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How Clockenflap festival is helping Asian music reach new audiences

28 November 2023, 03:00

With Hong Kong's Clockenflap Festival kicking off this week, Co-Founder and Head Of Music Justin Sweeting explains why the festival offers a unique snapshot of Asian music and reveals his own favourites from the line-up, which unites East and West music.

Clockenflap is all about the experience. The coming together of all we hold so dear: music, art, people, silliness and so much more, and all set against HK’s iconic skyline in the heart of the city

The experience is heightened by the fact that events like ours don’t happen very often here, so there is a collective joy that permeates the grounds and is palpable to fans and artists alike. There truly is nothing else like it, and in many ways, we mirror the best traits of the city - the melding of East and West, and the juxtaposition of the new generation of cutting edge artists alongside the older, legendary masters of their craft. In terms of Asian music, it is exciting times as across genres and generations, there are more artists exploring the outer and inner regions of the spectrums, taking more risks creatively and being rewarded with genuine career success.

Equally, whilst the Asian pop world often dominates the headlines, there is parallel growing international interest in other genres from the region too. There’s never been a time where so many tours with Asian acts have done so well in the West and that bodes well given it really is just the beginning.

ADG7 (aka: Ak Dan Gwang Chil)

It’s a fine line successfully melding traditional sounds in relevant modern ways, without resorting to lowest common denominator tactics or cliches. ADG7 manage to expertly navigate said line through their suitably madcap, upbeat and ultimately irresistible ways. This troupe of kooky Korean folk revivalists land more in the space of infectious, joyous psychedelia, and in many ways speak to the core of what Clockenflap is about – richly rewarding those who come to the festival with an open mind, ready for discover.

Listen: "Youngjeonggeori"

ADG7 Main Profile 2023

Otoboke Beaver

It is a promoter’s privilege to know an as-of-yet uninitiated and unexpectant crowd is about to have their minds completely blown. That’s exactly the feeling I’ve been holding on to since first catching Otoboke Beaver pre-pandemic at SXSW, and wanting to share it with our audience. Frenetically formidable, theirs is a kind of meticulous mayhem that I’m sure will leave the crowd both breathless and beaming.

Listen: "Don’t light my fire"

Otoboke Beaver 2 photocredit Mayumi Hirata

Gia Fu

HK native Gia Fu fell in love with Latin music as a teenager, and now those in the know are starting to swoon over her Asian take on the genre. Having spent years diligently researching and cataloguing its past, she is now very much focused on opening up its delights to new generations not only through her own Chinese-influenced salsa, though more broadly through her digital profiles including the Mild Mambo Youtube channel. All done with a commitment to supreme authenticity throughout. Without wanting to sound too cheesy, we love this kind of dedication and celebration of cross-pollination and cross-cultural promotion of the universality of music.

Listen: "Canton Mambo"

Screenshot 2023 11 28 at 14 22 43

Gong Gong Gong

It’s perhaps counter intuitive that a band without a drummer can sound so obsessed with rhythm. Yet that’s exactly what Beijing-based duo Gong Gong Gong are. Though rather than using traditional skins and cymbals, their sound is very much defined by the hypnotic, forward-thrusting instrument interplay between Tom (guitar) and Frank (bass). The two piece from Hong Kong and Canada respectively, are a disarming prospect and at varying times and degrees manifest the musical worlds of Asia, the West and Africa. Quite frankly, I don’t really know what their music is, but I do know I like it.

Listen: "Ride Your Horse"

Gong Gong Gong 04 Cola Ren


Whilst his writing and producing credits with the likes of chart-toppers New Jeans have brought his work to the mega mainstream, South Korean DJ and producer 250 is something of an undiscovered gem in his own right, and we are very much hoping people unearth his brilliance whilst gallivanting across the site. His debut album is an absolute delight and his Dj sets are as gloriously eclectic as they are engaging.

Listen: "Bang Bus"

No Party For Cao Dong

Taiwan’s No Party For Cao Dong are a true phenomenon and a stand up example of a group that have forged their own path, their own way. Bursting onto the Taiwanese indie scene in 2015, we first brought them out to HK in 2016, and in the interim years since, they’ve only continued their meteoric rise both within the region and beyond. In parallel, this year we’re so delighted to also welcome China’s Omnipotent Youth Society, who like Cao Dong, very much represent the voice of a generation of music fans. Both these sets are going to be nothing short of absolutely epic, and I can’t wait.

Listen: "大風吹 Simon Says"

Clockenflap runs from 1-3 December. Find out more at

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