always had an international focus – whether recording music, songwriting or voiceovers – the benefits of which it turns around to support local artists. “We offer a lot of support to good local artists, whether they want to come and practice playing, recording or mixing, or need help with finding an international platform. We don’t want to be band managers, though; more like mentors,” said Croft.

The Sleeves frontman Goodman is looking forward to gigging as well as recording. “There are actually very few live venues in Hong Kong,” he said. “It’s easy to exhaust them.”

He describes their music as a blend of British music influences. “I’m a punk and rock man, but our lead guitarist Pete Gordon is Led Zeppelin, while our drummer Matt Coleman is more tribal, and bassist Stu McCutcheon is Joy Division. You’ll find The Sleeves where all that meets in the middle.”

The Sleeves will play at X-Bar tomorrow, supported by Rubra, a Russian and Brazilian dance band, and at Galaxy on Saturday, July 16, supported by Battambang rock ‘n’ roll band Batbangers. Both gigs are free and slated to start at 8:30pm.  

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