Turtle Giant are reconvening in Macau tomorrow night at Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo for their first concert in the city since December last year.
Band members António Conceição, Fredji Ritchie and Robert Ritchie describe themselves as Macau and São Paulo natives. Though they live in different cities, separated by thousands of kilometers of ocean, the trio continues to write and produce indie-rock tracks.
This weekend, Turtle Giant will introduce some of their latest material that António Conceição said has never before been performed in the MSAR. Speaking yesterday to the Times, the vocalist-bassist assured that the trio also plans to revisit their earlier tracks that first earned the band its popularity.
Conceição said that Turtle Giant is now looking to record a new EP. The album will break from the tradition of recording exclusively in Macau’s Dom Pedro V Theater; this time recorded partly in the United States and Portugal as well.
In an interview with the Times last night, the band’s vocalist offered his opinion on the development of Macau’s cultural and creative scene and the government’s role in cultivating the sector.
“I always think that Macau is a little bit behind in how they are pushing kids to know the world” in a cultural sense, he said. “That curiosity is what drives people to want to know these things.”
“Is it about exposure to this sort of music? At some point yes, it has to be about exposure. I don’t think it matters whether you are young or a little bit older,” added Conceição, but at some point “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
The artist believes that while government support to the industry is commendable, it can only take local acts so far. To become successful artists beyond the incubator stage usually requires the participation of the private sector, he argued.
“I don’t know if this is a job for the government,” he told the Times on the idea of government plans to create sustainable creative and cultural industries.
“I don’t know how many countries have their governments pushing their top artists and cultural icons… you go to the biggest pop countries in the world and the government has little involvement. It has a lot more to do with private investment. The biggest pop artists succeeded through the private sector, not through the public sector.”
Though the government has “done a great job to incentivize people to create – and we can’t expect all subsidized projects to be great – […] it might be slightly misguided [on the behalf of the government] as the subsidies are supposed to develop a career, and maybe it doesn’t quite have this impact.”
Last year, at This Is My City festival in December, Turtle Giant presented singles from their Many Mansions I album as a warm-up to the evening’s headline act, legendary Portuguese artist Rui Reininho.
Outside of music writing and concert playing, the band has also begun its foray into producing music for U.S. television shows, including one called Supergirl earlier this year.
“We had the first experience [working with television] in 2013 with other series, and it’s a gig that we love,” said Conceição. “We love the idea of having our music played in film and TV. There is a reciprocal relationship: movies have fed us, and we feed our ideas with movies.”
The concert starts tomorrow night at 8:30 p.m. at “Beer Temple” on Rua de Nossa Senhora do Amparo, according to organizers.
Hidden agenda ‘picked on’
COMMENTING ON recent media reports suggesting Hong Kong authorities are taking a tougher stance on alternative music venues in the neighboring SAR, Conceição said that, to the best of his knowledge, only two organizations have had a long-running problem. “I’m not into the political side of Hong Kong,” he said, “but in my experience […] the only two that ever had a problem were Beating Heart and Hidden Agenda. […] I guess Hidden Agenda has always been picked on and raided a bunch of times by police and fireman,” he added, because “they keep moving to different warehouses.” Hong Kong authorities say that the raids are due to ongoing regulatory problems with the premises. The latest raid on Hidden Agenda took place over the weekend and the club’s owner was arrest on suspicion of allowing foreign citizens to perform without the appropriate visas.