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ON THE COUCH WITH ROMAIN FX

You could say Romain Fx is a trailblazer in the current Hong Kong music scene, spearheading fresh concepts such as Roofest (the island's first rooftop festival), events company ROAM and Hong Kong’s latest radio start-up, Fauve Radio. One sunny afternoon we managed to steal Romain away from his insane work schedule to find out more about his new projects and what drives him to continue to push boundaries.

What is the concept behind Fauve? Fauve is a web radio and live DJ streaming platform from Hong Kong. For now, we only do live streams on Facebook from Wednesday to Saturday. The next step will be to create a website to host the radio 24/7 online. So, you can simply log in to our website and listen to music all day. Hopefully that will be up and running in the next month or two.

What genres of music do you play? Is there anything you would say no to? There is no real specific genre. We have had reggae, rock, house, disco, everything - but for me it’s about discovery. You don’t tune in to the radio to just listen to the top listened songs on your iPod. You listen to find new music – well most people do. So, here at Fauve, I want to give DJs a platform to express themselves and play original music that they wouldn’t normally be able to play in a club setting. We have been lucky so far to have DJs on here who really do it for the love of music, not for the love of money. This pure expression of their creativity is very inspiring!

What does Fauve mean?

Fauve is a French word that means wild animal. In that word I wanted the DJs who play on the radio to tap into their inner wild side. To match that idea, I have decorated the booth to look like a jungle, which also makes it feel nice and cosy. We have followed through on the wild idea with all the branding too. If you were a Fauve what kind of Fauve would you be? A lion, chill but reassuring.

What lead you to founding your event company ROAM and your own radio station?

I first started dabbling in music when I went to back to France for two years in my early teens. I had a lot of time on my hands so would listen to lots of different kinds of music and create playlists in my room. Friends of mine took an interest in my playlists and asked me to play at their parties. During these early days of musical exploration, I was more into nu-disco and must admit that I started with a controller and moved backwards to vinyl – everyone starts somewhere. When I moved back to Hong Kong I thought I would give a career in music a real shot. Shortly after arriving I met a guy named Ouissam who told me about a cool project he was dreaming up - which was Cliché. We went on to start Cliché together which I helped run for about 2-3 years. We brought a lot of cool artists to Hong Kong and were one of the first to do so, so that was a really inspiring project to work on. After that I moved on to start my own series of parties called Roofest. These were the first rooftop parties that I had worked on. For me this was a project about getting people together and creating a community. I also wanted to mix art and music together, so we had live painters at the event as well. I then moved on and started ROAM with Florian from Fufu, which I am working on now. ROAM is about bringing less known artists, to cool surprising venues with a broad range of music to Hong Kong. With these parties there really is something for everyone. Then one thing led to another and I started the radio. I was thinking about the radio for a good 2 years. But it took me a while to start it and be motivated to work on a project of this scale. But now, with the perfect team, venue, and my experience it seemed like a great time to start, so here we are! It also appears with all the praise we have received so far it also was the perfect time for Hong Kong.

Who makes up the Fauve Team? What kind of people do you strive to have on board to grow Fauve Radio?

To start with in the beginning, I had a friend called Anne who came in from France as an intern. She helped with the admin, graphic design and communications work. On the creative side I have Finu who also works on graphics and does all the cool illustrations, and Hugo who works on graphics and video mapping. They also play a big role in designing our zine that we have with the help of Sophia Greengrass for all the copyright and creative writing. More on the outskirts of the team is Mich Mich who helped build & design the DJ booth and Arnaud who helps us with the sound engineering. The shop Mahka which is where our radio is based plays the biggest role. It’s the perfect creative hub in the middle of the city. Mag and Franc behind Mahka are amazing hosts and collaborators.

If you could have five of your dream artists come and play on Fauve Radio who would they be?

That is a tough question! But for me the number one would be …Young Marco who I saw at Dekmantel in Amsterdam. I was so impressed with his music selection and vibe. I literally stayed in front of the speakers, sober as hell for the whole set, loving the music selection. Harvey Sutherland who is known more as a producer but played a great set at Acadana club, so I would love to hear what he would play here. The Pender Street Steppers boys who I saw in Croatia at Dimension Festival. Those boys really blew me away (they may take a bit of time to get over to Hong Kong though). Then I would have to say Larry Heard, who is an enormous influence on the music scene. And finally, Jayda G & Move D who actually became a reality. They are welcome to come back and play anytime! There are more people touring Asia and stopping off on the way to Australia now, so you never know, my dream artists may become a reality.

I wanted to ask more about your ROAM events, what is the concept behind the brand, and what events have you got coming up?

ROAM is a monthly music night in Hong Kong bringing International & Local DJs from Asia, who share a love for groovy music with no boundaries: House, Disco, Funk, Deep, World music...With this new concept, we wanted to create a party for people to trust us musically. ROAM means to move about or travel aimlessly or unsystematically, especially over a wide area, which is what I want the people who attend our parties to do. With ROAM we have created a space where people can have fun and let loose, especially because Hong Kong is a very stressful city. There are not a lot of events here that allow people to go a little crazy. There are no rules musically, our DJs come from Asia, or internationally and play a range of genres. Like at Fauve we just want people to think differently. We like to host our events in venues that people either don’t know about or don’t expect our kind of parties to be. We hosted a cool party once in Duddells which is more of a fancy restaurant that we turned into a club. With the venues we also like to alternate the feel of the event, so we normally do one small intimate event at somewhere like Potato Head then one at a club setting to give people that option. We have received great feedback so far and all our events have sold out. So, we are really excited for the future of ROAM.

You have mentioned Potato Head and Duddells. What are some other venues you like?

I am a big fan Acadana which is in Fotan with Jimmy in charge. I also like the new club called After Dark and Beyond where we hosted a recent event with DJ Move D. But the one venue I am most exited about is a new club that’s going to hit Hong Kong by storm very soon, finally we are going to have a club really focused on quality bookings and different genres of music… but I am not allowed to talk about it too much..

Have you got any festivals lined up for this year? For now, I am playing at the Macki festival organised by La Mamie’s & Cracki Records for the 5th Anniversary in Paris with the wild bunch from Camion Bazar. This crew normally come with their own truck which they decorate differently. Last time people got naked which can give you an idea of how free it gets. In Hong Kong I have recently played Sonar with my partners MLCH and Hugo Yunus representing the radio alongside Seoul Community Radio and Hong Kong Community Radio and we also have the Shi Fu Miz festival coming up which is looking very promising.

What are your thoughts on the music scene in Hong Kong?

The biggest thing that is happening at the moment is people are starting to understand that booking artists is important and can help your parties. So now more artists are attracted to come to Asia as more promoters are ready to book them. Musically it has evolved as people are more open to new music. This is not just in Hong Kong but all over the world I feel. There are also more locals partying and getting involved, which is great.

What’s in store for the future of Fauve radio?

At Fauve, I am trying to bring people together and create a community, so we can realise that we can collaborate and do different things. By creating this platform of a creative hub to get people together we can push the music scene forward here in Hong Kong and good music at that.

You can find more music from Fauve Radio here and Romain's music here on SoundCloud. This coming Friday, 13th April, at Duddell's 都爹利會館 with a powerful Funktion One soundsystem, Roam will be bringing to you the legendary producer: Kuniyuki Takahashi (Music from Memory/Mule Musiq) for an exclusive and unique LIVE Performance. Kuniyuki Takahashi is a sound designer and producer who is based and works in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. Another event not to miss!

Tickets and more details can be found here.

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