Welcome to the mansion: Shumking Mansions on Clockenflap and why they hate recording studios

Photo by Chausette b.
Photo by Chausette b.

Psychedelic rockers the Shumking Mansions took to the stage on Friday for their first Clockenflap performance.

It was another high point for the band’s part-time musicians, who work by day and jam at night. 

Speaking to Coconuts HK after their set, the band said playing Clockenflap was without a doubt a “milestone” they had aimed for since day one.

“For a band in Hong Kong to play at Clockenflap means that they’ve taken it to the next level,” said Zaid, the groups Bangladeshi guitarist, who works in purchasing.

They, however, aren’t quite ready to quit their jobs and go full time, he added.

“It’s a difficult question, because to give up our work for music means we have to earn from the music, and that will take away from a lot of the fun as well, so I don’t know,” Zaid said. 

“It’s not an easy question to answer, and I think we can only answer when that time comes.”

The four-piece — which also includes French banker and keytar player Disco Jof, Canadian teacher and drummer Kent, and Malaysian guitarist and building services engineer Shum — formed in 2014. 

Looking for a name, their hangout — Shum’s raucous apartment — came to mind.

“My house kinda used to be like Chungking Mansions, it was a full-sized casino,” said Shum, describing the scene as poker tables, drugs and a diverse demographic. 

“We had our first show and we didn’t know what to call ourselves, so Said was like, ‘let’s call it Shumking Mansions, because your house is like Chungking Mansions’.”

Photo by Chausette b.

Since then, the group has become a favorite of Hong Kong’s live music scene, performing at places such as The Wanch and Peel Fresco, and have been dubbed “one of the most mesmeric new acts on the Hong Kong circuit.”

Although they hold down full-time jobs, they make time to meet up for at least one jam session each week, and even released their first EP, Disco Dystopia, in September. 

The band — best friends who spent the interview interrupting and completing each other’s sentences — admitted that the process of putting together the EP was “arduous” and they were “very inefficient”.

And, although they’re not ready to quit the day jobs yet, the band are still keen to perform in more festivals.

The group recently did a European tour last year, and will head straight to Zhuhai after Clockenflap. 

When asked where the group would like to perform next, Shum excitedly shouted out “Glastonbury!”

Added Zaid: “I think for us, we really love playing live. We hate spending time at the studio, and we just want to play at festivals.”

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